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On September 28, 2008 Melusina Parkin logged into Second Life for the first time.
Since then her “two lives” are full with any kind of art.
First, inspierd by education in history and history of art and motivated troth many great painters, photographs of the past and of the present.
The minimalist and the landscape photos by Luigi Ghirri, the street photography by Walker Evans, the stunning paintings by Edward Hopper, Charles Sheeler, Andrew Wyeth, Mario Sironi are among her most important references.
One complete list of her mentors we can find in her blog Virtual Exhibit: she dedicated a section of that to the artists she consider more influential on her style and concepts.
Melusina also, made an exhibit titled “Imitations”, (also on her blog Virtual Exhibits), trying to show that imitating great paintings has been a good exercise for improving her skills.
Melusinas main inspiration is minimalism: she love photographing desert landscapes, empty rooms, or isolating details of the places and objects of our daily life.
As lover of retro worlds, she love shooting vintage and retro scenes or objects and she have also an “anthropological” curiosity as she said: for street photography.
In Second Life she found a powerful push toward that: the many series of photos dedicated to the so called “roadside culture” witness these passion (see the Exhibit Americana and the two books she published with the same title).
Melusinas inspirations can be seen in the title of some of her exhibits: Hidden Geometries, City Faces, Closer Looks, Absences, Empty Spaces, Soft Solitudes, Americana, Sensual Sands, Lonely Gazes, Listening to the Silence…
In the ostensible aesthetics of some of the minimalist works presented by Melusina, which are visually appealing, I feel compelled as a viewer to encounter works of art on a material level, and with it to question the conventional relationship between me and the work of art .
While such works as “Dobel Tree” and “Sensual Sands” open up the emotional level on a completely different level and create quick connections.
Melusina is a very considerate lady, with deep feelings and strong will.
She exudes thoroughness, focus and clarity and willingness to invest as much time as necessary so that things she start to do lead to a positive conclusion.
It is a * magic * in Melusinas, work as well as in her personality and I am very happy to have met Melusina and very grateful that she really took the time and allowed us all a deeper insight into her world.
Melusina belong to those people who have find a sence of her self. She found out who she is in this world, and what she really love.
Strong enought to stand alone, smart enought to know her path and brave enough to share with all of us her deepest passion and love.
I congrats Melusina for an truly exemplary approach and wish her every success with all my heart and thank her very much for the honor and openness that she has shown me and all of us!
your life without art would be…
Melusina: It would be very poor. This is both if I couldn’t create anything and if I couldn’t enjoy other’s creation.
I realized that in the latest years of my SL my main activity has been photographing, making shows and visiting exhibits by the many great artists who work in this world.
I don’t photograph much in RL, but I spend a lot of time reading books, watching photobooks and movies, visiting exhibitions and listening to my favorite music. My “two lives” are full with any kind of art.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Melusina: First, from my education in history and history of art. II consider my mentors many great painters, photographs of the past and of the present.
The minimalist and the landscape photos by Luigi Ghirri, the street photography by Walker Evans, the stunning paintings by Edward Hopper, Charles Sheeler, Andrew Wyeth, Mario Sironi are among my most important references. But even less famous artists, like the Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershoi (the “painter of the silence”) are a source of inspiration. You can see a more complete list of my mentors in my blog Virtual Exhibit: I dedicated a section of that to the artists I consider more influential on my style and concepts.
I made an exhibit titled “Imitations”, (it’s now on my blog Virtual Exhibits), trying to show that imitating great paintings has been a good exercise for improving my skills.
What is your work about?
Melusina: My main inspiration is minimalism: I love photographing desert landscapes, empty rooms, or isolating details of the places and objects of our daily life. That enhances their roles in the daily theater where we play our lives (it’s a quote from Shakespeare). Simplifying the mess of our reality can make us appreciate that roles better.
However, this is just one of my bias: being a lover of retro worlds, I love shooting vintage and retro scenes or objects. Then, I have also an “anthropological” curiosity: so street photography can be considered as a second wide field of interest; observing lifestyles and icons of popular culture has been another path of my work; SL gave me a powerful push toward that: the many series of photos dedicated to the so called “roadside culture” witness these passion (see the Exhibit Americana and the two books I published with the same title).
