In real life 'Apelles' was a Greek painter, who was court painter to Philip II of Macedonia and his son, Alexander the Great. Notable works included a portrait of Alexander, an allegorical picture of Calumny, and a painting of Aphrodite rising from the sea. Though no copies of his works survive, in antiquity he was considered the greatest of Greek painters.
What has this to do with Luna? Well everything actually. Luna is a highly talented highly creative content maker in Second Life, so clearly that is why the name Apelles resounded with her.
Lunaria is the name of her brand and she creates everything from Castles and paintings to Steampunk Dirigibles and everything else in-between.
In real life Luna has been a Kitchen Designer in Fort Myers, FL USA for 16 years. She loves the work because it satisfies two of her pleasures in life: creativity and puzzles. Being near the beach, satisfies her Piscean nature, and a big plus is that there's a lot of great live music in the area as well. As for hobbies, she likes drawing portraits, calligraphy, woodworking, writing, and camping. See what I mean about being highly creative?
An article in Popular Science magazine in 2006 piqued Luna’s interest and drew her in. SL was much smaller back then, but for her it was an exciting new universe to explore. She was overwhelmed at the time with the speed at which she became immersed in the world of friendships, relationships, having a home, and the speed of life in general on the grid, so she did not start creating until 2 years later.
Initially Luna began by trying to create small hard-to-find items for her parcel instead of purchasing them outright, concentrating early on landscaping. At that time, she found two groups in-world: NCI and TUI, that specialized in building classes, and she took as many of those classes as she could find time for. Most of her early skills came from those classes, as well as the Ivory Tower.
Diversity is the name of the game for Luna and she enjoys trying many avenues for creating content. She specializes in architecture, landscaping, medieval, and seasonal items, but has also forayed into vehicles and furniture as well. She creates all of my own textures for use in her creations, and lately she is learning mesh with Blender. Her vision is always how an item will fit with the complete atmosphere for a scene, a room, a home, or a parcel, so she works on the item inside a larger textured space that the item will fit with.
The first item she created that really challenged her that was not related to a class exercise was a castle she made for her home parcel. Up until then, she had spent fortunes on castles made by others, but one day she looked at one and realized that she too could do this. She said it was daunting, but she learned more about building and about herself then, than she could have imagined from the start. Laughing she commented “We lived in that poor castle for 2 years, but it has since gone through 3 revisions and is in my store as the Joyous Gard Castle.”
Asking Luna if there an item that she has created that she is most proud of, she replied “My fondest item is the Star Empress Steampunk Airship and its sister, the Star Maiden. I love the look and feel of them both, along with all their details and parts. It took me a year to make, and in the process I learned all about vehicles, sounds, and moving textures.”
Luna gains inspiration from everywhere and from seemingly random moments. The airships started with a friend asking her if she thought she could make one. The castles are inspired by her love for real castles and are based on those; the ritual circles are inspired by her connection with spirituality in all forms; the cemeteries from a love of all things gothic; and she said that anything related to Christmas is a joy.
She is always pushing herself into new creative areas. Her motivation is not money, she does not build to sell, she creates for the love of creating, she adds “and happily, others like them enough to purchase them. So if a random thought or comment piques my interest, I chase the idea and learn any new skill I need in order to bring the idea to life.”
Asking her what the hardest step in creating content for SL was, she answered “Reinventing the wheel every time a new content creator wants to learn the trade. Most seasoned creators are not willing to pass on techniques and secrets to help new creators advance their skills, so new creators are forced to stumble into skills and tools as they go, which is a long, tedious process that often causes them to give up. I have a group of newer friends that I am giving techniques and tools to in order to move them along faster. This makes SL richer and does not take anything away from me in the end, rather I am expanded by them in far broader areas as a result.”
I asked Luna if she had a fun story about an experience involving her creations or her customers, she regaled the following story “Four years ago, a customer messaged me that they did not get all that they paid for and were tired of getting ripped off by vendors in general. After turning over every stone, I could not find any record that she had ever purchased anything from me. I apologized to her and told her so, but then I decided to go a step further and refunded her the amount anyway and sent her the item she wanted at no charge. She was astounded anyone would do that. Soon after I became her first friend in SL and now we are best friends. She gets everything from me for free now, lol, and we often build together and go clubbing and shopping.”
When she is not creating content for SL, Luna participates in spiritual enlightenment groups such as ACIM, and she still loves to go shopping, exploring, and clubbing.
As for the future of Lunaria, Luna told me that it is bright, especially with mesh now available. She does worry about what will occur with her creations if something were to happen to her in RL though. She would probably choose a talented young artist and pass all of it along to them to give them a solid base to succeed on.