Lord-Retsudo's avatar
Lord-RetsudoProfessional Traditional Artist
To me, what this site is really all about is the shared honesty, wisdom and appreciation of good people whose opinions and friendships I value. That alone is probably all that's kept me here this long. I guess you probably know that as much as anyone :)
Darkmir's avatar
DarkmirProfessional Digital Artist
It's interesting that you should put it quite like that. I sometimes wonder why I've maintained my membership here, let alone my subscription. DA has some very good aspects. It also has some that are frustrating and disappointing. Like yourself, it is the relationships, primarily, that keeps me coming back. As in "real" life, mine here are quite selective, and also extremely valuable to me. In making and keeping friends, I have always preferred quality over quantity.

I've come to accept the fact that DA is more of an oversize fan gathering than it is a regimented commercial site. Having grown as large as ti has, it has provided the owners with commercial opportunities I get the sense they did not foresee when they first designed the site. That doesn't change, however, the way it functions, or what it is, at it's core. DA is an extremely informal construct. If you review any of the pages that are created form time to time to celebrate or report on the progress of development, or community get togethers sponsored by the site owners, the sense that this is a site made by fans for fans is re-enforced. This accounts, I believe, for the informal (even dysfunctional, some would say) way many aspects of the site function, despite it having grown as large as it has. In much the same way that less developed fan organized sites primarily focus on just those elements of their object/subject of adoration which most appeal to the developer (s), everything about DA that isn't directly related to the interests of the developers seems to function either poorly, or not at all.

Having reached these conclusions, I have come it find it far easier to accept the site's short comings. I've also come to access it less as time has gone by. I still come to the site nearly every day, but I now only stay here long enough to do the few things I still use the site for, such as staying in contact with friends and viewing their new work, and then I leave. I also suspect that the longer one is a member here, the more this becomes true for anyone who is not specifically attuned to the core reasons the site was created for in the first place. DA can be used for other purposes, I know, such as getting your work in front of a large audience which is generally predisposed to be receptive to it, but I still feel that users with generalized requirements from an art warehouse and/or promotional site will come to use DA in ways not foreseen by the authors, nor having anything to do with the actual design or purpose of the site.

All in all, however, I am grateful DA is here. Despite it's less appealing aspects, it is just about the only place on the web where I could have met and forged or reforged friendships with all of the people I maintain associations with here. Between more recent contacts, such as yourself, and the rekindling of friendships with people I have known for decades, but lost contact with through the years, DA has come to mean a very great deal to me, if not for any reason I believe the authors might have suspected when they developed the site.
Lord-Retsudo's avatar
Lord-RetsudoProfessional Traditional Artist
That's a really interesting way of looking at things. I've never thought of it from the point of view of DA's own creators before. I've seen the site de-evolve over the years with the removal of a lot of useful and simple functions ( e.g gallery edit options ), and the addition of pointless crap ( e.g llamas ) but it's the real people at the other end of a long-distance network connection that still make it what it is. I've learned, gained, and produced so much in the almost 4 years I've been here, I can't even start to quantify it all. While my own personal web gallery has brought me paid work in the last 3 years, this free showcase has given me an outlet for all the free-time nonsense I do, the experiments, the sketches, the failed WIPs and the precious personal projects that I care about far more than money.

Still enjoying the ride ;)
Darkmir's avatar
DarkmirProfessional Digital Artist
Me too, Chaz...:)

Not only dropped, but dropped with no apparent reason for them to have done so. The gallery edit functions were increased, then decreased, with little or no notice. Sort of illustrates my point, I think.

I dunno, bro. I guess my bottom line is the less I expect from DA, the more content I am with it. By limiting what I use it for, and what I expect from it, I get my expectations fulfilled pretty well.

I've mentioned some of the other people I correspond with here to you from time to time. Honestly, those relationships (all represented by my friends list) are 95% of the reason I am still a member of the site. I often wish I could tell all of my other friends here; "Hey, I know this crazy Scots artist/writer who's just the coolest dude...you have to meet him..." and likewise, although it may be hubris, I think damn everyone I am friends with is both an exceptional person and an exceptional artist. I often want to say to you to introduce yourself to them all, and review their galleries.

In my corner of the world, such enthusiasm is not encouraged. I'm not sure why, but I do have to admit to being affected by it at least to the extent that I usually squash that urge. That this is so saddens me. I have not thought of myself as either naive or overly enthusiastic for many years now, Chaz. Sometimes I wish I felt more free to follow such inclinations however.

The people I admire and care about here, crazy Scot's included, are worth getting excited over.
Lord-Retsudo's avatar
Lord-RetsudoProfessional Traditional Artist
I know what you mean...man, I read your post 3 times already and it still makes me smile! Some people have trashed this site as just being another social networking joke, but at it's best, what's actually so bad about social networking? Sad people who think they have 10,000 online friends are obviously deluded and need to get a life, but at our level, it brings a whole new dimension to life, fuels creativity, enthusiasm, and opens the eyes to new ideas and the work of others. And in that respect, this site has paid me back in spades ;)
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