Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dark Artistry: Tekelili Tantalus

I have been crazy about Tekelili Tantalus' work from the very first moment that I clapped eyes on it about 6 months ago. So what better material to kick off my career as official blogger of the NPIRL blog than his?

Tekelili's object hair, his jewelry and his magnificent weapons are dark, sombre and ritualistic. The kinds of things to be worn by high priestesses and priests. As yet we do not seem to have a form of worship unique to Second Life, but when we do Tekelili will surely be one of it's craftsmen. His sources of inspiration are manifold, ranging from writers such as H. P. Lovecraft and Michael Moorcock to ancient religions.

Before I talked to Tekelili I had an idea that the Arts and Crafts movement and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood might also have been a source of inspiration, that this period in art history would be something that he would have identified with. However when I alluded to these during our conversation Tekelili did not pick up on this. Later I realized that despite his not having done so, my gut instinct may still have been fairly accurate since the sources of inspiration that branded the output of this period and those of Tekelili's converge to a very large extent:

"Sumeria, Babylon, and the idea of the mythical kingdoms that are long gone, Atlantis, Lemuria. The occult is also a major inspiration: Ceremonial magic, Qabalah, paganism. Eastern art too, traditional work from China, India, especially India's a big one as well as Tibet. The complexity and the style of presentation found in these cultures I find hugely inspirational. I like to think of myself as a "meta-artist". I put myself "in character" and make the art of cultures that exist only in the imagination".

I have to say that I really have no difficulty whatsoever in putting these words of Tekelili's into the mouth of Edward Burne-Jones....

This is highly detailed, perfectly crafted work; one which takes on a deliberately constructed approach, very strongly founded in balance and symmetry. The colors and textures are powerfully contrasted harmonies. Indeed this designer is a master of color, with a sophisticated palette that achieves a perfect balance between the muted and the saturated with a keen eye for the combination of hues. Tekelili's hair is assembled out of various gems, bands, and then of course the hair itself. However on occasion snakes and flowers are also in evidence. Most of these hair objects are scripted to be color changed, one combination more appealing than the other.

Not to be left out are the merfolk avatars, called the "Deep Ones" and thus Xia and I dove into the coral reef located underneath one of his three shops to take photographs of this splendor.

So powerful do I find Tekelili Tantalus' design approach that I am sorely tempted to create an avatar that would fulfill its demands: Me with my naughty neko ears and tail - gear appropriate to a naughty, mouthy personality; or indeed prim and proper Xiamara, despite all of her asymmetrical beauty - we really are not the women that this opulence has been crafted for. We are ultimately women of today - no nonsense, no mystery: It would take a woman that lives by the creed of mystery, that moves and talks in a manner befitting to these objects to do them full justice. A bearer of enigma for enigmatic objects.

You can teleport to Tekelili Tantalus' shop at Hollow Earth directly from here.
You can view high reslution images of Tekelili's work here.