Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Visit to an Art Gallery in Second Life

True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.

Albert Einstein  

          Recently I made the acquaintance of a new friend, Hitomi Tamatzui, while revisiting the site of an earlier story.  Turns out she’s an amateur photographer inworld with her own gallery, Seductions by Hitomi. 
          Being the explorer and writer that I am, I naturally ask Hitomi for an interview which she readily agrees to and we schedule an interview. 
          Hitomi has been in Second Life (SL) for over five years in different incarnations.  She has been Hitomi mostly for the last three and a half years.  Hitomi tries to keep her avatars similar to her Real Life (RL) in which she’s Japanese-American.  She’s not involved with the Japanese community inworld because as she puts it, her Japanese “stinks” and she doesn’t have a Japanese keyboard.  (I guess that pretty much closes off that avenue, huh?)
          We meet later outside of her gallery located near the Hotel Chelsea in Lanestris.  Hitomi’s gallery is a small, open front shop located on a deserted street.  (But, then, aren’t almost all streets in SL deserted?)  A folding steel gate covers part of the entrance.  A striped awning hangs over the front.  The gallery is sandwiched between a breast cancer awareness store front and a modern art gallery.  We’re across the street from the Chelsea Sound Recording Studio. 
          We walk inside and l look at Hitomi’s photographs hanging on the walls.  Fifteen of her works are on display.  The works are almost evenly divided between flowers taken in Real Life (RL) and self-portraits of herself taken while nude.  She points out her favorite, Bathing, because of its mix of light, body stance, and reflection.  Nearby is her second favorite, another nude entitled Ponds.  (In RL, Hitomi claims to be a closet nudist because in the winter the closet is the warmest room.) 
          Hitomi describes herself as a completely amateur photographer.  She only really started playing with photographs a couple of years ago when she saw she could take pictures inworld.  She then got a Photoshop program and her interest really took off. 
          I ask why she opened her gallery and she replies because she likes to show off her work.  She’s had about four customers but doesn’t really expect to make money off of this.  For her, it’s just a chance to exhibit to a wider audience. 
          In RL, Hitomi is a biologist by education and has always enjoyed nature photography.  The flowers in her photographs are from her garden and areas near her.  She loves nature and getting the internal details of the flowers was always important to her.  As for the nudes, she appreciates the beauty of the avatars and the female body. 
          Hitomi finds SL with its abundance of environments, scenery, and lighting is wonderful for her photography.  She says that photography has been a wonderful outlet for her and her creative process.  Prior to getting involved with photography, Hitomi says she was beginning to get bored with SL.  She had danced about every dance, met many, many people but she works and didn’t have much time for SL.  It was becoming repetitive.
          SL photography opened a tremendous opportunity where she didn’t have to spend lots of time in studios and finding subjects.  She could just create situations and photograph them and the nudes she could do alone.  (Life is easier when you’re your own model!)  When I ask about current projects, Hitomi says that with winter setting in, she’s putting nature on hold to see if she gets snow. 
          Hitomi tells me about her partner, Anima.  They are “very, very good” friends as she puts it and have a passion for similar subjects.  He is also her mentor in photography and has helped her to develop (Hitomi intends no pun.) her ability.  Anima resides in Germany and has quite a history in photography but is not a professional.  Besides being a photographer, he is a painter and video creator inworld. 
          Hitomi and Anima maintain a gallery not far from Seductions by Hitomi where they exhibit both of their works.  Anima also has an eight story art museum, Doors Gallery, where he exhibits many of his pieces in addition to some of Anima’s work. 
          I visit both locations and am very impressed with the breadth and scope of Anima’s work.  Unlike Hitomi who stays focused on nature and nudes, he has a variety of subjects and mediums.  Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to contact Anima since my visit so I can’t show any of his work because I don’t have his permission.  But I do hope to return for a more thorough visit and hopefully can show my readers some of his works with my story. 
          My time with Hitomi comes to an end and I thank her as I take my leave.  I’m very impressed with her work.  She links nature and naturism with her photographs and seeing them in her gallery they appear natural together.  Her use of light and shadow is impressive.  The colors in hers flowers are alive.  I could spend considerable time viewing her work. 
          I also find the mentoring relationship between Hitomi and Anima to be yet another inworld example of the SL community where people from across the globe come together to learn from one another. 
          I encourage everyone who has the time to drop by Seductions by Hitomi and the Doors Gallery to view her and Anima’s work.  Also, please patronize these artists if you’re in the market for pieces for your inworld home.  Supporting SL artists and merchants helps all of us. 
          I would like to thank Hitomi for taking the time to show me her work and take me along to see Anima’s.  
I’ve included links to several pictures I took of some of the works that I saw.  These are with Hitomi’s permission.  But check the sites out for yourself.  Pictures, especially when I’m the photographer, are never as good as being there. 
As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.
I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

     If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

Photo No. 1 Hitomi Tamatzui (with permission of Hitomi Tatmatzui)
Photo No. 3 Orange Butterfly (with permission of Hitomi Tatmatzui)
Photo No. 4 Pollen Time (with permission of Hitomi Tatmatzui)
Photo No. 5 Fall 2012d (with permission of Hitomi Tatmatzui)
Photo No. 7 Hotel Chelsea
Photo No. 9 Doors Gallery (Main Location) Brochure Kiosk

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