Light Waves, Starax Statosky, and Hallucinogen

by onder on 13/10/07 at 12:49 pm

a little fish that’s grown up in the small pond of SL

by Onder Skall


I didn’t start out looking for proof that Light Waves was Starax. Originally I just wanted to figure out who was bankrolling Rezzable. They’ve built 35 sims and have no defined business model. Who is spending tens of thousands of dollars on these vaguely defined art sims? Why are all the employees under contract to not reveal where the funding comes from?

Unfortunately I’m going to have to save the answer to that question for another day. They’re trying to keep a client, Surfline, from freaking out over deadlines for a bunch of surfing sims so I’ll give them some slack. Along the way, however, it came up several times that Light Waves, the artist behind the Greenies and the celebrated ballerina sculpty, is most definitely Starax.As I explored Hallucinogen (SLurl), a sim filled with stuff Rezzable bought from Light Waves, I thought it would be the right time to talk to him about having left behind his old identity.


I should preface this by saying that, while I thought I was such a brilliant researcher for working this out, it turns out that Not Possible IRL had the scoop on this in mid-September. Ah well, I guess I’ll have to work a little harder to earn my reporter’s rumpled raincoat and fedora.

The number one question I had was: why did he leave the Starax name behind? "I dumped Starax for many reasons. I wanted to move on from the wand [...] I became disillusioned with prims for things like "sculptures". Oh, and nobody could remember how spell his last name. ;) "

Starax’s wand is the stuff of legend. One of the most expensive items in Second Life, it listens and responds to almost 150 words, rezzing some of the most incredible interactive sculptures you’ve ever seen in response. The problem was that as long as the name Starax Statosky was associated with that wand, people would be less inclined to accept permanent installations. Everyone would want to know why they should pay such an exorbitant amount of money for something that doesn’t have his "latest" work in it. The wand owned the name, not the other way around.


Making sculptures from prims was frustrating too. Starax was known for incredible works of art, all hailed for their detail and subtlety. The trouble was that he couldn’t take it to the next level – there’s only so much detail you can create with a basic prim set. He had gone to the edge of what could be done in Second Life, and was frustrated when he couldn’t go any further.


So he left… for a few months. "I didn’t really take that long of a break. After a few months Iwas soon back to building. But this time I decided to make stuff thatwas more suitable to prims, and so the Greenies were born… and nowthat we’ve got sculpties I’m enjoying making "sculptures" again."

These days he uses Mudbox, Cinema 4D and Maya to design and implement his Second Life creations, but he wasn’t always the notorious artist we know today. "I do SL for a living now. But I was a office worker before SL anddidn’t create a damn thing. If you had seen my first model that I madein SL, you’d laugh. I was bloody awful."

So who does he look to for inspiration? Nobody, apparently. In fact, he’s careful not to follow others too closely at all: "I don’t really have any influences. I’m deliberately ignorant to otherart because I worry I’ll  block myself off through fear of copyingsomebody else’s stuff."

Having said that, I did manage to get him to show me some pictures of what he would build if he had a full 4 sims available to construct a single piece of art in. He directed me to images of the Himalayan mountain range, and of Angel Falls (the world’s highest waterfall). Seeing these images really makes one appreciate what he’s doing here: bringing a new reality into the virtual world. Even so, Light Waves doesn’t see anything he has accomplished so far as all that impressive:

"I’m fully aware that Second Life is very limited and that anything Icreate is nothing compared to the what the big fish create in the vastocean of 3D modeling. I’m just a little fish that’s grown up  in thesmall pond of SL and is afraid to venture out. I never think ofanything I do as an ‘achievement’."


25 Responses to “Light Waves, Starax Statosky, and Hallucinogen”

  1. Scout Detritus

    Oct 13th, 2007

    Thank you for the article, I have been inspired by Starax since i first tp’ed to that little black box in the sky…I even spent months trying to aquire something as simple as a seagull after he left. It sounds to me that Light Waves is happier than ever, and thats a good thing. There is too much to be frustrated with in SL besides how the broader public receives you. And what a fresh start! Greenies is definitely fun.

  2. Nimrod yaffle

    Oct 13th, 2007

    You’re slow, many people knew Light Waves was Starax about a month after he left. :P

  3. Call me Ingraham

    Oct 14th, 2007

    A true inspiration to all of us beginning artists out there.

  4. Gwyneth Llewelyn

    Oct 14th, 2007

    It’s nice to have Starax around. I’m glad that the “best kept secret” is now out and public; like many others, I’ve known that Starax has “reincarnated” quite a long while ago, but since he truly asked everybody not to reveal it, everyone who was part of the conspiracy kept their lips sealed until Starax would be willing about revealing his new identity in public again…

    As for your answers on Rezzable’s source of funding, it’s more simple than you imagine. Try catching Rezzable’s owner and ask him if he’s still continuing to use his policy of defaulting on payments to “fund” the rest of the development…

  5. Stroker

    Oct 14th, 2007

    Welcome back :) We missed you!

