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LEA 1 • May / June 2012


Table of contents A Note on Art in Second Life, for the Non-Virtual Reader.................................................................2 The Imagination......................................................................................................................................4 The Conjuror..........................................................................................................................................7 The Story.................................................................................................................................................9 The Rusted Artists..................................................................................................................................11 Rose Borchovski............................................................................................................................12 Artistide Despres..........................................................................................................................15 claudia222 Jewell...........................................................................................................................16 Bryn Oh..........................................................................................................................................19 Scottius Polke................................................................................................................................20 Ziki Questi.....................................................................................................................................23 PJ Trenton.......................................................................................................................................24 Blue Tsuki.......................................................................................................................................27 Stephen Venkman..........................................................................................................................28 Eliza Wierwight.............................................................................................................................31 Trill Zapatero.................................................................................................................................32 The Rusted Exhibition............................................................................................................................34

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A NOTE ON ART IN SECOND LIFE, FOR THE NON-VIRTUAL READER Art created in virtual environments like Second Life may be seen as a very specific form of New Media visual culture. It exists in the intangible environment of the internet, though it may take forms that are either abstract, or recognisable as mimetic recreations and/or permutations of the physical world. For many, the work is meant to be immersive – that is, while you might view it on your flat computer screen, the intention is that you move through the work via an avatar, seeing, listening, and even interacting, so that rather than a viewer, you become a sort of performer in the art. Such art has an inbuilt complication, however, in that to truly access and experience this work, one must create an avatar, and brave the learning curve of this interface to properly view these creations.Virtual Artists recognise that this is not always possible for a variety of factors, and either accept that their work will have a limited viewing public, or strive to show their work in other manners – usually through virtual photographs (screenshots which are usually artistically composed by those with an understanding and mastery of the interface) or machinima (machine + animation + cinema; short films shot entirely inside a virtual environment). This catalogue goes some way to try and both document this exhibition, and make it accessible to the wider public. The artists here may seem like fictional characters – indeed some of the ‘humans behind the avatars’ view them this way. However, this exhibit, as novel and fantastical as it seems, should not be viewed as a roleplay of art-making, but rather a radically new

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mode of artistic expression. Every single avatar exhibiting here has behind them a person who is a working artist in the ‘real world’, as it is often called (a problematic and misleading phrase in philosophical terms, for is not the experience of this work real?). Some work in more traditional media like painting and photography, others have made digital art their main mode of practice, but all have incorporated their physical world talents to forge a new mode of expression in virtual environments. It is my hope as curator and patron of virtual art that this exhibit and catalogue might be one small step towards showing the way in which this media – and specifically its expression in the virtual world of Second Life – is a pioneering and far-reaching form of contemporary art today, and into the future. Rowan Derryth May 2012


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The idea for this show was sparked by three separate-but-related things: • Upon becoming an Advisor to the LEA in February, I was offered the opportunity to guest-curate a full-sim installation... • At the same time, I had been hanging a show of my private collection in Avalon, and realised how much artwork I had, and loved, that had a rusty, even Steampunk look to it...

the imagination

• Also at the same time, I was rewatching the entire series of ‘Arrested Development’.

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So with opportunity combined with fancy and inspired by humour, I came up with ‘A Rusted Development’. I do not fully participate in the virtual Steampunk communities, but it is an aesthetic I very much enjoy, particularly for the way in which it engages with contemporary anxieties over time and place by embracing anachronisms and an imagined past. These themes relate to my academic research interests in 19th century art and design, alongside those of urban renewal, and dystopic/utopic narratives. As such, I envisioned an installation where there exists a main build – a ‘development’ – that has fallen into ruin. It is subsequently rescued and repopulated by a selection of artists whose work loosely embraces similar themes. I knew I wanted to curate a group show, and I loved the idea of a kind of abandoned space that could be occupied, populated even, by some of my favourite artists working in this genre (or close enough to it). The first and perhaps biggest hurdle was, of course, the overall build itself. I knew I had to find someone who could make something that would not only suit this rusty theme, but also have the incredibly rare trait of being an immersive builder who was also open enough