An example of my different inspirations can be seen in the title of some my exhibits: Hidden Geometries, City Faces, Closer Looks, Absences, Empty Spaces, Soft Solitudes, Americana, Sensual Sands, Lonely Gazes, Listening to the Silence…
How is the artistic process like there? Do you see an object / person / landscape first and then the idea comes up? Or is it upside down?
Melusina: Both the ways are part of my workflow: when I wander around or I visit a place I’m caught by a detail or by a scene or even by a special light and I shoot it. Then, I want to build a coherent series of photos about that subject, so I peruse my archive (several thousands of photos) selecting photos of similar subjects or styles; moreover, I go to places I know or I discover through blogs or the Destination Guide, looking for other subjects that can match the photos I have already taken. That’s because I think – according to Luigi Ghirri – that the work of the photographer isn’t to look for a single “great shot”, but to build coherent series around a concept: the meaning of each photo is enhanced by the comparison to the others.
Melusina: Eh eh, many great quotes from famous photographer could be my mantras, but the best is by the great architect Mies Van Der Rohe. “Less is more”!
However, I published a photobook where I paired some my photos to famous artists’ quotes.
Many of them could be also my mantras!
Currently, the best place for you in SL?
Melusina: Difficult to say… The best for a peaceful rest are places like The Trace or Skye Neist Point; for music, the crowded Fogbound Blues or Junkyard Blues with its taste of Southern America, or even Ocho Tango; for retro RP experiences, no doubts: 1920 Berlin; for cultural life Hotel Chelsea… I still admire the old Mont Saint Michel and I miss some great places that disappeared like Primtings Museum, Furillen, Seraph City and the former Arkansas State University with its museums and landmarks or Cecilia Delacroix’ Campus d’Art, with its dozens of art galleries.
But my love for history and retro styles makes Time Portal the place where I spend a lot of time, feeling myself at home. There I keep my Art Deco furniture store and one of my galleries, and there is the wonderful Sonatta Morales‘ store, a true gallery of retro fashion artpieces.
A question that moves you right now …
Melusina: Talking about SL, my biggest concern is about its future: how long will last this world where we have meaningful relationships, huge amounts of goods and where we spend so many hours of happy time, enjoying wonderful places and amazing events? Will it disappear in the future? How long will it be suitable for LL?
As to RL: of course the pandemic. Better, the life after the pandemic. I hope that seeing how weak and lacking of equilibrium is our world in its present shape, governors would change the “model of development” and would adopt a new one, based on the needs of the majority of the people and respectful towards nature.
Is there a work of art in your life that particularly impressed you?
Melusina: It’s difficult to say which one, among the many artworks I love, had impressed me better… but for sure the overall work by Mark Rothko opened me to the reflection on the power of pure colors and pure shapes.
Rothko paintings, considered as masterpieces of abstract expressionism, summarize my bias for minimalism and for simple but meaningful shapes.
What is art for you – now completely independent of the usual definitions?
Melusina: Art is emotion and feelings. I can’t say anything more appropriate.
The observer is the one who decides if she/he is looking at an artpiece.
Was there a key experience or has the artist profession always been your dearest wish?
Melusina: I started my SL working at a great Italian fashion brand, MEB Fashion.
I discovered that store very early, I entered it as a customer and… I never go out from there for years, becoming the manager and then the CEO. Working with the owner and designer MariaElena Barbosa I learned almost all that’s needed for an active and satisfying SL, from building to photography, from advertising to managing events…
Then I had the opportunity to meet clever models and great designers, who become also great friends.
I can’t mention all of them, but I want to remember at least the late Squinternet Larnia, Donna Flora, who unfortunately isn’t among us anymore.
What drives you?
Melusina: Curiosity! In it deepest meaning: understanding the reasons of the things, discovering unexpected sides of the world and of the life.
Do you feel understood with your art?
Melusina: People seem appreciating my work: my Flickr counts more than 5 millions views, clever reviewers say of my photo series exactly what I have in my mind when I take my photographs…
Yes, I think that my photos achieve their goal.
Do you think that you can make a difference with your art?
Melusina: People say that my style is unique and always recognizable…
But I think that SL can rely on many great artists, and some of them didn’t achieve the fame they deserve.
Do you think that everyone is an artist?
