I always enjoyed making art, right since back in high school, but I've never ever thought of myself as very good at it. Perhaps I compare too much or set my standards too high (ie. anything less than perfection is failure), but I was totally dumbstruck even back then when I got an A at "O" and then "A" level art. I just enjoyed doing it, making things, drawing people, sculpting. It very much went on the back-burner as I concentrated on my studies at university and then my career, just occasionally taking out a watercolour pad or sketchbook during time off. I suppose one of the reasons I specialised in medical imaging though was because I loved taking pictures. Getting the perfect angle, framing a shot and demonstrating what I wanted to show was a challenge I loved, as was interpreting 2D representations of 3D structures. But I never really thought of it as an extension of my artistic side until recently.
Like many people in Second Life, I was encouraged to try my hand at SL photography by Torley's tutorials. I had started to teach myself photo-editing techniques already, out of necessity mainly, to make posters for the SL club I owned but I was soon doing more than just basic posters. My love of dressing up and putting together costumes in SL, recreating looks such as that of the geisha (way before there were many geisha skins or accessories available) and bollywood, and finding great locations in which to photograph them was something that developed over time until early in 2008 I realised that it was something that gave me so much personal fulfilment I wanted to take it more seriously and spend more time concentrating on.
Soon after deciding this, and leaving the club, I started building - initially full sized sculptures, but quickly moving on to playing with tiny prims, loving the challenge of reproducing full sized works in a wearable form. This lead to me opening my store, ~flirt~, and to me concentrating more on making jewellery. However, I continued to take SL photographs and play with some post-processing, uploading my work to my Flickr account and putting a few of my favourite pictures on display in the store, but it's really been much more of a hobby than a serious pursuit, something for my own enjoyment rather than to show others.
I was therefore very much taken aback when I was approached some weeks ago by Chandra Vita, the Curator of Art of Amatsu Shima, an Okiya in Second Life, who had seen and fallen in love with my picture "Geisha's Gaze" and wanted to build an exhibition around it of geisha-related art. So much so that I didn't really believe her at first. In fact, not until I was asked for a biography and told that the exhibition was opening in less than 48 hours!
For me, in my jewellery design as much as in my photography, it is the making of the piece, the design process and creativity that is important, on a personal level, not the finished product or what other people think about it. It's somehow spiritual. Oftentimes I don't know at the start precisely what I am aiming for, or why, but as the process moves on it reveals itself, together with it's meaning, often a personal revelation or truth, deeper understanding of myself or of a situation. Of course, it thrills me when other people like what I make, when they want to buy and wear my jewellery, or hang my pictures in their homes, but that really is of secondary importance (hence what Peter calls my "crazy" pricing structure, and exactly why he is helping me with the business side of ~flirt~).
So I am incredibly flattered, very honoured and still somewhat surprised to have my work, "Geisha's Gaze" on display of the Aizen Festival and Art Walk Exhibition which opens today, July 31st, and would like to extend the invitation to you all to attend.
From the official invitation:
The geisha and students of Amatsu Shima Okiya cordially invite you to the Aizen Matsuri Festival and ArtWalk Exhibition
The event will begin at 6PM SLT, July 31, 2008 at Amatsu Shima landing point. A LM is attached to this invitation and poster. There we will hear a Keynote by our Okasan Suzanne Logan and hear of the significance of the festival from our Kenjasan Mariposa Upshaw, have music and dancing and perhaps other surprises in store for you.
A marvellous procession will take us from there, go through the shopping district of our community and ArtWalk Exhibition. Four extraordinary artists are showing their work here
on the theme: "Geisha in Art."
We will end in the pavilion where there will be less traditional music, dancing and door prizes. Guided tours will also be available of the art exhibition and other showings of art in our community.
Contact Chandra Vita if you have any questions.
Please join us for the culture and fun. We would all be honored by your attendance.
Despite it's late hour for me here in the UK, I am hoping to attend, and I look forward to seeing you there.
slurl to exhibition