Artists that are influenced by the simulated environment encompass the culture of interaction. So does the commentary and criticism. Integrating several formats and experimenting with presentation, hopefully this series demonstrates various points of view.
Integrate the Statement
Keeping messages simple in such a complex environment is a skill. Always concerned for the greatest clarity in publishing, it is my job to capture the essences of messages. I must portray topics with instant visual recognition and write headlines that grab attention. But the simple message has to be elastic and stretch into every publication channel. The message must be simple in essence, but applicable to a series of promotional vehicles. It must use the integrity of each delivery to gain power. It is the task of the publisher to present what is worth expressing and preserving, while forming it to fit each audience.
My greatest area of expertise is in visual criticism and expression. Upon observing art in the virtual world and writing reviews, I can now take a step back. I have viewed hundreds of artists, visited dozens of galleries repeatedly, and attended major shows/events in SL. A single topic—review of virtual art—becomes an exercise in a modular connected presentation:
• Sim Street Journal’s overview article, “Virtual Visual Art: The Search for More,” that outlines the criteria for how the artwork is reviewed in The Aesthete and the Amateur series. Every time we discuss an exhibit, there are reasons for why a specific work or artist is chosen for review. This overview article explains what we look for. It contains some new illustrations, and I craft components into consistent forms. Creating the illustrations into a format that will adapt to each platform took the greatest amount of time.
• The LianeSebastianIllustration Portfolio page, “Represent and Review,” carries examples of the art reviewed. I chose one of illustration from each issue to present on this page. Some of these photos were not previously published, but developed from outtakes that were. Also, I have created a series of opening pieces that tie together—window images used as frames to show the reviewers, Eleanor (Liane) and Heavy (Daniel) visiting the art. The concepts reflect the original articles, but all the themes work together in this multilevel presentation: WordPress pages/posts, connecting advantageously into Facebook pages/posts, and building together as a complete collection.
• Eleanor Medier’s blog, “Collaborative Continuum” about the creative approach and process. In observing how the art is presented in the virtual world, to then capture and present it becomes yet another work of art in itself. This even takes the form of distant collaboration, as an homage to the original. There is an advantage to only discussing the work itself, and not to interview the artists about it, or read what they say either in blogs or notecards. Anyone can do that. But by not considering the personalities, values, or articulateness of the creators, by just focusing on the work alone, these reviews have an original contribution. The art must speak on its own and not rely on the artist to explain it. Hopefully both those viewing the art we review (if it is still being shown), and the artists themselves, are inspired to think more about what is said and how it is conveyed. Maybe through our eyes, the artists will see their own works anew. A debate surrounding a message can be as valuable as the message itself.
This series called “Interact with Art” is meant especially for those readers not in the virtual world. There are a lot of you that read this blog, and I appreciate that you watch what I am working on. You can’t see what I see because you don’t have avatar accounts, but for anyone wishing to understand cultural evolution, it is essential to have a glimpse of what is going on. One of the most important accomplishments of artists in SL is not yet much discussed in my articles—the international quality of this community. When I study the UWA entries, for example, I am astounded at all the different countries represented in the competitions! Also, Sim Street Journal is read in 72 countries! I’ve written a lot about why virtual worlds contribute to a music renaissance. But I will write more about the influence of international interactions on the visual artist. As a professional communicator who has worked for corporations with international markets, I have long been concerned about clarity, cultural references, and time zones. Messages need to be crisp and bold, simple and direct. Topics need to be of universal concern. Regional differences matter. And most importantly, like music, visual art has its own language that all can understand.
This series overview presentation of art in SL has been an exercise in my integrative skill. I’ve been active in Facebook for a year now, and still learn more every day! Though I use the platforms formally and professionally, I do present the personal side from an avatar’s point of view; my dedication is to try new ways. If someone else can do it, I don’t need to. So, I strive to find new ground in my own creative approaches. Each WordPress post in this series (of which there are four), each Facebook post (of which there are five so far), and each illustration created for the series (of which there are twenty), blend to make each piece different—has another angle or sees an image in a new way. Redundancy is kept to a minimum, links to a maximum, and consistency promoted. Enjoy! —Always inspired, Liane
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Please see the series of interlinking articles that express various viewpoints of INTERACT WITH ART:
• INTERACT WITH ART—The Search for More
Sim Street Journal takes a look back at the reviews of forty artists and presents the criteria for discussion.
• INTERACT WITH ART— Represent and Review
As an illustrator, Liane Sebastian discusses creativity in a new medium and shows a collection of the strongest images from the virtual art reviews.
• INTERACT WITH ART— Collaborative Continuum
The avatar, Eleanor Medier, discusses experience from the inside out with her favorites.
Liane Sebastian wears an editor’s hat, designer’s coat, and artist’s shoes.