Thursday, October 15, 2020

Kayly Iali, CDS Artist

By Bixyl Shuftan

Recently I had the chance to interview Kayly Iali, an artist who makes her home in the Confederation of Democratic Simulators. I met up with her in front of her studio at the Locus Amoenus sim, and we sat down at her patio, commenting with amusement if I wanted I could play the guitar as I interviewed.

When asked how she found out about Second Life, Kayly answered, "I read an article a few years I got on about how people can own land and basically do stuff in SL that you can do in real life. The avatars of course looked very primitive. At that time I wasn't very computer savvy and was afraid to touch the keyboard other than to type. And also I was very busy gettting my second degree but in art and raising a family." But later on, she would sign up for it. Of what convinced her, "I'm not sure. Maybe I had more time. Or I was playing Yoville on FB and just love how I can make friends from all over the world and have my own place. SL offered that so I decided to give it a try. As you know though SL has a high learning curve. I was often getting frustrated and quit, and playing on a laptop that wasn't gear to SL graphics caused me to crashed constantly."

She had a rough time at first, "But once I joined the Help People group and became a volunteer to help others to get started into SL that became a turning point. It was called Help People Island...I don't think  it is around anymore. That was over 10 years ago." For two to three years, she was a volunteer for the group. But that wasn't her only activity as she was, "... probably just getting to know SL and learning how to dress and redesigned my avatar. I came in as a different avatar not as Kayly Iali. I took classes and became familiar with Building Brewery, Oxford, NCI, took a bunch of classes."

She wasn't showing art at first, "I wasn't exhibiting art at that time. But I did go and visit galleries. During my travels through all these different galleries, I happened upon a gallery, Park Galleries, that was curated by Samara Barzane ... aka Kyoto." She brought up Kyoto had been a CDS Chancellor, "So Samara and I go way back. She is the CDS PIO Team (and) a very active member here in CDS." So at the time what caught her attention to the place? "Samara was running the gallery for a friend who was had either passed from cancer or was dying from cancer. It was a fundraiser. Samara took me under her wings and taught me the ropes about hanging in a gallery. It propelled me into the art scene, showing at different galleries like Pilate who had several galleries. They were well known for their reception and heavy promotion for artists."

Of when she thought about running her own gallery, "I mainly show in galleries run by other people. But here in CDS I can rent my own place and make it my own gallery. I did run a gallery on Avalon Art Center a few years ago where I exhibited other artists works. In fact I have a blog on it." She would show me the blog, at, then went on, "I would interview  the artists and have receptions. There were some fantastic artists, mainly those who brought their real-life works into Second Life." When asked who stood out, "Silas Merlin, Xirana Oximoxi, especially Ieko Catnap, Maymay Matova and Miss Longtail. All of these artists are real-life artists. Oh I can't forget Sheba Blitz. All of them are still around. But Silas Merlin is doing more SL sculptures than his pastels portraitures nowadays."

Checking the blog, I noticed the last entry was in 2016. I asked about that, and Kayly answered, "Avalon got very laggy when there are too many avatars, and it was time to leave Avalon. It was a great place to have a gallery at one time but now when I had gone back to visit there's a lot of to be rented signs everywhere." The gallery is not as popular as it once was, "If you go there now you'll see what I mean. There are still artists there. besides I couldn't afford the rent."

Of how she found out about her current home, "I met Tor Karlsvalt at Help People Island. So  that's how I came to know about CDS." But she wouldn't move there until, "about one or two years ago. I rented the blue cafe next to me first, but it did not look like that. And then I went over to the docks and rented the corner place there. And now I'm here." So her art gallery has been at the CDS for about a year, "I'm planning to stay here for awhile. I love being near the water and hearing the sound of the ocean. And the layout of this place is perfect."

Of her artwork, "I just enjoy painting; I really don't have a point to make like a political statement of sorts. So I paint whatever is around me or what I feel I need to paint. When I started to paint seriously, this is right after I got my art degree in 2009, I painted a lot of fruits and objects, just to get a handle on oil painting. I did start off painting abstracts in college. But I wanted to paint more representational, something that is in front of me. Now I'm into landscape painting and more so into painting buildings, cityscapes." She only does real-life landscapes, though of the possibility of those in Second Life, "That might be a thought. I should mention that since I have a dog, I started to paint pet portraits. My clients had asked me if I would paint them as well. So now I practicing painting people as you can see in the exhibit at Visions." And downstairs, she had a number of cat and dog pictures.

"I tried to make this place more coffee shop like," Kayly spoke of it, "Sit and relax. I noticed in one corner of her studio, painted on the wall was, "Every journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step." She was happy about it, "I would love to do more word art like that, it was done in Inkscape. I was once a calligrapher so I love typography and lettering."

Of her future plans, "As far as Second Life goes, I'll take it one day at a time. As far as real-life goes, I want to get into a gallery. I applied to enter an artist coop, pretty well done in the region. But I was rejected, not because my art is not up to par but because there were other pet portraits artists in the coop. I would have been a competition to them."

That was about everything on Kayly's mind at the moment. So we bade farewell, and parted ways.

Kayly Iali Art is located at Locus Amoenus (71/173/24). She also has a Flicker page at .

