Wednesday, June 27, 2007

PgUp Artist: Douglas Story aka Dennis Schaefer

For Pages Exhibition, each of our artists is answering a set of three questions, and providing us with a self-portrait and an image of the place they work, or sit and dream, Douglas Story...

self-portrait: "Mr Cool"

Douglas Story, aka Dennis Schaefer, is a photographer from California who has recently extended his practice into Second Life. This has enabled him to present his large scale images in novel ways. He shows me round his exhibition - Chambers and Landscapes - at Angel Dorei gallery on Solaris ...

Douglas Story: good afternoon. Evening. Whatever.
spinster Voom: early evening here
Douglas Story: nice LBD!
spinster Voom: good ... morning?
Douglas Story: yes, 10:30 am here in California
spinster Voom: thx, ur clothes have only just rezzed let me take a look ...
spinster Voom: fanTAStic coat! :-)
Douglas Story: /bow
Douglas Story: thanks.... their whole line is amazing and funny.....based on a mid-century Soviet crumbling infrastructure structure motif
spinster Voom: u have a landmark?
Douglas Story: fooey, I don't. but if you search on d3volution you'll find it.
Douglas Story: let's go up.
Douglas Story: set your light to midnight, please
spinster Voom: ok
Douglas Story: music off, sound effects up
spinster Voom: we should be in mouselook too shouldn't we
spinster Voom: but then i lose the Instant Message window
Douglas Story: mouselook only for the tunnels, really
spinster Voom: ok
Douglas Story: I use the mouse wheel to go in and out of mouselook all the time.
Douglas Story: but many folks don't
spinster Voom: how u do that?
spinster Voom: i can go into mouselook like that
spinster Voom: but then get stuck
Douglas Story: just roll back on the wheel
spinster Voom: k, will try it
spinster Voom: oh yeh!
spinster Voom: that works
Douglas Story: ta da!
spinster Voom: :-)
Douglas Story: I use it constantly.
Douglas Story: go ahead and step thru
spinster Voom: ok...

spinster Voom: wow!
Douglas Story: you've seen this before, right?
spinster Voom: yes, had a brief look round, but still ... wow!
Douglas Story: (big smile) thanks...well, it ain't subtle.
spinster Voom: the textures are all your photos?
Douglas Story: yes they are.
Douglas Story: photos all natural light
Douglas Story: no Photoshop enhancement
spinster Voom: fantastic colours
Douglas Story: this pink is a cactus flower
Douglas Story: at Huntington Gardens -
Douglas Story: the sun was setting, and illuminating it from the side
Douglas Story: I stuck the lens into the trumpet of the flower
spinster Voom: native to where you live?
Douglas Story: No, at Huntington Gardens
Douglas Story: but they have lots of exotic species of plants there
Douglas Story: including a very English landscape
spinster Voom: what about the other flowers here ... we are standing on ... daffodils?
Douglas Story: Sunflower
spinster Voom: no, they're not are they?
spinster Voom: sunflowers?
spinster Voom: oh yes, i see it now
spinster Voom: the things i thought were daffs are the little flowerlets in the middle
Douglas Story: I like the moment when folks reorient to what they're seeing
spinster Voom: you really get in close
spinster Voom: :-)
Douglas Story: the camera will focus about 3/4 inch away
Douglas Story: 1.5 cm to you!
spinster Voom: nope! English are much comfier with imperial measurements
Douglas Story: (laughing)
spinster Voom: we invented them u know! lol
Douglas Story nods
Douglas Story: I'm a big fan of your language too.
Douglas Story: Very expressive.
spinster Voom: is it not your language too?
Douglas Story: It is.
Douglas Story: I'm being a smart-ass.
spinster Voom: oooooooookaaaaaaaaaay!
spinster Voom: hehe
Douglas Story: continue through, Miss Voom.
spinster Voom: k, will look for the arrow
Douglas Story: I will not watch your bum as you go up the tunnel

