Lilia Artis and Haveit Neox, the world builders of The Story Well, share with us the story of their wondrously colourful Faireland. They talk about their Faire experiences and what they do for the rest of the year when the Fairelands reside in the Mists, and reveal how the first inspiration of The Story Well was born.
The work you do to bring us a whole Faireland is dedicated work of months, it’s planning and designing, building and sleep-deprivation, building and coffee, and more building. If someone asked you why do you do it, what would you say?
Haveit: Haha! This does sound masochistic, doesn’t it. It’s quite the opposite actually. While setting up at the Faire, I feel a sense of wellbeing. Because Lilia and I share the work 50/50, there is less worry about potential problems on each of our shoulders. There are plenty of worrisome challenges along the way of course, but that’s to be expected on a large project. Why I do it is threefold: It’s for a much needed cause: Relay for Life. The team at FF comprises hundreds of people who are united under the compassionate organizers which makes for a fulfilling experience, and finally because, as an artist, I love to be able to show my work. I would like to share something as an example of the deep connections people have with the Faire. On the last day of FF 2017, Lilia and I found Jenzza Misfit alone on the Opal Flight sim. Jenzza came to bid farewell to that sim where she had performed, and set off a magnificent display of particles. It was a personal expression rather than a performance for an audience, though Lilia and I just happened to be there at the right time. She made a short film to capture the last moments.
It touched me then, it touches me still. There are many reasons every year to answer ‘why’ I do it.
Lilia: I would say I do it because it has a purpose that is beyond my own ego and all about doing something for others with my creative abilities. I’d also say that I am so impressed by the community and that it is such a joy to work for and with them. And I met amazing people there who enriched my life with their personality and their creativity. I am deeply grateful for that.
Tell us about The Story Well. How was it born, what is its story?
Haveit: Travel had a big part to play in this. I visited Lilia and Moe in Europe during the month of September. One of the things Lilia and I specifically put time aside to do was refine the story I had planned for FF. On one of the many outings, the three of us visited a huge art store that had canvas sizes the likes I’d never seen in the States. I chose a long narrow one that happily fit the size of the short end of Lilia and Moe’s dining table. Moe and I sat across from one another, and Lilia was in the middle. Our idea was that we would all contribute in joined effort on this single canvas. We decided on doing cities painted in our own third of the canvas, then Lilia joined them with painterly transitions. Her hill town struck me as a perfect concept for FF. It was artistic and very colorful, with a freshness that tapped into a childlike sense of wonder. I begged her to replace my original plans with her hill town. She was reluctant to scrap my previous idea, but finally she also agreed we could start from scratch. We built her hill town, and below water, we built the watery world I designed also from scratch. Our theme celebrates the joy of drawing as children. I drew with my left fist mostly, in order to forgo the sense of control. It’s really effortless scribbling like a child if you convince your hand that your crayon is chasing a fly. I used cheap wax crayons from the grocery store and oil pastel. Lilia used her RL water colors, and a drawing software for chalk pastels. She also included her original hill painting in a relief artwork now set up inside the bat cave.
Lilia: As Haveit has explained it all I just like to add that I wasn’t very convinced when he came up with that suggestion. Only when I saw the draft of simple prims we set up, I got the idea that it might actually work. I’m glad he insisted. 😊 And like every year, we first wrote a background story because it provides us an outline to begin the build.
Fairelanders know you two as the world builders of the Arts & Entertainment sims, of the amazing installations harboring performances and galleries, but what do you the rest of the year? Tell us about your Second Life outside the Fairelands.
Lilia: My Second Life outside the Fairelands has grown into mainly working on the next Fantasy Faire. Being a quiet introvert I never was a party person and spent most of my time on my building platform or rework/-decorate my piece of land or I’m ‘digging’ with Haveit as we call it when he makes changes to his sim. Whichever way, I find happiness in working with colour and shapes and enjoying the Linden ocean when the sun sets. For a few years I did exhibits and was enthusiastic about the new options of digital art. But lately I rather felt the need to go back to the roots, expand my RL knowledge and explore new fields of doing art there. I have a feeling it will fluctuate with time passing as they always inspired each other.
Haveit: I used to spend most of my time creating exhibits… with shopping, visiting, dancing, and exploration breaks. This year I cut down significantly on exhibits since I would like to have time to learn the tools for making performances. This has been a dream of mine since childhood. The performers at Fantasy Faire are such an inspiration. Then there is my sim ACC Alpha where Lilia and I work on the city. The most recent addition is a functional train transportation system, and I never tire of adding to it.
When was your first Faire? How did you find out about it, how was it like coming to the Faire the first time?
Lilia: Unfortunately, my memory doesn’t work with numbers but with pictures and emotions. That’s why I’m never able to keep track of when was what. I’m equally bad with remembering names but for some reason the creators’ names ingrained themselves into the pictures I have in my mind from my first visit at the Fairelands. To be honest I’m not even sure if it was in the same year that I entered their sims because it took some time until I understood that the Faire is a yearly event. But I was simply in awe staring at the screen like a child, open mouthed and convinced to see pure magic. It was their way of weaving shape and colour into light and shadow that created that magical atmosphere and I am in total bliss to witness their magic every year ever since and to find even more creators who achieve the same.
Haveit: Ironically, my first experience with the Faire was rushed. I don’t remember which year it was, but not so long ago. I am usually concentrated on building exhibits, and I was invited by a friend to see FF to have a break from my schedule. Unfortunately, it was on the last day, and as everyone knows, the Faire is BIG! I probably only saw one quarter of the sims. It was amazing, the high quality of its presentation, the imaginative settings. I left feeling frustrated but the Fairelands impression was made! I return every year like a migrating flamingo.
Do you spend much time in the Faire? What do you do during Faire-days? Is there something you always look forward to?
Haveit: This year yes! Lilia and I got most of our work done a little ahead of schedule so that we finally have some extra free time in order to explore the truly exceptional Fairelands. It goes without saying that I’m shopping my wallet to death; the merchants are merciless with their temptations. I look forward to everything, but can’t see it all. Fantasy Faire is so packed with activities and amazing sites that no one can possibly see and do everything, it’s like a real life cultural destination. The skill here, is not kick yourself for those things you just can’t get to.
Lilia: During the Faire I cancel RL and only stick to the basic needs in minimum quantities like eat & sleep. Fortunately, my family and friends are very understanding. But even then, it is not possible to see all and everything the event is offering. I try to attend as many performances as possible and explore the other sims. This brings me always such happiness and comes very close to the excitement I felt during Xmas when I was a kid. So many visual gifts – almost overwhelming! And then there is always something to work on as you simply can’t foresee everything that will come up. Though concerning what was in our power to plan and do, our timing this year was far better than last year. I guess it has to do with the experience you gather.
Thank you, Lilia and Haveit, for taking the time to chat with us! Thank you for bringing us yet another marvelous story shaped into a Faireland!