Third image from Gallery 24

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, October 9, 2020

Jasmine Dawn on The Halloween Haunt And Her New Computer

 By Bixyl Shuftan

There's a club tradition at the Happy Vixen. Every October, a Halloween-themed build goes over the club. Over the years, it's had something different every time. The creator of each of these builds is Jasmine Dawn. This year, it's a double build. There's a haunted house for club events. But there's also a spooky maze for people to try and find their way through.

Just before it was completed, I had a few words with Jasmine.  She was at the haunt, but the public door had yet to be set up, the only one active being one only a few she told knew about. "A sneaky way to keep people out of here while I work above the club," she called it.

Jasmine had done mazes before. But she called this one, "My most complex maze to date, at over a staggering 1600 prims.  Brandi loves mazes and gave it a go last night. She was lost within minutes. ... She uses the trick that if you follow a wall around all the twists and turns, that it will lead you to the exit, (a) process that many maze runners use. ... I used all that I know to defeat the usual tricks people use to solve mazes. One such trick I used is pitfalls. (It) drops you into a sub area with four ways out. One stairway will hinder you and leads nowhere. Two will put you close to the exit. And one with a bit of navigation and negations will put you back on the right path. Not to say there isn't other, surprises, in the maze."

It was decided to close the Happy Vixen for club events for a week for Jasmine to do the Halloween build. Jasmine felt she could do it in less time, but felt a few extra days wouldn't hurt in case something happened. As it turned out, something did happen. "I had played some Minecraft that morning and then had a chat with Nydia, a short chat with Kryxia, and then had to go outside and do some needed maintenance on my car. ... I had left it on, it would go into sleep mode when not used for more then 30 minutes. Came back and sure enough, sleep mode, or so I thought. But the lights in the keyboard was out and the lights in the mouse was off. No response whatsoever. I powered it down and commenced to take it apart to see what had gone wrong. I finally discovered popped capacitors on the motherboard and burnt circuit paths.  It was non-recoverable."

With her computer gone, she took her smartphone and gave her friends on Second Life the bad news, "I let everyone know. Kryxia the next day surprised me by having set up the GoFundMe. I thanked her, but during this Covid-19 pandemic I was thinking realistically that people was already having a hard enough time, that we couldn't or wouldn't meet the $1500 goal. I know people has it tough right now. Many people out of jobs and having to scrimp and scrap to get by. I honestly didn't expect us to make (the) goal.

"But thanks to many generous donations from all my friends, we met goal and then some. There was a last minute donation that covered the gofundme sites fees and a additional $200. The final total raised was $1700. I was quite literally speechless and it brought me to tears, knowing what everyone had done. Everyone pulled together to help me. Even my brother while he is in Rehab for his legs, he allowed me to use his desktop computer to be here now. Normally we fight and argue, but he was actually cool with me using his system. Not like he can use it where he is currently. And to note, his legs are getting better. I prayed he would get to come home soon."

"One the workers at the Rehabilitation center tested positive for Covid-19. The place enacted a 28 day mandatory lockdown. All residents are confined to their rooms and the only saving grace for my brother is his XBox. He's slowly learning to play Ark: Survival Evolved. So while he is there, I am here taking care of myself, my Dad and his house and area, his livestock in the mornings and afternoons. He claims it's boring, nobody except him and the critters here. He sleeps a lot, watches his hunting shows." When I asked if he applies what he sees there to the Ark game, Jasmine answered, "He's struggling to build a base on the Eastern Side of the Island Map, complains that the raptors keep getting him.

"Back to the computer and the GoFundMe.  Due to a time period on the funds transfers, I have to wait to receive the funds from Kryxia. Once I receive the funds and place the order, the parts should arrive within a week, two at most. And then a few hours for assembly and setup. I could be up and running on the new system by the middle of October. 

"I wanted to say thank you to everyone that helped me, everyone that contacted me, those that gave of themselves to help. Some couldn't but wished they could. I asked that people do what they can and no more. To not short change themselves for me. I've been helping my dad with his bills and helping take care of both his place and mine. I was already on a budget and the death of my computer would have sunk me into debt.

Giving the maze a try, Jasmine recommended a light source. She had a lantern rezzer by the entrance, the lamp originally made by Richard Linden. The corridors were grimy-looking brick with an occasional spooky sight such as a dead body. Trying to navigate it, it wasn't long before I fell into the drop-zone underneath. Then there were the eerie noises, which could be disturbing-sounding heavy breathing to cries for help, to animal growls to sinister laughing. While it's likely to frustrate you, it won't be boring.

As for the rest of the Halloween Haunt, much of the upper ground consists of a spooky forest with a misty fog covering the ground, with  a pumpkin patch to the side. Walking to the back is a haunted house, with a cloud with lightning just overhead. The lower floor is the dance area. The upper floor is a tribute to a certain movie monster, with some "mad scientist" equipment around, including a table with someone strapped in. Anyone wanting to tip Jasmine for her work can do so with a pumpkin tip jar on the lower floor.

A delightfully spooky place fitting for the Halloween season. 

To get to the Halloween Haunt, head to the Happy Vixen, and go through the door in the middle of the dance floor.

Bixyl Shuftan