spinster Voom: don't mind, spent aaaaages on my bum!
Douglas Story: (laughing)
spinster Voom: what are the sounds we are hearing?
Douglas Story: They're from a library of stock music I use in my professional work.
Douglas Story: I got permission from the company to use 'em and edited them down to under 10 seconds
Douglas Story: so they could be used here in SL
spinster Voom: orchids?
Douglas Story: (smile)
Douglas Story: I LOVE when people can't tell what something is.
spinster Voom: *sigh*
Douglas Story: this is the back side of a sunflower
Douglas Story: all the hairy weird bits
Douglas Story: bought at the supermarket, photographed on my front porch in the sun
spinster Voom: the colours are unexpected for the back of a sunflower
Douglas Story nods

photo by Douglas Story

Douglas Story: A lot of things very, very close up suggest something else
Douglas Story: btw, these glasses don't work any better here than in RL
spinster Voom: hehe
spinster Voom: so, i understand the attraction of very close up photography ... the way it gives you a completely new perspective on things ...
spinster Voom: but why flowers in particular?
spinster Voom: feel like i am tripping!
Douglas Story: hehe.... I get that a lot.
spinster Voom: ah yes, i remember that feather too, i like the feather
Douglas Story: from a Great Horned Owl
Douglas Story: btw...your work is very, very interesting.
spinster Voom: you have seen my work?
Douglas Story: I've been on your web site, at least.
Douglas Story: I was fascinated by the ancient computer program Life
Douglas Story: way back.
spinster Voom: ah! haven't updated it in about a year lol
Douglas Story: the ambient light thing didn't work for me. :(
spinster Voom: no? wouldn't work, or u didn't like it?
Douglas Story: it didn't operate.
spinster Voom: oh dear
spinster Voom: it's a bit temperamental
spinster Voom: could try sending it to you as a java applet if you are interested
Douglas Story: please do.
spinster Voom: k
spinster Voom: :-)
Douglas Story: I have yet to visit the AI fish here in SL
Douglas Story: been meaning to do that.
spinster Voom: yes, i haven't seen them yet
Douglas Story: and only went by Svarga briefly. So much to explore!
spinster Voom: have you been to Svarga?
spinster Voom: ah! lol
spinster Voom: one of my fav hangouts
spinster Voom: peaceful :-)
spinster Voom: the image you are standing next to ... tree bark?

