Petting the Dragon – Interview with Fiona Fei – Ling Xaio Long

I attended the interview with Fiona Fei, creator of the Faire Region Ling Xaio Long, being interviewed by Zander Greene and what a fascinating story it was.

Fiona was born in China, but moved to the USA when very young. One lasting memory of her childhood in China was of lotus blossoms and this love of the flower stayed with her through school.

Comment from Fiona: My thesis was on charcoal shaders in graduate school, which inspired the art currently in Second Life. The lotus blossom imagery stayed with me till now, being featured in my ShuiMo art in SL.

Trained as a painter, she starts with sketches and translates them into the 3D environment. Many of the textures that make up the region she physically painted and scanned for use in the build.

Comment from Fiona: I sometimes use photography of my 3D art installations to play with the illusion of 2D paintings. I try to present them on traditional Chinese scrolls to add to that effect.

She likes to play with the transiton between 2D and 3D, not just making environments such as this one, but also then photographing them making 2D art of something that’s actualy 3D.

The idea of the region is based on a Chinese proverb:

“Painting a dragon and dotting it’s eyes”

The Chinese version of the proverb is Hua Long Dian Jing (画龙点腈)

This is the story of an artist that was so skilled at painting dragons he didn’t finish pictures, he always left the last brush-stroke unmade, for fear that the dragons would come to life.

She used the limited pallette of white, black and red partly because in this form of physical painting, dyes were originally scarce, but also because it focusses on the form. There are large areas of white because it’s how chinese artists show distance or space. The choice of red was deliberate because of being important in China. Red represents luck, good fortune and overall positivity.

She saw an advert for Second Life years ago that said it was a place where she could create or be anything. The draw was the ability to create in real-time, spending a lot of time in sandboxes, challenging herself and later others in building competitions.

In my pictures I took inspiration from the white background of the region and made my avatars body the canvas. I created a plain white skin on which to apply inks, in the form of tattoos.

Location: Líng xiāo lóng 灵霄龙

Credits:

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