Second Life Artists, part 1: Daequix Scarborough

by Alphaville Herald on 30/12/07 at 12:50 pm

The Herald is pleased to introduce a new series featuring Second Life artists. In this series Second Life resident Frank Koolhaus (irl Mario Gerosa, the editor of Architectural Digest Italia) will interview a series of prominent and outstanding Second Life artists, beginning today with Daequix Scarborough. Artists should feel free to contact Frank in world. The rest of you, enjoy! –Uri

Frank and Dae in front of Dae’s piece: Magic Lantern Dreamer

Daequix Scarborough has a great gift. With her art, she can offer you instant fame. Her portraits always have an aura of celebrity that transform the ordinary people depicted into celebrity characters. You can see this by looking at the “Club Hex” series. These are screenshots taken in a Second Life disco, with people you can meet at any moment. But, then, when you look at the portraits of these dancers, waitresses, and clubbers, you have the impression you are in front of someone famous, someone you did not recognize before. The same happens with “Shopping Time”, another great work by Daequix. The work shows three women shopping — Daequix and her friends Gadget and Arteer — but the impression is that your are in front of a poster for the rights of women. These three friends look powerful, determined and strong, and they represent a sort of a bidimensional monument created to honour the girl power in Second Life.

Daequix obtains this effect mostly with lighting. Not ambient lighting, but with direct lighting, spread on the subjects, as in her work “Magic Lantern Dreams”, a pointillist style photo taken in the steampunk Victorian sim of Babbage Square. In this work the subject is completely infused with lights — with a thousand minuscule rays of light that makes the effect of a rain of sun and colours. But Daequix can achieve those results even reducing drastically the light, cancelling it at times, as you can see in “The Eyes have it”, where she made a great work in taking off progressively every sense of tangible light, to concentrate it on the face of the subject.

But which is the background and which are the inspirations of Daequix Scarbourough?
We asked her in this interview for the SL Herald.

Deep in Thought.

-What is your artistic background? Did you work as an artist before SL?

- Really only as a child/teen- it was frowned on in my family for me to pursue it….. so went into nursing.

- When did you start creating digital artworks?
- Umm, didn’t even know how to use Photoshop when I came to Second life in May of 2006. My boyfriend, Solivar is a graphic artist so he’s taught me many of the tricks of the trade over the past year or so.

- And he introduced you to pop art, I guess.
- Lol no not really…..that was me, and just really playing more so. Warhol was someone I remember as a youngster….and of course the entire Pop Art movement.

- But I think you have some artists who inspired you, in your works there is a 70′s touch. Could you mention other artists you like?
- I honestly love Julie Bell, Boris Vallejo, Michael Parks,Vargas type work as well.

- Which are the subjects you prefer? Have you some favourite models? Here in SL arte there models very requested by artists? Who are they?
- Myself honestly…and occasionally spontaneous captures. I’m a skin maker by trade so I can create pretty much any look I wish. – I have used on occasion Suki Oki who is a friend of mine….she has interesting features to work with.

- Do you make mostly portraits?
- Mostly……but I also like to set scenes as well.

- Which kind of scenes?
- Often shoot in Straylight, Apollo Gardens…… and I very much like to work with some sort of fantasy environment if I can work around the area’s visitors.

- And which kind of scenes you set up?
- Well for instance….in Apollo I set up one called “Slave to the Sunset”…it has an Asian Influence to it….and was part of a series. It depicts a very rich sunset which took alot of post work to get it right…..In addition I shot another one in there, “Final punishment”, it is a death scene….this was influenced by the strong Gorean Society here……

- So in your works there is also a narrative dimension….behind the picture there is a story, I guess.
- Often times…and at other times the story comes from the picture….the angle of the face, that chance expression that is so elusive here in SL. Often times to get just that right shot I may shoot 100, and in examining them…….one will speak to me.

- Have you many works by commission? People who ask you a particular subject?
- I have had some, not a major amount. I am on the board of Avatrait (, a Second Life and Real Life based company that focuses on the artists wtihin Second Life and promotion of their work, and sell works through them. As well as have had some private commissions really based on what people have seen in Flickr and have wanted a recreation of these works with them as the model.

