What DeviantArt Means to Me
It's hard for me to believe that this site has only been around for 14 years! For me, it's always been a part of me. It's been more interactive to me than Facebook, more stunning and lively than YouTube, more communal than twitter. I get on here, and I feel like I'm among family. I've had more meaningful conversations about what matters to me than through any other medium, right here. I love art. But, art would not be such a big part of my life, my goal and dream, if it wasn't for DA. When I think about art, this site is what comes to mind. It's the perfect incarnation of that idea of sharing and creating that is so integral to why I do art. I've found a number of really good friends through this site, one that became my favorite pen pall when I left for France for two years. Honestly, 8 years is a long time to be on a social media site. But, the years seem to have flown by
To celebrate the 14 years of beauty, style and community that is DeviantART, I would like to describe my experience with this site. How I got on, why I stayed, and how it became such an important part of my life. I couldn't imagine not doing so on such a momentous occasion
Let me take you back to DA in 2005. Groups, Stash, Muro... none of those things existed! At least, not the way they do now. It was rather hard for people to interact as a fandom at that time (at least, that's how it was for me). If you wanted to join a group, the moderator would create an account, post your artwork separately and give you credit. That's the site my friends clued me into 8 years ago. It seemed like all of my friends were aspiring artists at the time (you know how middle schoolers can be), and I wanted to join in.
That picture up there (that I'm hardly willing to post)... was one of the first things I posted to DA. I colored it with colored pencils, and got lazy with the blacks and finished it in (get this!) Microsoft Paint of all things . If there is anything I posted before, they are probably all deleted and long forgotten. I didn't even get a favorite from it. But, I didn't even know what that meant, I was just happy that my friends could see it and that I got a few comments!
I lost touch with art and my artist friends while I went through High School. But then, two things happened. I met one of my best friends, Robert Atkins, and I discovered Studio Ghibli. Robert is a professional comic book artist and encouraged me to work on my art, and the Miyazaki films were just so inspiring! I had all the initiative and inspiration I needed! I was the most active on here during that time, as I finished High School and started moving towards figuring out my dreams. I wanted to be an artist!
Ghibli movies is what introduced me to Fandoms. The first group I joined (under the old system), was a Ghibli one. "StudioGhibliFans." I only got a taste for what "Fandom" means, but it was enough for me! Soon thereafter, DeviantART introduced the Group feature to the site... and the rest is history!
Looking back it seems almost scripted. Robert introduces me to Avatar (the best show I had ever seen), DeviantART introduces Groups, and I'm just getting back into art... and discovering just how much I actually do love it! It was the perfect atmosphere in my life for creation. If something is fun alone, it's twice as fun for every person you can share that with. And I wanted to share!
Art became a way to express myself. Pinpoint things that I loved, and share that with art. I would often pair my pictures with stories, critiques, and whatever else I was inspired to say. I described why Zuko's story was so vibrant and honest fav.me/d2s37i3, I was able to share why I think Katara was so strong and inspiring fav.me/d39usie, and why it's important to practice "safe shipping" fav.me/d489qh7 as I call it .
Because of what DeviantART nurtured, Art became something expressive to me, something beautiful and meaningful. One could convey wonderful stories, share incredible ideas, and promote honorable causes... all with a few hours and a picture in mind. Thank you DA
Recent Years and Beyond
I started using my fanart to test and push myself. Under the tutelage of my friend, I tried to convey a story with my pictures. Be more creative and put my own twist on things. My heart was set on the comics industry, but that soon broadened to the larger work of illustration. I decided to major in Graphic Design at school, and planned out my life so that my skills would be well developed for many different options in the field of art and storytelling. DA continued to be the place where I could share that and receive feedback, but also join in on the fun with other fans!
School starts for me in just a few weeks! And I'm so excited to continue, but I will always remember DA for the part it played in my life and passion. I like to think I've progressed in my time here. But sometimes I still feel like that little middle schooler inspired by a poster in his bedroom. I hope I never loose touch with that passion
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this ride with me! I appreciate every comment, favorite and watcher! This place is nothing if not for it's community. And I'd say it's community is the strongest, most tight knit of any on the internet!
Here's to another 14 years!