Art Cube Opens at Locus Island


The virtual world’s very first art cube, a space in which a single two-dimensional painting surrounds the viewer from every angle, has been installed at Locus Island, the new sim designed and built by the acclaimed Second Life Architect, DB Bailey. The art cube idea came about, as I mentioned in earlier posts, as a way of creating a background setting for a new body of work based on Second Life imagery for my upcoming show in Berlin. Having been a digital artist in RL for a number of years, and having spent the last few years wandering SL and writing about it, I wanted to have a transitional approach, a bridge if you will, to the new work. Thus, the cube. (see photos in previous post)

The new installation is in a key location just off the landing plaza, next door to Douglas Story‘s latest opus, FlowerBall. The cube will serve as a rotating gallery for my digital work, with a new painting installed every month or so; the current work entitled Cameo). DB built the entire sim over the past few months as an experiment in art and architecture, blending commerce and culture in a setting which at times defies the imagination, pushing the limits of the urban experience into a dazzling blend of elements ranging from classical to the surreal, and, at times, to places and spaces that have yet to have names or labels attached to them. We’ll leave that to the historians of the future.

Drop in and take a look at the new cube, and while you’re there, walk, fly, run, swim and whatever else you have to do to see the sights at Locus Island, using the slurl below. It’s a trip.

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Red Hot Mama Hits the Road


Well, we been workin’ mighty hard over the past several weeks, crankin’ out one masterpiece after another… almost all of them involving Juliette and her considerable modeling, acting and dancing skills. She worked so hard during the holiday season, all in preparation for the upcoming show in Berlin, that I decided to reward her with a new chopper from MLCC motorcycles. She is one hot mama now, and has a surefire way to get away from the paparazzi quick as a flash. You go, girl. You really, really go.

Visit MLCC in New York City:

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to dance beneath the diamond sky

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Juliette and the Spirits

In preparation for my show at the Austrian Embassy in Berlin in January, I have now created a number of 3D cubes out of my digital paintings, as mentioned in the previous post. The next phase is to do some figure studies in them, and I began by trying to follow the frenetic dance of Juliette when she is possessed by the spirit of transcendent joy found in tribal dance music. There are now hundreds of photos in this growing figure collection; the next task will be to sort through them and try to find the diamonds. This is one of the recent shots of Juliette and the Spirits.

Click image to see full size.

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This is a shot of me standing inside a work in progress. I call it the Origami Box, which only makes sense, since it is a large cube created out of multiple copies of one of my digital paintings, Origami. I decided to make a series of these rooms in order to provide a setting for the photographs I will use in my next series of works, focusing on the human figure. An attempt to capture the humanity, if you will, that radiates from the pixelated figures known as avatars in Second Life. The photo shoots have already begun, and the results of those experiments will be appearing here as the project progresses. What is also interesting to me about this project is that I will be recycling my previous works, which consist of recycled imagery gathered by sifting through the ruins of Western culture. Sustainable art?

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holding pattern

OK. This is it. Seems innocent enough; simple enough. Yeah, no biggie. But it is important in several ways. One, it is a digital capture of a digital being, subsequently digitally processed with the full intent of capturing the humanity of this fetching sylph, like Toulouse-Lautrec in the Moulin Rouge. Searching for a soul, the ghost in the machine. The avatar is an artwork in itself, remember, brought to virtual life by human hands, then kneaded, molded and tweaked by its resident, its inhabitant soul. This is the life force in its latest evolutionary incarnation. It is artificial, just like reality. It is real only because we believe.

Oh yeah. It’s also the first ‘serious’ art work I’ve attempted in three years. I was curious to see where I’d land when I jumped back in, having spent a good part of the last year and a half in Second Life, studying the curious pixelated life forms there. Ironically, though, I find myself back at the beginning. I began as a painter in the Post-Pop era in New York, and had a very simple but powerful graphic style back then. So, I return to my roots, and find that they have become virtual.

Click on image to see enlarged version.

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The Virtual Art World of Chrome Underwood

From this day forward, mikimojo will be devoted to the evolution of the art of Chrome Underwood, as he expands his two-dimensional way of thinking into the brave new 3D world of Second Life and other virtual worlds.

Stay tuned to this gallery/salon for further visual developments and thought experiments by Chrome, and since much of what lies ahead will involve collaboration with other virtual artists, you can also expect to find contributions from other members of the Second Life art community.

