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Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Pumpkin And Tom's Gallery

Walking back from the Underground Club in Knighsbridge one night I spotted Pumpkin Zenovka and Tom Prospero’s smart combined Gallery ‘Pumpkin’s Patch’ where Pumpkin sells her own design hand crafted jewellery and Tom’s ‘Colour – Painting the Picture’ art. I decided to go in and have a look. Tom, Pumpkin’s SL partner has some beautiful watercolour paintings for sale and Pumpkin some equally fine jewellery. Tom has an eye for misty atmospheric landscapes as well as detailed still life. It was a job to choose which one, but I decided to buy one of his still life pictures, some apples on a bough. I instantly liked the picture, which was softly painted with a lovely sheen on the lifelike apple skins.

I asked Tom and Pumpkin some questions about their individual artworks, Pumpkin has a beautiful range of jewellery for sale. She told me “-I design, create and hand make silver and gold Jewellery in RL. When I first arrived in SL, I was disappointed to see such poor quality, and uninspiring jewellery, for sale. So I started to make my own.” And Pumpkin has certainly transferred her real life talent into SL, she has some amazing designs and intricate pieces that it is astounding to think anyone can create such a thing out of prims. Pumpkin said “I have found it an advantage having knowledge of jewellery making, because the same techniques used in RL can be applied and adapted in SL. All my SL Jewellery is designed and hand made using tiny prims and my own textures.”

I wanted to know how Pumpkin decided to open her jewellery store, she told me “After winning a few in-world jewellery competitions, this gave me the incentive to open up my own shops. It never fails to give me a thrill when I see a SL resident wearing my jewellery.”

Using Tom’s paintings and Pumpkins artwork together in the Gallery is a great combination of talents, it creates a nice environment in the premises just to go in and browse. Tom said “The London sims are great because they are nicely built and a fun place to be. They have a lot of people coming through and this is of course important to anyone trying to display and sell things. Pumpkin Zenovka and I both wanted a store that was large enough to wander around in, as this is important to appreciate both the paintings and Pumpkin's fine hand-crafted jewellery. We feel we have achieved this in Knightbridge, and have even found space for a comfy chill-out area with complimentary drinks and a small dance space - so you can have fun while browsing in our gallery!”

I asked Tom if he had always painted in real life, and did he start as a child? he explained “I did paint as a child (who didn't?) and of course my mother would say that I was talented ;-) I only took up painting again as an adult as a way of relaxing and doing something different, and took some formal lessons. Being shown the techniques of watercolours was a fantastic way to see the potential for creativity and I became hooked very quickly.” I wanted to know if Tom used any other medium, he told me “I mainly use watercolours, and it was learning those techniques properly that was a real fascination and allows some wonderful lighting compositions, e.g 'Lincoln Castle' or 'Lamplight'. I've also played with other media such as acrylics, and these allow a completely different sort of style, as in 'Mediterranean Sunset' or 'Liberty NY'."

I ask Tom if he could describe his style and also if he painted out on location or back at home, he said “I don't know how I would describe my style of painting! If you look at the paintings, the style varies depending on the subject matter and media. Each painting can take from 2 hours to 10 hours overall to complete - this is a reflection of the detail and style. I have painted outdoors, but this can be difficult with the weather (even in warm places!), so now I prefer to paint from photographs in the comfort of home. I find myself going out taking photographs with a view to painting.” Do you have a preference for landscape or still life? I asked. Tom said “Which is my favourite? Haha.. difficult. I like both Landscapes and Still Life. Still Life gives the opportunity to do quirky things with everyday objects, such as 'Workshop Tools', but Landscapes give the freedom to be imaginative in compositions - none of the pictures should be regarded as surrogate photographs ;-)” And do you sell your paintings in real life? I wanted to know. Tom replied “No plans for this at the moment.... but always open to offers!”

I asked Tom what he thought about SL and how he got started with the paintings, he said “I've been on SL since Nov 2006. I'd heard about it from various sources and was intrigued - the big draw was exploring all these amazing virtual spaces. Then of course there is the aspect of creating things. The ability of SL participants to create beautiful, interesting and exciting places to visit was one of the things that really did take me by surprise, and I believe that this is one of the things that makes SL stand out. The idea of putting my paintings up only came about six months after joining SL. Everywhere seemed to be endless clothes shops.. so I thought Original Paintings would be different ;-)

I started making high-resolution scans of my pictures, fitting 'frames' to them and then using these to create the SL pictures. Because the textures are high-resolution, the detail on the pictures is good, even close-up. After displaying for a while in a furniture store of a friend, I opened my first gallery store in the Loch Ness area in SL, and named it 'COLOUR - Painting the Picture'. There is now also a store on Whale Island that has the full range of paintings available.”

With both Tom’s and Pumpkins fine work for sale in the Gallery, it’s a great place to visit, Pumpkin told me “I consider my jewellery an art in its own right, so it’s great to be able to display my work alongside Tom’s wonderful paintings. Tom and I hope our Knightsbridge gallery offers more than a shopping experience, it’s a place to meet, socialise and browse.”

I would like to thank Pumpkin and Tom for their time and I wish them every success for the future.

Janey Bracken

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