I’ve been apart of DeviantART for 13 years. It was one of the first online communities I joined and I loved it. There was a broad range of experience and talent; a huge collection of styles of artwork; tutorials on a number of endeavors; and a way to connect with people in the same fandoms as myself. This site has definitely helped me in my artistic journey.
However, in recent years, myself and many others are not as pleased with the direction DeviantART has gone. It’s gotten so bad, I’ve thought twice about allowing my soon-to-be 13-year-old step-child use the site. (I was excited at the prospect before I decided to check out the browsing atmosphere.)
The issue most people focus on is a result of an overarching problem:
Lack of model verification/release.
It seems like a small issue, however, when ignored it leads to huge problems.
- First: without model verification or release, your moderators don’t know if the person in the picture consented to the picture being used on DeviantART. There are tons of images floating around your site that look to be someone’s own selfie – possibly an intimate one shared with no intent of it getting into the public – but model verification hasn’t been utilized to its fullest extent. The usage of someone’s own image, without their consent, is highly destructive. We’ve seen this in the form of “revenge porn.” I wish DeviantART wouldn’t ignore – or, at worse, assist - with such a highly destructive action.
(There are galleries full of this. Either they are all “candid shots” or “surprise shots” or even “sneaky shots.” For example: bikinichk.deviantart.com. They have stuff that shows up on What’s Hot and, if you requested them to verify a number of the models, I doubt they could. Even if they filled out the form, if you were to verify it by searching, you'd find them lying. They’ve had images reported before, but a staff member permitted them.)
- Second: without model verification or release, the moderators cannot be sure the model is an adult in the more obscene photos. There’s so many photos, with “models” of questionable age and of selfie quality, it’s disconcerting.
- Third: By allowing this content, DeviantART - the longest lasting and most populous art gallery site for professionals and novices alike - is telling people who would use selfies or images of others without permission, it’s OK. Which incites generation of further unconsented content. Further, DeviantART is telling pedophiles they can get away with sharing images of minors, non-sexual or otherwise.
DeviantART seems to have become a hub for unconsented and/or pedophilic content, whether the “model” in question has agreed to have their photo be publicly shared or even is an adult. I’m disappointed and disgusted with how bad it’s gotten.
Due to the lack of moderation in this sort of content, I've been looking for different sites to share my art on and - hopefully - allow my step-child to do the same when they turn 13.