This reporter is once again delighted to present an interview with one of SL's prominent residents, photographer / designer / builder / artist Kriss Lehmann, who took time from her busy schedule to answer some of our silly questions for the VAA weblog.
VAA: Thanks for talking to me for the VAA weblog!
KL: Thank you! Everyone says I go on and on, at least now I have a reason :P
VAA: :) To start you going then: you opened a new gallery and studio earlier this year in Solbim; how's that been going, and is there anything you'd like to tell us beyond what's in the PixelPulse piece? And where else in SL can people see your work?
KL: The gallery in Solbim is doing great, although it's gotten a bit of a facelift, recently. Traffic and sales both have been fabulous, thanks to word of mouth and the occassional article. Since the PixelPulse article I've changed my approach to how I plan on working in SL with portraits. The portraits really served as an excellent way to hone some rusty art skills, and now that I've laid down a style I'm happy with I am going to move to the second phase of my work, mainly using SL as the set/render base for digital art. Although I'll be sad to see it go, I'll probably have to shift my main online gallery from Flickr to Deviant Art, as my work will become less and less a reflection of what is possible with raw SL rendering.
I currently have work at the main gallery, and smaller collections in Dark City, Nomine, and Caffeine Gardens. My Info Island show has been running since February 23rd, although that's about to wrap up.
VAA: Although the gallery focuses on your 2D art, you're also a builder in SL, and I've been blown away by builds with your name on them both in Dogfight Atoll and in Pleasantville. Tell us something about building in SL, 3D vs. 2D art, the relationship between your photography and your world-building, and/or anything else that comes to mind.
KL: Well, thank you! I really just like to build what comes to mind, like so many of the content creators in SL, and the fact that people enjoy those as well gives me the warm fuzzies. Building in SL, at least for me, is one part planning, one part "Why won't you bend that way!?" and a splash of "How the heck did I make that happen?" *laughs* I don't consider builds or sculpture in SL any less of an artform than digital or traditional artwork. That's what I love about Second Life. You see so many visions and expressions reflected all around you. It's a fun and beautiful place to be. That is something I can really take advantage of in SL. No matter what kind of image I find popping up in my head, with enough cursing and time and experimentation, I can make it.
VAA: Tell us something about yourself and those things you make: your philosophy of art, how you got into SL, anything you'd like to say about your RL being, any embarassing personal relevations you'd like to let slip, or like that. :)
KL: I actually got into SL initially to attend a virtual meetup for a podcast Iused to listen to. After running around for a week or so, I knew that SL was a place I could call home. In RL, I do a lot of work digitally, and have always had a love for 3D and online worlds. Being able to hop into something so freeform and just express myself however I see fit... It's a dream come true.
VAA: About RL and SL 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?
KL: Just because you can't reach out and touch a picture in SL, or run your hands along the lines of a 3D sculpture, it doesn't make it any less"real". If that was the case, then the term "digital artwork" (14,300,000 hits on Google) wouldn't be relevant. Obviously there are differing skill levels, but ultimately, art is in the eye of the beholder. People have made it possible to take those pieces out of the virtual world and into the realworld as well. Fabjectory and Jubilee Druart with Secondlife-art.com are two that come to mind immediately.
VAA: What experience have you had 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?
KL: I can't attend every art function in SL, unfortunately. If I tried, I doubt I would have time for anything else! I do pick and choose my battles, though. Sasun Steinbeck's gallery list kiosk is the first place I go when I have spare time. It's such an amazing resource. If you are just coming into SL, and want to know just what is out there in the virtual art world, that should be your first stop. I proudly have one right next to the front door of my own gallery, and strongly encourage all visitors to pick up a list. If you are having trouble finding a kiosk, just pull up a search window and look for "art". I don't think you will be disappointed. There are also several SL groups dedicated to specific galleries and virtual art in general. Join a couple and say hello!
VAA: 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?
KL: Obligatory Answer: Come to Pleasantville! *laughs* Two of my favorite sims at the moment are The Wastelands and Koreshan. They are both excellent examples of the creative minds that make SL so unique.
VAA: Cool! Any other questions you'd like to answer that I forgot to ask?
KL: "What exactly ARE Bling Bewbs?" to which I would answer:
"The perfect argument for why I shouldn't always build what enters my brain. Say "No" to Bling!"
VAA: lol! Ty again...
Respectfully submitted, with thanks again to the amazing Kriss,