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Did I rewrite history?

Tue Mar 14, 2006, 12:37 PM
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There have been claims that I've attempted to 'rewrite the history of deviantART'.

Not only is this statement patently false but it is ridiculous to think that anyone could 'rewrite' anything in a fully interactive environment such as deviantART where millions of users can screenshot, log, or otherwise store information- not to mention the fact that there are places like out there on the Internet saving entire webpages in their original and pristine condition free of any tampering.

Quite the contrary. There are people rewriting history, none of them work for deviantART.

But alas, you wind up enough people to believe something, it goes uncontested long enough, and sure enough history can in fact be changed.

So I guess, against my wishes for the community to remain constructive and focused on art rather than the bullshit politics that are best fit for the pages of a tabloid. I'll contest.

I co-founded deviantART. I have always been the Chief Executive Officer of deviantART. I have never not been the Chief Executive of deviantART.

The Real Story Behind deviantART gave a proper account of how and why I remained silent for the first few years. Hence why I'm the black ninja that lurks in the shadows. Read it here.

To keep things brief, deviantART was established on August 7th, 2000. It was founded around April 20th (or so) of 2000. That is when the domain names were purchased and plans for deviantART were formulated.

Famed names on deviantART today were non-existant during the founding period. There was no arc or tack or attila they joined after the site launched ("was established".) So they have no idea who founded deviantART other than what they were told.

Who was there? The other folks that worked for the DMusic Network. Including MikeyLove, symonx, DaveB, Heidi, jark, :dev-x-:, Chad and as we came very close to launch (late July or so) matteo popped up. I'm surprised he denies my co-founding deviantART, I paid him to work on the site at that time.

Other than this, the Real Story behind deviantART explains most questions you might have about the topic. I've not said anything that would CHANGE the story of how deviantART was founded, I've stuck to the story the way it went. I tried editing the deviantART wikipedia entry to correct it, but it stands there a mockery today. Listing non-existing people like "Anita Ramproop" as staff. Much of the rest of it is garbage too.

Anyway I don't see the issue, co-founder Scott Jarkoff agrees with the Real Story behind deviantART the way that I wrote it. Unfortunately the very first comment to THE REAL STORY has since been deleted. The comment was by jark and you can find it on when you cut and paste the Real Story URL in to the way back machine: June 20th, 2004 entry: The Real Story Behind deviantART

The comment reads:

Deviant: $jark (#6705180)
Date: Apr 10, 2003, 1:18:36 AM

this is a great story that everyone truly needs to understand. angelo has done wonders for deviantart when people on the team did not know he was doing things. without the support that he gave deviantart you can rest assured that there would be no deviantart today! there are certain people who need to really let that sink in!

I don't know who deleted this; logging mechanisms in our database for administrative actions of this nature didn't exist until after mid-2005 when this comment was deleted. I know it was deleted prior to this time because I looked for it then.

The important thing to note are the words "when people on the team did not know he was doing things." The only accounts of the founding of deviantART that can possibly be relevant are those given by those who where there between April and August 2000.

It's time to get back to the art.

-- A

Add a Comment:
UltraHiDef Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012
I completely and fully support you against those vicious predators.
anime-junkie-0 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007
I still don't consider you a founder.
catluvr2 Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
Interestingly, I think I found the lost comment.
dracaneana Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2006
I can't speak for others, but personally, I'm most annoyed by the way some of you "old-timers" are attempting a game of one-upmanship regarding your roles in the founding of the site. You each seem to claim that while everyone on the team was "invaluable", you were the big cahoona behind the scenes.

As one of the unwashed masses, I don't think any of us will ever know the truth. I doubt even you do any more. You're all so focused on having to be right that you each believe in your own versions of reality.

That, however, is how people are. We all remember ourselves as more important than we actually are. History is a malleable tool; it's being re-written every day.

Jark's approach is that of the wronged family man, the beloved rabble-rouser, idol of the people and all-around average guy.

Yours is that of the politician, beleaguered by the hoi-polloi and hemmed in by lawyers. You claim to hate politics, but are forced to use them.

And both of you hint at legal matters you can't talk about. Jark hooks us with mentions of his secret plans, and you hook us with saying it's all about the art. He's defiant, you're calmly dealing with the flak.

You're belittling each other, and manipulating us.

This site, however, will likely take one of two paths. Either it will collapse under its own weight, becoming clogged under the flood of ads, promotions, communities, t-shirts, and bureaucracy it's currently dealing with, or it will continue on long after you're all dead and mouldered.

I have one question.

Is this site, or is it not?

