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teknidermy.com > issue > 12 > Xerraire the Talkative One Editor's Notes Follow-up Interview with Xymantix Skinning on the Edge Notes on Corporate Logo Design Xerraire — The Talkative One n05feratu — Art that Hurts to Look at Sell your Skin Foood for Thought Mormegil — Man or Icon Whodunnit?

Xerraire

The Talkative One

Xerraire has been a part of the skinning community by not only her beautiful contributions to the skinsites, but she runs one of her very own too! So we thought we'd get more insight on one of the softer sides within the skinning community…


Tek: Thanks Xerraire for doing this interview, I know you're a very busy lady and we appreciate your time =)

Xerraire: This is a pleasure, really!

Tek: Okay lets get the personal stuff out of the way, since you're a girl I cannot ask the usual boxers or briefs question so you're safe there! hehe But how about telling us your real name, and what part of the earth you reside on etc. etc.

Xerraire: I live in Maryland, USA. My real name is Barbara Lopez. My nickname ‛Xerraire’ means ‛talkative’ in Catalán. I lived in Catalunya, Spain, for one year. The language is beautiful. Most people cannot pronounce my nick though. The ‛X’ is a ‛SH’ sound, so phonetically I suppose it could be written SHUH-RYE-RUH.

Tek: Well you sure don't even want to know how I was pronouncing your nickname in my head cuz I was wayyyyyy off hehe

Tek: alright so what brought you to the internet and into the skinning community and when?

Xerraire: Wow, the internet: First of all, for many years, I never considered even owning a computer. My world was always art, languages, and music, and I always thought that I was never the kind of person that could ever understand them. However once I was asked to do an office job for the summer because I knew Spanish not for my office skills, hehe and I immediately saw the possibilities that a computer could have for my creativities. A new computer bought I then thought I wouldn't ever be interested in the internet, and left that part alone. No patience for it, because back then one paid by the minute, and with SLOW AOL! But once online services went to a flat unlimited rate, I then decided to try it. I slowly began to learn things, and was persuaded by online friends to start making web pages and working with graphics. Which I did.

Skins: The first program I ever saw a skin for was winamp. I think I downloaded a few from skinz.org and never gave them another thought, until I saw skins were being made for my favorite chat program, ICQ. I think I had around 300 people on my ICQ list at one time, living up to my ‛talkative’ nickname! I began to see another creative outlet for myself, my favorite program for chat combined with my growing love for graphics. With the help of some friends, I began to apply my art work (watercolors) to ICQ, making what I suppose now would be called a ‛photoskin’ but it was my original work, and I convinced another friend to do the same, and we put our heads together and posted our own website on Fortune City. That grew to MXskinz. M for my friend Mike, X for myself.


I didn't become aquainted with the skinning community until I received an email from Chaz from Lots of Skins announcing his new site, asking would I like to contribute to it. At his request I created an account, uploaded a few items, and never went back there again until I became curious many months later as to how the skins were doing. Months later, I saw I had the most downloads of ICQ skins there. I left the site rather pleased and thought since they were so well liked, I would add some more. I was promptly written an email of rejection.

Apparently, Lots of Skins had becomed armed with a censor, a gentle man named Koasati. It was he that introduced me to the skinning community. I never had a nicer rejection, although the poor soul really got a heated “WHY?” after all my skins were taken down. It was then that I learned his and many others' philosophy of what made a ‛real skin’ I totally agree with that philosophy, after attempting to do a few, and seeing exactly what kind of tedious work that goes into them. However, I cannot ignore all the thousands of people that visit my site, who seem very thrilled to have the latest movie, recording star, or supermodel, or cartoon character on their applications. It makes people happy for some reason, and MXskinz will be a site that is to be a ‛marriage of all types of skinning’.

I once saw MXskinz described as a very friendly site. I liked that.

Tek: I think those rejection letters have a way of not only humbling us but educating us about skinning however, that is only after we want to beat up the person sending the rejection letter of course… I always wondered why you had that name. that's neat that you named your site after your friends initial and yours.

I've seen some of your watercolor paintings over at Artuproar and was surprised, watercoloring is so soft and pretty but it is something you don't see too often in the skinning community, how long have you been doing that type of art?

Xerraire: I suppose when I was handed my first fingerpaints as a toddler it became apparent to my parents that I had a flair for art. They encouraged me. I took art very seriously, begining with pencil, colored pencils, charcoals, acrylics and pastels. It wasn't until High School art class that I fell in love with watercolors.

Tek: Hmmm so then you have actually taken art classes, I was wondering if you were completely self taught and just a natural at it?

Xerraire: A little of both. At home I would read from the library books on every art subject. At school, I usually became the teacher's pet of the art classes and they would take an avid interest in me. When I lived in Spain for a year I took classes there as well.

Tek: would you mind sharing some of your earlier works with us?

Xerraire: By earlier works its hard to know what you mean most of them when I was younger, I don't have, the art teachers or schools kept them. Or my mom has them all!! I can refer you to when I started watercolors in earnest here is a few:


Tek: What about your most prized work? would you mind sharing one or two of those with us?

Xerraire: I have three pieces that I really like. One is called ‛La Señorita’, another is ‛She Likes to Read’ and the last, is not only my favorite, but most everyone else's too


Tek: That first one is really nice! I think watercoloring has got to be the most relaxing kind of art to look at and even more relaxing to watch someone actually doing it! so when did you first begin to create your art? was it early on in your life?

