I remember the first time I opened deviantArt, I was very confused. It was my wonderful friend simoendli's profile page; she was showing me the site and telling me it was fun and I should sign up too. I remember thinking that a "forum that was made up of profiles instead of threads was totally weird". At this time, I had a myspace page (that was kinda more like a personal website, since I used the then-popular hack to hide pretty much all the default boxes, and make my own instead). It was two years before I signed up for facebook. So to me, this was a totally foreign concept, and frankly: I didn't believe in it.
It's thanks to my friend that I walk away. She nudged me about it again two weeks later, and showed me enough cool stuff for me to (somewhat reluctantly) agree to sign up.
And from there, it was only a short ways to falling deeply, irrevocably in love with the site, it's art and it's community.
(some of the older works from my friend, who also happens to be an incredible photographer, graphics artist and web designer - all though only her photography is viewable on deviantArt)
A part of something beautiful
"Where does milk come from?"When I started browsing deviantArt, I felt very much like that kid in the joke above. It wasn't that the quality of Art on the site was unlike any I had seen before - but when I had seen it before, it was printed in newspapers, on billboards, or in google search results, and it felt very much like artworks just appeared in our world through magic. By joining deviantArt, making Art suddenly became something real, something that could be done; in fact, something that was being done every day by thousands of people who were, in fact, human just like me.
"That's a dumb question. From the store of course."
It was incredible. And what's funny is: I had been to art school before then. I had done a 1-year Foundation Course a couple of years previously. But somehow or other, being on deviantArt was the first thing to really feel grand and possible at the same time.
Some of the first works I favourited included:
(Not in chronological faving order )
It wasn't long until I felt like I wanted to jump in. I remember grabbing my camera and hunting around the house for things I could photograph and submit. And I quickly found a starting point; I grabbed a sculpture from off a shelf, set it up to be framed in another shelf and lit from behind through the window, and started photographing. It was my first ever submission. And I don't know if it was something about that early work, or about deviantArt, but I immediately got some feedback. I remember feeling incredibly glad and lucky when I got something like three favourites within the first day. I was hooked; I continued to make and submit things.
(All from among the first twenty or so submissions)
Different fields of Art
When I first found deviantart, I felt closest to photographic artworks. It was the medium I felt most comfortable in myself, and therefore seeing what else could be done with it fascinated me. However, it wasn't long before all the other amazing works I stumbled upon started to pull me in. Who could resist the variety, beauty and humour of the below artworks?! I couldn't.
Friendship and Conversation
Finally, the missing chapter in my story. Without this, all the rest of deviantArt may not have been enough to make such a lasting and deep impression. Friendship. I don't know how it happened - I just found myself in conversation with all these incredible, fascinating people from all over the world, and we became friends. I have friends from other online places; in fact, the friend who first introduced me to dA I first met online, before we inexplicably and incredibly started the same school at the same time in the real world.
But I'd never found it so easy to talk to people, or conversations so deep and lovely as the one's I found on deviantArt. I think it's because everyone on here is an artist themselves, and even though dA taught me that Art is being made by humans, I retain to this day that Art itself is magical.
And so to everyone wonderful I met on this site, and those I'll still get to meet; thank you so much, and I love you all.
Happy Birthday deviantArt!
I'm so glad you're around and I get to have you in my life. Let's have many more adventures together. I'm looking forward to it!
Stay quirky, beautiful and enthusiastic, and have another AWESOME year!
ps. What's your deviantArt story? If you wrote one for the dA-Birthday celebration, leave me a link and I'll check it out!