deviantART is an international online artistic community. It was first launched on August 7, 2000 by Scott Jarkoff, Matthew Stephens and Angelo Sotira, amongst others.
deviantART aims to provide a place for any artist, photographer, writer, or Flash artist to exhibit and discuss his or her works. It also provides a community of like-minded individuals and is visited by 1.5 million individuals per day who view approximately 35 million pages. As of September 2007 the site consists of over 4.5 million users and over 42 million submissions, and receives around 60,000+ submissions per day.
deviantART features many forms of creative expression organized in a comprehensive category structure. The artwork on display includes photography, digital art, traditional art, literature and skins for applications. The site also has extensive downloadable resources for use by creators such as tutorials and stock photography.
deviantART was loosely inspired by projects like winamp facelift, customize.org, deskmod.com, screenphuck.com and skinz.org, all application skin based websites. The developers of deviantART were Scott Jarkoff, Matt Stephens and Angelo Sotira. Sotira entrusted all public aspects of the project to Scott Jarkoff as an engineer and visionary to launch the early program. All three co-founders shared backgrounds in the application skinning community, but it was Matt Stephens (artist) whose major contribution to deviantART was the suggestion to take the concept further than skinning and more toward an "art community."
"Fella," a small devil-robotic character, was chosen as the official deviantART mascot; while a stylized "DA" was used as the logo.
Many of the individuals involved with the initial development and promotion of deviantART still hold positions with the project, from administrators to volunteers serving as gallery directors and Message Network Administration. Angelo Sotira serves as the CEO of deviantART, Inc.
The site uses unorthodox capitalization in its title (deviantART) as a way of emphasizing its deviancy, and other aspects of the site reflect this attitude as well. As such, the following terms are used throughout the site:
Frequent abbreviation for the site's title (also less commonly known as devART, and as dART, pronounced as "dart").
A user of deviantART.
A piece of artwork submitted by an artist ("deviant"), fully polished and in a state for exhibition.
An unfinished work, not exhibited prominently.
The deviantART Messaging Network.
deviantART has many notable features, which have helped it become one of the world's most popular art sites. The deviantART gallery is a grouping of art categories. Each category of the deviantART gallery has specific submission requirements which individual deviantART users should use to determine into which category they should post their work. This should not be confused with a deviantART userpage gallery. Each category of the deviantART gallery and the criteria used to define what can be submitted to it is approved by deviantART staff and additional gallery categories can be suggested. Every deviant has his or her own personal page at the URL [link]
, where username is replaced by the username of the deviant in question. This page may list the user's interests, mood, hobbies and so forth. It also exhibits the deviant's four most recent works and his or her 'Favourites'. Deviants may also select and display their most prized work as a 'Featured Deviation'. Each deviant can edit their own public journal. The journal is similar to a blog in that a deviant may write an entry and it will be displayed on their user page.
Any deviant may select any other deviation, as long as it was created by another user, as one of their Favourites. This will place the deviation on that user's personal page, giving the original artist extra exposure. Deviants may choose to display only the most recent two favourites, or randomly display two of their selected favourites each time their userpage is viewed. Any deviant may add any other deviant to a watchlist called deviantWATCH, unless the watcher has been blocked by the user selected to be watched. Doing so will cause the watcher to be notified every time anyone on their watch list submits a new piece of art, submits a new journal entry, or, more recently, submits a News article; one can also select to be notified of the submission of scraps. These notifications may be toggled in the 'Friends List', where deviants are also allowed to group or remove watched deviants.
A private messaging service, in which private messages are called 'Notes', allows deviants to send private messages to each other. Public messages can also be left on a user's home page; however this allows anybody who visits that user's page to see the message. The ability to enter one's longitude and latitude, which can be used to locate other deviants living nearby, is a unique feature of Deviantart. As of version 5, each deviant has a Prints account, through which they may sell their works for money, receiving 10% of the profits. Users can also obtain Premium Prints Account offering 50% of the profits and an immediate check of material submitted for sales. Before version 5 of deviantART, users did not have by default access to this service and it had to be obtained separately. By paying for a subscription, a deviant could also sell their work for 50% of each sale.
There is also an adCast program, for advertising art and community-related products/pages at a discounted rate. Several forums and a shoutbox exist within deviantART. A chat system called dAmn (deviantART Messaging Network) allows real-time communication between community members. The featuring of selected artists works in prominent places on the site, called Daily Deviations, exists to expose particularly talented artists to a larger audience.
Obtaining a subscription to the site unlocks enhancements to some of these features, as well as provides additional services like larger thumbnails for browsing.
deviantART offers a subscription based service with extra features and privileges.