Melusina: No, I don’t think so.
Artist is someone who is able to turn her/his own emotions to “universal” ones and to communicate that to the public. The great photographer Sebastiao Salgado, asked if he was an artist, replied: “I’m not an artist, I’m a photographer”.
I posted this quote on my profile, because I think that is the observer, the listener, the reader the one who decides if an image or a text or a music is art or not.
I just take photographs, someone can think that they are art pieces.
Do you have any role models? If yes, which?
Melusina: As a photographer, Luigi Ghirri: his lesson about the deepest meaning of the photography, his care of the lights, his “simplicity” and – last but not least – his understatement make him an unavoidable point of reference.
What does the term art mean to you?
Melusina: Art is any creation that arouses emotions. A text, an image, a music that’s able to move our souls, to evoke memories, to show unseen and unexpected sides of the reality.
Are there any topics that you are particularly interested in implementing?
Melusina: Yes, I think that SL is a mirror of the way people perceive their real world and represent it in the virtual reality; I want to keep working on that, as I did since my beginnings as a photographer.
Urban photography is a field I want to explore even more than I did so far.
My books “City light” and “Talking City” collect some of the themes I was interested to work on.
Another subject I’m working on maybe called “Almost alive” (another title of an exhibit): images of statues, fake avatars, mannequins that silently populate SL: they are made of pixels like our avatars, but they don’t act: it’s quite intriguing seeing how a virtual world mixes “fake beings” that in a photo look not different than “living beings” like the avatars. They are perfect subjects both for street and surreal photography in SL.
What is your strength?
Melusina: My best strength is being aware of my weaknesses.
What was the best advice you have ever received in SL?
Melusina: “Avoid dramas”.
SL is made to be the place of our fun and satisfaction, and that depends on the quality of people you deal with.
I’ve been lucky: the majority of the people I met in SL follow that advice.
I’ve to add that I owe to my best friend Laura18 Streeter advices on almost all practical and technical aspects of SL. Without her I could be still a noobie.
Your next projects, exhibitions. Where your art can be seen?
Melusina: Actual exhibition “Wandering and Watching” at Dixmix Gallery
Melusina: I’m planning some exhibits at Milena Carbone Gallery (a collaboration with her),
at The 22 art Space (another collaborative work), at La Maison d’Aneli; I hope also to come back to Nitroglobus Gallery.
But another project is to increase my new publishing activity: since a while I produce photobooks that collect my photos according to themes.
It’s a way to develop a more complete “talk” about a subject, going over the limits of an exhibit.
The shelves of my Melubooks shop already show almost 20 titles 🙂
Melusina lives in SL since September 2008.
She has been a fashion manager, a journalist, a furniture creator, a builder, a decorator, a teacher and a photographer. At this moment, she owns an Art Deco furniture brand called Melu Deco.
She speaks English, Spanish and Italian (her native language), understands French, a little bit of German and Portuguese. She loves blues, jazz, progressive rock, country and cabaret music.
As a photographer, she exhibited he works in many prominent SL galleries, like Galerie des Machines, The Rose, Hotel Chelsea, Nitroglobus, DixMix, in solo and collective shows. She has won prizes in some photo contest in SL and has been trainer at Visionaire Institute for Photography. Her photos and articles have been published on some SL and RL magazines, like Retropolitan, Bestyle, Esselle, Photography, Renderosity.
Her Flickr shows more than 13000 photographs and has had more than 5 mlns visits.
Extensive collections of her photos can be seen also on her blog Virtual Exhibits and on some slideshows on Youtube.
Educated in Art History, Melu takes inspiration from many great painters and photographers of the past and modern times like Whyeth, Hammershoi, Hopper, Sheeler, Evans, Leiter, Ghirri, Wenders.
Her photos tend towards minimalism, which is Melu’s main inclination: simple details from daily life or usual landscapes are the subject of mostly empty scenes, stressing voids, space, geometries, lights; this reveals hidden meanings or pushes the observer to give them her/his own one.
Her favorite subjects are wide landscapes, city views, industrial environments, popular lifestyles and daily objects.
Since 2021, she started the publishing brand Melubooks, who publishes her photo book and opened a personal gallery, named Minimum. Both gallery and Melubook shop, can be reached by TP from the starting point Melu Space.