The Sasaya Kayo Interview

Part of what made this winter on North really special to me were the poetic cliffs by Sasaya Kayo, HPMD. I was honestly in a bit of a frenzy towards the end of the North winter make-over in November last year because the winter cliffs were not yet available in the HPMD store and I needed to open the sim! Not only did Sasaya provide me with the winter textures in advance, she also assisted me with the scripting once I had implemented them on the sim. We started an interview back then, but never finished, we both got caught up in our own SL whirlwinds I think. But here is the interview now, just in time before we close winter North for a summer make-over. Enjoy!

Interviewer

First, thank you very much Sasaya for so kindly helping me out with the cliff texture add-on for North. I was in a bind and you did not hesitate to help, you even walked me through how to reconfigure the script. Thanks also for agreeing to this interview. I know I am not the only one who is curious about the person who is behind the magical HPMD products and I can’t wait to learn a little bit about you and your work.

Kayo

It is my pleasure to help you, and I am really glad you are interested in HPMD, I don’t know how much I can tell you my thoughts accurately, but I will do my best!

Interviewer

You have been in Second Life since 2007 and I think you started designing the HPMD stuff shortly thereafter. Your business continues thriving and I can honestly not think of one SL destination sim that I know of that does not use your objects. As a virtual world entrepreneur, what do you think are some of the components that have made your business such a great success?

Kayo

The reason that our shop is getting visibility may be because we have not been aiming for business success. At the time I started Second Life in 2007, I didn’t have any skills except for drawing 2D pictures. But the virtual world made me so excited and I thought of what I can do here, and then decided to express ‘Happy Mood’. I always wished to make people smile with my work because I know their happy feelings becomes the soul source of myself. And I wish to realize happiness relay through HPMD. I have great members in my team and they also have same thought as mine. We have not been aiming for success, but always have searched what is the best way to make people happy. The sim and the shop title also named in such hopes. Our imaginary world has not been fully completed yet, but we want to keep continuing HappyMood from now on too.

Interviewer

As we know, the picky virtual world consumer looks not only for high quality and unique design, but also for practicality of usage, i.e an item needs to be straight forward and provide multiple options. Your cliffs are a good example of this. The HPMD cliffs come with a HUD that provides options to change textures for both the grass and stone parts. The grass textures can also be bought separately and the ground of the sim can then be matched with the cliffs. This is an incredibly versatile system that works! Did you invent this specific HPMD HUD system yourself or were you inspired by and learned from other SL creators?

Kayo

About the dialog/HUD options of the cliff, half is based on my idea. I myself felt the importance of those functions when I was building my sims. The other half… or what gave me a boost, were the requests from my customers. I sometimes received inquiries from the purchasers who hoped for easy customization of the products. One of the customers lived in a light sand land, another lived in a dark forest, and another owned several sims and they all felt it was too hard to change the settings of all the objects or replace them one by one. Their various messages made me think that creating a HUD was the best way to resolve their problems. Customers requests are very important to increase product quality. We can’t make all customer wishes come true, but I would like them to request anything without hesitation. ūüôā

Interviewer

When you first started creating objects in the virtual world, the sculpt objects in SL were much less sophisticated than the mesh objects are today, but you nonetheless found a way to create trees, plants and other objects that were so incredibly well put together that they are still used by everyone today. There is a poetry in your work and many of your items look like they have in fact been drawn by hand. Tell us please about what inspires you to create in SL and how you put it all together.

Kayo

First of all, I have a vision for my own sim. It is a fantasy world … however, I have to make many more items than I already have to complete it… but anyway, that theme may make my items poetical. For each of my creations, I usually don’t decide the particular model in advance because I first want experience it on my own on my sim. Of course, there are so many inspirational things that I have seen and heard. It is sometimes an old chair, a tree in the street, wallpapers on website, illustrations, body paints, music, etc… and if possible I take their photos, sketches, bookmarks or write notes. And if I don’t have any good ideas when I start my new work, I look at them again to boost my motivation.

