Saturday, June 24, 2006

Never mind.

I take it all back.

Second Life is great.

More soon.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Think of it as "cozy"

Ok, it's only $150 lindens a week. Think about it, Jay. It's not a trailer, but it's like the East Coast equivilant. 201, 231, 95 --> check it out. We could also go cheaper if we looked at apartments, but you know - I live in an apartment in real life. Also, we gotta talk about styling up our avatars. What should prospective mom and dad look like? Oh, the mind reels.

Friday, June 16, 2006


On wed. Rapid T. Rabbit came to my studio to sit for his portrait. (or would that be a Furtrait?) He's coming back next week so i can work on it some more. It was the most fun i've had in years. I decided to come and check out the east-coast largest fur convention, Anthrocon which is in its 10th year of existance.

I'm offering to draw people's plush toys and to do charcoal fursuit portraits but have had no takers yet. I'm totally the wrong style, but i've had a few people come by and enjoy what i'm doing because it doesn't fit in. Illustration and annimation style art rules Anthrocon. There are several who are really great, and many more who are very enthusiastic. All day people were coming by and asking the artists next to me to do pictures of them - but they meant thier other selves. "draw me, i am a red rox with wolf ears and wings"... or what have you.

One thing that surprised me: How young everyone is! There's a really large number of 17-25 year old Furries. Does this mean that its a growing phenomenon? Are these people still going to be doing it when they are 35 or will they grow up into humans? It really is a beautiful convention to see. Some of the characters are absolutely amazing. The flash on my camera is broken or i'd have more pictures.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I guess if you look long enough...

I'm trying so hard not to give up on Second Life. I have a whole wonderful post swirling in my head about therapy and the strange alternate universe you drift into when you're there... but I haven't beaten the SL horse to death yet. And so:

I have found two things I consider interesting.

The first is linked above and is mostly for Jay because I thought he might be interested because of his new painting series.

The second is... well, it's this. Followed by a proposal. But first this:

Adoption Agency

Welcome to The Adoption Agency. Do u like to costume your avatar as a kid all the time? or Are you married and want to build your own family? Here is your solution! We are looking for kids and adoptive parents who want to form a family together. The kid can selects the adoptive parents or the adoptive parents can select the kids.

The Adoption Agency's vendors contain people who want to be adopted just like you. Choose a kid or if u are a kid choose yours new parents in the vendor and pay only L$50.The Adoption Agency vendor will provide you with the name and personal profile of your selection. The next step is contact that person and have a family together.

The Adoption Agency can not guarantee that the person will form a family with you after meet you or even respond to your Instant Messages, but our clients have shown an interest in be adopted and have willing provided their personal profile and photograph. All Clients remain in the vendors until they request to be removed.

Right. So the deal is, on SL you can officially adopt some 40-year-old who likes to pretend he's seven.

Ok, they got me there: That, I'm prepared to say, is at least interesting.

And so my proposal:

Jay, marry me. In SL. Let's team up, make it official, pool our measly Linden dollars, lease a trailer somewhere, and adopt a grown man from Idaho who wants to pretend he's a baby. I'm so serious. I really want to do this.

C'mon, at least as an exercise in harm reduction, you should consider it. Now that the idea has crawled its way into my brain and laid about a million eggs (no idea where that came from, but whatever) it's only a matter of time that I will do this with someone. And if I do this with you, chances are I'll feel too guilty to abandon you with the kid and the trailer the first time I get slightly bored with it all.

I suppose the first thing we have to investigate is whether or not there's a Division of Youth and Family Services in SL, and there probably is. And I'm probably headed to SL prison. But I'll take all the blame, Jay. You have it in writing. It was my sick idea.

Anyway. Lemme know if you're in.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Julia Kristeva has a blog!

Sigh. If only it was in English. Still, it's kinda hilarious.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths.

Here's a mystic truth for you: Second Life fucking sucks.

I've been on it for about a week now, and I'm trying to plot exactly when it was that it totally lost its appeal for me.

Days one and two, I was completely enthralled. I felt I was standing on the edge of the universe, peeking into the great unknown. It was amazing! Look at all the things you could do! And look at all the things everyone had built! Incredible!

By day three, I was settling into my SL routine. I was tracking cool places to hang out at and interesting people to meet. I would be methodical, and in doing so, truly create for myself a second life.

By day four, it dawned on me that there simply were no cool places or interesting people to be found. Totally bored, I tried to get my avatar a job.

By day five, truly the only option available to me (the only option in that, it's the only thing that perhaps would keep my eyes from bleeding from utter boredom) appeared to be to whore out my avatar. This turned out to be a far more bureaucratic and irritating process than the simple selling of virtual flesh for Linden dollars should be. I lost interest.

Day six I wandered around aimlessly, in a funk. I tried to join up with a church group there, but my timing was all off. Sad and alone, I wandered for miles speaking to no one.

Day seven... well, I logged on and discovered I had 50 more Linden dollars and for a moment I was happy. And then it occurred to me how horribly boring this whole thing was.