Subscriber-restricted features include the ability to browse the site with fewer advertisements, greater customization of a user's personal page, including the ability to upload your own CSS for use in your journal. deviantMOBILE is a feature that allows most deviations to be downloaded onto one's mobile phone, though this won't work on all phones or all carriers. Private forums exist for those with a fee-based account, and beta testing is available only to those with subscriptions. The ability to search artwork on the site with up to 120 images per page is also enabled.
A subscriber "portfolio page" service is currently in the works, with the competition for the creation of the portfolio page template already over. The portfolio page is intended to provide artists with a display page that appears more professional than the standard gallery.
Subscriptions can be purchased in one month, three month or one year lengths. However, some members, predominantly the staff and former staff, attain a subscription that continues "Until Hell Freezes Over", meaning that their subscription never ends.
This service has been known as deviantART Prints, and before that, deviantPrints. Formerly a secondary website that acts as deviantART's store, it is now fully integrated with deviantART.com. Here, any user who has bought a Prints account ($24.99) may sell their deviations, printed onto a variety of media such as mugs or jigsaws, and earn 50% of the profits above a pre-set "base cost". The Prints account is a one time fee, will not expire, and is non-transferable.
Prints II, the newest remake of the system, will be launched in stages, the first having already taken place in November 2006. New features include: basic print account for all members (paying print account owners with added features), new products available such as T-Shirts, and an annual instead of lifetime fee.
dAmn (deviantART messaging network)
Only hours after the release of dAv4 (deviantART version 4) and dAmn, the protocol had been reverse engineered and publicized. The same night, a first working Perl client was made available.
Today users have a choice of clients for various operating systems, written in different languages, and with more or improved features over the official client.
The official client, while flash/java based, has limited crossbrowser support. Very few Opera users, for example, report any success in using it. Firefox is seemingly the most compatible browser for viewing the site.
There are many official chat rooms on the deviantART messaging network, some of which include #devart and #help
1. "devart" is the name of the official channel of the site, and as a direct result tends to contain the greatest user volume. On the eve of dAmn, #devart was the only channel available to users wanting to test the new messaging network. The number of channels has increased dramatically since then.
1. "help" is the official assistance channel of the site. It is meant to act as an instant form of deviantART's Help Desk feature, providing users with various forms of site-related aid without the delay of its mail-based counterpart. #help is known for being operated by volunteers from the site itself.
The site is in a constant state of growth. There is a forum specifically focused on suggestions, and another for repairing known problems. In the past, a monthly magazine called devMAG was produced as well as a bi-weekly podcast called devCAST, but these were discontinued.
deviantART's latest revision (deviantART v5), was released on August 7, 2006, (deviantART's sixth anniversary). Upgrades are planned regularly on v5 due to the large number of bugs reported in the forums. There are no official plans or projections for when v6 will be released.
All deviants on deviantART are referred to by their given nickname, which is preceded by a user symbol. The symbols are listed below.
Symbol Type of User Description
~ Member The level a deviant achieves by registering
* Subscriber A user who has paid a subscription
= Official Beta Tester A subscriber who participates in the beta testing program
` Senior Member A member recognized by staff as a positive contributor to the deviantART community, awarded with (some) permanent subscriber privileges. Senior membership may be revoked in special cases, reassigning the member to a normal Member or Subscriber, depending on the last paid subscription. Also, former staff typically retain senior membership, and often attain the "Until Hell Freezes Over" subscription status.
° Alumni Staff Former Core Staff Member
# Art Group Member No longer in use, except for a few inactive accounts. Now the "#" refers to a channel (chatroom) in the deviantART Messaging Network.
£ "Minister" of deviantART The summitgroup, dAPresents, and deviantWEAR accounts are the only current Ministers of deviantART. This symbol was introduced as part of the 2004 April Fool's Day joke, which claimed that British staff members took over deviantART, resulting many Non-British staff members bearing a "Banned Member" symbol next to their name, while British staff members received the £ symbol. This was merely a visual change though and was reverted on April 2, 2004.
@ Message Network Administrator Administrators of the deviantART Message Network (dAmn). Also responsible for banning users and removing art.
: Premium Content Staff currently defunct
© Copyright & Etiquette Administration Staff Responsible for banning users and removing art.
% deviantART Prints Staff
+ General Volunteer Has been used for various positions, including News Administrator.
¢ Creative Staff Responsible for creation of art assets for the site. Some minor freelancers on deviantART also hold this symbol.
