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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Light touch: the art of Feathers Boa

As you have already realized, I've been out of SL for a little bit. Thanks for popping by the blog in my absence, and hopefully next week Thirza will be all over the metaverse... one thing I plan on seeing firsthand, as soon as I am back, is the art of Feathers Boa at her gallery on sim Esterhal. She very kindly took a few minutes out of her hectic schedule to talk to me earlier this week. Here's what happened when we talked...
She came inworld, like so many of us, at the suggestion of a friend, and at first says she didn't really get it.; she just looked around and explored. Then someone suggested she import some of her student work "and that was the beginning for me. I was hooked. I wanted to do something unique with my art though, using SL as a medium to develop my art and explore new techniques and styles."
Is this the 'real' Feathers?
Feathers Boa: When I first came to SL,I made it a challenge to recreate the 'real' me in a virtual world, with some enhancements. In RL, I am very petite, like a feather, one burst of wind and I would flutter away. So my avie is what I'd be like if I could change everything I dislike about RL me. My look is a patchwork of designers. It changes almost as much as my art does. I created the shape I have now and made two avatars which I gave away at a few of my opening shows. I made a lil robot avie which is an avatar version of the giant robot on Caerleon Art Collective. People seem to love him and I made a female robot too. He brings out the mischief in people. I also made a Living Canvas avatar where you become a work of art all framed and ready to hang on a wall. That is available at Studio 33 for free.
I wondered how she finds time for so many creative endeavours in RL and SL.
Feathers Boa: I admit I spend way too much time in SL. I love it because here I can be much BIGGER in than in RL. I am very very shy - but SL brings me out of my shell. Also, my childhood was a bit rough, foster care etc. That makes me a little fearful I guess. But in SL I can be anything I want. This freedom is intoxicating, even addictive. I have so many friends and activities that at times, it can be overwhelming. Balance is important. As freeing and powerful as SL can be for a creative person, it also can be a huge source of anxiety. The bugs and log-in issues, lag etc. can drive me crazy if I let it. I am not really a tech person. I love SL because building with primitives is very intuitive and loose. Which is also part of the frustration. The controls are weird and things behave in odd ways. Things that are easy in 3D programs outside of SL are hard inside SL. Or maybe it's my own lack of skill. That said, I am no programmer but I do manage to build and program in SL. So it is easy for a dumb creative like myself to tap into the power of SL. My friends and socializing is what keeps me sane when I wanna throw a brick at a Linden.
The building experience can be so intense and enjoyable I wondered how she reacts to her own completed art.
Feathers Boa: After I make something I have a moment where I am so relieved to have finished that I stand back and go "nice!" Then, almost immediately, I start criticizing it. But I leave it out there and let others enjoy or hate it. "Disillusionary Optics" is a defining work. It moves around you and plays from many angles. The colors are soft and fragile and I do like the texturing. Another one would be "Frigid." I was feeling trapped at that time in my life. I felt like my heart and my body was encased in cold hard ice. People seem to go "wow" when they see it because they never expect the canvas to come to life. Some of my darker works like "Illusive Dreamer" and "Into the Darkness" represent times in my life that were so hard, and yet people seem to be drawn to them. One work which is never shown now, but I have been told is very emotional: "Witch Hunt." It's a nude self portrait in 3D, I am bound to a stake with swirling imagery from the Salem witch trials behind me. As the viewer approaches, they actually cause flames to begin to burn and consume me. I showed it once or twice, but reactions were so strong that I stopped. On one side, people seemed to understand the depth of feeling and sadness, while others found it lurid and trashy. Someday I make do a whole show around this work. Who knows?
I asked Feathers about her favourite galleries inworld.
Feathers Boa: I love Crossworlds. My work is on the second and sixth floor there, and on the ground floor at Studio 33, and at NMC Campus West - The Aho museum. But my work is turning up all over the place now which is flattering, but also disconcerting. I will be somewhere and someone will say "Hey, isn't that your picture?" I seem to have been collected by a lot of people I guess...My favorite place right now for my work is Caerleon Art Collective where I have my workshop. It is great to have so many great artists-residence all around me, like Alizarin Goldflake, Aristide Despres, Banrion Constantine, Bryn Oh, Glyph Graves, four Yip, luce Laval, Nonnatus Korhonen, Pete Jiminy and Ub Yifu . The curator of the 3 sims, Georg Janick, is a professor in RL at my university U MASS. Each one is spectacular in their own way and are an inspiration for me. My siteI on the web hosts a lot of my pieces, and have my own gallery now on sim Esterhal and I will soon be hosting up and coming artists! Which makes me proud and excited.
The artist's creative process always fascinates me, I asked Feathers how she works.
Feathers Boa: It sometimes takes weeks to complete a work from concept to finished piece. Other times it takes a matter of hours, depending on the idea or the techniques I'm using. In RL I paint and draw and do some photography, in the digital world I drift like crazy between programs like Painter X, Photoshop, Gimp and 3D stuff like Vue 7, Cinema 4D, ZBrush etc. I see something and I want to try it. Or I dream something and I want to make it. Sometimes I get ideas in a flash and sometimes they build over time.I read a lot and that sometimes gives me ideas. What I see is probably the biggest thing. It could be a work of art or even some texture formed by accident on a wall in a city. Sometimes it's a fleeting glance of a person. I saw this really beautiful face in an airport one time and I went home and immediately painted her as best I could from memory.
ArtsParks is devoted to promoting the work of artists in SL, particularly creating spaces that celebrate works that inspire us from RL - letting our fellow residents glimpse perhaps for the first time the wonders that feed our creativity, by building artistic spaces, or Arts parks, to illustrate and interpret their poems, paintings, music and sculpture. Who whould Feathers celebrate?
Feathers Boa: Well there are some obvious ones: Michaelangelo, Van Gogh, Dali, Mary Cassat, all the pre-Raphaelites, Monet, Rothko. But mostly my inspiration is drawn from films. I love silent era films and German expressionism, Blade Runner, Stanley Kubrick and Orson Welles. I love the work of Pablo Neruda and his poetry makes into my work all the time. If I had to pick one influence to do a tribute to, it would be him. Everything I see and feel and read makes its way into what I make. I don't know how else to put it.

1 comment:

Tani Thor said...

THII!!!!
Perchè non ci traduci più i tuoi post in italiano...per noi poveri gnurant?
Bacio!
Tani