by Alphaville Herald on 20/02/11 at 11:03 pm
[I have had the honor of meeting many "SLebrities" in the course of my virtual travels, and I want to start by saying that Gracie Kendal is among the nicest and most down to earth of any I've met. She is as charming and friendly as she is talented, and as anyone who has seen her art or been a part of her 1000 Avatar project can attest, her talent is off the charts. For any readers who aren't familiar with Gracie's work, I'm including a short bio of her, and then her Post 6 column. It is a real treat to have worked with her, and an honor to present Gracie as this week's Post 6 Grrrl ~Timothy Morpork]
GRACIE KENDAL: also known as Kristine Schomaker, is a Los Angeles based new media and performance artist, painter and art historian. She received her BA in Art History and her MA in Studio Art from California State University at Northridge. For over 12 years, she has been experimenting with various interdisciplinary art forms including using online virtual worlds and social networking technologies to connect with international audiences and local arts communities. Gracie’s current work explores notions of online identity, specifically the construction of Avatars. Her work as a whole stands as an allegory of the relationship between appearance and identity, illusion, belief and reality. Two projects she is presently working on include, “My Life as an Avatar: The Gracie Kendal project” and “1000 Avatars” a contemporary anthropology of portraits of avatars in the virtual world of Second Life. Her paintings can be seen a her website.
I was very honored when Timothy asked me to pose for his column in the Alphaville Herald. I thought how fun, how cool. Then he asked me to write a bio and a little bit about my experience being an avatar. I thought, how scary. LOL I am an artist and much of my work has to do with identity, especially online identity and how we represent ourselves in this virtual world. I have been working so much on my projects that to actually sit down and have to think about them seriously, was definitely a scary proposition.
So many questions come to mind when thinking about what it means to have an avatar. Who are we? Why do we choose the incarnations we use to represent us? Or do they choose us? When you can be anything you want, why do so many chose to be human?
I often talk about how Gracie is me. She is an extension of my real life. Now, she doesn’t look like me. Well not entirely. We both have blond hair and blue eyes and wear jeans, a black t-shirt and Converse shoes most of the time. But that is where it ends. She is an ideal version of me. She is the person, I want to be. I have received a lot of flack for feeling this way. But isn’t it true? Don’t most of us yearn to be thinner, more beautiful? I do.
When I first entered Second Life, I felt empowered. I felt this new found freedom to thrive. In my real life, I was suffocating. In Second Life I could breathe. Becoming this attractive, classy woman opened up so many doors for me. I dated more. I socialized. I created. I began a journey of self exploration, searching for spirituality, love and friendship. I started to think about my future, what I really wanted in life. And I never look back… Well sometimes.