Jark, have fun with your manpulation of the masses,
Spyed, have fun with your money.
Khalipse Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
wow agreed
Mizillian Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2006
you know what whether you co-founded deviantART or you didn't doesn't make a difference, don't you get it? If that was such an important credential then Jark wouldn't be out of a job.
daftpunk Featured By Owner May 25, 2006
Supplying money and bandwidth doesnt make someone a founder, that makes them an investor.
How about you explain in the history why Jark's controll shifted from 45% to 35% in the course of you getting legal documents set up. Oh wait, you dont have to, because now its a legal issue. So you can point people in every other direction you want, but these things were still brought up, and people still remember.

Also, just because Jark helped promote you for a wile doesnt mean he agreed with any of it.

I dont admire you
I dont think anyone should
Youve cheated your way to the top of a company
Youve destroyed peoples sense of self worth
People can no longer trust sertain staff the way they could before

Several users I've talked to have doubts about the reasons behind you giving them print accounts.
It wasnt because you liked their work, it was because OTHER PEOPLE liked their work and it may end up
being somewhat of a lucrative investment for you to get them into prints.

I dont think you are a good person.

For anyone who's done their research, they know the claims of saving the site " by the skin of your teeth" arent realy supported by your own financial costs. I believe it was a brand new car and you pretty much blew up on the guy who knew.

People can move on, but moving on does not mean believing these lies.
The only reason comments have calmed down anywhere is because the bandwaggoners are pretty much done with it, the people who actualy believed in correcting wrongs were sick of it, and re-enforcement and changes in policy made it that much harder to complain about anyone because they could be banned. Especialy if that someone is an admin or claimed founder.

So, keep ignoring the existance of people like Arc who realy were around the DA process before it was even DA, people will still find the truth.
KaiAurora Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2011
I agree 100%.
phu Featured By Owner May 26, 2006
Great post... I do hope more people figure out what actually happened (to the point that we can know the details)... the fact that people are so willfully ignorant has let this fraud get away with the hijacking of dA virtually uncontested. It's quite sickening.
draconianangel05 Featured By Owner May 18, 2006
I'll continue to be objective on all matters, but I certainly lean like all people do. I think art is the important thing as well...but then again, when you dismiss someone who is that loved by a community with no tangible reasoning behind your actions, what do you expect when people question your actions and demand proof?

Blah, people are pissed at governments these days because they lie to us and decieve us, as well as corporations and the like... I really really hope that my trust in deviantart isnt being misplaced. I hope you know how many people you have lost to this, as you said it, political bullshit. I understand your reasonings for offering up the evidence you have, but I would hope you try a bit harder to rectify the problem than has been done over the past year.

Thats simply my advice from one person to another. I hope you don't make me hate you Angelo.

And on a happy note, thankyou for what you HAVE done for deviantart, and that HAS made it a better place to be. God send absolution to my adverse thoughts on this matter, and I hope that all is well in time.
RonoxQ Featured By Owner May 7, 2006
The easiest way to tell if somebody is trying to mess with your mind is by looking at how bureaucratic their messages are.

You write about getting 16 servers and you sound happy, simple, to-the-point. You write in response to Jark's accusations of changing history- and suddenly you have to link to different articles explaining yourself, each of which links to YET MORE articles to read. We're not lawyers, Spyed, and you seem to know that quite well. So you can run us in little circles, until some of us (no doubt) assumed you were telling the truth, mainly because they didn't want to read any further.

Spyed, everything about you smells "corrupt." Random messages were deleted, and yet you claim no responsibility. You SAY the admins can't delete journals, but you make no attempt to prove it. Why? It should be easy for even an average administrator. And I speak as an admin myself: Take screenshots. You can fake those, but it'll help a lot more than just "Trust me, you can trust me."

Jark f***ing MADE deviantART. That's what Wikipedia said, up until October 18, 2005. That's what JARK said. Why would he lie? More importantly, why would he have been involuntarily dismissed?

This is sad: that the CEO of a huge site even NEEDS to defend himself like this. It says something, Spyed. It says that we're sick of you and your attempts at covering up the truth.

You spent 3 years of your life making this, you say. How long did Jark spend? He spent his life, too: at least, until he was dismissed.
Darien-Shields Featured By Owner May 1, 2006  Professional Writer
TanyaSimpson Featured By Owner May 1, 2006
Its probably a bit late to be commenting on this journal entry, but I wanted to leave a little word of support. People who claim to be the 'injured party' are the best at rewriting history.
NepinRith Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
i know this post is from forever ago, but I so agree with this
kahlannightwing Featured By Owner May 1, 2006
What about what Wikipedia says? If it's true that you're not rewriting history, and it's proven that has been changed, why not a show of goodwill and changing it back? It doesn't hurt you to change it back. It only helps you.
arc Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2006
I'm way too late with this.

This is largely a battle of semantics. The issue that I have is that you claim you had a prominent role in deviantART for the first year or so.