Douglas Story: yes. Eucalyptus
Douglas Story: I often rotate an image by 90 degrees
Douglas Story: the unexpected change in perspective
Douglas Story: throws off the viewer's awareness.
spinster Voom: gives it a landscapey feel
Douglas Story: exactly!
Douglas Story: it suggests an aerial view of a mesa
Douglas Story: in the American Southwest
spinster Voom: what's a mesa?
Douglas Story: a Spanish word for "table" but also a geographical term
Douglas Story: for...well...a flat-topped raised mountain.
Douglas Story: (bad definition, but you get the idea)
spinster Voom: oh yes i think i know
Douglas Story: continue.
spinster Voom: ok, yes, where were we...
spinster Voom: i was wondering whether you always choose natural subjects for your images
Douglas Story: Yes.
Douglas Story: well, that's not entirely accurate.
Douglas Story: but for this closeup series, yes.
spinster Voom: what is the attraction for you?
Douglas Story: Oh...are you going to make me wax philosophical?
spinster Voom: yes! lol
spinster Voom: they do remind me of Georgia O'Keefe
Douglas Story: thank you!
spinster Voom: you mention her in your statement i think
Douglas Story: yep yep
Douglas Story: At first, I was thinking that flowers were too obviously beautiful a subject for Art.
spinster Voom: *sigh* isn't it a shame you have to worry about art being too beautiful?
Douglas Story: I tend to think too much....and am always on the lookout for pretension
Douglas Story: even (or especially) in myself
spinster Voom: that makes you quite unusual for an artist
spinster Voom: i like your outlook
spinster Voom: it's refreshing
Douglas Story: Many artist's statements are SO ripe for satire.
Douglas Story: this is what I wrote in my first draft of my artist's statement:
Douglas Story: "My work takes a heuristic approach to the challenges of the contemporary zeitgeist, and seeks to push aside the enfeebled hegemony of the patriarchy to make way for a new Post-Post Modernist paradigm. Either that, or I'm trying to make pretty pictures. Hey, if flowers were good enough for Georgia O'Keefe, they're good enough for me." But a friend of mine in the art world persuaded me not to use it.
spinster Voom: oh.... stop it! lol
spinster Voom: have you come across the postmodernist text generator?
Douglas Story: No! but would love to see it.
spinster Voom: google it later
spinster Voom: it's a program that churns out postmodernist critical theory bollox
spinster Voom: u'll love it
Douglas Story: yes! I've seen ones that do that for movie trailers
Douglas Story: "In a world where nothing is real, one man must...."
spinster Voom: hahahahaha
Douglas Story: I write that kind of copy for a living....
Douglas Story: but back to business...
Douglas Story: Nature is the expression of god to's how I get in touch.
spinster Voom: :-)
Douglas Story: the sense of wonder - of joy....
Douglas Story: this through science, too
Douglas Story: why the Christian Right has such a problem with science, I don't know.
spinster Voom: no, i always find things more beautiful with a bit of scientific understanding
Douglas Story: it's all this wonderful mystery....all these rules we don't yet understand.
Douglas Story: (I'm just babbling here)
spinster Voom: do go on ...
Douglas Story: If I go on, I'll end up with Something Pretentious.
Douglas Story: hehe
spinster Voom: hehe
spinster Voom: so for pages, we need succinct answers to three specific questions ...
spinster Voom: 1) how would you describe your work?
Douglas Story: my first response is "pretty"
Douglas Story:
spinster Voom: pretty, and ...
Douglas Story: ummmmm......
Douglas Story: unexpected
Douglas Story: surprising
spinster Voom: :-)
Douglas Story: colorful
Douglas Story: and pretty!
spinster Voom: lol ok ...
Douglas Story: what's the point of the Pages project, anyhoo?
spinster Voom: ok, pages ....
spinster Voom: we are all recent graduates or final year students, who have been sent on a mission ...
Douglas Story: A dangerous mission?
spinster Voom: lol could be!
spinster Voom: to find artists whose work inspires us in some way ...
spinster Voom: and ask them about their creative process, their own inspirations etc. ...
Douglas Story: well, color me honored, Miss Voom
spinster Voom: :-)