Xerraire: I think I was serious and intense about it for as long as I can remember.

Tek: I only seem to home in on your paintings but do you skin? if so what skinnable apps do you skin for?

Xerraire: I am no great skinner, I later learned. So I skin rarely. However ICQ is my first love, but I can skin Yahoo as well.

Tek: I have a feeling ICQ is what brought most of us girls into the skinning community hehe What graphic programs do you prefer to use when making skins?

Xerraire: I am most comfortable with Micrografx Picture Publisher, which I think has just combined with Corel. I possess a number of other graphic programs such as PSP and Photoshop 6.0, and I am still learning them.

Tek: yeah me too, I possess a number of graphic apps but I still don't possess the skills to use them! Well besides being known as a member on various skinning sites, you also ‛run’ a skinning site yourself called mxskinz.com. When did you make the decision to tackle putting up your own skinning site, rather then just enjoying making your own art and uploading it at the other sites? and why?

Xerraire: When I started my own site with my friend Mike we didn't even know about upload sites except for Skinz.org. I don't think that there were that many, really. Mike and I likely thought we were rather only a few of skinners out there for ICQ. So we felt like we were actually only one site of a few, we didn't know any better.

Tek: Oh I remember too thinking Skinz.org was the only site, now there are so many. When did your site kick on live? and how many members to you have there? I thought I read 9000! is that correct?

Xerraire: After going a while in a free site at fortune city, it became too busy there and we moved the skins to my domain, www.xerraire.com. Very soon, it outgrew my space there, and July 4th, 1999 we had our own domain, www.mxskinz.com. One of the first things to happen prior to that was being interviewed by TUCOWS.

The site really doesn't have ‛members’ but that 9,000 figure would represent how many have written us asking to be notified of updates to the site. So, I have 9,000+ people on my mailing list. I usually send out an update a week. I have rarely missed a week.

Tek: What is more enjoyable for you creating art and sharing it in the skinning community at the other sites, or running such a site of your own? and why?

Xerraire: I enjoy both, but of course my own site is very dear to me. I have lost my partner Mike due to his life going in other directions, but he often called that site my ‛love child’. He knows all the efforts and dedication put in there. I miss my partner, but there is a certain freedom of inspirations going alone. The site expanded to tips for chat programs, internet and computers… as well as submission of poetry. The biggest expansion was taking in skins that other people did, as for a long long while it was just Mike and I, filling the requests of all the visitors.

Tek: Yes unless you've actually put some of yourself into a site most would not know the hard work it takes to sustain one…

Tek: Since you've apparently been around the skinning community for a while, what is your outlook on it as a whole, I mean what do you see and think about it? how it has developed over time and where it seems to be heading etc.

Xerraire: It has always seemed to be a place where people are quick and willing to lend a hand. It still is. There is a comraderie here like no where else. Skinners are some of the best people I know.

Tek: I totally agree which makes it almost impossible to ever leave it! argh!!!

Tek: So what sites do you hop around on and which ones are your most favorite and why?

Xerraire: I may surprise you in saying I do not surf very much. Unfortunately personal reasons and time constrictions has almost forced me to live my life on the net with blinders on! I upload new work, I visit my stats to see where the traffic is coming from, what is being downloaded, and which pages are viewed the most. I do web design and often I have to stay focused in clients' pages and doing work for them as well.

I do go to ArtUproar on a regular basis. When it changed from an all skins site and added an art section, I happened to notice that there were few paintings there. Since I very much appreciate what Chaz has built there and what a fine young man he is, I decided to add some of my work. I wasn't going to, because I am rather shy about my work to be honest, but my desire to help Chaz fill that category was stronger. I could add right here that it took a lot of persuasion from friends to make my first webpage putting my artwork there, as until then, I had them all hidden under my bed, I rarely showed those pieces to anyone.

Tek: Do you want to name a few of your favorite artist or skinners?

Xerraire: Oh yes, I can name a few… Koasati, Honz, Titan, and everyone's favorite, treetog. Photography being an art form, Gumnut and Lightstream have work that I really admire. I am actually working on a site for Gumnut, http://www.mxskinz.com/johndolphin.

As for artists on the net, I suppose one of my favorites would be Alex Perez, not a watercolorist, but he does wonderful work with oils and acrylics.

Tek: Oh I think I know some of those guys too! but I have yet to "NOT" see that treetog guy to be named whenever I ask someone this question hehe

Tek: And since I've used enough of your time, guess we will end it right here, so thanks again Xerraire for letting us all get to know you better and is there anything else you would like to say in closing up this interview to the readers?

Xerraire: Thank you for this opportunity. I would love to extend an invitation to skinners interested in gaining some exposure to send some of their talents my way. I may not have the coding that some skins sites have, but a submission to me is handled thoughtfully and with a lot of gratitude. I have a few categories, ICQ, Winamp, Yahoo, Wallpapers and MSN. I am also open to suggestions via my email, xerraire@xerraire.com. Thank you Doreen, and to Teknidermy. It has really been a pleasure!


— Doreen, December 10th 2002

Editor's Notes Follow-up Interview with Xymantix Skinning on the Edge Notes on Corporate Logo Design Xerraire — The Talkative One n05feratu — Art that Hurts to Look at Sell your Skin Foood for Thought Mormegil — Man or Icon Whodunnit?
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