to have other artists come in and add their work to theirs. And in that, there was one very clear candidate for me... Haveit Neox. One of the things that impressed me about Haveit’s amazing work ‘Second Libations’ [ http://primperfectblog.wordpress. com/2011/12/08/ekphrasis-second-libations-by-haveit-neox/ ] was that not only was it an incredible build with a full, narrative backstory, but he had also solicited stories from others to include in his work. Also, I knew Haveit to be one of the warmest, most down-to-earth (and least fussy!) artists I’ve ever met, in any world. His is a natural collaborative spirit, so I asked him to be my mastermind, and was thrilled when he accepted. I suppose I shouldn’t have been too surprised when, less than two days later, he had come to me with his own story of my idea, taking it far beyond my own imaginings. And that is what you see here. With Haveit’s vision coming together, it was then up to me to rally the other artists who have contributed. I of course wanted a selection of work that would suit the build, but I was also interested in pushing collaborative boundaries, juxtaposing the work of those you might not normally see together. In particular, I wanted to combine the work of those who traditionally work on their own immersive builds, with the work of some of my favourite virtual photographers.

And I must give an extra kudos to all: to the immersive builders – for some it was a huge step out of their comfort zone to contribute to something that they saw as wholly built already; and to the photographers, who each stepped out of the ’2D’ realm to make their artworks float, fall, and become part of the environment in a dynamic way. I applaud them all for taking the risk. It is also a credit to Haveit that some of the very finest jumped at the chance to be part of this exhibit. My deepest thanks go to our ‘Rusted Artists’: Rose Borchovski, Artistide Despres, Claudia222 Jewell, Bryn Oh, Scottius Polke, Ziki Questi, PJ Trenton, Blue Tsuki, Stephen Venkman, Eliza Wierwight, and Trill Zapatero. Also an added special thanks to Ziki Questi, who in many ways has acted as a co-curator investigating technical aspects of the build that are beyond my skill, and for being generally fun; and PJ Trenton for letting me (again) rope him into a project as designer extraordinaire (the gorgeous poster and this catalogue are his handiwork) and co-conspirator. He truly is the best partner in crime an art nerd could hope for. Finally, my thanks to the Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) - and particularly to Bryn Oh, Werner Kurasowa and Ginette Pinazzo - for giving me the opportunity to flex my curatorial muscles on a full sim.Your support of the virtual arts is commendable, and I am very pleased to have joined you in this sometimes maddening adventure. Rowan Derryth, Curator

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I feel that I grew up in a garden. Nearly always a barefoot kid with stained feet from the earth, I constructed primitive cities with yard debris, mud, and twigs. Colorful paint and cutout pictures from magazines enriched the surfaces. Interior and exterior spaces fascinated me as I observed bugs take up residence.Years later, as an adult and artist, the cities advanced from their mud origins, to illustrated paper scrolls, ceramics and metals, and currently to pixels. In Real Life, I have displayed my artworks mainly in Los Angeles, New York, and Paris. The theme is often based on urban settings of my own invention. In Dec. 2009, I was lead to the virtual world of Second Life, which I enjoy as an art studio. For the first time in my life, I now witness people (by virtue of their avatars) entering and using the spaces I created. In the context of the city, the interior and exterior spaces both hold the artwork, and are themselves a habitable exhibit. Rowan Derryth truly surprised me with an invitation to build a sim for an exhibit. Her idea was to present a rusted environment that spoke of an abandoned city: a place where artists would come to revitalize it. I was immediately hooked by the idea and very excited because a passion of mine is constructing cities. Expanding on Rowan’s premise, I wrote a background story to give it a history...

the conjurer

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the story The fabled merchant city that rode atop the back of a gigantic whale met with a calamity that ended its existence abruptly. In the middle of the ocean, a horrific storm caused two huge ships carrying toxic chemicals to collide into the swimming whale city.The whale and all the populace died in the flood of chemicals that saturated the waves. The whale turned to bones, and the city to rust, it was nearly half a century before this city adrift was discovered. An expedition of artists, searching for land to build an art colony, came upon the decomposing city.With the intent to regenerate the place, they set to work by first towing to safe harbor the floating mass. Each artist then undertook their vision.The empty shell of the city suddenly filled in and expanded as each artist found their niche in the Rusted Development. No longer at the mercy of invisibility, the city humbles its rusted faรงade to the highlights of the art within. Haveit Neox


