GBTH Magazine #22 - Ren Matsura
Dec. 2023

Interview by Difficult Conundrum
Screenshot by Marina Münter

This marks our final introduction for the year, and we're excited to present Ren Matsura as the last artist on our lineup. Ren, an Argentine stylist, fashion photographer, and artist, quickly gained recognition as a skilled creator, becoming a regular feature in Second Life fashion publications by 2015. In 2019, he made his debut as an exhibiting artist, consistently showcasing his work across various galleries within Second Life ever since.

Difficult Conundrum: We have been following each other on Flickr for a long time, but haven’t come into contact until fairly recently. So, let’s go back to the very beginning: Could you share how you discovered Second Life?

Ren Matsura: It's a bit tricky to answer this question. In essence, I've dedicated most of my time to chasing dreams that haven't quite come true in real life. Photography and fashion have always been my passions. So, during my years in Second Life, I mainly focused on fulfilling my dreams as a model and photographer. As I stepped back from modeling to fully embrace photography and manage my blog, I delved deeper into mastering certain concepts and refining my editing skills to produce better work. To put it simply, I'm currently devoted to photography and being a blogger.

DC: Your approach to photography is quite unique. Could you describe your process from the initial idea to the finished piece?

RM: Alright, the process behind my photography has always involved setting up the scene in Second Life and creating the atmosphere. Once I'm there, it takes a while to get the shadows right, choose the angle for the photograph, and handle other details. After completing this stage, it's time to edit the final photo. I typically don't heavily manipulate my photos in Photoshop; I mostly adjust tones and clean up minor errors that might disrupt the picture. My photo ideas often come from my mood, personal thoughts, or even fears. Sometimes, I draw inspiration from a scene in a movie or series. I also use Pinterest to gather initial ideas, which I then personalize to capture a specific mood. Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of my photos areis the color palettes I use. Many of my photos feature subdued color schemes.

DC: In your CHROMATIC DREAMSCAPES artist's statement, you mentioned stepping out of your comfort zone by infusing colors into your images. What challenges did you face during this process, and how did it influence your artistic approach?

RM: Personally, I've never been great at working with vibrant colors in photography. Perhaps it's because of a certain perspective or life experience where I find joy and love in colorful artworks as they exude life. I've never really felt drawn to creating work in that particular way. So, when I received the invitation [to do an exhibition at GBTH], I felt a desire to do something innovative, something different from my usual style. I crafted a piece that still represents me but with colors that breathe life into it. That's why I used colors in photographs that were entirely white, envisioning it as an oil painting, infusing it with life myself.

DC: The symbolism you've attributed to different colors, such as associating orange with nature and living beings, is quite interesting. How did you come to establish these specific connections between colors and emotions or concepts?

RM: The associations become life in itself. In these photographs, my aim was to depict the diverse meanings and symbolism carried by colors and words in my life. They might convey sadness, anger, or acceptance, each encapsulating a personal emotion of mine.

DC: And lastly, what message or impression do you hope people will take away from CHROMATIC DREAMSCAPES?

RM: Well, what I've learned is that each color holds its own beauty, whether it's associated with a positive or negative connotation. It's all a part of life, and embracing every color allows us to move forward and grow.

CHROMATIC DREAMSCAPES opens on Dec. 17th, 2023 @GBTH