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“Self Portrait as an Avatar”

Gracie self portrait_004

So it’s 1245am…and I couldn’t sleep. I had been laying in bed for almost an hour, listening to my clock radio playing Abba “Dancing Queen” (couldn’t keep my feet from tapping with the time) and just couldn’t fall asleep. I have been so overwelmed this last 2-3 weeks with so much on my mind, that I decided I had to just spill. I have been trying to work on my artist statement, or at least some type of statement as to what I want to do for my thesis project. After many pages of notes and rough drafts, I realized that this is mostly for my blog, so why not wing it and see what I write through stream of consciousness. It’s not official, its just a blog about my life.

I have wanted to sort out what I am doing as an artist especially as it pertains to Second Life and Gracie. I think I realized that artists never really get anything sorted out, as a good friend would say “You can’t be an artist, you’re too organized!”

So the last 3ish weeks, I have been thinking about the idea of my avatar, Gracie Kendal, as my self portrait, as my work of art. I created her in the ‘image’ of me almost 3 years ago. Yes, she is an ideal image, at least visually, but what does that matter? I am the artist, expressing myself. Creating a self portrait is normally a self exploration, a cathartic experience in which the artist really analyzes themselves. Sometimes they depict their history, their life, sometimes they create self portraits that are strictly fantasy in which they stage a scene with characters. Artists create self portraits to help portray their hopes and dreams. They create psychological representations of themselves, as is the case of Frida Kahlo and Van Gogh. They are autobiographical, telling a story of their life. They are a way of searching into their inner souls. In the 3 years I have lived with Gracie Kendal, I have learned so much about myself. I had told a friend, that Gracie probably saved my life, more than I know.

I am 36 years old, and have grown up in a continously changing, renewing, progressing, evolving world. Technology advances at an ever faster rate, every second. Our society has become more and more immersed in social media, and it is changing our lives. My generation seems to be trying to find its way in this new era. I am one of these people, kinda lost and overwelmed in teh jumble of networks. Second life, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Plurk?? Why, why why???

Virtual studio_001

I have been an abstract painter for over 10 years. I love to paint, getting my fingers wet with color, the feel of the blow dryer in my hands manipulating the paint on the canvas, controlling chaos, pushing the boundaries of modernism’s abstract expressionism into the postmodern climate. So having immersed myself in these social media networks, I have engaged with new technology more than I ever thought I would as an artist. I have embraced the idea of merging my art with this new technology and am going to focus on the idea of avatar and identity. Not necessarily in a broad general sense, but on a much more personal level, as my self portrait.

Gracie Kendal allows me to play and work as an artist and a woman, she lets me explore and experience those roles that society has formerly devalued. She allows me to work through my own personal issues with self-esteem, shyness, relationships. I can search for what I truelly want. Through Gracie I am able to find out what I want in life, in love, in art, in work, in success… I have become more aware of myself through Gracie. (My counselor will love that I said that..LOL)

Yes, I know the question you are all burning to ask… I have dated in Second Life. I have fallen in love through Second Life. I am a young, beautiful, single woman, so why not? It is sad to say, that my relationships have not worked out. I believe mainly because I was looking for love for all the wrong reasons. I learned this through Gracie. It is so easy to meet people in Second Life. I have some of the best friends in the world, who are genuine, generous, loyal, respectful, sweet, amazing people. But, I know, I KNOW, I can’t be with someone because they make me feel special. I have to feel special for myself. Gracie has helped me realize this…

to be continued… (considering its 142am and I’m still awake…ugh!!!)

Chad and Kris dancing_001
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