spinster Voom: you make me want to pick up a camera
spinster Voom: 2) who (or what) is your greatest influence?
Douglas Story: I'd have to say Edward Weston
Douglas Story: that pepper!
Douglas Story: big, big influence on everything I do.
spinster Voom: not familiar ...
Douglas Story: Oh yes! A giant in photography
spinster Voom: k, will have to look him up
Douglas Story: you'll see the pepper, I'm sure.
Douglas Story: the sexiest vegetable every photographed
spinster Voom: ooooeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrr!!!!!!!!
spinster Voom: anyone else u want to mention for that q?
Douglas Story: for inspiration for THIS project, I'll take you to a place next that you'll like.
spinster Voom: yes please
Douglas Story: I work in show business, and I wanted to create a bit of theater
Douglas Story: for an entrance to this gallery
Douglas Story: this is the only thing I've ever built in SL,
Douglas Story: and my skills are not great.
spinster Voom: yes, i love the walk through thingy
spinster Voom: am impressed
spinster Voom: all I've built is a frock lol
Douglas Story: this one?
spinster Voom: no
spinster Voom: can show u if u want
Douglas Story: please!
spinster Voom: k, avert your eyes...
spinster Voom: tada!
spinster Voom: hehe
Douglas Story: great!
spinster Voom: made the skirt, hat and cane
spinster Voom: oh, and shoes
spinster Voom: rest was freebies
Douglas Story: very cute!!!
spinster Voom: ty
Douglas Story: I love that big-petticoat look
spinster Voom: u should see it when i fly!
Douglas Story: (my wife was a clothing designer for many years)
spinster Voom: really?
spinster Voom: in rl, right?
Douglas Story: yes
Douglas Story: she's utterly unimpressed with anything about SL
spinster Voom: so's my bloke =-(
spinster Voom: specially with the amount of time i spend here
Douglas Story: I'll be raving about a Frank Lloyd Wright house here in SL,
Douglas Story: and she'll say, "'s not --real--!"
spinster Voom: of course it's real!
Douglas Story: I'll tell her you said so!
spinster Voom: i got told off yesterday for calling it a game
Douglas Story: (rolling eyes)
Douglas Story: people taking things way too seriously.
spinster Voom: "it's not a game it's a place!"
spinster Voom: hehe
Douglas Story: so....more questions?
spinster Voom: yes, one more ...
spinster Voom: 3) with whom would you most like to collaborate?
Douglas Story: Oh!
spinster Voom: sl or rl
Douglas Story: gosh......well, I did talk with AldoManutio Abruzzo briefly about
Douglas Story: using his music for sound design for a future project.
Douglas Story: and this project changed as I went along, based on suggestions from people.
spinster Voom: is that a sl or rl person?
Douglas Story: SL musician - very interesting,
Douglas Story: evocative, ambient stuff.
Douglas Story: reminds me of some of the things Robert Fripp has done
spinster Voom: makes music in-world?
Douglas Story: yes, yes.
spinster Voom: will have to look him up too
Douglas Story: join his list and go to one of his concerts
spinster Voom: that's what i really like about this project ...
spinster Voom: you contact one artist, then follow up their influences ...
Douglas Story: (smile)
spinster Voom: before you know it you have these big long chains of influence
spinster Voom: which sometimes cross and join up
Douglas Story: I loved Nebulosus' subversive installation about television, too
Douglas Story: it was ironic that I was in the same show as her at the Aho
spinster Voom: haven't seen that ...
spinster Voom: is it still there?
Douglas Story: no, but Stella Costelllo's amazing sculptures are in the neighborhood, too
Douglas Story: fun, playful, beautiful work, Ms. Costello does.
spinster Voom: the Aho?
Douglas Story: the Aho Gallery at NMC
Douglas Story: GREAT shows there all the time.
spinster Voom: lots of stuff to check out
Douglas Story: Autopilotpatty Poppy does wonderful macro flower photography, WAY too much like mine
Douglas Story: with the additional wrinkle of adding reflective mylar around the flowers
Douglas Story: amazing stuff
spinster Voom: reflective mylar?
Douglas Story: I'll show you.
spinster Voom: k
we teleport to the Aho Gallery, NMC to see Autopilotpatty Poppy's work ...
Douglas Story: I call her my Evil Nemesis
spinster Voom: just rezzing now ...

