Millions of Us Names Mark Stephen Meadows as Artist-in-Residence

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Portrait artist and author to explore visualization of online identities.

I, Avatar; The Culture and Consequences of Having A Second Life

Millions of Us LLC, an agency specializing in virtual worlds and large online communities, today announced that Mark Stephen Meadows (also known as "pighed") will be the firm's second artist-in-residence. Meadows, an internationally recognized portrait artist and author, is also today marking the release of a book titled "I, Avatar; The Culture and Consequences of Having A Second Life" with a launch party in Culver City, California.

The book relates directly to the work Meadows will undertake during his residency; he has been commissioned to build six avatars - six self-portraits - in six different virtual worlds. His journey from world to world will be explored as a first-person travelogue; in so doing, Meadows will identify the unique abilities and limits of each system, exploit them, and then build avatars that show those differences as a gallery of six completely different self portraits, thus revealing the impact of context on personal identity. The self-portraits resulting from his residency will be made available online and will likely be presented at an upcoming gallery showing in San Francisco.

Meadows has an eclectic body of work straddling art and technology and addressing digital humans, virtual worlds, and emotional interfaces. He started the first company to create content for virtual worlds in 1994, and has been exploring the avatar in such worlds through a variety of media since those early days, including graphic novels entirely shot within these environments.

The Millions of Us artist-in-residence program was inaugurated late last year when UK-based Rob Wright was commissioned to produce a film interpretation of the song "Meteors" by Kirsty Hawkshaw, a prominent figure in electronic music known for her distinctive vocals and her work with the band Opus III.

"In the last fourteen years I've traveled through hundreds of virtual worlds. Some are perpetual nightmares, some promise new utopia. Some are lush jungles of incredible visual design, others connect millions of people without a snag or pause," said Meadows. "But the one thing I've found that is always the most important are the people I meet. There is nothing as beautiful nor as horrible, as rich nor as impoverished, as the residents of these worlds."

"Millions of Us is honored to work with such an innovative, mold-defying artist," said Douglas Gayeton, the agency's Chief Creative Officer. "The technical curiosity and esthetic exploration that characterizes Mark's work will bring new perspectives to our creative team, and will in turn deliver value to our clients."

Full details on today's book launch party in Culver City can be found at http://www.markmeadows.com.

About Millions of Us LLC
Millions of Us LLC is an agency specializing in virtual worlds and large online communities. Founded in 2006 and based in San Francisco, the agency's clients include 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Toyota, Microsoft, and Intel.

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