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The rusted artists 11


rose borchovski

Rose Borchovski is the virtual persona of Saskia Boddeke, a multimedia director based in the Netherlands. Her theatre, with a solid grounding in characteristic music-theatre languages over the last twenty years, uses multiple projection-screens, sophisticated computer-programming and manoeuvres into association with even newer visual phenomenon like Second Life, inter-cutting and inter-connecting animated audio-visual avatars with live actors within a stage presence which combines the truly physical with the electronic. Her performances are shown around Europe and, most recently, China. She regularly works with such renowned musicians and artists such as Louis Andriessen and Peter Greenaway. Saskia has directed many music theatre performances and operas like for example: • Rosa with music by Louis Andriessen, libretto by Peter Greenaway, Amsterdam. Of this production a feature film is made. • Writing To Vermeer with music by Louis Andriessen, libretto by Peter Greenaway,Amsterdam, New York and Adelaide (Australia). • 100 Objects to Represent the World, music by Jean Batiste Barriere, tour around Europe and Brazil. Her most recent work is a grand multimedia installation at Castle Amerongen in the Netherlands, which still can be visited until 21 June, 2012. With her Second Life avatar Rose Borchovski, Saskia has shown the Susa Bubble story, and very shortly she will open a new installation at her gallery Two Fish, THE INEVITABILITY OF FATE: A story about Angry Beth and Lot. Her contribution to this exhibit is a selection from this new work.

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Rule 10:you are not allowed to fish

THE IN EVITAB A stor I y abou LITY OF FA T t Angr y Beth E and L Lot tu ot rned ei ght, th But t e sun hen th di e war A hars came a d shine and h hand all wer nd all ruled e happ did ch their w y. ange. orld. They w ere fo rced t They w o leave er . They w e separated ere ma from e de the ach ot her. enemy. The wa r was bitter and lo ng. After the wa r Beth The chi ld Lot r had di eturned. went. sappea red; no one kn ows wh Beth k ere she eeps se archin On goo g for d day L ot. s, Bet Lot is h is a flying ble to like a search imagi ing fo bird, w r the ith her ne that On ba stars. d day face t s, Bet owards Beth’s h can wounds the sk o n ly y, will ne b e a ngry a ver hea bout h l. er loss .

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saltimbanques 14


artistide despres

Artistide Despres, also known as ‘Artée’, is a French artist living in Holland. He regularly shows work in Second Life, and was part of the Caeleon artist group from 2008. Most recently he was part of a critically acclaimed joint show at New Caerleon, LEA 22, The Unfinished World of Cherry Manga & Artistide Despres. Artée has won prizes in the University of Western Australia (UWA) 3D Art Challenge on several occasions, notably a string of them in 2011: the Odyssey prize in April for Trompes du Fin Mond, then in May 2011 2nd Prize for Une Horde de Cordes; the CARP Prize for Manege Incertain in June; then in July 1st Prize, CARP Prize, and the Nordan Art Prize Harmonies in C Great; and finally, in August, 1st Prize for Petite Etude sur Olivier Messiaen. He is currently preparing work for participation in the Web, Gaming, and Second Life art strand of the Sante Fe Festival of New Media [ http://www.currentsnewmedia.org/ 2012participatin.html ], June-July 2012. Learn more about Artée at: [ http://artist-id.blogspot.com ]

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claudia222 jewell

In just a little over a year, Claudia222 Jewell became one of the most talked about – and beloved – artists on the grid. Fresh from her first full sim installation at Art Screamer [ http://www.artscreamer.com/ ], Claudia222 has made a smaller, darker version of her incredible immersive build ‘Spirit’ for A Rusted Development. Claudia222, who is a successful artist in the physical world (It’s in my blood to express with paint color ink), taught herself to render in 3D when she was faced with loss in her personal life. ‘Spirit’ is that manifestation of her own strength of spirit, which turned her grief into a positive creative force, rather than a destructive one. In fact, it is this positivity that helped her master mesh so early, as she actually left to the beta grid for a while after her early work was copy-botted, again, turning a negative situation into an opportunity to learn something new. Claudia has embraced mesh with enthusiasm, and feels it enables her to work in ways she couldn’t before: It’s like this [way of] modeling and make avatars is what I always wanted… I always faked light and shadow to get it appear 3D, so this is the most near of what I want to do! One of her main sources of inspiration is the work of Hieronymous Bosch, on which she said: Maybe a whole life I admire the way he showed things around him… I dream one day to make big parts of it, but I am still in my own mind… I want to not copy him, more make a heap lot of avatars inspired by him in a more contemporary way… imagine all have to be a part of the installation as avatars. I would just make some avatars maybe get others that make mesh to make some also… it could be incredible… to be a part of a painting.