  6. Prokofy Neva

    Oct 14th, 2007

    Great reporting, Onder, excellent job!

    I do think it’s important to recall once again, however, that the Lindens broke Starax’s wand in their latest patch. There was a function that the wand required to work to temp rez all that neat stuff, and they broke it — as they break so many other things accidently or on purpose. And it might have been interesting to get the Lindens to fix it over time…

    OK, now that we’re done mourning Starax and feting his new reincarnation, could we retire the cluttery and prim-junk-filled memorial to him in Patagonia, with its dorky Mr. Potato Head build? k-thx! I keep asking the Lindens, who seized his old land, to clear the junk, but perhaps they are still genuflecting to the memory of the Ancient One and thinking The Commuuuuunity still needs to weep. I was the first to weep and put a candle on that parcel, but, I’ve now come to terms with my grief. So clear the land, Lindens.

    Re: “As for your answers on Rezzable’s source of funding, it’s more simple than you imagine. Try catching Rezzable’s owner and ask him if he’s still continuing to use his policy of defaulting on payments to “fund” the rest of the development…”

    I am so glad Gwyn finally went public with this question — or at least partly publicly. I think what she means to say more starkly: Rezzable has defaulted on payments *to builders*. Gwyn, can you tell us some more about which builders/designers/companies etc. have suffered a default problem?

    So let me put more fine a point on it, to try to get the story out in the comments, as per usual:

    Has Rezzable paid all its builders, on time, and in full? Are there any outstanding disputes with builders/designers/producers of any kind where people haven’t been paid, and that has freed up funds to continue development? Let’s hear the story on that.

    The original source for funding is likely some big broadcast media or advertising company.

  7. like_ummm

    Oct 14th, 2007

    “So who does he look to for inspiration? Nobody, apparently.”

    Its quite a well entrenched tendency for internet-based artist not to have any influences. Oh they have influences all right – the same freely accessible cliche’ pop-culture influences as everyone else: Lord of the rings, pirates of the carribean, ballet, nature… But these are much too boring to mention.

    So we get skulls, skulls and lava, chained humans with wings, little green men, horns, more skulls, man and woman becoming one… but no influences?

    It’s dishonest for an artist to say that “I don’t really have any influences”. Egotisitical also.

  8. JimBean

    Oct 14th, 2007

    Welcome home Starax.

    Please try to ignore the more asinine comments… the Herald’s readers always find some excuse to be assholes.

  9. Reg Baxter

    Oct 15th, 2007

    so “like_ummm” (fuck these anon posters with no guts to leave a name are asses).

    You say “It’s dishonest for an artist to say that “I don’t really have any influences”. Egotisitical also” (its spelled Egotistical by the way). How do you know? are you a mind reader or do you read the shit that shows up in your toilet like tea leaf reader.

    Have you even seen the Greenies project dick wad?, who influenced that entire concept? and don’t give a lame ass “toy story” type answer, this is much more thought out and detailed you Nimrod. People like you are pathetic.

    Welcome back Starax or as you are now know Light Waves :)

  10. Clarrice

    Oct 15th, 2007

    I am glad to see his work again. No matter who flips the bill.

    Hell maybe Linden Lab is sponsoring Rezzable.

    Maybe it is their way of showcasing what can be done in SL,the name Rezzable makes sense in that case.

    And late payments, makes sense too, haha.

    What better place to drag potential advertisers then a group of Islands with set themes and excellent builds. Sure wouldn’t get them to bite on the mainland look :/

  11. Bettina Tizzy

    Oct 15th, 2007

    Hi like_ummm!

    Let me first say that I agree wih you: every artist has been influenced, and not just once or twice or just by one or two people. A dedicated artist is hyper sensitive to the work of others, in ways I cannot even begin to comprehend…

    In fact, if you read the next sentence, Light Waves – by his own admission – concedes that he actively avoids it: < <"I'm deliberately ignorant to other art because I worry I'll block myself off through fear of copying somebody else's stuff.">>

    But let’s step back a moment. Do you or I know how Onder Skall, the author of this article, posed his question(s) in this regard? Was the context focused on in-world influencers? If so, and now with the benefit of history behind us, *who* might we point to as leading the way for Starax’s work? I can think of no one. There are artists in SL today who are demonstrably influenced by Starax, but I see no evidence of it working the other way.

    For that matter, would most SL Residents or most anyone, for that matter, understand or relate to references of Niccolo Massa or Domenico Ghirlandaio? I am hazarding guesses here… but these are examples.

    I once lived with an artist who chastised me to the point of tears because I had hung art in his studio that had been gifted to him by another artist whom he admired. “White walls are essential,” he grumbled. “I cannot create without white walls.”

    I am guilty of pushing artists to see each other’s works. I often meet with resistance, which I understand and respect.

