WEEK 11 – Artist of the week – Vaneesa Blaylock

Vanessa Blaylock is a contemporary artist that uses both virtual and real life to create art. Blaylock has her art portfoilio on her website (http://blogger.vanessablaylock.com/?view=mosaic), she is affiliated with not only virtual avatars but has become a part of something much larger, the virtual world.A virtual world is defined as a computer simulated environment with massive multiplayer population. Those who participate start by creating a personal avatar that is then used to communicate with others and engage in activities. Blaylock is an active user on a popular virtual reality website, secondlife.com, with nearly 1 million active users. What do all these people do on these websites? There are actually several ways to make real money with an virtual job. You can become “wedding planner, pet manufacturer, casino operator, tattooist, nightclub owner, automotive manufacturer, fashion designer, aerospace engineer, custom avatar designer, jewelry maker, architect, XML coder, freelance scripter, game developer, fine artist, machinima set designer, tour guide and dancer”. Anything that can virtual be made can be sold for real money. Ailin Graef has a networth of over 1 million dollars in 2007 from her real estate job on secondlife.com.

            Blaylock takes her art a step further by supporting important civil rights movements. Users all over the world sign on and gather on Secondlife.com to support causes such as “Asian French Maid Avatar Worker empowerment”. This strike was held in the virtual streets of Paris to bring recognition to everyone who has gracefully  worn the maid uniform. I went ahead and made my own Second Life avatar and joined the virtual world to see what it was all about. I was able to pick out my own exaggerated avatar and was able to chat with other users in a chat box. I had trouble maneuvering I think because my computer is sort of old, making my avatar walk and move in a very glitchy fashion. I can see the excitement in the game. I use to play another virtual game, Runescape. Runescape was different in many ways because it was a game online second life. It was similar in many ways because you got to create an avatar and chat with other users.



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