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darkspirit

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nest

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Bryn Oh came to digital life as an attempt to create an artist unaligned with a RL identity. Bryn is an art project to determine if an anonymous digital character can succeed in the real world of flesh and blood artists. The ‘real’ artist behind Bryn sees what we do in virtual worlds as a new medium with the capability to create unique forms of art, and has recently received a $10,000 (CAN) grant from the Ontario Arts Council for her project ‘Standby’, which will see her immersive builds Daughter of Gears, the Rabbicorn story and Standby into one 30 minute machinima. From Bryn’s bio:

Bryn Oh

I began studying Psychology in University, then became an associate of the Ontario College of Art and Design after studying in both Toronto and Florence, Italy. After that I continued with a degree in Softimage computer animation and Zbrush. I make my living as a professional oil painter. My virtual work has been shown in a variety of venues ranging from Boston, Brooklyn and Amsterdam in RL to working with companies such as IBM or the Spanish government for the Worlds Expo Shanghai 2010. Publications vary from Vogue magazine to Art21, scholarly essays to blogs. Most recently I have worked with director Peter Greenaway and multimedia artist Saskia Boddeke (Rose Borchovski in SL) on their project “Big Bang”, as well as with performing artist Stelarc.Bryn Oh is currently on the syllabus for several Universities as well as the topic of thesis projects. Bryn’s next big collaborative project, The Path 2, is opening shortly at LEA 3. Learn more about Bryn at : www.brynoh.blogspot.com Visit Bryn’s current work at Immersiva: [ http://maps.secondlife. com/secondlife/Immersiva/21/127/23 ]

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scottius polke Scottius Polke is the virtually ‘otterific’ persona of artist Scott Rolfe. His focus is primarily assemblage/mixed media constructions, with occasional forays into more illustrative arts, such as ink and pastel. He first started exploring the medium of assemblage/found objects in college, thanks to the inspiration of one of his professors. Other influences from the art world have included mixed media artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Joseph Cornell and Anton Tapies. The materials in Scottius’ assemblage pieces include various found objects such as toys, computer and mechanical parts, jewelry, clippings, fabric, ink, paint, wood and paper. There is often a build-up of material that results in an organic feel, in contrast to the metal and plastic objects within. Scottius has had the desire to create art since as long as he can remember. He loved to draw as a child and was encouraged by his parents. He also liked to make constructions...making dioramas in school was one of his favorite activities, because it felt like play rather than work; it was creating a world out of toys and other materials. Scottius still enjoys that feeling of play when either constructing assemblage pieces or making (‘translating’) his art within Second Life. The themes of his work largely deal with relationships between disparate ideas such as order vs. anarchy, innocence vs. corruption, nature vs. the machine are often found in these pieces. However, he places little moral judgment upon either side of these opposing forces in the work. Rather, the art explores the dynamic that arises when these unlike forces are combined. His virtual artwork includes the critically acclaimed immersive builds mushROOM, Lunamaruna, and The Docks. In some of these pieces he used virtual elements such as interactivity and animation to bring a whole new dimension to his art. See more art at his website/blog: [ http://srolfe.com ]

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oxide eden

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all the alruses of the which ones 22


