“I basically house people in the metaverse,” explains Artsy Marie, a social VR Architect and the founder of her brand Artsy. “I’m basically a luxury destination builder,” she added. With over 4500 worlds she has helped create in VR, Artsy is an expert at building the infrastructure of the metaverse.
While she has always been an artist, Artsy joined the metaverse more recently. “My first dive into the metaverse was attending this art gallery hop,” Artsy stated. “I had tried out VR a long time ago, but didn’t have my own gaming computer, and headsets were pretty expensive. But once Oculus came out with Oculus Go and Quest, I was able to have my own gear.” From there, Artsy found a community of art-lovers in the virtual world. “I just randomly went into an art gallery hop, and there was a guy there in all black with a bald head and funny glasses. Because I’m an artist by trade, that immediately stood out to me,” she elaborated. “So, he helped me build my first art gallery. It was just a four-wall room, but people started flooding the gallery, and I began meeting people from all over the world.” From this new community, Artsy began to understand what VR meant to her personally. “It was transformative for me to be able to find a new platform to share my creativity,” she added. “I found a way to be valuable to the community at large.”
Now, owning her own brand and being a Social VR Architect, Artsy gets to satisfy her creativity every day. “I build luxurious spaces that people, and even myself, have never been to, but want to live in. In the real world, these spaces wouldn’t be affordable,” Artsy said. But to her, these virtual spaces are designed not only to be fun and eye-catching but to invite others in. “Specifically, I create spaces that allow people to be social and safe and to experience things that they’ve always wanted to experience,” she added. With her custom design expertise, Artsy has been able to design locations for people from all over the world. As she explained: “I have a Patreon, where I have around 150 people that get a new VR template from me every month. And they’re able to use those templates for their social events, or hangout sessions with friends.” Artsy finds that this allows her to give back to the community that has supported her.
When she’s not designing the next VR fantasy world, Artsy teaches others how to build in VR. She offers her own building templates as well as starter kits. “People use the templates and they get really creative and they build on top of those,” she said. Artsy has also built off others’ templates. One of her friends created a Club Afrique, which Artsy then decided to build on. “I felt like it would be super cool if the club was shaped like Africa,” she said. “I rebuilt the club in one night, it took around seven hours overnight, but in the end, it had four or five floors and had all sorts of different African textiles.” After finishing her build, she hosted the original builder’s surprise birthday in the updated club. Surprise birthdays are a common virtual social event Artsy helps design for.
Working in the metaverse, Artsy finds that she can help boost diversity through her designs. “One of the things I think I’ve been successful at doing is bringing my feminine energy into my building,” Artsy explained. “So, people are able to experience the value of a woman creator. We bring that sense of home and safety and attention to detail. I think when women come into my spaces, they feel really encouraged and empowered to build because it’s something that they can do.” As for the current number of female builders within this space, Artsy is rather surprised. “I have seen that there is actually a lot of women building, or starting businesses or bringing other businesses to these platforms.”
But the diversity is not perfect, and Artsy has an idea to bring even more women into this industry. “If we can get the Sims [a popular building game] community in which a majority of players are women, we can have more female builders. I learned to build from playing the Sims, and I didn’t know that these skill sets are easily translatable into the metaverse.”