- Is there an art market for SL? are RL galleries interested in these works?
- There is a beginning one. This is one of the areas that Avatrait is trying to capture…often times right now, its more a person wishes a picture of their own avatar.

- Do you know of RL galleries interested in selling these works?
- Only this one at this point, Avatrait, in Evanston Illinois.

- The prices are so different, there is not a structured market. here someone sells at 10 US$ and in RL some artists sold at 3500 euros. Is it going to change?
- Ahh, I know nothing of the prices honestly. I have no idea … entire focus in this is to have an outlet for my own creativity and… encourage others here to do the same.

- I tell you that because I sincerely think that the art generation of people here is going to become famous, as the backyard artists discovered by Juxtapoz.
- That would be wonderful in many ways, and ….scary in others :)

- Why scary? Too much work?
- Lol well, I like my privacy and my ability to create. Famous means no more privacy.

- Yes, anyway, none will force artists to come out.
- Very very true

- But I think the direction is that one.
- I think it may be, though time will tell…if not, I’m happy with what I do now…..its relaxing, and satisfying all in all.

- You have been working as an artist since two years. which differences you see in your earlier and newer works?
- My earlier works were often mistakes….but sometimes wonderful mistakes…. I am not more technically able to produce what I want…and often times I can go to the shoot with a picture in my head of where it will end….other times it takes me where it will go. I am now more technically I mean to say. My skills have gotten stronger…..but I still have so much more room to grow.

- Which are your favourite works, I mean among the ones you made?
- Well, some of my very favourites are “Magic Lantern Dreams”, “Slave to the Sunset”, “In Waiting” and most recently “Morning Delight”.

- In SL are there enough museums for SL art? which are the best?
- There are so many but I haven’t visited all of them…again Avatrait has a very nice representation….Code Red , September McKinney’s, The Cannery is brilliant.

- Which are your favourite SL artists?
- I would say that Stephen Venkman is one of my favorites……Gita Rau. Hmmm there are so many honestly I don’t know that I could name them….Codie, Shoshona, Corbett Howard, Looker Lumet….

- Do you work in a studio or in open air, looking for the good location?
- I do both. I sometimes perch here on the edge of my work platform even just to get the sky behind me well :) with no interference. I have a small private work area with Photosphere in it, and we have various backdrops as well

- Performances or figurative art? what is the best for the art of SL?
- I would say figurative would work best now but at this time performance is in its infancy ………audio/video are still with many glitches.

- Is there an avatar you would make a portrait of, maybe a famous avatar?
- Actually none that I can think of from SL….. Fame comes with so much baggage…ego, need to impress, the need to ‘show’ something or someone……so I prefer to work with random captures, or with my friends, family or other artists at this point

- Are there good art critics in SL? Are there reference books, catalogues of art?
- Not that I’m aware of as of yet

- Coming back to art in RL, which are the artistic movements you like the best?
- I’m very fond of the Pre-Raphaelites, and William Morris.

- Please name the three books you have on the shelf while you work
- Well not that you could call it an art book but a big collection of Julie Bell, “Art Through the Ages”, “Northern Italian Renaissance”.

- Daequix is a preraphaelite name, kind of Beata Beatrix?
- Well…. more so hadn’t really thought of that in that light at all, though one of my alts name is Gabrielle….so maybe that is the influence? :)

- If you had to define the SL art, which styles you would name? Digital impressionism? Ludic surrealism? New naif? Post raphaelite?
- Actually I like that name……Digital Impressionism.. There is so much cheesecake in SL sorry it seems to lend itself to that. I would say though that Digital Impressionism isn’t just obviously confined to SL, and that in reality that since art in SL is so new…that it as yet is to be defined.

- Have you ever thought about making limited editions of your works?
- I have….though haven’t really approached it yet as an option…but if it seems there is more of a call for my work then I would be more than happy to. Through again, Avatrait (not trying to publicize them sorry) there are limited editions in world.

- Which is the last art exhibition or museum you saw either in SL and in RL?
- Juno’s was his name? But prior to that September McKinney’s Haunted Gallery. She had artists all over SL displayed but it had to have a macbre leaning, or a Samhain, Halloween feel to it.