Ziki Questi’s human has had works presented throughout the United States and Europe, and has collaborated with other artists in dance, film, music, television and theatre. In Second Life, her photography has been exhibited at Amore Perduto, RoHaus, the Avalon Arts Initiative, Serenity Gallery and the Town Hall of Dee. She maintains galleries at LaGalleria and Babele Fashion. Ziki states:

ziki questi

For me, A Rusted Development provided an opportunity to expand from Second Life photography, which has occupied my attention for several years, to more active three-dimensional art, although photography is still the principal source material in my contribution. My initial thoughts on seeing Haveit Neox’s architecture were to create a space that embraced and amplified the build’s sense of decay: hence my objects that fall, break apart, and fade away, with a randomness that leaves room for unexpected eventualities. In the title, the nonsense word “alruses” rhymes with the word “walruses”. The images feature the work of Haveit Neox (from this sim), as well as (in no particular order as of 21 April 2012) AM Radio, ddsm2 Mathy, Lucia Genesis, Mandarine Scofield, Koad Sewell, claudia222 Jewell, Cutea Benelli, blotto Epsilon, Rose Borchovski, Darmin Darkes, BaileyMarie Princess, Squonk Levenque, Nalena Fairey, Jenne Dibou, Mandy Marseille,Vikki Placebo, Arduenn Schwartzman and moca Loup. In addition to thanking curator Rowan Derryth, I must in particular thank my friends and extraordinary scripters Caer Balogh and Tiff Trommler for their patience and creativity. I also thank Rose Borchovski, whose beautiful work at Two Fish helped inspire my work here. Indeed, a ‘falling apart’ script by Caer used in Rose’s work has been replicated here with some minor changes, with results intended more of an aesthetic parallelism than direct appropriation. Thanks to Barbie Pomilio and Juno Angerona (triamix) for their support. Learn more about Ziki at: [ http://zikiquesti.blogspot.com/ ] flickr stream: [ http://www.flickr.com/photos/zikiquesti/ ]

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pj trenton

Born in Canada, PJ is an avid photographer and graphic designer, and has brought both of these passions to his virtual existence. He is a staff photographer for Prim Perfect magazine and contributor to the Designing Worlds and Metaverse Arts television shows produced by Treet TV. PJ states: My works in this exhibition pay homage to places of the past...the virtual past.Where some things rust and decay, others simply fade away, such as the locations depicted here. As a photographer in Second Life, I really serve two important roles...one, capturing the creative pursuits of the artists, creators, musicians and community builders of our virtual world; and two, visually documenting spaces, places and creations of an all too tenuous and sometimes far too short-lived nature.This second role is one I hold in very high regard.These are the creative pursuits of not only artists and creators, but also members of communities...people who populate and visit these places. In the spirit of A Rusted Development, I present something a little different...not rusted...but faded away. Each of these images represent locations or installations that are sadly no longer on the grid. The locations include:The Quiet, Cetus,The Greenies, Nemo, Dresden Gallery,The Path, Second Libations, Utopia, Emvee Cuba, Alien Isles, Shadow of Intent, Drottninghom, and Templum ex Obscurum. Thanks to Rowan Derryth for her floating art idea and Glyph Graves for his scripting genius in making this possible. See PJ’s images at: [ http://www.flickr.com/photos/pj_trenton/ ]

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sunken treasure 25


big time

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blue tsuki Blue Tsuki is both a Second Life artist/builder and a RL fine artist. He has worked for many years in a variety of mediums. Trained as a painter and printmaker he has a history of experimentation and unique process art-making. He has shown painting, mixed media sculpture installations, unique process photography, interactive electronic music sculpture, traditional graphite drawings and digital prints. Blue has worked with computers in one form or another for many years with a concentration on computer art. He has become deeply involved with the potential of Second Life as an art medium, pursuing installations and interactive sculptures. His work has been displayed in numerous spaces across the grid, including the Caerleon art community, the UWA full sim art series, and, most recently, Split Screen. Blue’s work explores themes such as travel, time, and spirituality, often incorporating his own form of iconography (such as chairs which transport one to other ‘dimensions’) into those of a more universal context. The resultant immersive, often dreamlike space (or spaces) work on the subconscious level in the same manner a Symbolist painting might. See more of Blue’s work on Flickr at [ http://www. flickr.com/photos/25954441@N05/ ]

