Pixel and Mortar

Great post by Hamlet Au on New World Notes about our good friend DB Bailey’s Cleopatra Water Courts project, in both Second Life and, you know… the other one. We’ve been following this for a while, and have even posted on it here at CNS. No doubt about it, DB is a pioneer in the use of virtual technology in the creation of real world architecture, and Hamlet’s post and additional links provide an impressive glimpse into the scope and potential impact of that work. Can’t wait to see the finished product nestled on the banks of the Nile.. the real one, that is. Congrats, DB! (sound of virtual champagne glasses clinking in the background)

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One Last Toast to the Metaverse


Just read an exquisite post by Dusan Writer which captures perfectly the power of imagination and the magic of the metaverse, a tribute to the creator in all of us. It brought to mind a moment which occurred recently while working on a panel for my webcomic. I suddenly realized I was living in a virtual world – a world full of serendipity yet layered with meaning, a universe of the imagination – and that it had become completely ‘natural’ to me. I was no longer in a foreign country; it actually felt like home.

That, I suppose, is one of the greatest things about being an artist…. to be able to spend one’s days marveling at the wonders of creation and then to pass a bit of that magic on to someone else. Nice work if you can get it. Thanks for the reminder, Dusan.

at the wonder of creation

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Adiós, mi buen año


Well, it sure has been a wild year, in a virtual sense… the campaign to launch my virtual art into the concrete jungles of the real world has begun, with the production of the first limited edition print by the giclee masters at Nash Editions in Los Angeles, as mentioned in a previous post.

Another piece of news is the completion of my new inworld gallery, containing many of my recent works, including several comic book pages. The collection will grow and change, of course, as more new work is completed, keeping the collection continually renewed, fresh and interesting. That’s a night time view of the nearly-completed gallery above.

Also have been working on a new online gallery with links to many of the activities and projects I’m currently involved in, including the band Cherrybomb and several upcoming machinima films. The coming year looks like it will be a real adventure, and for all of us virtual artists who are heading into the real world, I have a sense that the timing couldn’t be better. The world is waiting for us. Hope to see you all there.

Feliz Año Nuevo, mis amigos.

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Opening at White Velvet

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Jukebox, Saturday Night


Back to the magic of the metaverse…. is it possible that I could be standing alone at a jukebox in my studio in Second Life and suddenly be transported back in time to the childhood of my human self, staring, mesmerized, into this gleaming cathedral of sound and color, listening wide-eyed and reverent before the tabernacle as the spinning wafer teases out a piece of paradise itself? Yes, anything is possible in Second Life. In this world, in fact, you can still get to heaven on a buffalo nickle. I put a spell on you…

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Getting Wired


Every now and then I grow weary of the visual (and yes, sensory) overload in Second Life, and long for something simple, something not so.. primary. And lately, rather than unplugging and heading for the beach (yeah, sad but true; I live in Santa Barbara and still do most of my surfing in SL), I am more likely to slip away into the wonderful world of wireframe.

Wireframe is a place beneath a place; a world where nothing is hidden, where you’re confronted by the stark reality that we are all math after all, and where, like Superman, I can see right through you. In fact, I can not only see right through you but also through the building behind you, and on and on all the way to that wiry horizon back there. For an artist who tends to spend too much time in an abstract-expressionist frame of mind, it is pure delight to wander this minimalist utopia. It clears the mind, calms the soul, and reminds one of the structure, the underpinnings of it all… the mesh we are all made of.

When all is revealed and one sees that mesh, that gridwork – oddly enough, it still contains much of the emotional content of the textured world. A motorcycle becomes a lacy whirl of linear confection, as though it were made to eat rather than ride. That lovely woman who moves so many parts of you is transformed into a beautiful web of glossy sugar strands. I’m looking through you, The Beatles once sang, but even though you’re not the same, it’s still you. Sugar is spun into cotton candy, after all.

To go behind the curtain is to see virtual life in its raw form, without the seductive power of texture, to see the ‘reality’ behind the illusion. I love this part of the metaverse almost as much as I love the surface world, probably for the same reason I love to wander the deserts of the southwest in rl…. it is nature at its most honest; a place where nothing can be hidden, a place where the ground meets the sky and the eye meets its maker.