- Do you think the art of SL is similar to the one of graphic novels? Do you like them? which ones?
- It can be depending on the artists…..And yes I like them though I’d have to say Solivar is more the enthusiast of them…in terms of which ones..I like “The Doll’s House” by Neil Gaiman. “Stardust”…again by Neil Gaiman. And “The New Frontier” by Darwyn Cooke.

- Did you visit other virtual worlds? Do you like video games?
- Well, yes…..I’m a long time gamer…..I started ages ago in a MUD called Dragon Realms…Have been playing and still do play others… WoW, CoH, Guild Wars, Lineage II, Everquest II, Star Wars Galaxies. I’m a gamer at heart really :)

- Could you describe some of your works?
- Surely. This is “Slave to the Sunset” and was shot at Apollo Gardens, its the series I spoke of…..

Slave to the Sunset.

- I figure there is an history behind it….
- Well, in some ways I wanted to capture the feel of slavery…..when we first came here I was overwhelmed with the beauty of some of the Gorean Sims…..but also conflicted by them. So……I used this entire series to depict a conflict between freedom and slavery. The next one is “Magic Lantern Dreams”.


- Here I see the influence of Seurat.
- Thank you so much…..the effect though was mostly from the light from the projector behind me so…..wasn’t shot that way intentionally just a happy accident.

- It’s a bit victorian too.
It’s very victorian its taken in our Babbage Square Home the Phantasmagorium. I’d also like to point out that everything you see in that picture is made by myself and Solivar.

This is called “Thresholds”. The angle is very modern but the warmth, the light… more so owed to Caillebotte.

- Where was it shot?
- In the Varnish Scrapers, again shot in Babbage Square, a Victorian Steam Punk Sim. And was mostly again….just a happy accident

- In which way?
- There is a marvelous structure there with glass flooring and I was attempting to catch a different angle, and this just happened…..swirl of skirts…the pose, the lighting, the reflections are all after effect work though.

- You like to use reflections, lights, in a way you wok as a director of photography too…
- I love the use of lights, reflections…the add so much to the image and different colors, textures can enrich it so much.

- Did it happen by chance?
- Not entirely.

- Anyway, you made it seem spontaneous. that’s an art.
- Once I envisioned the angle….it blossomed but it took a long while to get what I was looking for. Much like shooting in the real world, inspiration often comes not from before hand…but by that happy moment when you capture or see something in the area…spontaneously.

- Do you feel more a painter or a photographer?
- Very hard question that….I like to think I am crafting the shot so much more a painter.

In Waiting.

16 Responses to “Second Life Artists, part 1: Daequix Scarborough”

  1. Art Myass

    Dec 30th, 2007

    Unless you do some really phantastic stuff with the image after you hit that snapshot button like every other person can in SL, photoshopping the hell out of it in some way, then your just a stop-no-action cartoonist.

    Art? possibly but not high art. The only truely SL-centric high art I’ve seen is sculpture, and the best of the SL sculptors is Charlot Dickins, hands down.

    I’m waiting for an artist to paint with prims, essentially 2d sculpture.

  2. Nacon

    Dec 31st, 2007

    “The Herald is pleased to introduce a new series featuring Second Life artists.”

    ….uhh sure. Whatever you say.

  3. Candy Lemmon

    Dec 31st, 2007

    To the first commenter – I really don’t see how photoshopping and other post-processing is more artistic than creating an beautiful raw in-world shot. In fact I think it’s much more challenging to seek out locations, set up lighting, and frame a photo to perfection without the easy aid of cropping and smudging. It’s certainly comparable to non-game photography, which anyone can argue truly IS “high art”.

  4. Art Myass

    Dec 31st, 2007

    A RL art photographer is subject to the whims of nature: wind, clouds, weather, sunlight. An art photographer is distinguished from a commercial photographer by the fact that the commercial photographer creates the whole scene in a controlled studio in order to produce product for sale. Certainly artistic, but not high art.