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stephen venkman A resident of SL for over five years, Stephen Venkman started taking images in Second Life to chronicle the people he met and the creations he encountered. Once he was introduced to Corel Paint and Photoshop, the realization of pushing the envelope with his images was born. A first life artist in music only, he stumbled upon Second Life: Six years ago someone sent me a link to a site about an upcoming eclipse of the moon.There was an ad there for Second Life. Intrigued, I stumbled through the rabbit’s hole and found what you see here in my photos. I take these photos to keep a history of the possibilities and wonderment that falls before me with every log in.There are no bounds to what you can do here, only the confines of one’s imagination. Be it beautifully light or dangerously dark, I continue to snap, hoping against all hope that what I convey shows that side of us that we all carry with us.The side that is human, regardless of our virtual personas. He has since been involved with many shows inworld and one RL show in Florence, Italy, at the Museum of History. A resident photographer for a handful of magazines, he is never in lack of something to do in SL. He is also very interested in environmental design and is also expanding out into organic life via digital photography. This he sees as a way to blend RL and SL together in what has become his passion over the last four years, digital art. See Venk’s images at: [ http://www.flickr.com/stephenvenkman ]

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wher

e is e

very

body

?

a rusted perspective 29


a fractured fairytale 30


Eliza Wierwight

Eliza Wierwight is easily one of the most prolific artists in Second Life. An award-winning virtual architect, artist, and designer, she has created several acclaimed immersive exhibitions such as her 2011 exhibit FlowerDrum at Split Screen, which, according to Eliza, followed vignettes of the Orient in my life, travelling as far back as being a small child, the toddler with blonde hair that villagers crowded to touch due to its novelty or rarity, in some provinces never seen before. She is also one of the rare people who has managed to successfully ‘crossover’ into the more commercial aspects of SL, via her full-sim gallery Patron. She not only sells her artwork there, but also offers virtual decorative art objects, home furnishings, and most recently, couture-inspired clothing under her new label ‘Wildchild & Muse’. All of it is exquisitely produced, and bears her diverse influences from exotic, Asian-inspired palettes and textures, to the work of the Surrealists. Whether her work is ‘functional’ or purely for an artistic gaze, it always has a narrative. I like the stories behind things… most of my creations have stories. Much of Eliza’s work deals with complex issues of the body and feminine identity. In a note from one of her best earlier works, the Three Dresses Triptych, explains: Symbolic – A woman’s potential journey symbolized by the veneer of the dresses (masks) we wear.The trophies we acquire as we become trophies to society’s expectations and our inherent values reflected by both.The darkness of that undertow contained in the veneer of beauty. I both claim and deny these duties. Eliza’s contribution to this exhibit, A Fractured Fairytale, represents a bold new direction as she depicts the darker aspects of beauty, love, and pain in a series of visceral and at times shocking tableau.

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trill zapatero

Trill Zapatero is a painter, illustrator, activist, virtual world designer and builder. She has gained particular notice and acclaim for her work which engages with current environmental and political issues. Her work has ranged from discussing human rights in Central Asia, to more recently builds that critique the oil industry and its social and environmental impact. Her contribution to this exhibition expresses the more metaphysical aspects of her work, taking as sources of inspiration the the Tarot, the tale of Orpheus, and the poetry of Ranier Maria Rilke. Trill states: I’ll use anything and everything in my paintings, builds, illustrations, designs etc. I’m totally about the big mashup collage when it comes to mixing in all elements. I like the idea that everything can fit together somehow and become more than the sum of its parts. I think that’s the meaning of really Occupying Life and Art and the World, is that the whole thing is taken over and filled in with whatever is available, to really own all possibilities and promises.

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wanderer’s melody

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The rusted exhibition 34


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A Rusted Development Rowan Derryth Curator Rowan Derryth is the virtual persona of an actual art & design historian based in the UK. She writes regularly on virtual art in Second Life in her column ‘Ekphrasis’, available on the Prim Perfect blog. She is also the Curator for Avalon Arts Community, is a judge for the University of Western Australia (UWA) 3D Art Challenge, and is currently on the Board of the Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA). Haveit Neox Sim Designer and Conjurer Featuring rusted artists Rose Borchovski, Artistide Despres, Claudia222 Jewell, Bryn Oh, Scottius Polke, Ziki Questi, PJ Trenton, Blue Tsuki, Stephen Venkman, Eliza Wierwight, and Trill Zapatero. Exhibit catalogue images, design and layout by PJ Trenton.


A Rusted Development LEA 1 • May - June 2012

A Rusted Development Exhibition Catalogue  

Exhibition Catalogue of the Second Life art exhibition at LEA 1 known as A Rusted Development. Curated by Rowan Derryth and designed by Have...

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