Author Name Here
How to Get Started in the Second Life Art Scene
Author: John Herring (Johannes1977 Resident)
[Published by Windlight Magazine at Shakespir
Copyright 2016 Windlight Magazine]
Part I: Prepare Your Art Work
As the owner of a gallery and an artist in Second Life, I am often asked how one can get started in the Second Life art scene. The answer to that question is no easy task, as it is a combination of being ready to show and finding opportunities.
This is the start of a new three part series and I hope all of you budding artists out there find this series useful.
The first thing to do in order to get started in the Second Life art scene is to start preparing your work to be shown in galleries. You may already have a ton of photos on Flickr or some other hosting site. Review all your images; simply do not select a few photos here and there. It is helpful to have another set of eyes to also view your work.
The point at this stage is to build a collection that is ready to be shown and a collection that will be memorable to the Second Life public who will view your work.
While you may think quantity is the key to showing and choose a ton of images, I have to say rethink this train of thought. Most people may look at an exhibit for a few minutes or even seconds if you are lucky. You would want to choose a few strong pieces for your first showing. Keep in mind also that most galleries in Second Life are also showing other artists and space may be minimum. Try to select 5 to 7 strong pieces. Your goal is to have people remember your artwork and for you to stand out among others.
After you have chosen your pieces, look to make sure they are cleaned up. By this I mean to look to see if any object is chopped off or if there are spots that need touching up. If they are of Second Life places, look at the years. Mesh is almost everywhere in Second Life and you may have taken images during a time when prims dominated the Second Life landscape. Many places look really great “meshed” out.
If you have chosen images of other avatars, consult their permission before you decide to add images of these people in your show.
For our next part in this series, I will discuss how to find galleries to show in.
Part II: How to Find Galleries and Shows in Second Life
In part 2 of our series, “How to Get Started in the Second Life Art Scene,” I will discuss how to find galleries and shows in Second Life.
If you have followed the advice in part 1 in this series, then you are at the stage where you are seeking galleries and shows in Second Life to exhibit.
One of the easiest ways to find galleries is to use the search function in any Second Life viewer. Simply type the word gallery and many will appear in the search listings. This method can be time consuming as you have to go through each listing and read descriptions, but it is a start.
You could also try the Second Life Destinations category for art and look for galleries that are listed. While you will find many galleries, this list is not complete. While anyone can apply to be in Second Life Destinations, many galleries may not be listed and you may find actual exhibits in this category or places that do not accept new or even established artists.
One list that exists and is updated is the Art Galleries of Second Life list that is generated by the Art Galleries of SL Kiosk system. This free system is owned and maintained by Sasun Steinbeck. Any gallery owner or gallery curator can rezz this kiosk and set it up. The beauty of this system is that once the kiosk is derezzed, it no longer appears on the list. Sasun has stated that there are roughly 250 to 300 galleries listed on the site at any given time.
Also beware that there is a difference between someone offering you a free exhibition space in a gallery vs you having to pay a rental fee to have a gallery. If a gallery owner or curator is asking you to pay for a space, then they are simply providing gallery rentals and not an actual exhibition show space for you.
Once you decide which galleries you would like to have your work shown in, I strongly suggest you visit those galleries to find out who is the owner or curator and to receive any welcome information the gallery may have, such as how to exhibit and any information on upcoming shows.
Sometimes you may find that galleries do not offer this information. In the event that you cannot find any information that is readily accessible, inspect the prims of the gallery. Before contacting any gallery owner or curator, review their profile.
Information on who to contact in regards to any gallery may be on the owner and/or curators profile. If you still cannot find any information, proceed to notecard and message in regards to exhibition opportunities.
I am often asked should you contact gallery owners and/or curators directly. I have to say yes you should, but only after proceeding with the steps I mentioned above. Do a bit of research yourself before contacting someone. So what do you do if the galleries you are interested in do not offer any openings or are not showing new artists? I suggest turning to art groups in Second Life. These can be found by doing a search for art or galleries. Many art groups are open for anyone to join and many galleries will send notices for open shows and exhibitions.
What if you still are not able to find a show? Do not give up! Keep in mind that things work in seasons and many galleries have a certain time when they have art shows and exhibitions. For example, at Windlight Art Gallery, we are currently accepting applications for our fellows program for March, April, and May! Our gallery is booked until March 2016, so even if you wanted to show at Windlight, you would not be able to until 2016. Also remember that as it is around the holidays, gallery owners and curators may be very busy with real life and simply have not had a chance to respond to your inquiry.
In our final and last installment in this series, I will discuss how to have an effective exhibition and show, once you have found a place to exhibit.
Part III: How to Set Up and Market Your Exhibition
Welcome to our last installment of “How to Get Started in the Second Life Art Scene.” In this installment I will discuss how to set up and market your exhibition.
In Part 2 we discussed how to find a gallery in Second Life in order to exhibit your artwork. Part 1 discussed how to create strong pieces for an art exhibition.
If you have found a gallery to have your work exhibited or if you are taking part in an art show, you are now ready to set up your exhibition. Exhibition design can either make or break you as an artist in both real life and Second Life.
Remember that the #1 goal of any art exhibition is to show off your chosen pieces of art work. Your exhibit should not be a distraction from your art work. I strongly suggest working with the curator and/or art gallery owner to discuss the parameters of your exhibition. Some galleries in Second Life will allow you to build extensively; others simply want you to place your art work, while some want to set up the art work for you.
If you are showing in a gallery that allows you to build extensively, choose subtle colors and textures. Do not have many distracting objects, sounds, or things that detract away from the message of your art work. There are exceptions to this rule. For example if you are building a fully immersive exhibition, then it is ok to build items that give the exhibition an atmosphere of its own. In most cases the advice given in this article is for traditional galleries in Second Life.
Secondly arrange your artwork in a way that catches the viewer’s eye. Place smaller pieces around larger pieces and try to utilize the given gallery space as much as possible. Remember to have an even amount of spaces between each piece of art work.
Lastly have a second pair of eyes look at the exhibition; this could be the curator or a friend if you are allowed to teleport someone in before the exhibition opens.
Now that you have set up your exhibition, it is time to market it! This can be the tricky part. The first thing to do when marketing is to talk to the gallery owner and/or curator to find out when the opening and/or closing events will take place. Not all galleries do openings and closings but many do. Try to be at the actual opening and/or closing events. It is good for people to put a face to the art work and you can often network with other Second Life gallery owners and curators, as well as other art enthusiasts. Join the gallery’s public group, if they have one and ask if you can send a notice out a few weeks after the exhibition.
Obtain all promotional materials for the exhibition, this includes a poster, press release, and make sure that you spread the word on social media. If the gallery has a Facebook, Google Plus, or Plurk page, etc.. Friend the gallery on these mediums and spread any posts that they may have about the exhibition to your own pages.
Also post the information in the official Second Life community forums, Second Life events listings (if you have permissions), and other groups. If the exhibition is not going to have an opening and closing event, then ask the curator or gallery owner if you can have a small gathering yourself.
This concludes our series on How to Get Started in the Second Life Art Scene, but do not worry another series is just around the corner!