I was thinking about DeviantArt as a whole community recently, and wanted to share some thoughts I had about this place.
I've been here off and on for over 4 years now. Why do I come back? What is it about this place that it continually has something to offer me? Have you ever asked yourself that?
I think the best explanation beyond the simple one (a mass of stellar creative content) is pretty simple really.We are all start off equal. 100 percent.
What I mean is..we all start out here with a blank slate. None of us has a face or name (well aside from the label of our screen name) or opinion or artwork known to others until we start posting our first comments, images and writings. It's almost comparative to a new births of sorts when you start out here. You arrive with neither your real life past to help nor any sort of limits to who you can be. I don't care how much money you have, how good you look, or how smart you are. You could be Bill Gates sitting down to create your own name / space here, but you would be regarded ONLY on further participation, merit of comments, depth of work, etc. A near infinite possibility ahead of you, without the past established rules and resources of the society you live in (whatever it may be) that you must adhere to.
It's also as if two very fundamental aspects of our humanity act as cornerstones to this place. Creative Talent
being one.. and while being more prominent in SOME, is most often LEARNED. I don't want to hear any debates or arguments that someone else is more talented and therefore more 'lucky' to receive attention, feedback, etc. If he or she has received it here of all places, then it is the direct result of the latter (one's own striving to learn how to cultivate their own creative side either by taking time to practice, be inspired by others or a combination of both). But anyway - in addition to Personal Creativity
the second essential aspect of DeviantArt is A degree of community interaction and support of others
. These two things play such a huge part here and of course exist as a reflection of our real life desires to be heard and regarded as important. They both share the commonality that they have something to offer everyone here and are what continue to make this place diverse, interactive and everything a thriving community should be.
However, the difference that separates these values in Deviantart from real life lies in the fact that both of these offerings play almost little to no practical
role in the real world. The only 'things' we have to offer in the real world are our functionality and for the most part superficial services..
We ask: "Do you want Paper or Plastic?
" or "Did you finish that budget report?
" and not "How did you achieve this literary result?
" or "How'd you manipulate that in photoshop?
" etc. We are generally not 'rewarded' for our thoughts, curiosity, compassion or creative insight (unless we are a full time artist in our day jobs, which as we all know is incredibly hard to survive at, let alone be successful) in any sense that is helpful to us in the real world, but merely politely smiled and nodded at (if even that!). When time is given to creative insight or personal interpretation outside of here, it ranks very low on the totem pole of anything important (again, aside from full-time artists which most of us can not claim to truly be). To summarize, if you want to survive here
</i> - you must adhere to at least one of these two principles. In real life it is the exact opposite - you would simply starve and be out on the streets if these were your priorities (a sad truth really, however obvious it may seem. We are capable of so many great things and merely push them aside in the name of survival which technologically speaking - should have been able to help us take care of these very basic things for us, so as to focus on our dynamic human spirit!@#).
So this brings me back to why I am so encouraged by what I see and have seen here. In looking at all DeviantArt..taking a few steps back and critiquing it as a whole: we have a pretty damn cool
thing going here. Something to be cherished and respected really! If only because it allows us to live in a different reality of sorts where we are able to focus and give importance to two aspects generally lacking, if not missing altogether from the real world. We are in a world of our OWN here that places real emphasis on the true virtues of what it means to be human..
Of course, nothing good stays that way forever. And while change is a necessary prerequisite for growth of any kind..I believe with the introduction of the planned 'groups' system, it will merely serve to further the notion of popularity
and ultimately just separate individuals - instead of furthering the art
. Granted, if you want someone to produce and grow in their art form of course you have to surround them with people to connect with, learn from, be inspired by, etc.. but that's already exactly what this entire place is! In looking at our human history and the idea of forming these specialized, sub-genre groups of people and then putting labels on it ultimately helps no one. For example, a group of generally spiritual people practicing mediation is an amazingly cool thing. It's a group of people together on like terms - much the same that a bunch of artists and creative minds here serve as. Mixing. Meshing. New perspectives! But in having more specialized groups on top of an essential primary commonality that brought them together..well it's fault is best proven by referring back to mediation and faith. When you start calling it by different names - Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, etc. it just serves as a divider and results in forms of classism. Things that will eventually be built up, and have to be later torn down. I really see it as sacrificing the potential for one to learn from everyone here, and confining people to certain areas.
There are also changes happening of the more financial nature (adcast). Yet again - another possibly harmful element being introduced. There is now potential for people to BUY themselves these formerly pure
</i> benefits of interacting here. Of course paying to be a member, and having the premium prints service are completely
acceptable. I only start to worry in the case of buying yourself attention. It could be said that the great thing that we have here might indeed be turning too "corporate". When anyone hears such a statement there is usually an assumption of paranoia and liberal propaganda. But I have done you the favor of actually explaining why I believe it applies to all of us here in regards to it taking away a bit of what would previously had to be our own SELVES (and not the moneys we have acquired) garnering a response, a respect and a louder voice in the community. It is to take steps towards NOT being noticed and heard by the value of your word or images, but by the size of your financial resources. And I can only help but feel some caution about it. To make a comparison by quoting Mr. King, "..to be judged by the content of your character and not by the color of your skin
[or fatness of thy wallet].." Some may not see using resources that you have acquired outside of DeviantArt towards more exposure as a negative thing, but if you truly look at that process - it is simply better for all of us that notice to one's self is better achieved by valued input, not this artificial thing we use to trade for services.
But anyway..that is just a brief thought to be aware of as far as where we are headed in the future. My real intent here is to simply give my own little tribute and much deserved respect (in the form of a journal entry
) to the creators of this place, the people who help run it, and of course every other single person just like YOU who makes it what it is. I am so thankful for all the insanely cool people whom i've met here. Some a few miles away, others thousands. Anyway..think about this for a few. I implore you! Pretty fucking cool thing we have going here..