About trees, I usually make them without a clear completed image in my mind because it is not very useful. Even if I have a plan, its atmosphere changes entirely according to the leaf texture. I draw a leaf texture as I would like it to appear at first and apply it on a default plain prim in SL. If I like it, I put the some copies together like the mesh leaves part and roughly decide the whole shape. I start modeling after that step, because the objects in SL often give different impressions from on the modeling software.

About software, I currently mainly use Photoshop and Blender with Avastar for my work, and I often draw by hand when I make the textures in Photoshop, as you said. Also, I have photos of all the material I have ever used and I often use them. In Blender, I think I do only basic methods. I redo the work again and again until  I like it, so it often it takes a lot of time.

Interviewer

I imagine you might be involved with creativity in some way or another outside of SL as well. If you are, please tell us about some of the creative things you do in RL and how these perhaps overlap with your SL creative work.

Kayo

Currently I don’t have creative jobs in RL, but I have been seeking my own expression method for many years. As one possibility, I have been studying a copperplate print from several years ago, and also recently started wood engraving. I have not yet found my best expression style but want to keep studying by getting involved in various creative methods. The theme of my work in SL is Happy Mood, but the studies in RL are just the expression of myself so I go with my various feelings even if it is a dark emotion. However, in most cases they each have a story and trees, grass and other things in nature are used as a motif. These points overlap with my SL work.

Interviewer

Finally, you have been in our virtual world for ten years now and I suspect you are familiar with much of what goes on here. What are some of your favorite things about SL and what do you do here when you are not involved creating for HPMD?

Kayo

Well, I’m sorry but I don’t have a good answer about the question what I do at other time because I love toooo much to create something and creating and building time occupies almost all of my SL life. But even though, I can say clearly I like Second Life very much! Just there is something I look forward to every year… you may be surprised but I like haunted horror attractions very much! Some games and haunted experiences in RL are too scary and I don’t get involved with them. In the case of SL, these events and places are mostly a completely appropriate fear level for me, they have a handmade feeling, and have not only fear but also unique humor expressions sometimes. In addition, I can enjoy these challenges with my friends and especially at limited time events there are many people around me, so I can relax and genuinely enjoy them. Even if I feel very scared, I can drag the viewer title bar and hide half of the screen to out of the monitor lol! In Japan, it is thought that summer is the best horror season and also Japanese creators in SL seem to often select that period when they hold a horror event. So I really look forward to summer.

There are other favorite things than the horror attractions, but most of them are the things I found and came to like after a while since I started SL. But when I first came here, I already liked SL even though I had not encountered and of those favorite things yet. Because Second Life is one of the few places where we can easily do wonderful team-works whenever we want, like events, celebrations, exhibitions, live performances and more, and we can involve people from various countries. That was one of the elements I was the most attracted to… and I think it is still so. Several years before I logged into SL I became acquainted on the internet with many people. During the time I always had thought that I want to try to do something memorable with them, but I couldn’t finalize most of my ideas because of lack of skills/knowledges, difference of interest, costs and some other reasons. In this world, there are many people who have hopes to realize something interesting, and I think SL is one of those places where they can do it.

Interviewer

Thanks a lot for this, Sasaya!

Kayo

You’re very welcome Kate, I’m glad I could tell my thoughts a lot today. Thank you!

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

[ keke ]

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Kean Kelly, owner and designer of [ keke ], has been active creating in Second Life since 2006. I had bought some flowers in vases and a few pieces of furniture here and there, but never visited her store until today. The store building, which she also created, is just as special and dreamy as her products. Pale concrete walls, height windows and ceilings and a white-washed wooden plank floor envelop a selected group of her items. There is not a lot of stuff here, this is an airy space. Miss Kelly’s vases with flowers, little tables, chairs, sofas and other items are fine and delicate and have been created with the utmost attention to detail. There is a sense that her objects could easily break would one not handle them very gently. I highly recommend a visit to this store.

Lab Cones

Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

junk.

