Saturday, July 25, 2009

Reveling in Real World art - One very right way to savor it in Second Life

The Hotel Dare Showcase dazzles with a tribute to Ray Caesar

Posted by Bettina Tizzy
© All rights reserved on images by Ray Caesar

I'm not saying there is only one way to enjoy art from the other side in Second Life®, but the new Hotel Dare Showcase which opens today allows the visitor to step right into it (in fact, you are sucked in) on a whole new level. The approach is not new to us. We already enjoy Frankie Rockett's Art Box and AM Radio's Death of Marat, among other installations, but never have we had the opportunity to become a part of Real Life art to this degree.

Gattina Dumpling has already curated three sessions of the Hotel Dare (not to be confused with the Showcase), a concept space she conceived that goes far beyond the typical gallery setting to feature the location-appropriate works of rotating Second Life artists who have been given a hotel "room" to do whatever they wish with it. The latest version resides on the Poetik sim (teleport directly from here).

Now Gattina has acquired half a sim - dubbed the Hotel Dare Showcase - which will be devoted to celebrating the works of Real Life artists. The inaugural show pays tribute to Ray Caesar, and includes the participation of Marie Lauridsen, Katat0nik Pidgeon, Autumn Hykova, and Leetah Moxie, as well as Daniel Luchador who created most of the rooms.

Complete avatars are for sale at the arrival point. Enter the "lobby" of the Hotel Dare, which this time around looks more like a grand salon, and admire/become the art. Hint: It helps to walk up the paintings.

Blackbird by Ray Caesar

Gattina was traveling yesterday but nevertheless responded to my email:

"This is very hard to do from an iPhone. I dropped out of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design before I graduated. And I started college at age 16. For fine arts. I haven't painted anything in about 14 years. I have had an interest in "lowbrow art" (see juxtapoz and hi fructose magazines) and artists like Ray Caesar, Mark Ryden, Camile Rose Garcia, and Sylvia Ji since I first visited the La Luz De Jesus gallery in L.A. about 11 years ago."

Wikipedia: Lowbrow, or lowbrow art, describes an underground visual art movement that arose in the Los Angeles, California, area in the late 1970s. Lowbrow is a widespread populist art movement with origins in the underground comix world, punk music, hot-rod street culture, and other subcultures. It is also often known by the name pop surrealism. Lowbrow art often has a sense of humor - sometimes the humor is gleeful, sometimes impish, and sometimes it's a sarcastic comment.

Ray Caesar's Blackbird, interpreted by Hotel Dare Showcase in Second Life

Gattina: I can remember the first time I saw Ray Caesar's art. It was a few years ago in Juxtapoz magazine and I can remember feeling that I wanted to ...

It wasn't just the feeling of wanting to own some of his art. It was more of the feeling "I want, I want, I want to.. BE that. I want to BE there.I want to GO IN THERE.

L'accord d'amour by Ray Caesar

Gattina: His work inspires an urgent sense of yearning. The viewer wants to crawl into these worlds he has created, to explore the dark nooks and crannies his subjects inhabit, to root around for secrets and open letters addressed to someone else and ... to find what they have lost. Ray Caesar owns all of our mysteries. He collects them and ensnares them in his art, he captures them in hidden drawers and hides them under beds and shadows them in corners of century-old rooms and in the murky depths of the sea.

His work depicts romantic landscapes, dreamy and lush, angelic inhabitants gaze upon the viewer, at times serene, at times accusatory. Porcelain- skinned girls sprout mechanical limbs and mile-long tentacles bloom from under delicate petticoats. There is something reflected in the mirror, hidden behind the drapery, lurking in the shadows. The observer is all too easily lost in these worlds. The viewer is the victim in his vampiric world, lulled into submission by his supernatural creations. Ray Caesar claims to have been born a dog. For a dog he is also a soothsayer, an architect, a magician. An analyst sitting behind a large wooden desk, taking snippets of our dreams, hopes and fears, moments of our childhoods and locking them away in the astounding worlds he has created.

Ray Caesar's L'accord d'amour, as interpreted by the Hotel Dare Showcase in Second Life

The most amazing realization occurs when it dawns on you that all of his art was created in Maya. His images are the very best of computer arts; the nuances and layers stagger and enthrall the imagination.

Images by Ray Caesar

Ray Caesar wrote: I color the models first in a very simple way, then each surface in the model is wrapped with a texture that may be painted digitally such as a flower petal or from a digital photograph such as a wood surface. I collect textures the way some people collect little silver spoons and I have a story about each texture in my collection…

As my work is printed I am often asked about my original, but it exists only in the computer in a dimensional world of depth, width and height. I am fascinated by the concept that this 3-dimensional space exists much as another reality and even though I turn the computer off, I am haunted by the fact that this space is still there existing in a mathematical probability, and the space that we live in now might not be all that different.

Descent by Ray Caesar

Gattina: I picked the team I did for the build because they are people I have worked with before and I knew they would be able to translate my vision for the build and make it a reality. Daniel is known as one of the most talented builders on SL, Katat0nik is an artist in her own right and has won the award for best fashion designer Japan Second life, Marie and I share the same aesthetics, love the same artists and she is an amazing skin artist, and Autumn and Leetah were happy and excited to do the hair.

Ray Caesar's Descent, as interpreted by Hotel Dare Showcase in Second Life

Teleport to the Hotel Dare Showcase directly from here.

Avatar poses by Helianthus Mesmer.


Mako Kungfu said...

Amazing. Can't wait to check this out. I wish virtual efforts like this would be properly acknowledged by the RL art & design community. Great job, Gattina!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful article! I am fortunate to have a shop with my husband in the Hotel Dare complex, and we have been thrilled to watch the end of the building process and see the final product. It's truly awe-inspiring, and those mentioned deserve all the praise they're given. Gattina, Katat0nik, and Daniel have all been gracious and wonderful in the sharing of their talents, and the artists who put together the avatars are incredible. This is an instance of true art lovers coming together to create an experience that won't soon be forgotten.