^ Gallery Director Volunteer staff members responsible for overseeing a particular sub-gallery / category of DeviantArt (e.g. Photography, Fan Art, Anime). Gallery Directors have the privilege of selecting the Daily Deviation awards for their category, must ensure that uploaded images are classified correctly, serve for a one year term in any particular gallery, and are often awarded seniorship upon the end of their term.
$ Core Administrator Longer-term employees of deviantART. Also responsible for banning users and removing art.
! Banned or Closed Account This symbol could mean one of two things. Usually, it means the account has been banned for greater than a month. (Bans under one month are called 'suspensions' and do not affect the user symbol.) Banned members are forbidden to send notes, send comments, and submit artwork, and their user page is blanked and replaced by a generic ban notice. Banned users can still log in and read their messages, though. A user can also request a manual account closure, which is currently implemented as a permanent ban of the account.
x Banned-Deleted or Closed-Deleted Account This symbol could mean one of two or three or more things. Usually, it means the account has been banned and deleted for greater than a month. (Bans and deletions under one month are not called 'suspensions' but deletions and do affect the user symbol.) Banned-Deleted members are forbidden to send notes, change settings, send comments, and submit artwork, and their user page is blanked and replaced by a generic ban and deletion notice. Banned-Deleted users cannot log in and read their messages, though. But banned-deleted users have also lost all comments aside from just only artwork, journals, etc. A user cannot also request a manual account closure but it must be deleted permanently, which is currently implemented as a permanently deleted ban of the account. It must be implemented on 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 or 2012 for v6, v7, v8 or v9 by Jark, Sotira and Matteo with admins to make it new. Currently defunct until year 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 or 2012.
On June 17 and June 18, 2005, deviantART held their first convention, the deviantART Summit, at the Palladium in Hollywood, California. The summit consisted of several exhibitions by numerous artists, including artscene groups old and new at approximately 200 different booths. Giant projection screens displayed artwork as it was being submitted live to deviantart.com, which receives 50,000 new images daily. The summit also hosted various art-related workshops and seminars.
Leaders of deviantART had hoped to hold a new summit each year; however, no plans were ever made for a 2006 Summit. This may be due to lack of interest, money, or inability to find a location. It should be noted that despite a big turn out, only a tiny percentage of the deviantART population actually attended the summit. No official plans regarding future summits have been announced yet.
deviantART has been subject to numerous criticisms within its community.
deviantART as a corporation
deviantART was originally created as a part of a larger network of music related websites called the Dmusic Network. The site flourished largely because of its unique offering and the contributions of its core member base and a team of volunteers after its launch, but was officially incorporated in 2001 about 8 months after launch.
Over the years, the website has grown so much that several features available to non-subscribers have been removed. These removals have been explained as both an encouragement for members to subscribe (such as the ability to view artwork thumbnails in a user's message center) and due to cutbacks that had to be made to save bandwidth during the "bandwidth-crisis" that happened in deviantART's second year where providing a free service to so many users put a huge strain on the site resources.
Termination of Scott Jarkoff
On July 29, 2005, (co-founder) Scott Jarkoff (username: "Jark") was terminated from deviantART staff, causing an uproar within the community. Various statements by deviantART regarding the issue have portrayed his termination as necessary, but most of the user base rejects this assertion. With Matthew Stephens' resignation in 2003, supporters of Scott Jarkoff assert that now neither of the founders remain in deviantART's administration. In contrast, Sotira insists he was a founder, and also the first full time working staff member of the deviantART administration. The deviantART administration has been generally tight-lipped throughout the incident, citing legal restraints.
Various campaigns have sprung up in support of Scott Jarkoff, including the "Bring Back The Community" campaign, Save The Alien, and "Yellow Day" (because Jarkoff was sometimes known as the "Yellow Alien"), which was carried out by many of Scott Jarkoff's supporters on deviantART's fifth anniversary, August 7, 2005, and the lesser publicised "Grey Day" (in honor of Matthew Stephens).
Concerns over usage of deviantART
The photographic community on deviantART has expressed their complaints about the fact that the artistic photography galleries are being used to post inappropriate photos.
For instance, some self portraits show the arm extended, holding the camera; these are often referred to as "myspace shots" because this style is often used in user profiles on MySpace and other social networking websites.
Site functionality issues
Due to the large number of visitors at any given time and the constant flow of new artwork, the site experiences many stability issues where pages will load extremely slowly or fail to load at all. Sometimes the site fails to process submissions correctly, which may lead to comments or deviations being posted multiple times.
Users can configure the main page to display the four most recent submissions in different categories of art, but many of these category previews experience days or weeks of time without being updated.
There are also some major usability problems, mostly concerning the submission pages not working well with MacOSX and growing increasingly worse instead of better with each new update to their site.
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