Having visited her amazing exhibition at Nitroglobus a few weeks back, I was really excited and pleased to chat with artist Sina Souza about her life, her process and her journey.
The journey towards becoming an artist in SL is definitely not an easy one. It takes a lot of effort and the ability to circumvent any challenges that may crop up along the way. But it is a process in which you can learn so many different things, explore so many new ideas and end up with creating exhibits and installations that convey a message, project your thoughts and perhaps bring about change in a much larger way.
Sina Souza is an artist who has been creating stunning images for the past eight or nine years in SL. She recently came back after a break and her recent exhibition – “Retrospective” – at Dido’s Part of the Nitroglobus Gallery has been received with love by everyone (see our article HERE).
I was honored to interview her and discover her story in the world of art. Sina’s story is that of a warrior – a warrior who never let go of her dreams and aspirations even when things didn’t go her way every time.
Unlike some other artists and photographers, Sina had no RL background in art or photography. Before she started taking pictures in SL, she has no idea what a good perspective is. Image composition, lighting, post processing – these terms were new to her.
It is quite interesting to note that Sina’s inspiration to start taking pictures came years earlier back in 2012 at Nitroglobus itself!
“I visited the Nitroglobus Gallery in 2012. Mistero Hifeng had an exhibition there and I was completely fascinated by his detailed, innovative images”, says Sina. “This was the first time that pictures has pulled me so deeply into them.”
And today things have indeed come to a full circle for her! She exhibits at the very gallery that inspired her to click pictures. Soon after her visit in 2012, she decided she wanted to create images herself. Sina started searching YouTube for Photoshop tutorials to learn the basics. And from that point onwards, it was a never-ending process of trying, trying and trying.
I have often heard people say that your first exhibition can make or break you. So Sina was really thrilled to land her first exhibition. She went to great lengths to make things perfect, even writing a poem for every artwork she had exhibited. A mixture of nervousness and excitement filled her as she awaited the arrival of the first visitors. But unfortunately, no one showed up at the opening. It was just the gallery owner and her.
This would have been highly frustrating for anyone. If it were someone else, they might have lost hope and given up at this stage. But not Sina.
“I’m not a person who gives up easily”, says Sina as she recalls her first exhibition. “I admit it was a bit frustrating. But there is only one thing I do when I fall down. Get up and start working again.”
And thanks to her positive attitude and determination, she is one of the most remarkable artists in the art world of SL today.
Speaking about her work, Sina says, “If I had to describe my work in general, I would say that it is concept-based and thought-provoking with a surrealist touch. I create my works with deep feelings.”
I asked her a question that I often like asking artists I talk to – whether they find their style has changed over years of creating art.
“I wouldn’t say my style has changed; but it has certainly developed”, she responds. “Finding my own style is something I struggled with at first. It was a very long development process. If you look at some of the images I created in the beginning, they were a mixture of experiments, but did not have a fixed style.”
Different artists have their own personal sources of inspiration from which they develop concepts and themes. For Sina, it can be absolutely anything. She has been inspired in the past by a sound (hammer hitting a nail with determination), a word, a feeling, a song, simple situations from her own life, her past experiences (“Retrospective”) or even sometimes from nothing but silence.
As soon as the concept for a particular image is clear to her, Sina’s process is more or less the same.
She elaborates, “Before I work on the location, I write down notes or make sketches, so that I am able to roughly see the structure of the image. The next step is to procure everything needed for the picture – clothes, objects, props and anything else that appears in the image. Sometimes I even need to create some props or develop a pose myself when I can’t find suitable things available.”
Sina uses her platform as the location for most of her shoots.
“I need to set up everything on my platform and click 4 to 5 pictures using different windlights. Once I have the raw versions of the image, then comes the editing and that is where Photoshop comes in.”
Everyone has their highs and lows and Sina has had her fair share of both. She has just bounced back from one of the longest down phases in her life and started creating again.
“During my break from SL, I felt empty and was sunk in a hole, not able to create. This was a nightmare for me”, says Sina. “In the end, you have to keep on trying with determination and eventually you will find your way out. Luckily I managed to come back and do what I love.”
She tells me that for her, creating art is always a fight with different emotions. It can include anxiety or sadness but in the end, the joy of having created something beautiful overpowers all other emotions.
Sina says, “The process of creating my images is like a therapy session for me in which I dig deep into my mind and figure out my thoughts, emotions and feelings to eventually express them through my art.”
Throughout the course of her fascinating journey in the art world of SL, she has been touched and inspired by the works of many different artists. Bryn Oh is an artist who has been especially supportive of her work.
“Bryn has always had an open ear and is always very interested in my art”, Sina tells me. “She asked me for a collaborative exhibition and spoke to me about the weight of a picture. I really appreciate her.”
Today, Sina is a respected artist in the art world, known for her own style of surrealism. Her exhibition at the Nitroglobus Gallery – “Retrospective” – is one in which she reflects on the mistakes she has made and the experiences she has had in the past and creates some beautiful works of art which everyone can connect with.
After coming back from a break from SL, Sina is just getting started with her creative journey again and we hope to see many other exhibits by her coming up soon.
Please do take a look at Sina Souza’s FLICKR page.
Click HERE to visit her latest exhibition – “Retrospective” – at Dido’s part of the Nitroglobus Gallery inworld.