  12. like_ummm

    Oct 15th, 2007

    Hi Bettina!

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

    Question – “*who* might we point to as leading the way for Starax’s work?”

    Answer – Other video game designers. The Hallucinogen sim would make a fairly typical level in a game like Doom, Quake or Unreal. Although i don’t know if you would get away with having a huge ballet dancer in a game like Doom. ;)

    It doesn’t say in the article that the context was in-world influences only. I am thinking of the term influence as being more wide-ranging – not just other artists in SL, not just other artists, but mass-media, pop-culture, tv, nature, movies, personal experience etc. etc.

  13. Bettina Tizzy

    Oct 16th, 2007

    You a builder, like? I have a sneaking feelin you aren’t. Let’s see what you got in that poker hand. I’m calling it.

  14. Dharma Austin

    Oct 16th, 2007

    Thanks for the wonderful reporting on Light Waves. I have been in SL since 08/06 and just recently heard of him or this “magic wand” he invented as his previous avi. I guess I’ve been too busy working on my own endevaors to notice him. I did visit the Hallucinogen sim and I just “didn’t get it” – just like I “don’t get” the greenies sim. But hey I don’t have to get it and if others enjoy it that is great! This is SL! I’m not that much into sci-fi things and tend to be more grounded in my ways. Anyway thanks for the update and as far as Rezzables defaulting -I have had no problem getting my funds for a security consulting contract (knock on a sculpty). They have been more than amiable and forthcmoing to-date. I have dealt primarily with RightAsRain. Cheers. Oh? Who did the photos? they are very nice.

  15. Jonathan Himoff

    Oct 16th, 2007

    We pay our builders and are not out to take advantage of creative people in SL. Comments regarding Rezzable from Gwyn and Prokofy are untrue. We are reviewing our legal position with slanderous comments and will be taking appropriate action.

  16. Gwyneth Llewelyn

    Oct 16th, 2007

    For the record, I’ve formally requested the Herald to remove my comment above.

  17. like_ummm

    Oct 16th, 2007

    My avatar is a work in progress – should be finished soon:

    It explores the ways in which different cultures and religions “connect” with spirituality, nature, god, the soul, nothingness etc. Influences include judaism, christianity, kafka, atheism, acupuncture, methods of meditation, artificial intelligence and skulls. I like the punk rock aesthetic – a good idea and three chords is all you need.

    I see the avatar as being *the* major form of art in SL. With an avatar you are automatically saying something about the human condition, the way people function in society, virtual identity etc. etc. In comparison a build is mere backdrop.

    btw – I have a Fine Arts Degree majoring in sculpture.

  18. Gwyneth Llewelyn

    Oct 16th, 2007

    After some discussion with the editors of the Herald, due to the way Google caches pages, and people quote/link to sites, *removing* a comment is possibly not the best way to retract the comment made above, since it might not be obvious that it has been deleted.

    Thus, please disregard my first comment above, I’m publicly retracting it as per request.

  19. MarkTwain White

    Oct 16th, 2007

    Just wanted to let you know that while our SAIL ON broadcast of September 6 (SLCN.TV) was not the detailed reporting of the IRL piece of September 15, we were perhaps the first to link Starax and the Greenies sims in a media piece. It’s about 40% of the way into the September 6 show at this link:

    Not a big deal I guess after reading other comments here that others knew of the connection long before that. But it’s kinda fun to speculate on the record and find out it’s true.

  20. Snowflake

    Oct 17th, 2007

    I have the wand. I keep hearing that the Lindens broke it and that’s why he left. However, it still works fine for me. Occasionally I have had an item refuse to rez, but then had the same item rez later. If anyone wants to elaborate on how it is broken, I would like to know. I did get the wand shortly before the departure of Starax, so maybe it had some functionality that I never knew about. Anyway I am glad that Starax is alive and well.

  21. Scout Detritus

    Oct 17th, 2007

    I want to remind everyone that they practically hand out undergrad diplomas to art school students…A GRADUATE degree from a renowned “Fine-Arts department would have given like_ummm SOME credibility…

    I believe Starax wasn’t referring to not being influenced, rather that he doesn’t actively seek out the “popular” things in second life so as not to influence his build.

  22. Pirate Cotton

    Oct 17th, 2007

    Good to have you back Starax!

  23. like_ummm

    Oct 18th, 2007

    i want to remind everyone that Scott Detritus would have SOME credibility if he informed us of his qualifications, renowned institutions attended etc. etc.

    I also want to remind everyone that not being willing to expose such information would make him a hypocrate of the highest degree and not to be trusted.

    Just some friendly reminders in case you forgot.

  24. BettinaTizzy

    Oct 28th, 2007

    Geez, like_ummm. You’re a fine one to talk. We know who Scout is in world, but who are YOU?

  25. austin

    Jul 11th, 2008

    you are incredible..pls tell me. How to import Maya objects into Second life virtual world.reply to my e-mail id.

Leave a Reply