The Rise and Fall of Internet Art Communities

2 min read
dopename's avatar
By dopename
8 Favourites
20 Comments
398 Views

Hello all, just wanted to share this article ...

https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-rise-fall-internet-art-communities

...as I am flooded with a nostalgia to the old way the interweb was a few years ago: simpler, freer and personal(and weird).

The article has some links to websites from the early 2000s, already archived; comments and pictures posted with time-stamps from 2002 for example.

It really makes me feel strange to think that some day these conversations, comments and journals will be archived as well and the links dead. Someone from the year 2130 will be reading through them, unable to interact with the users.

One of the communities that I miss is conceptart.org , unfortunately the website is offline now and seeking funds to revive it. But it used to have some really amazing digital concept artists out there.

I was on social media previously, because it's "the thing", but found it to be sneaky, distracting, hostile and impersonal. Then I closed my facebook and instagram pages and feel much better without them. Started posting more on reddit which has specific communities and forums.

As for dA, it took me some time to get used to the modern redesign and I still hate many aspects of it. But as far as it's functionalities, it still has kept some of the principles of what the dA community was about. So I still have hopes for DeviantArt

Published:
© 2020 dopename
Comments20
anonymous's avatar
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
Redsterfish's avatar
RedsterfishProfessional General Artist

Pretty interesting article, nice post.

erosarts's avatar
erosartsProfessional Traditional Artist

I remember reading this article several weeks ago. It made me sort of nostalgic, too.


I feel like the thing which has been lost as the internet has evolved is the sense that it is a community. As it changed it became less about "us" and more about "me." Everyone wants to be seen, but very few seem to be willing to take the time to see others. Or do the digging necessary to find the others that appeal to them. Of course, why should we? When obviously, some algorithm can serve up what we like better than we could judge for ourselves? (I'm looking at you: "DA: Recommended For You.")


Do you remember when "advanced critique" and "advanced feedback" were selling points for this site? I do. Now, nothing more than "Wow, cute!" or "Great!" is asked for, or expected.

dopename's avatar
dopenameProfessional Traditional Artist

Well, the internet I feel has become "industrialized", before it used to be just a tool with no specific use sort of.

It's become a factory in a weird way and, in a factory you have machines with human beings. The machine is not replaceable but the person is. So the focus has become more on algorithms to keep being profitable and not on developing a sense of connection with the users.

I used to be on deviantart from 2006 but closed it in 2015, then reopened it recently.

But yeah I remember we used to have more conversations, critique back then and a lot of people have left since then. Free speech was also more relevant back then.

But that has not as much to do with deviantart as with how much our society has changed over these few years. I think also people's way of thinking has changed with the arrival of smartphones in almost every person's hand.

I think this is what has changed the internet, smartphones. Because the internet has turned into something that is always with you and its on a small screen. Its become a constant feed of information. The problem is we seem to value something only when it is rare. Back then an internet community of artists was rare, so we valued it more and tried to help each other grow.

erosarts's avatar
erosartsProfessional Traditional Artist

Smartphones definitely have changed the internet; everything else has changed because of them too, though, for that matter. And for the most part, I'm not very impressed by the "progress."

dopename's avatar
dopenameProfessional Traditional Artist

Sometimes this progress feels more like riding a bike with a stick in between the wheels. Now I have two phones, a smartphone that I've been using and a new shit old phone for when I'm walking and peace of mind. It's amazing how much less radiation emits from the old phones.

erosarts's avatar
erosartsProfessional Traditional Artist

I saw a documentary about that. The guy who made it was hoping he could get a black box warning put on smartphones, warning people that they should try to keep at least an inch between themselves and their devices. He tracked down all sorts of people who have persistent sores, and even some with tumors right where their pocket is -- one woman who carries her phone in her bra? Was having lumps removed for the second time (which was super odd, because, shouldn't you have learned something?). Anyhow, any attempt to make smartphones seem like anything less than a gift from God is obviously a doomed attempt; the guy who made the documentary was actually being harassed by AT&T by the end of it.

dopename's avatar
dopenameProfessional Traditional Artist

Wait till they start putting chips in the brains and bodies...I love how casually this is all discussed nowadays.

nightserpent's avatar

This is my only social media account I have (aside from a MySpace page I had many years ago). In a way I feel like I've put all of my eggs in one basket, because if this site goes away I would have to start all over somewhere else. I just don't want to lose all the time that goes into facebook, twitter, instagram, etc., it is a nonstop feed which can eat up one's whole day. This site seems so much different, as it focuses on our art and avoids all the garbage I see on other sites (spreading of misinformation, rage inducing topics, excessive vanity, materialism). To me it just seems like a group of artist friends sharing what they love.

dopename's avatar
dopenameProfessional Traditional Artist

I like to shoot myself in the foot sometimes (metaphorically speaking), and just reset on occasions. Even on deviantart, I've closed my previous account before and took a break from dA. Then reopened again because I got sick of social media.

