Saturday, May 17, 2008

As the Gallery Turns, Part 1

I alluded last month to some of the things I do in Second Life™: building furniture, managing a gallery, chatting with friends, and so on. So far in this space I’ve really only addressed the friends and relationships aspect of SL. As Garrett gently reminded me a few days ago, not only have I not blogged recently, but I haven’t discussed the development of several art galleries with which I'm involved.

Before I entered SL, I’d heard random stories of some people making money there. I didn’t have any such aspirations initially—and really, I still don’t. At the time, my typist was actively making silver jewelry to sell in galleries and at art festivals, and I had a fleeting thought that maybe I could learn to translate those designs into virtual form and sell them in SL. The difficulty of working with tiny prims and my own immersion into a very social SL quickly dashed that idea.

While I’m still social and love my SL friends dearly, I’ve learned a bit about building in SL and I can easily lose myself in a sea of plywood overlaid with red, blue, and green arrows. I co-own an art gallery, have sold my RL photography in SL, and am building a coffee house and gallery (including some of my own furniture) on a new island.

(I was going to have a cut here and a “Read More” link, but I can’t get the template code to work. Maybe next time)

Last summer, my friends Siv and Slade held a photography exhibit at their place in Addu. It occurred to me that I had taken some images that might translate well as art in SL, so I created beveled black frames with white mats in Photoshop, added a few photos, and uploaded them. Slade and Siv liked them and offered to host an exhibit for me in November. We set up freestanding walls on the lawn and I rezzed 23 photos.

The response was a huge boost to my ego: I sold over 40 photos, most of them on the night of the opening event. I decided to look for permanent gallery space. Meanwhile, Siv and Slade also had residential rentals and were having some difficulty keeping them occupied. They suggested we build a gallery together, and I jumped at the chance. Slade and I work well as a team; she designed the building and built most of the structure; I applied the textures, made interior walls and furniture, and created signs and teleporters.

The completed Riverbend Gallery opened in December, housing my work and Slade’s permanently, and guest artists on a rotating basis. Since then we’ve added satellite galleries in Etopia Prime and at Camazotz; and a friend offered me a small studio to display a selection of work in New Key West. Then Dillon came along.

Dillon’s enthusiasm for SL knows no bounds. He recently bought an island sim, and has added a second void sim for surfing and sailing. I’ve been pals with Dillon for a while, but I was nonetheless surprised when he invited me over to give me an amazing gift: a coffee house to run, named for me, where I would display my photos. Initially it was just a cute little prefab building, about 10 x 10 meters. But Dillon is a big idea guy, and within a day he had expanded the gift to include my own 512 square meter parcel on which I would have a separate gallery. I wanted to build a custom building to house both the coffee house and the gallery, with a doorway between the two, so I started planning that.

Then Dillon got a bigger idea. Stay tuned for the next installment.

1 comment:

Garrett Larkham said...

Boy this Second Life stuff just snowballs along, doesn't it?

More and larger buildings, additional prims (and tier), new clothes (and shoes!)....even extra DJ shifts -^^-.

Ya gotta love it, and it shows :)