Here. On the train ride into NYC today, I wrote a really shitty poem about how much Second Life sucks:

Oh Second Life,
I find you just like real life
Only 100000x more lame

Your art galleries are dreadful(1)
Your sex parties put me to sleep
Your architecture is somewhat interesting
But the decor makes me weep...(2)

You'd think in a place
Where you can be anything you like
Maybe, just maybe, not everyone would be the same...(3)

I suppose a world built by nerds for nerds
Is truly bound to be boring
But could someone please show me
Where to purchase the gesture for snoring?

Ha ha. See how much this poem fucking sucks ass? Second Life sucks about ten times more.

There's a guy who I often see in the waiting room at my therapist's office. He's not at all what you would think of as conventionally good looking - he's over 40 (at least), overweight, wears big unfashionable glasses, stringy hair, and is a terrible dresser. He's a "character" - he looks like the type that reads a lot. One day as I was going into the therapist's office, he was coming in the door too and the totebag that he had on his shoulder slipped to his arm as he reached to hold open the door. That moment - that gesture - was so incredible to me. He became human, sexy, interesting - all in a moment, just by accident, by fumbling and by fumbling the way I have so many times it's impossible to count. It was this weird moment where I just felt this connection to this guy; I'd looked down my nose at him so many times before because he was all those things I listed - overweight, ugly glasses, etc - but this stupid little fumble opened up this door where I really saw him as a human being, a fellow traveller. For like two seconds, he was really fucking hot.

Moments like that, as far as I can tell, don't happen in SL. Everybody's perfect. Everybody's living their boring fantasy. All the girls at the strip club look just as plastic and fake as all the girls you'd see at any real strip club. All the conversation is more or less what you'd hear around the watercooler at any large office. What's the point?

I'm going to investigate some more, but I'm really losing my patience.

*** footnotes:
1. I haven't checked out Jay's friend's gallery yet, so it may be incredible. I can't say. I'll check it out soon.
2. Seriously: it's like South Beach only the people are even more boring. And you won't get a tan sitting in front of your computer.
3. For real. I mean: you'd think. I've only seen maybe two seriously bizarre and interesting avatars; everyone else I've encountered is some takeoff on Paris Hilton/Barbie/Ken/GI Joe/GQ crapola.

Postscript [8/24/06]:

Ah... yes. Second Life. I changed my mind.

I changed my mind and, unfortunately, folks googling me would only find this post and not subsequent posts where I tried to make it clear that I'd changed my mind.

So let me be straightforward: I have totally, completely changed my mind about Second Life.

Why, you ask? Because, like real life, the good or bad vibe that you get about a place is pretty much 90% based on the people you hang out with. For the longest, I got stuck in the Slingo/sex party ghetto, and was convinced that's all there was. Now that I've actually met smart, creative people who are excited about doing stuff with the technology other than simply gambling and fucking, I realize its potential.

I suppose basing an opinion on SL on this small cross-section of people was a little like judging blogging purely by pro-ana blogs. If that's all I'd seen of blogs, I would be forced to think that blogs, too, suck - that they were simply for the venting of starving 16-year-olds frustrations and low blood sugar rages, and I would lack the perspective to see how the technology of blogging can actually be put to really good use. The idea that extremely skinny teenagers could affect the newscycle or elections would be horrifying to me, because I wouldn't realize that actually bloggers come from all walks of life and are a pretty diverse group. I think I'm wearing this metaphor into the ground, but you get my drift.

Anyway, I'm now playing around with SL and trying to see if there's any way I can incorporate it into my teaching of art history, which is sort of an interesting and weird idea (and also ethically murky - since it means the appropriation and recreation of famous works of art - but that's what's to like about it). I have no idea if this will work, but it's been a fun thing to try. And also, I've met some really decent people.

And so, I apologize. SL doesn't suck, nor does it blow. It actually has tons of potential and is pretty cool. So, yeah.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

2006 Artist Statement

Artist Statement Jay Van Buren
Born in Kansas 1971 Lives and works in NYC

The only thing that I care about now is that the paintings feel honest and direct. I eliminate anything that feels like I'm imitating myself. If you let a painting go where it wants to go, a painting can surprise you. That surprise is what makes everything seem worthwhile, its what makes the sky feel open. That you can do things you didn't know you could do, that you can find what you didn't know you needed. I used to believe that painting was unique in the way it can be surprising but now i think maybe any medium that one allows oneself to fall in love with could have that quality. But I don't think we can choose what medium we are able to fall in love with. For me its painting, and it always has been. Love is not rational and not controllable. I can tell myself that painting is just one medium among hundreds but no amount of reasoning can make it feel less special. To me this is the same as how one loves a stuffed animal. You know its just a piece of cloth with stuffing inside it, one among millions, and knowing that doesn't change how you feel about it. The animals are ones that are special to me the people i love.


I'm planning my open studio for Saturday, June 10th from Noon to 7pm to coincide with an event at PS1 called "IRON ARTIST" which is one block away at 3pm - it sounds fantastic- Artists will make artwork on the spot before a live audience ala 'iron chef' with critics writing about what they are doing as they do it. Come see my studio and have some food and drinks and then go down to see Iron Artist or the other way around.