I think you would do well sharing your art on Reddit, have you tried? It doesn't really care for your profile or followers, just a forum to share. And I've had more views over there from one drawing than all social media combined in just a few hours.

What I also like over there is apart from the wacky comments that people write, there's often interesting feedback.

I also like your websites, I think that's one thing that should stay. Because algorithms and social media changes, so you always need like a runaway base.

nightserpent's avatar

I appreciate the suggestions, thank you! :) I've been lurking on Reddit for a while now, I have held off making an account for a while because I feared getting sucked into another time vacuum. Maybe I can stick to posts purely about art? I've noticed people have posted my art there, which was a nice surprise. I saw a couple of interesting comments, though many were just jokes. I think it is a natural response to some of the darker Lovecraftian images- I think people want to diffuse the disturbing nature of the art.

dopename's avatar
dopenameProfessional Traditional Artist

Well, unlike facebook, theres interesting discussions and content there. I barely go on reddit, unless I have something to share. There's no "friends" there so no pressure to keep active for someone.

You can try posting here ( I'd suggest adding a watermark either with your website on your images)

https://www.reddit.com/r/Lovecraft/

https://www.reddit.com/r/creepy/

https://www.reddit.com/r/Art

The only thing that bothered me at first about reddit, is how specific some forums need the title to be. Otherwise it will get removed by a bot. Especially the r/Art forum.

But as for jokes, yeah you can't have the internet without them :)

nightserpent's avatar

OK, I'm giving it a shot, thanks for your encouragement. I tried to submit to r/Art, but it was instantly rejected because I missed a rule. As with all forums there is a bit of a learning curve, hopefully I can figure it out soon. Do you know how long a new member is on a probation?

dopename's avatar
dopenameProfessional Traditional Artist

Yes, you have to write it in this format "Painting title, me, acrylic, 2020". And in "flair" you have to check "artwork"

Even today I might take a couple of tries on different forums before posting. For example, the r/Creepy forum, likes to have short one or two word titles.

As far as the reddit probabation goes, I remember I had a bit of trouble when I started there a few years ago, at some point I just abandoned it then gave it a try once more. I've had similar issues with the rules and stuff. But it's mostly to filter out bot accounts and spam I think. Maybe you can try sending a email to reddit about your account to have it confirmed as human if it stays like that for too long. I'm not an expert on this issue, but there might be 72 hour probation from what I read.

nightserpent's avatar

OK, I think I am getting the hang of it, thanks for the help. Here's an upvote! ;)

dopename's avatar
dopenameProfessional Traditional Artist

:)

montycrusto's avatar
montycrusto Traditional Artist

I have hopes too.. I’ve even noticed some small improvements since the changeover.. so I’m not giving up on DA yet (even though they keep deleting my work).. I have given up Facebook.. I found the mixture of mindless trivia and toxic extremism to be very unhelpful to my peace of mind.

*great article by the way* :D

dopename's avatar
dopenameProfessional Traditional Artist

Yeah Facebook is a dumpster. I don't understand how many people stay on it, despite it almost intoxicating and ruining their lives. I also found that cute cat videos are more relevant to people than posting some artwork that I've worked on for more than a month. Plus there's always the potential for a distant family member to follow you which always makes it awkward :lol:

montycrusto's avatar
montycrusto Traditional Artist

Hah. Not to mention ex girlfriends. Yeah, I’m done looking at photos of what someone I haven’t seen for fifteen years had for dinner.. and I’m definitely done with acquaintances sharing semi-racist photoshopped propaganda with me. I like DA for being art-centric, even if we do chat about other things here too. I am frustrated with the new design.. but I’m adapting to it.. I’m definitely finding the site a bit “quieter” than before though, so I’m trying to liven it up with polls and contests and challenges:)

dopename's avatar
dopenameProfessional Traditional Artist

All I hope for is that they don't remove the old emoticons :arc:

montycrusto's avatar
montycrusto Traditional Artist

:matteo:

anonymous's avatar
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In