 

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I am someone who does my own thing in Second Life. The gallery, blogging and photography I do independently and solely¬†because they bring me pleasure. My gallery is not sponsored by anybody else and I my blog posts are not blogged for any specific stores. But this changed a bit today when we headed over to the¬†junk. mainstore to pick up some things for the new house. I’ve been so preoccupied with these houses by¬†POST by Van Auster and Apple Fall lately that I have failed to mention that a good chunk of my inventory also consists of the outstanding items by junk., co-owned and created by the talented Tab Tatham and Evan Keel. As those of you on Flickr may already be aware,¬†many of my photographs display products by this store already, so when we bumped into Tab and Evan today at the main store I was utterly happy and excited to accept an invitation to join the junk. team of bloggers. A heads up, there will be even more¬†blog posts and¬†photographs with items by junk. coming up!

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

Shuffling Prims

Shuffling Prims

I didn’t think this would happen anytime soon, but I find myself in a position where I need to reduce the amount of prims I am using on my sim Nordan om Jorden. I decided to remove my beloved house Normandy, and the entire platform with the winter garden on which it is placed, and replace these with something less prim heavy. Those of you who follow this blog know that I am a bit obsessed with all things POST by Van Auster (here and here and here) and that a decision like this did certainly not come easy. Moreover, I have to confess that I have strayed; I purchased a house by Apple Fall. The talented Mr. Fall is of course also amongst my favorite designers, in fact, I don’t think I know of anybody who is not crazy about his work. Honestly though, I have always preferred his exquisite furniture and other smaller design objects over his buildings. While I always found his houses as beautiful as his smaller items, I also found them cramped and hard to move around in. This is not the case with the house that I got yesterday, the Old Manufactory. This is a perfect winter nest. In addition to adding some new stuff, I have moved some of the things I already had inside the Normandy into the new house so it still feels quite familiar. The platform is much smaller than the one I had previously, but it still totally serves the purpose of having a space outside the house where we can sit and walk around. This house is an incredible charmer with its huge windows, high ceilings, distressed wall materials, attention to detail and gorgeous wood floors. Thank you Apple Fall for making Second Life a more beautiful place to live. ♥

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

House and Home

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I am kind of a homebody in real life and a little bit that way in the virtual world as well. My house in Second Life is important to me, partially because of esthetics, but also because it is the place that I can return to and call home. I have switched homes numerous times in the past, but my current house, The Normandy by Van Auster of POST, has been a constant for a while. Since my sim Nordan om Jorden is as of recently occupied by the gallery Berg by Nordan Art, the house is not on the ground, but sits on a platform in the sky. I thought I would not like this as much, but as it turns out, I actually prefer it. I find that while of course there is no water available or ground to terraform, the space itself is more intimate and manageable to design. I am already looking forward to in a month or so to re-design the space for winter.

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But we visited then recently¬†a beautiful sim with houses for rent and predictably I felt the pull once again to move. We decided to¬†look at the homes.¬†These were such beautiful buildings and attached were the prettiest¬†gardens one could imagine and all designed by outstanding¬†content creators in Second Life. It was perfection. We entered several¬†houses and found that though really well constructed and ¬†amazing looking from the outside,¬†there were consistent problems with interior layout and very little space to move around. We kept falling down stairs and bumping into one another. In addition, lag was a problem. We learned that day that it doesn’t matter if the house design and the setting are both stunning,¬†tight living quarters and difficulty¬†moving because of lag are undesirable. Teleporting home and landing in a spacious and bright lag-free living room¬†was a big relief.

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My attachment to my home also has to do with permanence. There is something valuable about our own sense of history in this virtual world where time sometimes seems a little warped. It is important to me that the stack of books next to my laptop on my desk have been there for a while since it contributes to a sense of familiarity and homeliness. I should also mention here something about objects that have stood the test of time, specifically the classic builds  and objects by Van Auster. He figured out a long time ago that it was crucial to use only the finest textures and attend to the littles of details. Mr. Auster also realizes that avatars need interior space to move around. Finishing up writing this post, I realized I wrote a very similar post back in July about POST, where I am going on and on about the talented Van Auster just like I am here! It seems some things do not change.

