Maria Rimbaud told me that Marcel Duchamp's "Nude Descending a Staircase" had taken on avatar form, and so naturally, I had to know more.
When I finally caught up with Tasrill Sieyes, the Resident who had made Duchamp's legendary painting come alive, I found out this abstract avatar was only the beginning-- or rather, the summation in a long career of abstract avatars as a medium of expression. And, of course, a furry with octopus arms.
After the break, my profile of Tasrill, avatar artist.
On what inspired the Duchamp avatar.
Well, I was showing someone my abstract avatars that I have made, and they mentioned that making a 3D form of Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase” would be great... [S]he loves the painting and after seeing my other work she wanted to see what it would look like transformed into SL form.
One thing led to another and she commissioned me to make this piece, and I fell in love with making it. She let me retain the design, and even told me I could sell it if I wanted, but I haven't done that… It was [my default avatar for] a few weeks. Then I made some new ones that I wore and I wore some of my more "normal" avatars, too.
How does it feel to embody Duchamp's painting?
It is an interesting feeling. Kind of... freeing. I am not bound by the normal limits of anthropomorphic avatar. And I can think far more artistically. I don't know [why], to be honest. I don't think too much about how my various bits of art make me feel, I just let them make me feel, and let it wash over me.
By time spent, I have been abstract more then I have been anything else. [M]y first one I made was just an experiment over a year ago. Just to see what I could do with invisibility prims. But then I started talking to people, and I loved the reactions I got. When I am abstract, I don't have to worry about the preconceived notions of gender, race, or anything else but someone’s view on abstract art. I can just be pure intellect.
Is there any one avatar that you feel most personally associated with?
[I]n general I am an avatar vagabond. Moving from one form to another as my whims take me.
There is one that is the most me. I have had it for a year now, and wear it when I am building things.
Tasrill rummages in his inventory, then transforms into his most natural state. Which, as happens, is this:
A spider furry?
Well, a fox with tentacles.
The point of tentacles?
On a fox, yeah.
Well, I like how the look and the things I can do with them. The roleplaying limits of multiple limbs are boundless.
But why on a fox, as opposed to something that makes more biological sense?
[I]t seemed right on this fox. It is a rather frightening and kind of Goth fox, but I wanted something more. Something different. So I grew these tentacles and have loved them ever sinse. It is not like tentacles make much sense on anything but squid and octopuses, and well, getting those to work right on SL is a non-starter. I have tried.
I've wondered about this with furries, a lot of them are not just furries, but robot furries, or Star Trek furries, or something-something furry, as if being a man-sized raccoon wasn't fantastic enough. Why is that, do you think?
The biggest is that there are only so many furry avatar vendors. Humans have more [avatar adjustment] sliders involving their face then there are furry avi creators, much less the millions of combinations that all those sliders can make.
[A]nother is that some people are so attached to their furry form that it is them in all ways. And adding their other likes to it is just natural to them, as a person adding [attachments] to their human avatar.
Abstact avatars as psychic expression.
I do have some avatars that have a deeper meaning to me. Some emotion I was trying to capture, but with those, I try not and tell what that emotion is. It either captures the emotion to other people without words, or I didn't do a good enough job on it.
We go outside, where and Tasrill becomes black, barbed, and spikey.
What emotion are you trying to express with this?
You know, I won't tell you that. I let the piece stand on its own. Though I can tell you that this one is named Twisted. Since I already give that much away at my little store/gallery.
How do you feel when you wear it?
Twisted, coiled, bound, confused, and other emotions I can't quite name.
I think I have an avatar for most every big feeling I have felt in the last year.
Tasrill, the person behind the abstract avatars.
Right now, I work at a pipe fabrication shop, but I am going back to school to [study] architecture in the Fall. [O]ther then making my shop, I don't build buildings. I like making sculptures and avatars here more.
Yes, I think it does. Maybe the late nights just fried my brain a bit, but it has taught me to be more creative and adventurous in what I do. I just have to get some emotion out of me, so I start building and then one of these comes out in the end. I just pour my emotions into them and see what comes out.
Your begin creating avatars with no clear form in mind?
Yes, they are best called a stream of consciousness [work]. I just start with making some prims and working it over in different shapes and combinations to see what it looks like. Then one thing becomes two, and then I start making objects and attaching them until I end up with something like this.
Tasrill transforms into another avatar, all crests of chrome surfaces.
So you made this when you were in a happy mood, and in love like a girl in Spring?
[Laughs] No, very much a different mood. But as to which mood I won't say. I already seem to have given away my other one.
Deep thanks to Maria Rimbaud, who first told me about Tasrill Sieyes' avatar. See the entire "All About My Avatar" series here.
Is there another fascinating avatar out there I should know all about? E-mail me, or IM Hamlet Au, and tell me more.