Category: Second Life

Design Gallery

thumbnail images from balluff design gallery
thumbnail images from balluff design gallery

I finally collected and uploaded a new design gallery of my print and web-based works from the mid-nineties to the present. It consists of 138 images of business cards, club cards, print ads, film posters, catalogs, websites and postcards from my years as a graphic designer in the SF Bay Area to now. Enjoy…

Update II

New Slowburn Inc. gallery

New Slowburn Inc. gallery

I’ve rebuilt Slowburn Inc. in Second Life and added more of the Long Story series to the first floor gallery. Click this link to teleport to Grahica and check it out.

Updates and changes

FYI – I recently finished updating, refining the navigation, adding CSS and freshening the content. The change was either long overdue or a testament to good design – I built the old Flash menu bar almost ten years ago. In reorganizing the content, I decided to break up the old Projects/Clients page into art, design & web and education sections. Rosa is now featured on the art page.

Another change is that this blog is now listed from the menu on the rest of This may prove to either be career suicide or a better way to integrate textual and multi-media content with the rest of this site. For example, I can now have the link to Second Life on my info page lead to this blog’s Second Life category page without existential anxiety. Whew.

In the future, I hope to revamp the blog to be consistent with the rest of the site, but first things first…

If you have any comments about the redesign, I’d like to know about it. Please feel free to leave your thoughts in this post’s Comment-O-Tron. Thanks.

Building a Virtual Museum

In my last post, I mentioned that another player, who I call Evil Landlady, had given me some land on which to build. I’m happy to announce that her land grant has become a virtual museum, The Contempo Institute (above), with galleries, a theatre, a cafe and even it’s own two-month artist-in-residence program. It took me the better part of a week to get it together, including the artists’ studio/office (below). The site itself is now just about 3000 square meters.

The lower deck of the studio compound provides artists with the two most basic necessities of creating: space and primitives (the basic building blocks of Second Life). Currently, we have two artists sharing the space, Juria Yoshikawa, whom I’ve written about in an earlier post, and Reni Voom, who just installed Autumn, a three-dimensional sculpture that responds to touch.

I’ll post pics of the installations and the Body Graffik show which I’ve curated after the opening on July 19th. Oh…and I’ve also got a terrible story to relate in which Evil Landlady finally shows her true colors.

Enter the Evil Landlady…

Right after my Second Life gallery show, which went well, I started building the Vend-O-Mat pictured above. My idea was to put hundreds of these all over Second Life as sort of advance publicity for Rev. Hugh and his madness. I made an inquiry on an arts channel about finding a small plot of land to put out a test model to see how it would do…

Later that day, I get a message from a woman who we shall call “Evil Landlady.” She works for a small RL company that likes to patronize the arts, and offered to give me some land. I readily agreed, and so now I find myself the owner of over one thousand square meters, and the idea of building something…

Saints and Sinners – a virtual art exhibit

I’m having a gallery show on Thursday in the game Second Life. I finished building the gallery last night (see above), and I’ll have over 30 works shown in it, spanning the last twenty years of my life. It’s a mixture of collage, photography, xerox, and digital images, and let-me-tell-you, mister, hanging a show has never been so easy.

I’ve been working on one piece, (aptly) called Long Story for a few years consists of a grid of 5″ x 5″ painted squares (one is posted below), and as the work has grown from nine to twelve to sixteen to (now) almost forty squares, the painstaking process of hanging them all in a grid has caused me to gnash my teeth. With Long Story, I see the potential for Second Life to be a staging area. How would a grid of 10 x 10 look? What about 8 x 12?

See? Not nearly as bad when you’re just lining up x, y, and z coordinates.

Here’s my virtual press release:

On Thursday, June 28th at 7pm SLT, proprietor Ubix Voom invites you to the grand opening of Slowburn Incorporated’s design studio and gallery. Slowburn Inc., has been a purveyor of fine visual art products since 1995.

Currently in the Slowburn Inc. galleries, long-time collaborator David Balluff conjures up “Saints and Sinners,” a mixture of collage, photography, and digital prints. The work in this exhibit spans almost two decades of Balluff’s career, from early xerographic collage and illustrations to the shocking and baffling advertisements for snake oil published more recently by the artist’s other alter-ego, the Rev. Hugh Pokrit, charlatan and salesman.

If you’re interested in coming to the exhibit, the SLurl is The opening begins Thursday, June 28, at 7pm PST.

Stop by and say hi…I’m going to try to find some virtual twinkies..

Art in Second Life

A lot of what I’ve been doing so far in Second Life is talking to gallery owners and artists about their experiences in the game, and about Second Life’s potential as a creative platform/medium for art work. I recently went to a White Cube Gallery site where I saw Juria Yoshikawa’s delightful light and sound work 3:4 (images above).

This is the third work in a four piece series that Juria has created for the gallery, which runs through July 4th in Stadtrand (SLurl). 3:4 is a square structure consisting of continuously changing color panels of light, accompanied by ambient sound. None of the panels are solid, which means that one can walk or fly though the environment. Each piece is only up for one week, Juria’s final installment, 4:4 will open June 25th.

There’s a full write up of the series, plus more images and bios of the artists at the White Cube Gallery’s website. 3:4 is a collaboration between Juria Yoshikawa and sound artist Auxiliary Snook.

First Look, Second Life

I’ve mentioned the 3D virtual environment/game Second Life previously on this blog, but haven’t had the time to check it out until recently.

I’m doing some research for a possible Second Life project, and in reading what people are saying about the game and Virtual Worlds in general, it seems the concensus is that we are seeing a first draft of what will later be the 3D web.

Spending the past week walking (and flying) around Second Life, I felt at times like a virtual tourist. The environments are extremely varied; one sim (an island or square land plot in the SL grid) may be a replica of Hogwarts, the next Mos Eisley, a third, parts of Manhattan. Many sims represent some sort of idealized resort town/retirement community, however there are also art museums, lectures, dance clubs, and virtual classes to attend. In-world players can watch video, listen to music streams, make transactions (buy, sell or trade), read books and communicate with others. Linden Labs, the creators of the game, soon want to add voice capabilities to SL.

Of course, you also have the unholy trinity of sex, violence and gambling well represented in this virtual environment. Griefers, the in-world term for hooligans, can be a minor inconvenience, but are generally not much of a problem, and I think can be helpful in terms of maturing security technologies within the game. Second Life is also divided into PG and Mature sims, and has a separate Teen Grid for gamers under the age of eighteen.

Anything that doesn’t exist within this virtual world can be built, which makes this place in part a reflection of players’ desires, dreams and avariciousness, but this open format also lends itself to creative play, inspiration and complex flights of fancy. Ever wanted to walk through an Escher drawing? Here’s your chance (Second Life bookmark).

Not suprisingly, architects and designers are using Second Life to make prototypes of real world projects, which not only allows for changes on the fly, but also for virtual walk-throughs of a proposed site. Building a structure isn’t difficult, and there are enough textures available within the game to mimic just about any material. I created a virtual version of a real world painting (above) by uploading a file that I set up in Photoshop (using this helpful tutorial).

I’ll continue to post more on this subject in the future, but I thought it would be helpful to start off with a general, introductory post. If you want to say hello to me in-game, my avatar is Ubix Voom.


RIP Barbara Gittings, a gay rights pioneer who came out in the 1950’s, and was instrumental in convincing the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

There’s a great video explaining network neutrality and why you should support it over at Sign the petition and keep the playing field level for everyone.

While in NYC, I met someone who was running a virtual gallery within the game Second Life. Along with virtual art, this net-based game now has virtual terrorism. Hooray for progress.