House and Home

Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

Impressions

ImpressionsI found my way to LEA 6 Impressions by Inara Pey, a visit long overdue. Most of us know Inara because of her blog, Living in a Modern World, which she started in 2007, making it one of the longest active blogs in Second Life. Keeping a blog involves visiting various destinations and taking photographs and some of the pictures and videos from Inara’s travels for her Second Life blog have become one part of the LEA 6 project. They are displayed throughout the house she designed and built for this sim and which is the second part of the project.¬†I had no idea Inara was a builder! A landscape, consisting of trees, bushes, flowers, water and rock, surrounds her¬†interpretation of a Twentieth Century American house, presumably the Fallingwater¬†Edgar Kaufman house¬†by the¬†architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Inara’s house is beautifully constructed with great attention to detail and looks very much like the original (see below). A third part of the LEA 6 sim features¬†sculptures and art by CioTToLiNa Xue. Clearly, even though photographs, videos, and sculptures are a part of this, it is the house that Inara designed and constructed that provides¬†the anchor.¬†Part of a sentence in one of Inara’s¬†notecards struck a chord with me; she speaks of the house she built here as¬†an interpretation of an iconic 20th American house which has made a significant impression on me over the years, but which I have as yet been unable to visit in the physical world. The LEA 6 Impressions is a good¬†example I think of how we are able to realize in the¬†¬†virtual world our real world dreams.

Fallingwater

Photograph on top by Kate Bergdorf
Photograph on bottom from Frank Lloyd Wright archives

Home and Garden

314After much back and forth,  I finally settled on the Normandy for my new home, which I think ended up being a great choice. It is a rather small, but still spacious seeming house with lots of windows that lend a beautiful inside/outside kind of feel to it. I also ended up creating an outside space, which was quite time-consuming but very much worth it in the end. I especially love on the outside the gorgeous new Apple Fall Garden Walls and the majestic Oak Tree by Alex Bader. I had so much fun doing this and then went a little nuts taking photographs when I was done. I am posting them here.

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Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

POST

35I am in the midst of changing my home in Second Life again. I do this occasionally and enjoy looking for the right house. ¬†Most of the time I end up with a build by Van Auster of POST. I’ve been trying to look for something else, but there is really no point. In this age of mesh and outstanding design, Van Auster’s builds still hold my attention (even though I am also partial to Scarlet Creative, I should mention here). ¬†What is it about these builds that keep me getting back to them? ¬†A few things. Thorough research of historical building design meticulously applied to inworld builds. Outstanding original textures. Thoughtful and tasteful selection of ¬†buildings, furniture and accessories. Incredible attention to detail. I could go on and on.¬†I know some people are complaining about the size of the POST builds not being proportionate to avatar size. There is also dissatisfaction that the builds are not made of mesh and still fairly prim heavy. Honestly, I don’t care about any of that, my next home will ¬†be by Van Auster again; I’m deciding whether to get the Skyline Drive or the Normandy, both of which I have used as homes in the past. All I can say is bravo Mr. Auster, please continue doing what you are doing. Your products have stood the test of time and are treasured Second Life classics.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

[NorderNey]

2I can’t think of any sim more peaceful than [NorderNey]. This pretty place has been put together by the talented Jacky Macpherson and has been open for quite a while now. The island is rather large, with many little spaces, each area offers something different. My favorite place to just hang out and daydream for a while is the freestanding one-room house with a terrace on the water created by Yacchan Clip of Y’s House.

1The inside of the house is sparsely and tastefully furnished; the mood is really set by the delicate sheer curtains swaying softly in the wind. Outside the house gentle waves brush up against the shore. So very beautiful. Teleport over and take a look if you haven’t been here already.

4Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

Ocho Tango Place

Snapshot_004I am a great admirer of the work by Oriolus Oliva of The Golden Oriole. One of his most beautiful builds has been used to house the Ocho Tango Place. The creator and owner of this place, Shee Malcolm, has done a wonderful job putting it together on the sim Blossom Land (which also houses the popular Digital Art). The inside of the build is sparsely decorated with a bar, a few seating areas and tango dance photographs on the wall; it truly feels like a tango place. The outside area is wide open and one has to climb a little hill at the landing area to get to the house itself, which I love. Lots of atmosphere to be had here, head over and take a look.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf