Friday, April 18, 2014

My new exhibit at Rose Theatre and Art Gallery - American Signs

Months ago, I started taking photographs for a series called "Americana": I wanted to shoot typical American places, landmarks and "icons" of American popular culture I could find in Second Life.
While visiting these places, I realized how much signs contribute to define a style, a mood that we can find in any image of cities, roads, stores and streets.
Most of them are retro styled, remembering the great influence that 1930s-1950s graphics has had on designing American popular culture's styles.
Diners, pubs, bars, gas stations, motels... the so called "roadside architecture", a typical American phenomenon, gives us the image of a whole world. It isn't a coincidence that painters like Edward Hopper or Charles Sheeler depicted them to offer a view of their times' America.
Second Life reproduces this mood: we can find a great variety of typical signs on its buildings and cities, where diners, gas stations, motels and bars are the featuring elements of the

I collected dozen signs' pictures, and I tried to make a slideshow on YouTube, waiting to post all the pics on my Flickr.

Kylie Sabra, curator of The Rose Theatre and Art Gallery, saw the show and asked me for an exhibit at the Rose Gallery :)
I'm happy to display again my photo at The Rose, after a first exhibit last year. I selected 20 pics, from the show and among newest ones (I keep taking photos of signs, when exploring) and they will be shown at the Gallery 3 from April 21st.
The gallery isn't used to make official openings, but I'll be there to welcome visitors on Tuesday April 22nd, at 3pm SLT.

The exhibit aims  to show a side of the "urban culture" that often is neglected or ignored, having it as a trivial or obvious thing.

But their bright colors, their happy lights, their appeal, their irony, sometimes, give us an image of a perhaps vanishing world that is deeply rooted on our collective imaginery: something like "semiotic ghosts", according to William Gibson's words, that play with our nostalgia and with our desires.
I hope visitors will enjoy them as much as I did when i shot them.

Monday, April 14, 2014

My photo won the Paris 1900 Photo Contest!

I know and love Paris 1900 since my very first SL days. 
I enjoyed long walks around that beautiful SIM, discovering new corners every time I did.
I keep there a Melu Deco store on the Champs Elysées, that's one of my most biggest and beloved ones. Moreover, I take care of two MEB Fashion shops in the city and I also worked on decorating many Paris apartments.
But Paris is for me also the place where I started exhibiting my photos: thanks to Olympes Rhode, I've taken part in an exhibit called "Paris Impressions" in 2011 and I never shall forget how exciting has been seeing my pics hanging on the walls of the Brasserie, close to Moulin Rouge.
So, it's a special pleausure to me being the winner of the Paris 1900 photo contest, today.
In the photo I proposed to the jury and to the public, called "Ville Lumiére" I'm posing on the bright background of the Arc de Triomphe, framed by the Champs Elysées streetlamps, wearing the stunning Sonatta Morales' Fera dress. Among many other pictures taken for the contest, I loved this one for the light and 'cause it shows one of the most famous view of the city.
I want to consider it as an homage to a place I love and where I met a lot of great people and good friends.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wandering around a house as a mouse (Sniper Siemens' Tribute to Greenies Home, LEA 23)

An amazing experience! Feeling like Alice in the Wonderland among giant pans, toaster, pizzas and tomato cans or walking among chair and table legs tall like trees!

This and even more can be done at the stunning installation "Invasion" built by Sniper Siemens at LEA 23 (open through next June).
Sniper is a great artist and builder, as everyone know at least from her former Leonardo's machines exhibit at Im@ginarium and elsewhere (if you missed it, enjoy the video by Mexy Lane on YouTube).
Her creations are always original and different; she explores SL opportunities in a special way, avoiding too abstract or baroque things and trying to offer better knowledge about art, tecniques and - like in this case - popular culture, pushing us seeing the world in unespected ways.

Entrance is an almost normal door from outside, but after crossing its dark space, you realize you're entering a giant house through a mouse-sized hole: actually, you ARE a mouse living in the wall's hole!
Sniper's well known irony and building skills made a world we can go through looking at it as we were 20 cm. tall. It's just an house, but you have to walk as it were a broad region. Daily objects surround and dominate you while you enter an oven where tasty pizzas are cooking or when you try to use an old fashioned phone to call for help :)

Everywhere you meet Greenies, who - despite their wicked faces - show you how to use the huge objects for fun :))
Their "parallele world", that opens its doors in many house's corners, is the only enviroment where you are right-sized: the contrast to the "normal" objects and rooms increases the disorientation effect.
However, you can also take a breath in this slightly scaring world of giant's daily life: a Greenie-sized diner built on the kitchen table offers you right-size seats, but... the good food it gives is too big for being eaten without getting severe indigestion :)

I won't reveal the many surprising details you can find in the house: exploring them is the best way to be happily confused by this change of point of view on reality. I'll just tell that I loved a lot playing Monopoly being a pawn on the game's board (it has been a luck that game's jail was hold by a Greenie, yet!).

Thank you, Sniper, for this funny and stimulating adventure!

Sniper Siemens' "Invasion" Tribute to Greenies' Home, LEA 23

Friday, March 21, 2014

"Cinema! Take II" by Mary Wickentower

For some reasons, I missed the first release of Mary Wickentower's Cinema! SIM at LEA.
It has been a bad fault, since I'm dealing with the attempt to build a broad view of the way of representing America in SL, through my photograph series Americana, posted on Flickr.
Now, Mary rebuilt the SIM at LEA6 (run visiting it: it will be gone after March 31st!) and I could have the pleasure to visit one of the most amazing examples of the chances SL offers to represent pages of history, culture and social life.
Cinema!, despite its name, is actually something more than a celebration of the Seventh Art: it is an overview of a whole chapter of the history of American popular culture in 20th Century, through some of its icons.

