By Klaus Bereznyak
I have paid several visits to the gallery of Aruba De Cuir since I first saw a small selection of her work at Gallery 23 in Virtual Chelsea. I own a couple of her art works and to me it has a different feel from what you usually see in Second Life. There's a sense of actual 'materials' being used (papers, fabrics, crayons) and it has a striking simplicity. She also makes attractively designed and reliable low-LI furniture and decor items as well as hats.
Aruba has recently finished work on her "Petit Paris", which gives a flavor of Parisian street life, just alongside her gallery. There's a florist, a wine bar, apothecary, furniture and decor stores, a fromagerie, and a pleasant seating area. She kindly agreed to chat to me on the record for The Newser.
On my visits to Petit Paris I had got the impression of a particular affection that had gone into making an authentic sense of place in a fairly small area. I was curious about the inspiration behind the build.
"I build to entertain myself. I started on my Petit Paris out of a deep love for Paris and France. I think I have visited Paris more than 40 times. My version is not a copy of any, or a special, street. Each time I come to Paris I get high and run in overdrive for the first 20 hours or so - totally exalted and almost raving mad inside. Outwardly I just blend in and enjoy to be in this exciting city. I go to very few museums and the sights I have seen long a go. But I spend hours in parks, markets, or just sitting at a cafe, and suck up all like a sponge." She smiles.
By her own admission, Aruba can discuss art for hours but, like many, she has found by experience how hard it is to get AVs interested in looking at art in Second Life. She administers a group to share information about art and art-related matters, and she is very clear "Art is free and should not dictated by gallery owners or 'curators'". Her own work suggests a continual experimentation with techniques and approaches and a variety of subjects that has issued in a wide array of very appealing art. I ask her what is most interesting to her at the moment.
"Almost impossible to answer. I do paintings, etchings, collages and some photo based art in real life. I found a way to copy the feeling of etchings in here (in SL). It does not mimic an etching perfectly but it works and many people like them."
She goes on to describe to me a little of her creative process in Second Life:
"The way I create in here is mostly by creating a lot of scraps and cuts. I then look them over and ideas are born. I make one - sometimes 3-4 versions - save them and look at them again after a few days. Sometime I just trash all of it. Others I keep and upload."
I ask Aruba what she'd like to do next now that she's settled the area. Of course it is impossible to put the brakes on creativity:
"It will be refined and tweaked, and one day I will do something else. My gallery will stay in one form or another. Even it is a struggle to keep it running - any sponsors out there? In a wider perspective, I am inspired by a lot of things: Music, poetry, literature, history are some important sources."
Finally, I ask how people can find about the gallery and any future events.
"They can visit, they can ask me, and they can join my art group "The Art Messenger" - as I say: "Support your Local Artist". Many people say they do not understand art - they are wrong - it is all about opening the eyes and seeing."
5th Ave - DeCuir Fine Art: https://maps.secondlife.com/se
The Art Messenger group: http://world.secondlife.com/gr