Btw, the posts which previously existed on this site have migrated over to Chrome Never Sleeps, where you can find them by browsing through the archives. Thanks for your patience during this transition. Progress comes at a price, ya know.  :)

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New Show at Newggenheim Museum

Chrome ponders the nuances of size and placement of one of his digital paintings, Material Girl, at the Newggenheim Museum, with museum director and curator, freereed Freenote. The show opens next week; details forthcoming. Also on exhibit, the paintings of Filthy Fluno.

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High on Art

Funny thing happened on my way to decorum. I was asked to speak to my wife’s Creative Thinking class on Thursday night, and everything was all set to go. The students were to meet at Ruttan Gallery in Second Life at 7pm, and I would use the exhibit of my digital paintings as a springboard to discuss the creative process and ways in which one could unleash one’s own creative energy in any endeavor.

Well, things got off to a pretty good start, but within a few minutes it became clear that a number of students were unable to hear me on voice chat. So, since my wife (their teacher) was in the gallery, and also sitting next to me on the couch in RL, we decided to switch computers – and avatars – she on a Mac and me on a pc. It being a somewhat serious venue until then, it was suddenly transformed into a bit of slapstick comedy.

So, I was walking around the gallery as a female, using a computer I was unfamiliar with, and although my avatar was supposed to be the center of attention, he mostly just stood there. To top it all off, every time I spoke, Zil’s lips would move. The class was in stitches.

But the high point of the evening came when I hit a wrong key on the Mac and my female personna started climbing the wall and believe it or not, managed to sit on top of the painting I was beginning to speak about, adding to its luster. In fact, we all agreed that my/her boots fit right in with the bandoliers hidden in the painting.

This is one of the things I love about Second Life; it’s difficult to take anything too seriously for very long, and it is full of endless surprises, often at your own expense. But it’s all good, and never boring. The students, in fact, thought it was the highlight of the school year. I even think they learned something. Smiles all around.

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How Deep is a Painting?

Last night I threw on on a suit, jumped into my magic teleporter, and zap! presto chango! there I was, standing in front of Ruttan Gallery in Cetus, ready for my “Meet the Artist” event at exactly 7pm. I’ll bet Jackson Pollock wasn’t this punctual. To be honest with you, though, I had to brace myself as I walked in because I’ve never really enjoyed this part of my art career; standing around for hours, talking about everything but art with people that you might not otherwise be talking to. But this was not real life.

For one thing, it seemed clear from the start that everyone who attended the event seemed to really want to be there. For another, many obviously appreciated the work and went out of their way to let me know, and some actually wanted to talk with me about it. This is a lot easier to do in a crowd in SL, by the way, thanks to their chat features; the “exterior” or public chat, a free-for-all textfest that flies by just as fast as each person in the room can type. This takes a great deal of discipline and attention for me, because I’m not the best typist in the virtual world, and I’m a monotasker. Hey, I’m a guy.

Then there is the Instant Messaging feature, which enables you to have a private conversation in the background with another individual, while surfing the public, or local chat. I had several of these last night, usually beginning with a compliment or question about the work, and was amazed at how enthusiastic and knowledgable these folks were. But then, most of the longtime residents of Second Life are among the most adventurous, creative, and intelligent people you will ever meet . Some of the most interesting minds in the world are walking around in avatars these days.

Music was provided by the great Winston Ackland who, rumor has it, was once a member of a very famous band in real life. A great singer, a great songwriter and an artist in his own right, he struck the perfect note again and again, providing just the right mood for the festivities.

But it was as the party was winding down that lengthier and more serious conversations began. One of them was the one I had with DB Bailey, well-known rl architect and sl builder, in which we discussed the 3D possibilities embedded in an image such as cameo. The fact that all of my images have been created in Photoshop, using a composite of image sources, means that the many layers contained within each of them lend themselves readily to transformation into a 3-dimensional object, according to DB. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about this idea, and in fact can’t wait to walk into a room called cameo in the near future. Thanks, DB.

The exhibit will be up until the end of October. Drop by and visit, and feel free to drop me a line if you want to know more about the work.

Second Life photos by Happiness Merryman, from the top: DB Bailey and Chrome Underwood standing in front of cameo; Chrome, Harper Beresford and Xander Ruttan, owner of Ruttan Gallery, discuss the setup as things are about to get underway.

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