    In SL, you can control the position of the sun, and now even the clouds and other weather with Windlight. One can product fantastic shots, no doubt, but doing so is so easy that calling it art is like calling popcorn and soda pop “food”: it resembles art, like soda and popcorn resembles food, but neither has any nutritional or spiritual value. It denigrates the meaning of art by removing the work and creativity component and replacing it with a mere exercise of playing with software settings.

  5. Razrcut Brooks

    Dec 31st, 2007

    “and the best of the SL sculptors is Charlot Dickins, hands down”

    ??? Better than Light Waves aka Starax….???? Doubtful. Light Waves is King..Visit Black Swan or the Greenies Home and you will see for yourself….

  6. Candy Lemmon

    Jan 1st, 2008

    Well sir, while I disagree with what you say, I will defend to my death your right to say it.

  7. Art Myass

    Jan 1st, 2008

    Razrcut, ever seen Charlot’s stuff? Thought not. Visit Friedman where a lot of her stuff is on display.

  8. SqueezeOne Pow

    Jan 2nd, 2008

    Yeah…truly “SL art” is something you can immerse yourself into and view it from different angles…i.e. 3d. This is more like tactful screenshots of a video game. Now if the “artist” in question made EVERYTHING in the pic from the background to the clothes and skin then it would be a different matter but it would also be immersive and 3d because it’s somewhere I could go.

    They’re nice photoshopped screenshots, though!

  9. Daequix Scarborough

    Jan 2nd, 2008

    The artist involved did make everything in many of the shots….I do ALL my own skins and shapes, many of my own hairstyles, and hair textures and some of my own outfits. Plus the surroundings were made in Magic Lantern Dreamer as well, by my boyfriend and business partner…


  10. Jeffery Sargent

    Jan 2nd, 2008

    It’s a tired old saw: art can only be accomplished in the way _I’m_ used to – any other way is rubbish. They said it about photography when it was in it’s infancy, film, the various schools of abstraction, etc.

    As to art photography coming from the whim of nature – tell that to Helmut Newton or Man Ray (can you imagine if Man Ray were practicing today, that he wouldn’t be hip deep in photoshop?). SL “photography” can be just as spontaneous or contrived as regular photography – god knows that battle still rages in the regular photo world. I had a darkroom in my 20′s that I would regularly use to play with images, only to meet the stern disapproval of some of my contemporaries that the “art” of photography wasn’t in the final image, but in it’s pure form – which CAN be true if that’s where your values lie, however it can be argued just as effectively that the image is all that matters: how you got there doesn’t matter. Both are valid, both are bullshit. Some say Keaton was a film craftsman, nothing more – making lowbrow comedies. Others see a genius painting compelling stories and images in a unique and innovative way, through the vehicle of film and comedy.

    My suggestion is pull your nose off the ceiling, and deal with your bias. Daequix and her contemporaries don’t connect for you – yay! Draw and quarter her on the rack like those other hacks who didn’t do art the right way – Van Gogh or Picasso. Fear the new! Wrap yourself in some pleasant Montovani and safe&sane seascapes, smugly secure that you’ve done your bit to close doors on new experimental avenues of artistic expression.

    Thankfully, Architectural Digest Italia doesn’t see things the same way: they featured Daequix and several other SL artists as the COVER story in a special issue on contemporary art. Maybe they realize that though it looks like a videogame, SL is a tapestry made up of the artistry of thousands of artists – every rock, every flower, every birthmark on a skin, created by someone as a conscious act.

    Like taking a picture.


  11. JeanRicard Broek

    Jan 4th, 2008

    The diversity of talent and experimentation of the “residents” of Second Life has amazed me since my second day “inworld”. I have discovered so many talented people and expressions in Second Life from: “The Dumpster for SL Trash” & “The Sweatshop”, to the sculptural works featured by NPIRL, the builders of places of fantasy, horror, humor & romance like Greenies, Apollo and 1001 Nights, to the avatar photographers, victorian steampunk, high fashion & goth designers. The list can go on. This is a new medium, with very limited tools but a wide open pallet. It is not the future but the front line of change. As the tools and this medium of expression improves so will the creative amongst us.

