I first met Pearl Grey while hanging upside down in my studio sorting out inventory, and noticed a nearby dot on my map. That quiet little dot turned out to be an inspiring MU neighbor, and I soon discovered that Pearl’s activities extend well beyond her beautiful studio.
Art: First of all, could you tell me what brings you to MU, and a little about your studio?
Pearl: I’m enrolled at MU for an immersive, experimental adventure in making stuff, community and learning. I’m interested in creativity, virtual identity and inclusiveness. Instead of being an object or statement, my studio is a subjective, changeable creating environment for displaying recent pieces. Everyone is always welcome whether I’m there or not.
Art: I was really intrigued with the idea that you express your personal story in your sketches, by not hiding the shakiness in your lines, but embracing them and highlighting them in your style of art.. would love if you elaborated on that if it’s alright with you?
When I first focused on sketching in high school I became more aware of the visuals in my environment looking more beautiful. Also I moved into a flow state when sketching, more so than doing other activities. For me it’s about the process, like meditation, instead of a goal. My legacy isn’t going to have anything to do with stuff.
My symptoms and energy levels vary wildly and I can’t depend on any degree of functioning. I like to practice and model staying in the moment, doing what I can with what I have. “Imperfect action trumps perfect inaction”. Some sketches I’m more willing to share than others; most aren’t keepers. In a learning environment like this I don’t apologize for them and I won’t apologize for liking the process of making them.
Art: Well I think it’s beautiful and brave, and even for the ones you dont keep, you are left with the experience of your expressive process and that precious flow state.
Art: You’ve been very involved in MU and have done creative things with different people around the sim, tell me about a few of your favourite examples?
Pearl: The story board project with five learners writing a short story for four photos I took, participating in three of Veyot’s videos, having tai chi parties and climbing Neeva’s towers late in the evening soon after I arrived here.
Art: and on top of that, you seem to be quite the SL explorer, and have shared a lot of interesting experiences on your blog! What inspires your blogging, and writing in general?
Pearl: I feel I must write. When it comes to exploring, I go with what interests me and that’s changeable. I enjoy sharing overlooked places and unpolished, quirky gems on the mainland, like small galleries and roadside coffee shops. I also feature some well known and popular places when I’m in the mood (and to maintain readership). Usually my photos are better than my “reporting” so I rely on pictures to interest people in visiting a place. Other times I can be more chatty when I’m wound up about something.
Art: How do you feel SL, and MU specifically, motivate your creativity? And how do you balance inworld creativity with off-grid (RL) creativity?
Pearl: I’m intrinsically motivated rather than extrinsic. SL inspires me visually and emotionally. Since I’ve been at MU I’ve been inspired to start learning machinima instead of waiting to get decent technology. The Drinking and Drawing class has reminded me of the pleasure and frustration of drawing. I’ve also gotten clarification about my current values and the next steps I want to take. And I’ve been inspired to strengthen my self-authority and authenticity.
In RL I’m a genius at keeping myself alive and independent. My creativity tends to be practical, like making healthy meals from scratch. I like using my hands, writing longhand in notebooks, stitching small fabric wall hangings (rather badly) and making collages which includes prints of really old photos from my family as well as purchased ones. I’ve designed and commissioned jewelry. Balance is ever fluctuating; I’m spending much more time online since I enrolled at MU. The gradual inclusion of tech in my creativity is mostly out of concern for the environment and for some social reasons.
Art: I’ve also noticed you’re thoughtful about expressing yourself through your avatar’s style, how far does that influence you?
Pearl: I’m fine with wearing an outfit for days or weeks. Often I need a compelling reason to change clothes. It’s important to have a healthy and pleasant looking human avatar and I usually want to be comfortable. I’ll dress to feel more warm or cool. When I’m feeling vulnerable I wear tougher looking clothes. I like my old roleplay outfits and still wear them. Sometimes I wear medieval and I love Victorian. Usually it’s an intuitive choice; I don’t dress for attention or for others.
Pearl is always doing something around MU, whether it’s writing or snapping or sharing public performances, you’ll tend to find opportunities to collaborate with her! Check out her studio at MU [Vashti 4 ]. You can also read more about her adventures here and here.