Centered on the outstanding Empire theater, the SIM is scattered with other meaningful builds depicting some key aspects of 1930s-1940s way of life: the Empire theater itself, a drive-in theater, a diner, a gas station.

Although the major focus of the entire SIM is of course cinema, diner, gas station and drive-in add other powerful examples of the typical "roadside architecture" that had spread throughout American recent history. Cars are protagonists here, from the row of old fashioned ones parked in front of the Empire building, to the huge variety of types gathered in the drive-in parking, to the diner's seats, to the gasoline pumps, tires and repair workshop of the gas station. Only a motel is lacking to complete the key symbols of this "road culture".
I won't spoil visitor's surprise talking of the dozen of pretty details we can see inside these builds. I just warmly advise to read carefully signs and logos inside the diner, to look at the drive-in's car styles, to pay attention to the wonderful collection of pin-ups' pictures that decorate the workshop walls.

I started talking of all these things, but the main building and the main subject of the SIM definitely deserve to be noticed.
The majestic bulk of the Empire Theater is an outstanding example of Art Deco architecture, with its statues, windows, friezes and lights. A huge sign shows the theater name in wonderful 1930s fonts, hallways and stairs covered by red carpets and tapestry lead to the two-storeys orchestra and to the box seats. Walking through them you can see glamorous period lamps, old movie posters, pretty corners like the bar or the art galleries that surround the main hall. This is huge like the screen where some talented SL filmmakers show their works. The Golden Age of the Hollywood movie industry has at the Empire its celebration!

I can't finish my visit without saying of the beautiful building that lays nearby the theater: built in 1940s  style, it hosts an amazing collection of sculptures from SL artists picked by Mary; it is worth a visit by itself.

I'm honored and happy to see the pics I took at the SIM exhibited in one of the theater's galleries, but I'm even happier with the plan to take the students of my classes at Visionaire Institute of Photography to a photo-tour at Cinema! When I had that idea, Mary enthusiastically agreed, offering a gallery space to show the result of the student's exercises (from March 28th).
So, in the latest days of this amazing SIM's life, I advise all art lovers to come visiting the SIM and the exhibits!

Cinema! Take II

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Trash - A stunning installation by Mexi Lane at Imagin@rium

Houses and books in the waste... We can't imagine a more sad and tragic end of world.
When you want experience that, visit Mexi Lane's installation Trash at her MiC-Imagin@rium SIM.
On a narrow sand stripe front of the main island, huge bulks of garbage close up the horizon.

The shock is very hard: compared to the classical, calm beauty of the temples and buildings on the island, to the clean sand of the coast and to the quiet and sunny sea, slowly lapping the beach, the rubbish mountain chain is strongly disturbing!


But a closer view is even worse: our most beloved objects, houses and books, our own homes and our knowledge's and pleasure's homes are most of the rubbish rising up to the sky. Moreover, they lay on a faint base of garbage and the mountains are spangled by fat black plastic bags, suggesting other, worse garbage. It's heartbreaking!

Mexi would depict the crisis of our world in the saddest way: she's a great art connoisseur and lover and she knew how much all educated people would be hit by seeing their most beloved objects trown out and neglected like rubbish. Sumptous book bindings, golden fonts, pretty roofs and chimneys seem being no longer useful.
I want to stress that houses aren't huge building or flats: they are the beloved pretty houses we all dream when we think af a quiet day spent reading or listening good music.
However, under some daylights they look like De Chirico buildings, adding a touch of surrealism to the whole installation.

So, maybe we can also think of it like a nightmare. But nightmares are warnings, too: they come from real dangers and fears. They teach us to do our best to avoid they become real.
Thank you Mexi! Shivers and sadness your work gave us are a push to awake ourselves and to hope the awesome world of your island could come back, when we would start a wiser way of life.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Slideshow "American Signs" :))

I got a lot of fun, making a slideshow on You Tube, showing a series of my photos titled "American Signs" :))

I gathered there many pictures of different kind of signs. I've taken them for my series "Americana", since signs are a typical expression of urban culture.
Neon lights, advertising posters, motels', diners' or gas stations' signs populate our imaginery, and some of them are masterpieces of fun, of vintage style or even of urban popular culture.

Through SL you can find a lot of them, and this collection is a parade of fonts, lights and announcements from dozen of beautiful SIMs I visited.
I paired to them a cheerful country-rock soundtrack by Chris Norton and Frank Mezin, that looks fitting well to the images, mostly taken in Southern or Western SIMs.

The Americana series, a work in progress, counting at this moment more than 200 pics (but I planned to post up to 500), is avalaible on my Flickr:

Enjoy it!

Friday, January 31, 2014

City's two faces exhibit: an update (Wizardoz Chrome's video)

I can't add any word to the video I show here. Wizardoz Chrome, who is covering the best SL art events by her machinima, gave me this great gift, making one of them at the opening of my exhibit City's Two Faces at LezSpain Gallery.

I think all art lovers have to save the link to Wiz' YouTube page, to enjoy all her fabolous works!

Enjoy the video of the exhibit!