    Those that express themselves here, experiment and share their work and techniques without financial reward should be recognized by more then a few. Just imagine SL without them, a world built by professional game designers, corporations, or only those without an eye for beauty, humor and grace. Imagine RL without artists that are not afraid to struggle, experiment, play, and explore new ideas while their critics minimize their work.

    Take a look at the photos in the Flickr group; Second Life – Best of the Best someday (URL Below). There you will find 800 plus snapshots by 280 talented contributors, submitted over just a 3 month period. Put the slide-show on as full-screen (toggle F11 w/ Windows XP) and just sit back and watch. I am sure you will find at least one image that will amaze you.

  12. Mario Gerosa

    Jan 4th, 2008

    Hi everybody,
    I am the author of the article.
    I do not think we should only asking us if this is art or not (naturally, imo it is). We should rather start thinking about which art it is.
    Is it a mere branch of the net art? Is it a new version of the photography? Or is it a different way to make a painting? Or, again, is it a brand new form of art, just SL art?
    Second question: we generally say SL art, but many years has passed since the origin of SL, and its art has changed. Are there already different artistic periods? Is there a storicization?
    Talking about RL art versus SL art, many people will consider the latter a lower artistic expression, like once was said of the comics. But inside SL the art is all the same or there is a more cultivated and snobbish art that would like to be better than the other?
    Last but ever ever not least: when will there be a selected archive, with good choice selections of the most interesting artists and the reasons why there are the best?

  13. Faerie

    Jan 4th, 2008

    Thank you Mario for a producing a positive and interesting story.

    Thank you SLH for carrying such a positive and interesting story free from sleaze and drama.

    I look forward to your next installment and the next wonderfully talented artist you report on.

  14. Jeffery Sargent

    Jan 5th, 2008


    It was actually interesting to see the negative responses to sculpties when they first came out – a lot of prim sculptors were pooh-poohing sculpties as the “easy way” and that SL sculpture should be done with regular prims – me personally, I never liked a lot of prim sculpture I’d seen, particularly figuritive. Sure, it was clever and ingenious how they would wrangle forms from combinations of prims, but it always looked more like “This is as far as I could get”.

    I think the demarcation between regular prim and sculptie might act to define “schools” of SL art, moreso than any “photographic” schools (other than the usual: portrait vs landscape etc).

    As for SL screenshot art: I would tend to suggest a branch of photography…though with elements of various other arts as well. Even the most exacting rl photographer has only limited control of the actual shape of his human subjects (“Okay Kate, now for this shot I need you to have a 60″ bust and no ass…”), so, like a sculptor, an SL artist can control in a very real way, the forms of his/her models. An SL artist, given they have the skillsets, can create a tableau from the ground up – I know I’ve done work where I created the skin, shape, setting, pose, lighting et al, where a rl photographer would have to hire an army of professionals to produce the elements needed.

  15. Miss Sierra

    Oct 9th, 2008

    IMO these “art” works are average at best. Although I do like elements of “Deep in Thought” . Just look at SL ART over on flickr and you will see that these artworks do not compare with the photoshopping skills, use of lighting and filters etc of others who do not claim to be artists.
    AS for an SL artist, I am more inclined to look at just more than photoshopping skills, simply because 90% of people CAN photoshop to some degree. My 8 year old daughter made two skins for me in SL (both look like 70′s disco queens – way too much blue eyeshadow) BUT she is 8 and all 8 year olds like things bright and sparkly. For me SHE is the beginning of a sublime and inspiring digital artist.
    I digress
    I think a real artist using SL and its inhabitants as subject matter could make exceptional images just by using the camera in world no fancy stuff. When someone can show me an image that hasn’t been touched up and is “SL au natural” and it shows depth of thought composition/lighting etc etc. I will be impressed.
    Glyph Graves (I think that is his last name in SL) is an awesome SL artist. He makes moving textures that light up and float about. To me some look like glowing jelly fish, which their colours move and morph as they rotate. Not only does he create and build objects he scripts and makes the textures. Another SL artist I find awesome is Doler Matova who is currently creating the images for a RL book using SL sets and avatars.
    I know art is in the eye of the beholder……… if u call it art it IS art, but I am indeed in a quandary over SL art.

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