I recently discovered JudiLynn India’s evocative artworks at the Center Ground Gallery of Art owned by the artist herself. Within a few hours I was exchanging emails with her asking all that I wanted to know about her life and dreams as an artist as well as the kinds of opportunities that artists in general have in Second Life. The interview, edited a little for precision, follows…
Are you from India? What is it like to be an artist in the country you belong?
Though my Second Life name is JudiLynn India, I am a woman of African descent from the northeast region of the United States. (The name “India” was chosen from the list of suggested names in SL in 2009 in homage to my deceased pet cat named India, after the movie character “Indiana Jones”.) I studied Commercial Art and Graphic Design through high school and college, attending the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia. Fortunately, , I grew up in an environment that celebrates the arts in all form. My father was a commercial artist and my mother, though not using her artistic talents in life, encouraged my artistic endeavors on every front.
How difficult is it for a commercial artist to successfully market their art in today’s competitive world?
I believe it can be quite difficult to market yourself without solid promotional skills and the right connections. The web has opened the doors to every creative spirit, which is a beautiful thing for exposure, but makes it more difficult to stand out unless your skills are exemplary – or you are in the right place at the right time. Your personal resources and determination will dictate your success.
What are some of your goals as an artist that you are looking forward to achieving?
Though I’ve been creating all of my life – since early childhood – I have yet to achieve status as an independent, professional artist. My goal is for my work to become more widely accepted among collectors and organizations so that I can focus most of my time in it’s creation. I want my work to specifically bring a sense of joy and peace to the collector while raising funds and awareness for human resources and animal rights. I want my work to be more than decorative. It must serve a broader purpose in the world.
Do you have some all-time favourite colours?
I love bold, brilliant colors most. Fuchsia, purple, shades of blue and brilliant greens stand out most for me. I’m always experimenting with techniques that allow me to isolate and incorporate these colors in my work. I find it most effective to create digital pieces, as well, because of the vibrant color combinations possible without muddying. Besides creating art, I used to sew continuously and create outfits that were equally as colorful.
What are your thoughts on creative block?
I spent many years in creative block. It was horrible. I had ideas constantly swimming in my head and heart, but could find no way to bring them life. It was a personal hell. Even a support group didn’t help me. It was the purchase of a Wacom drawing tablet and experimentation with it that actually broke the dam. I replenished my art supplies and began painting continually in 2006, exploring new acrylic mediums that had come on the market since the 90s. It was marvelous! I believe the secret to avoiding a block is to force yourself to pick up a brush, pen, pencil, stylus, and just do something – anything to gain momentum. In retrospect, I’ve also come to realize that the time that I felt blocked could have been the time needed for my spirit to absorb and mature creatively. I never stopped watching what other artists were doing. On a subconscious level, I may have been gathering information from the environment that would serve me later.
How can the Second Life art community benefit an artist?
I can say that, for me, the Second Life art community has allowed me to become more prolific than I might have over the past 8 years. Because of ongoing invitations to group shows and solo exhibits in SL, I was further motivated to traditionally paint and create digital works, learning new techniques and software. It has also been quite inspirational thanks to the many RL artists I’ve met in the process. Exhibiting my work in SL has also served as marketing research. I’ve learned more about curating exhibits in the process. This has given me more confidence in my own creative processes and marketing skills. One need not raise much capital to open a gallery and invite the world to the party – a major plus!
Center Ground Gallery of Art: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Han%20Loso/196/39/65
The Art of JudiLynn Studio and Gallery: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Tabula%20rasa/115/33/25
Shop for beautiful abstract Artwork of JudiLynn at: http://www.judilynnart.com/