I am sharing a notecard I received from Ceejay’s friend Gracie Kendal, and Lori’s friend Kris Schomaker. Why do I make the dual-reference to who we are? It feels right, in light of what Gracie and Kris are doing. Please read, keep an open mind, and if you are so inclined, please help! I would also ask that you respect this request – it is not mandatory, and if you do not agree with the project, you are welcome to move on without ridicule. Here is the full text of their message:
To my friends and family,
I need your help.
As most of you know, I am finishing my Masters Degree in Art, graduating in May of this year from California State University, Northridge.
I am currently working on my Thesis project which is a mixed reality performance between me and my avatar from the web 2.0 virtual world of Second Life. Her name is Gracie Kendal.
This project is a very personal and also universal story that I believe a lot of people can relate to. This is from my artist statement:
Who am I?
I am an artist. I am an avatar. I am a woman. I am 36. I am ageless. I am thin. I am overweight. I am beautiful. I am not. I am a lover. I am not a fighter. I am an artist. I am a dreamer. I am a romantic. I am scared. I am strong. I am vulnerable. I am wanted. I am unwanted. I am intelligent. I am witty. I am ditzy. I am an artist. I am happy. I am unhappy. I am lost. I am found. I am alive. I am alone. I am lonely. I am free. I am enslaved. I am independent. I am dependent. I am loved. I am unloved. I am rich. I am poor. I am an artist. I am talented. I am a creative. I am an expressionist. I am successful. I am unknown. I am Gracie Kendal. I am Kris Schomaker.
I am real. I am me.
The Gracie Kendal Project is a close-up daily view of a personal, social and psychological co-existence with my virtual persona. Using installation, text, photography, mixed media, video and performance, I am projecting myself onto another form and confronting my own imperfections.
My work deals with the process of becoming self-aware while living in a media-saturated, technologically advancing society. It is symbolic of the personal anxiety and loss of identity which occurs in a world where visually aggressive advertisements dictate how to look, how to act, what to buy and, most importantly, what is desirable. In this environment I find it difficult to be comfortable in my own skin. My sense of self has become dislodged and torn apart.
Through documentation, I construct a narrative of self that represents me and is me, one that helps to deconstruct ideas of normalcy and authenticity. My narrative questions identity. Who am I? What am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose? What do I really want? Am I happy?
The final culmination of my project involves changing roles with Gracie. I am going to be her for a couple days. This will include getting a nose piercing, coloring my hair platinum blond, having it curled, and my make-up done. Buying a couple outfits that are classy but sexy. Going out to a jazz club, or dancing. An art opening, etc. I am going to be documenting this transformation through photography and video.
Everything I do, wear, use will be kept, documented and used in my thesis show in May. I’m so excited about this project. It is one of the most important things I have ever done in my life.
As one of my friends or family, you are a valuable part of this project. I wouldn’t be here without your help and support through the years, months and days leading to my graduation. I would like to ask your help one more time.
Will you help sponsor my project and become a donor?
100% of your support goes to cover the cost of: filming-camera, mic lighting $500; photography-large scale portraits, film development, etc $500; wardrobe- Dress, outfit, shoes, etc $300; nose piercing plus jewelry-$50 and other extras it is going to take to transform Kris Schomaker into her avatar, Gracie Kendal. This may include cost of cover charge for clubs, gas to get to locations, etc.
The culminating art work will be a mixed reality video of this piece, and all of the items and documentation used.
Any amount you can spare would be so much appreciated :)))
You can also purchase my paintings shown here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/krisartlvr/sets/72157623333940395/
(Please contact me with any questions and pricing. I will make you a killer deal!!)
For monetary donations, you can pay via PayPal: firstname.lastname@example.org, or donate through several kiosks I have set up at my galleries in Second Life or contact me for my home address.
I would also love any suggestions or ideas that you may have beyond this letter. I really appreciate all you have done for me.
Thank you so so much for your consideration and support.
My sincere thanks,
Kris Schomaker/Gracie Kendal