Flo Nova is not a person who has airs about her work. It’s a diligent exploration and documentation of her time in SL. When you talk with her about what it is she’s doing, she doesn’t mention titles or money or posterity. She talks about creative energy, layering visual information, and emotional input and output. She talks about influences. She sounds like an artist.
Nova exemplifies what Toni Morrison said about being an artist:
“You need intelligence, and you need to look. You need a gaze, a wide gaze, penetrating and roving – that’s what’s useful for art.”
Or James Baldwin:
“An artist is a sort of emotional or spiritual historian. His role is to make you realize the doom and glory of knowing who you are and what you are. He has to tell, because nobody else can tell, what it is like to be alive.”
Story Flo Nova, December 2022
Like many of us, Flo comes in and out of SL – and also like many of us – her experience (good and bad) is defined by “the friendships and little pockets of community I find.”
Those folks in-world become influential in ways that are not easily seen right away. When I asked her about this, she gave me a long list of folks – some who were familiar, and some who I look forward learning more about. But about two individuals she had more to say.
About Aegean: “… I had followed Aegean’s work for a long time and this year we collided inworld. His pieces are breathtaking … go look at them and absorb the greatness.”
About Goodes Bade: “… a hugely talented DJ. He paints with sound and in doing so tells a story, taking listeners on a journey. He also has a Flickr with visual work and they are equally brilliant….”
Nova’s work plays with layers….of color, or imagery, or just pieces of text other graphic elements.
Prints Flo Nova, December 2022
About the work she says, “Physically… I think it comes from my background in painting. I love oils, nothing hits like painting with them… but in my time at art school I was using acrylics like a mad man – you can really layer with those as they dry quite quickly. I also spent a lot of time in the print room and the results you get from those explorations are really exciting. I was introduced to sugar lift at that time and I think that stayed with me ever since.”
Featured print from Katherine Jones’ Eton Portfolio: ‘Drawing Schools’ (Sugarlift aquatint etching)
“On a more immaterial note – creative energy feels like such a wild thing and often it is difficult to wield its power since it really has a mind of its own. Rather than beat it into submission I find I must work with it – layering gives me this ability to explore how it wants to talk to me that day. Then once I have that all down in disarray I can remove, rearrange and adjust to create something cohesive… something that lands where I want it to.
In terms of what I’m capturing – it is similar to my RL practice. I love to explore landscape and figures. Lately my RL work in graphic design/illustration has taken me down a more abstract route as I am creating visual languages. My process chops and changes with each project… but this act of throwing it all down on the table first then shuffling through and finding the good bits remains my go-to way of making.
Aesthetically my work in SL is so much more on point with what I want to create. I think it is because of my anonymity. On SL I feel more free to do what I want to do whereas with RL there is a sense of restriction and confinement. I think any artist starting out can say the same… you haven’t got the funds quite yet, you’re plagued by whatever is getting in the way of your creativity, this and that… blah blah blah.
Somehow in SL it is all silent and it is just the art… I love it here for that reason. I think lastly my work in SL is entirely digital whereas I prefer analogue medium in RL… but through this I see the two now blending and I am just about ready to start making digital works with RL subject matter.
As you get older the texture of life sort of unfolds… you have more patience to linger in the grey areas and that is where I have found a really beautiful conversation between sadness and joy.
Lastly I would say – starting a career in Graphic Design has influenced my work in a huge way. Where you see typography, use of framing and graphic elements is where it reveals itself in my work.”
I have unconsciously harbored a million influences, my work is just a regurgitation of what I have seen throughout my life.
The first artist coming to mind is Moonassi. His black and white illustrations depicting figures wielding masks, diving through holes in the ground and meshing with one another… it’s really spiritual stuff.
The White Canoe Peter Doig, 1991
Bonnard I found later when he exhibited at the Tate – wow. The colour and the scale of his work just blew my mind.
The Bathroom Pierre Bonnard, 1932
Music influences? “This is an impossible question… all music everywhere.”
But here is one that we share in common:
The Bebu Gallery can be found here: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Trilogy%20City/137/203/24
You are welcome to visit – explore the area and enjoy the exceptional work in the gallery.