January 8, 2007

VAA interviews Sasun Steinbeck

This reporter is truly and non-ironically thrilled to be able to post a VAA interview with SL arts celebrity and all-around cool person Sasun Steinbeck, who kindly agreed to answer our questions without any arm-twisting at all....

Q: Thanks so much for talking to me for the VAA weblog!

A: Thanks! I'm thrilled to have the chance to blather on about my favorite things :)

Q: Just to start with something very specific, can you say a little something about "Galleries of Second Life"? All the best galleries seem to have those signs; just what is it, why and how did you start doing it, and so on?

A: The gallery list started as just a personal project because I found myself visiting quite a few art galleries, initially motivated by my wish to get my Morphing Sculpture into some art galleries for sale. The Lindens actually did have an out-of-date list at their official Resident Art Gallery near their offices so I started making corrections and submitting them to Pathfinder Linden. I found myself having a lot of fun visiting art galleries and just fell into this quest to ferret them all out and get them on this list. I thought I'd update the list once time and be done. Here I am 1 year later and doing updates constantly with over 100 entries on the list. It's crazy how many galleries there are in SL compared to 1 year ago, it's just been an explosion of art, which has been very thrilling!

I also created a networked kiosk system for the galleries to use to distribute the list. This turned out to be a huge time saver since I could just update the list in the server and gallery guests clicking on the kiosks would get the latest version just like that. The system has worked out just perfect, I even sell it commercially, and Linden Labs uses it to distribute their notecards at the Welcome areas. In fact they set up my gallery list kiosks there too and it really makes me happy that so many newbies are getting this list and exploring something enriching like art galleries instead of the usual, um, attractions that newbies tend to flock to :) Within the past 6 months or so I've given out about 28,000 copies of the list to gallery visitors and Welcome area newbies.

Q: Now from the specific to the very general, tell us something about yourself! Your art is well known, you've been quoted in SlateNight magazine, you've been a Post Six girl... What doesn't the community know about you yet that you'd like to reveal? What's your SL (or even RL) story?

A: My life in SL has really revolved around my sculpture and the gallery list. With the sculpture, what I slowly came to realize was that I wanted to create something beautiful that can *only* exist in SecondLife, something never before seen that exploits the power of the 3D environment. I'm happy to see so many artists finding their way into SL and scanning in their 2D art and sharing that with everyone; that will always be a very valuable piece of the art scene in SL. But I also want people to think about what SL can bring to the table in terms of a new art medium - what types of things are possible with the 3D engine as a powerful tool to realize very complex visions of light, sound, movement, space, and intelligent objects; all of these elements interacting with each other in a programmable and powerful way.

I believe that creating 3D art in SL requires a whole new way of thinking; a new door has been opened and the possibilities have yet to be explored in terms of the things that creative minds can make that evoke powerful feelings in the people that observe them.

Q: About real and virtual art: while it seems blindingly obvious to some of us that art within SL has just as much potential authenticity as art anywhere else, we have heard doubters opine that SL art isn't "real". What's your take on this issue?

A: The experience is the same, therefore it's real. When someone goes into an SL art gallery and has that "ooooo" moment while looking at a powerful piece, and strong feelings are evoked, it's just as real as a RL gallery. I get so many nice comments from people about my sculpture, it's incredibly gratifying and rewarding to me. It's one thing that makes my SL experience so special, and I know the same thing is happening to tons of artists in SL. Are the artists here touching people's lives and giving them a sense of wonder, or making them think? Absolutely yes. And we have the tools to do things in SL and experience them in ways that are impossible in RL. In some ways it can be more "real" that RL, if you are powerfully touched in your heart by a beautiful painting, build, sim, or sculpture.

Q: You have lots of experience with the SL art community; what's your advice to a relatively new SL resident who wants to get into the art scene, either as a creator, an appreciator, or a patron?

A: There are a couple of key things you should do:

  1. Go visit some art galleries! Search on "art" in Search/Places, visit some, get my list :) and have fun exploring them. Maybe run into some gallery owners at their galleries and chat with them.

  2. Make friends in the art community. Keep your eye on the Events listings and go to some gallery events and openings. The other visitors are there because they love art, so have fun enjoying the art together with them and make some new friends! You have something in common already, it's easy :) Maybe find some artists and ask them for tips on how to import and sell art.

  3. Search on "art" in the groups listings and join some groups that look interesting. There are lots of great event announcements on the "Art &Artist Network!" group, I highly recommend that one.

Q: Obligatory SL question: what one or two places in SL would you recommend that our readers will love and that they might not have been to yet?

A: Siefert Surface was my original inspiration that eventually led to my Morphing Sculpture. He has an absoutely fascinating sim to explore called The Future. Spend some time looking around, there are neat things hidden all OVER that sim. Siefert is an amazing builder! And for #2, 3000 AD is just THE coolest sim for art. It's a must-see!

Q: And where can people get a look at your work?

A: Check my picks for a nice viewing area to visit, I love to have people come by and play around with it. Don't forget to right click on the sculpture and pick Acid Trip! :)

Q: And finally, do you have any comment on what really happened on Hallowe'en in Amicitia? :)

A: LOL! OK first, I was NOT the only person throwing toilet paper all over those houses, #2, that's FAKE blood on my meat cleaver, and #3 any pictures you may have of me on that night wearing barely anything are assuredly FAKED, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it :)

Respectfully submitted, with thanks again to the gracious Sasun,

Dale Innis


Coyote M. said...

"#3 any pictures you may have of me on that night wearing barely anything are assuredly FAKED"

Yeah, there were clothes painted on those. :P

Lana said...

Sasun is one of the rarest of artists that gives so much back to the art community with her creative work and the time she spends on managing the directory of SL galleries! She's such an amazing person and the morphing sculpture is a MUST SEE!

Jackie! said...

awesome article, yes! i'm really glad Sasun took the time to answer those questions... that was a lot of fun to read!

Anonymous said...

Umm....I was a witness that fateful Haloween Night. There is a story to tell. But, alas, I consider Sasun a close friend, so I will not divulge what /really/ happened (unless the price is right).

Cliff said...

Excellent job sasun. Your efforts to disseminate art for art sake is vital to SL's existence. Thanks.

Cliff said...

Excellent job Sasun. Your efforts to disseminate art for art's sake are worthwhile and needed in SL community. Many Thanks.

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