Interview by Dagmar Haiku
Rustica is known for great Medieval furniture, but the range of items created by Maxwell Graf is way bigger than this. In his furniture store he also sells modern furniture and 1500 meters over the furniture store you can find Bitch and Bastard, Maxwell’s stores for male and female mesh clothing.
This year Rustica joins the Fantasy Faire for the first time as a merchant. We are thrilled to have this premier Faire experience be as the sponsor of the Devil’s Locket sim. Let’s spend some time getting to know more about the man behind the brand that allows us all to truly make our homes into castles.
1. What made you decide to become a sponsor?
This is actually my first Fantasy Faire. I decided that since I was going to do it this year, may as well go big or go home!
2. You are known for creating medieval furniture. Are doing something else in second life than building role-playing for example?
I generally work about 60 hours a week in Second Life, so I rarely ever have time to do more than that, unfortunately. It’s worse now, actually, because mesh takes even longer to do. When I can, however, I do like to crawl out from under my pile of polygons and go to clubs, art openings, or just go sit with my friends and play greedy. I would love to be able to do some Role Play here, and moved the sim recently to a wonderful and amazing community of Role Players, The Torgan Empire, familiar to some as Sylvhara.
3. In your store you also sell pictures you drawn. How did you become a creator. Have you always been creative? Does Second Life offer you ways to live your creativity you normally wouldn’t have?
I’ve always been into various forms of art; at 3 years old I was already using perspective in my work, which is very odd. I have worked over the years in many fine art mediums, even sculpting for a few years at a porcelain studio doing figure work. I find that Second Life lets me combine all those mediums in one place, and even add a few new ones, like sound and animation. Second Life is my canvas, yet there are people walking around in it as I paint, even as I am in their canvas as they paint. It is still magical and new, definitely the medium of our age.
4. With Bitch@Rustica and Bastard@Rustica you started mesh clothing stores. Have you created clothing before mesh?
As with my furniture, I’ve created pieces from real life; I have a mint 1968 singer machine, which is like the Sherman tank of sewing – it does leather, denim, anything. I’ve done my own pants, a kilt, some shirts, drapes. I’ve always been a chameleon when it comes to clothing, wearing a wide variety of things from day to day in real life – a suit one day, camo fatigues the next, a military coattail jacket and top hat the next, jeans and a slayer t-shirt the next. Fashion interests me greatly, although the fashion industry annoys the hell out of me, which is one reason I named the labels the way I did: I wanted to misconceptions about my ideals or goals in making clothing here. I’m not out to win awards or try and do the best of anything, and I don’t pretend for a moment I know more about fashion than the next person. I just make what I like, or what comes to me, and hope that I can produce something worthy of the effort I put into it. If I am lucky, at my best I will be able to design something that will be identifiable as my work, that it will have a look that people can identify as coming from me. That is the best I can hope for.
5. The range of the items you create is really wide. There is typical furniture for fantasy role-play in your store but then you also create fancy glasses which go well in a elegant urban situation. What inspires you to the items you create?
My fascination with art, both my own and others, has always been more about the process than the product. When I say process I mean both technically, as in what tools and techniques are used, but I also mean personally, as in what did that person have to do to produce that, what place did they find this thing inside themselves they want to show the world. What did it cost them, personally, to make it? Honestly, with this kind of approach I find that doing a medieval couch is no different than making a set of high heels, a Gothic cottage no different than a tree or a purse, etc. It all feels similar to me, only the method is different. How do I approach this? What parts make up this thing, why is it that style of chair or purse or house? What elements make it what it is? It is all about the process.
I have a lot of inspiration from all over! I read a lot of fantasy novels and a huge reference library. I also usually do some visualization by searching the web. Research is imperative to good design! If you don’t know what something is, how can you make it? If I want to design a Rococo chair, then I need to go look at 50 of them and see how they are put together. This is critical to me.
6. Fantasy Faire is an excellent way to educate and inform people about Relay For Life. What would you like to see people take away from the Fantasy Faire?
Empty wallets and full inventories. There is so much good work at this event every year.
7. Why do you Relay?
I’ve lost my grandparents to cancer. My mother was the longest survivor of bone cancer in US history – 28 years. My real life partner just lost her father to cancer in February. I’ve seen so many people die from this f*cking disease… I couldn’t sit and not contribute another year. […] I am in this for the people who have lost someone, for the people who currently suffer from this damn disease and in the hopes that we can treat and eventually stop it from killing us all. People who have this disease touching their lives need to know we are out here, thinking of them, caring, wanting to do something, trying to help. That message is sometimes the most important of all. We are here with you and for you… you are not alone.
Thank you very much the interview. To see more of Maxwell’s work visit Rustica.