|“ARIA” by Andressa DePrims|
An in depth interview with Second Life Artist and MAGE Model Andressa DePrims
MAGE Magazine is a fantasy and science fiction genre magazine featuring stories presented in comic book form. Issue #1 was released in April 2015 and, since then MAGE Magazine has released 6 issues, distributed throughout Second Life as a 3D book. MAGE Magazine also produces machinima videos and helps to promote the work of Second Life artists. As the magazine prepares to release it’s Halloween Edition I had a chance to speak with a member of their senior team, Andressa DePrims, who is a producer of machinima and virtual photography.
Dean : Could you tell me how you first got involved with machinima and Second Life photography?
Andressa : Ya, it’s actually kind of funny. When I first joined Second Life I got a hat from one of the freebie shops and, at the time, I didn’t know that you had to take certain objects out of a box in order to wear them, so I was walking around with a box on my head when someone sent me an IM asking me if I needed help. So I explained that I had picked up a free hat but whenever I put it on, I ended up wearing a box with a picture of the hat, instead of the actual hat. So the person who approached me explained that I needed to rez the box and sent me a tp to a sandbox where she showed me all those counter intuitive prerequisites required to get my hat from a box into my inventory and then onto my avatar’s head. As it turned out the complications of putting on a hat turned out to be a twist of fate as this person who was helping me was Othella, the editor of MAGE Magazine. We got to talking and Othella explained that she was starting a magazine and asked me if I wanted to be a model. So I said yes and she gave me some lindens and links to freebie and dollarbie items on the marketplace that I would need to be a model and I started putting together different outfits or “characters”. Then, when the first issue was released the section at the back, which is called “A Note from the Editor” was inspired by how Othella and I met, with the character MEZ getting his head stuck in a box.
Dean : That’s a very amusing anecdote, but could you tell me how you got involved with machinima and Second Life photography?
Andressa : Ya, actually my point was that I started as a model with MAGE Magazine and by chatting with the photographers I learned about the techniques they used to create their images and, when I told 0THELLA I was interested in being more than just a model she started sending me links to video tutorials on machinima and SL photography.
Dean : As a model for MAGE Magazine which characters do you play and what kind of preparations do you make for a photo shoot?
Andressa : The characters that I play exclusively are Felicia the Fairy, the Princess Aida, Pieta the gypsy and the Inn Keeper’s wife. There are also characters that I play that other members of the team also play so, for example, the alien avatar that we use for Aldo the Alien costs 15 lindens on the marketplace so 0THELLA, Sizzelle and myself own copies of this avatar so that if one person is unavailable for a photoshoot, someone else can stand in. Aria, the main character from the "Lady Dom” series, is another character that is played by both myself and Sizzelle. The avatar werewolf that we use for MEZ is a library avatar so everyone has a copy of that character. The prep work for a photo shoot is basically a lot of shopping. I try to create original looking characters so even if I find a complete ensemble on the marketplace I'll make modifications like changing the color or I’ll mix and match with other ensembles. The same thing goes with the shapes, especially if they are human, the skins, the eyes and hair are influenced by the story so, with Felicia, Othella said she wanted an “Amazon fairy” so I found a dark skin tone, a black hair piece that resembled a Chinese queue, some polynesian style tattoos and some gold and ivory bracelets and anklets. But the butterfly wings for the fairy were blue and I wanted the eyes to match the wings so I gave her blue eyes and for the first few issues, because Felicia is a fairy and is usually small in the frame no one noticed. In the issue we’re working on now Felicia is the central character so we have close ups of her and Othella noticed for the first time that she has blue eyes. She wasn’t happy about this because Amazons don’t have blue eyes but, for the sake of continuity, we kept them. In addition to creating characters I also do a lot of shopping for poses and huds that cause the character’s expression to change. You might notice in some of the earlier issues, Felicia is in a bad mood so she has a frown.
Dean : You mentioned that some of the other MAGE models use the same avatars. Is this how you’re able to portray multiple characters in the same scene?
Andressa : Ya, but we also use a green screen studio that I built from prims, which is why 0THELLA dubbed me “Andressa DePrims”.
Dean : Is this the same green screen studio that got you banned from the Shiromani Sandbox?
Andressa : Ya, lol, I was fifteen days old in Second Life when I joined Builder’s Brewery and started to build the green screen studio. I had 2 textures to work with. One was green that I used for the interior. The other texture was the MAGE Magazine logo which I used for the outside. I was making adjustments in the Shiromani Sandbox when Eternal Gray decided that showing the MAGE Magazine logo was deserving of being banned for life. So I guess that makes me persona non grata but, there are other sandboxes so it’s not a big deal and if Eternal Gray wants to be remembered for being an asshole, that’s his business.
Dean : You were only fifteen days old and already you were building studios and modelling for a magazine. How did you manage to get your act together so fast?
Andressa : I owe a lot of it to 0THELLA. She is very supportive of artists and MAGE Magazine is more like a family than a business, so we share a lot and learn a lot from each other. It also helps that most of us are relatively new to Second Life so we still have that curiosity and the humility that’s required to improve and grow as artists and human beings.
Dean: I noticed that there is some nudity in the Magazine, what is it with Second Life artists and nudity?
Andressa: Lol. I don’t know. It’s pixels, not real skin, and, even if it was, museums and art galleries are full of nude statues and paintings, so I don’t see anything wrong with it. But I know what you are saying about sexuality in Second Life. I think the anonymity is liberating for some people who might live in sexually repressive conditions because there are a lot of Second Life groups that encourage homosexuality, domination and gender bending. And with MAGE Magazine we don’t shy away from this, if anything, we make it part of the stories.
Dean : Is it awkward to pose nude?
Andressa : ROFLMAO! It’s ironic you ask that question because, regardless of whether I’m exploring a medieval sim, or a science fiction sim or a modern day sim, I always seem to find a stripper’s pole, so it’s not unusual to see avatars showing their bits and I find the fact that there is a lucrative sex trade in Second Life a very bizarre phenomenon. Ozymandius once said; “If you take into account the lindens to dollars exchange rate and find someone in SL willing to have virtual sex for 500 Lindens, that literally makes them a 2 dollar whore.” Keeping this in mind, I would like my avatar to be respected and I think the artists I work with feel the same way, so if we stage a scene with nudity, we usually try to find a remote place where no one else is around and if someone teleports into our location out of the blue, its amazing how fast everyone throws on their alpha layers.
Dean : Is there anything you would like people to know about you, your art or MAGE Magazine?
Andressa : I sent you some links and if you could publish those links with this interview then I would like people to click the links and watch the videos on the MAGE Magazine playlist, leave comments, share with friends and show your support for MAGE Magazine by joining our group because a lot of hard work goes into making the videos and the monthly magazine and all that we ask from our audience is that they take the time to enjoy it.
To find out more about Andressa DePrims and MAGE Magazine use the following links to visit the MAGE Magazine website and the MAGE Magazine video playlist.