To get to this magical place, just head for the Advanced menu, scroll down to Rendering, turn right and scroll down to Wireframe. Or, just double-shift using the keyboard command Control-Shift-R, and you’re off.

Author’s Note: For those readers who saw this when it was first published and might be wondering if they were imagining things, I decided to pull the photo of Chrome and Juliette and replace it for one simple reason: this closeup of a custom Harley chopper more clearly illustrates the point I was trying to make regarding the delicate beauty of the wireframe mode. Besides, I was getting tired of seeing my face up there. That’s two, I know, but…

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Reached another milestone today, and it’s a biggie. Of course, it goes without saying that if it’s a milestone it automatically qualifies as a biggie, but I”ll say it anyway. Said biggie is the launch of my first print from a limited edition of digital paintings – or more accurately, digital collages -at Nash Editions in Los Angeles (that’s in the real world, by the way). The first one to roll off the press will be a copy of Bang (yep, that’s it up there), an ab-ex work from my pre-sl days (2006) and will soon be hanging in the home of a prominent architect in San Francisco, who also happens to be a well-known builder and entrepreneur in Second Life.

Nash editions, founded in the 90s by Graham Nash of Crosby Stills and an occasional Young, is one of the most respected digital giclee houses in the country. I once spent some time babbling away with him about digital imaging at a conference in New York when he was just getting into the business. He’s had a long and serious relationship with photography himself, and was one of the first to catch the vision of the future of digital photography. Suffice it to say that I’m pretty damn excited that they’ll be producing my work in the real world and, hey, this is only the beginning.

I’ve long wanted to launch this series, but have been noodling away at a million other things, like building my web gallery, making art – stuff like that….. and now my good friend Patch has given me a timely nudge. Thanks, man; I needed that.

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Juliette in Rainbow Country


Playing around with this linear sequential thing, expanding into a slide show-cum-movie ala Picasa, now up on YouTube. This one is a rough experiment using stills taken of Juliette for a recent comic strip on mojozone. A shout-out to Bob Marley (can ya hear me, Bob?) for that great sound; not sure who did the mix.

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sayonara, mon amour


Always a sad moment to be at the other end of a show, just before it is taken down; feels like the carnival’s leaving town. This is a shot of the exhibit at Pirats Omega Gallery last night, just before it was all packed up and shipped out. On to another show, somewhere down the road. Oh… yeah. Studio 33.

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Background Music


Checking in to report on recent activities around here that don’t happen to have anything to do whatsoever with comic books, webcomics, graphic novels or any other linear/narrative verbal/visual forms of communication. No discussions about mermaids, flying red porsches, ground-to-air missiles, cannibalism – or any other such subject, for that matter – will be found here today. If you want to know what it feels like to wear a translucent red motorcycle between your legs, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Like, say, over at mojozone.

But what I will talk about are all the other non-linear, somewhat-verbal-but-extremely visual activities I’ve been playing around with. By the way, I put that picture of myself riffing with our band cherrybomb up there, one, because I thought I look pretty cool, and two, because a friend said not long ago that I looked like Andrew Eldritch of The Sisters of Mercy. I came across this shot last night and suddenly got her point. Here’s Andrew:

AndrewEldritch324See what I mean? May have to go out and buy a pack of virtual cigarettes, but other than that I’d have to agree that there’s a strong resemblance there. But I digress, and once again attempt to focus on that non-linear thing in spite of my burned out state of mind. Where was I? Oh yeah….

Over the past weeks and months, I’ve created a half dozen new avatar paintings, had several major exhibits in Second Life, have begun writing the graphic novel Chromium and Juliette, started working on a machinima film about my art, started that webcomic, and in conjunction with my new web gallery have begun moving my paintings out of SL and into RL in the form of giclee prints. Of course, the SL photography goes on and folders overflow (gotta get back to koinup and flickr.. been too busy for that too).

Finally, the band… cherrybomb is quietly ticking in the background (I know cherrybombs don’t tick, but it works for me). Initial studio recording has begun in the real world, and will continue as time allows, but it seems Botgirl is even busier than me these days, so it appears things will be moving pretty slowly until sometime after the holidays. Then, hey, the sky’s the limit.

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