Douglas Story: some of hers looks very much like mine.
spinster Voom: no, these have a very different feel to your stuff
Douglas Story: but isn't it mysterious? I love her work
spinster Voom: well, that must be cos u hav captured the floral zeitgeist
Douglas Story: I do want to show you the caves
Douglas Story: on to the caves?

We teleport to the Bizarre Berry's Caves of Lascaux, on Modesta...

spinster Voom: k, so ... these are the caves...
Douglas Story: you know, ever since you proposed this interview,
Douglas Story: I've been thinking about my creative process,
Douglas Story: and how hard it is
spinster Voom: :-)
Douglas Story: you know these artist types you read about who are constantly on fire with creative energy,
Douglas Story: things just pouring out of them?
spinster Voom: yes... my river has been running dry for months now
Douglas Story nods
Douglas Story: for me...the art comes out kicking and screaming.
spinster Voom: yes, in spurts
Douglas Story: it takes a great deal of discipline to make myself do things.
Douglas Story: also, I tend to be very methodical
spinster Voom: yes ...
Douglas Story: I figure out what I have to learn, then go take lessons
Douglas Story: I admire people like a RL friend of mine who I introduced to SL just this week,
Douglas Story: he's already started building an aircraft carrier!
spinster Voom: wow!
Douglas Story: just jumps in and starts doing.
Douglas Story: I'm so cautious, sometimes.
spinster Voom: is he young by any chance?
Douglas Story: nope!
spinster Voom: oh!
spinster Voom: it's usually the youngsters who jump straight in
Douglas Story: it took me about 4 months to build that thing you saw.
Douglas Story: anyway...that's my true confession, Spinster
spinster Voom: i really liked it
Douglas Story: me too! I'm very proud of the build.
Douglas Story: it's a dream exhibition for me - I love art that's BIG....
Douglas Story: so to display my photos at that size - dream come true
spinster Voom: is it the first 3d modeling you've done?
Douglas Story: No, I've done some 3-d modeling in other programs,
Douglas Story: but it's so diff than working with prims
spinster Voom: now that you've built that, it would prolly be easier to build a bigger one
spinster Voom: or something different
Douglas Story: yes..I have to cogitate about what to do next
Douglas Story: but let me show you the caves.
spinster Voom: yes please
Douglas Story: I found this place early on....and you'll see the influence on my build.
Douglas Story: midnight light
Douglas Story: and mouselook!
Douglas Story: GOT to get you a decent walk!
spinster Voom: all the decent ones cost!
Douglas Story: and you can get freebie walks, you know.....!
spinster Voom: yes, i can choose from walking like a prostitute or a zombie! lol
Douglas Story: (laughing)
Douglas Story: watch your step
Douglas Story: oops
spinster Voom: thought the idea was to jump in! you did
Douglas Story: i tripped! hehe

Douglas Story: isn't this nice?
spinster Voom: yes, this is fantastic!
spinster Voom: these are the original Lascaux cave paintings?
Douglas Story: only some are
Douglas Story: the creator's a fascinating fellow
Douglas Story: I interviewed him for an article
spinster Voom: the influence on your work ... the way you move through it?
Douglas Story: exactly
Douglas Story: I love the theater of the cramped tunnel,
Douglas Story: opening up to this space
spinster Voom: yes, quite claustrophobic
Douglas Story: a technique that Frank Lloyd Wright used a lot, too....
Douglas Story: low ceilinged rooms, opening up to bigger spaces...
spinster Voom: i think this and your installations are the most cramped spaces I've moved through in SL
Douglas Story: he used to have a didgeridoo playing in here...I miss it.
spinster Voom: that must've been good
Douglas Story: Well, I'm cringing at the prospect of your publishing this interview
Douglas Story: people will find out I'm not a Real Artist.
Douglas Story:
spinster Voom: but i think it's a great interview
spinster Voom: honest and unpretentious
Douglas Story: thank you, dear!
Douglas Story: (and when I say "dear" it's with all the respect in the world)
spinster Voom: :-))))))))))
Douglas Story: btw....I've been to London many times
Douglas Story: my wife favors vacation spots that are green, damp and cold
spinster Voom: lol
spinster Voom: try Wales
Douglas Story: so we end up in the British Isles
spinster Voom: bloomin gorgeous here right now!
Douglas Story: I'll bet it is!
spinster Voom: hot
spinster Voom: for England lol
Douglas Story: been as far north as the Isle of Skye
Douglas Story: as far west as the Dingle Peninsula
spinster Voom: Dingle in Ireland?
Douglas Story: yes
spinster Voom: used to live in Donegal
Douglas Story: nice!
spinster Voom: miss that place a lot
Douglas Story: ever been to Sir John Soane's museum in London?
Douglas Story: (think that the name)
spinster Voom: yes!! what a place!!
Douglas Story: (big smile)
spinster Voom: cabinet of curiosities
Douglas Story: okay you....I think it's RL time for me.
Douglas Story: btw...if you want to see the crass commercial work I do...
Douglas Story:
spinster Voom: ok, would love to see ur crass commercial work lol
Douglas Story: honey, if sumpin on my reel doesn't make you laugh, there's something wrong
Douglas Story: with you or with me!
spinster Voom: hehe
spinster Voom: will look forward to seeing that then!
Douglas Story: adios, compadre
spinster Voom: bye xxx

Douglas's thinking space (photo by Douglas Story)


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