You certainly helped, but you weren't a strong part of the things that made this site great (matt/scott were behind that). You didn't have any idea about the community that made up the site, nor did you show any interest in the art that was being submitted. Your early activity (or lack thereof) is proof of this. You now like to point out how it's all about the art, or it's all about the community. It's hard not to view this cynically as that certainly wasn't your interest early on.

I do know that without the infrastructure, bandwidth, etc. then this site wouldn't be around today, and you helped make those things happen. I will point out though that you've glorified yourself through claims you saved the site by the skin of your teeth. Just remember though; if the business side was your main responsibility for the first year, then you were also the person responsible for getting us into that near site-ending fuckup in the first place. The site wasn't sustainable early on in a financial sense, but again you were the person accountable for this side of things and the most initiative idea displayed on that front was the use of pop-up ads.

"Famed names on deviantART today were non-existant during the founding period. There was no °arc or °tack or °attila they joined after the site launched ("was established".) So they have no idea who founded deviantART other than what they were told."

I did have a reasonable idea of what was happening as I'd offered to do some work for Scott before deviantART began (on the unfortunately named Screenphuck). So while you might suggest I have no idea, I do recall having the 'what should the site be called' talk with Scott long before deviantART launched. My involvement was hardly substantial, but I did have a good idea of who was behind the site and what your role was.

Glad to see I still rate as a 'famed name' though ;)
Sunyavadin Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2006
Yep. This debate of what constitutes "involvement" is a recurring theme here.

Look at me, I joined DA just a couple of years back. I've been hanging around here since it began though, I just never saw any reason to upload anything of mine. I was here because of an appreciation of art.
Could I claim to have been one of the first members? of course not. Was I involved? Definitely so.

°arc was not "non-existant" during the early period, as I see it their involvement with the original founding would be better described as in a similar vein to that of $spyed up to the part where he, and I'm not disputing this, helped bail DA out of a few problems, though with questionable motivation in retrospect.
Sephylight Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2006   Writer
Really, I could care less either way. I'm just here to post my writings and few graphic art pieces that I create in order to share it with a few people. I wasn't here for the founding of dA, and have only been here since late June in 2004.

Though, while you tell the story quite well, Jark tells it better. CEO or not, you seem to have been nearly non-existant in the eyes of the public throughout the first couple of years that dA existed.

That just doesn't equate to co-founder to me.
eduardofrench Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2006   Photographer
but that doesnt means that you were a founder
AnimeFreak40K Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
there is a HUGE difference between giving a vast amount of support to a project, regardless of where that support comes from, and actually starting the project itself.

support is just you are lucky you got credit for giving support. why? because there are numerous projects out there in the world that go on on a day to day basis that require the support of others not on the origional team...but without that support the project would never have been accomplished....guess what? they dont always get aknowledged for their assistance

just because you helped support DeviantArt 7 years ago does NOT make you a or otherwise.
Seikin Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2006
:salute: This all confuses me considerably, but Im slinking around picking up the facts I can find, and I find it comes close to an even situation. I have felt Jark was wronged...and he may have been, but It is seeming Like Jark is now making up things to gain support, and whatever transpired that ended his position on staff, is not justification for propoganda.
SavantEdge Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2006
This probably wasn't the comment you were looking for; but _please_ fix the links. Took me a good 3 seconds to figure out why I couldn't see anything...
anamusingalias Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2006
I'm way off on this journal date, but I feel I need to say it anyways.

I'm really nothing special to this community, a normal guy with a little time to grind and likes to spend that applying his dry wit and dripping sarcasm to the forums, and on occasion, the shoutbox. I don't bother submitting what art I have, because I simply don't deem it good enough to be put on a public arena like deviantArt.

However, I did follow the incredible (and mostly ridiculous) drama this community went through last August. At first, I was leaning towards the bandwagon and although I don't like to say it, my opinion of you wasn't in a very high regard.

But months have gone by and I see you're still getting shit for it. I admire that kind of thick skin, man. To be able to take so many abusive comments from so many different people, must be overwhelming. As well as being able to stay that calm and mature about it? Admirable. This is coming from my own experience in getting hated on often, but in no way could compare to yours.

If you do find the time in what I'm sure is a very hectic schedule to read this comment, just know that I do have a newfound respect for you, Angelo. Even if that perhaps doesn't mean anything in particular to yourself. I don't think your involvement in this community should be downplayed any less than Scott's.

Let's get back to the art, indeed.
spyed Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you, this does mean a lot. It has been very difficult, but I've tried above all to remain respectful and that tends to be a winning strategy only in the long run.

Best regards,

-- A
osyris Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2006
Someone wake me up when it's over...or better yet, don't.

So long as my work remains my own and my personal info. is secure, to hell with the rest of this...
Shattered-Being Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2006
Amen to that... :salute:
ecchiman Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2006
isnt swearing against policies?
KimbaLemur Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2006
When I saw what was going on here. I never took anyones sides because I was one of the few people who take the time to look around this place & I saw your still good friends with Jark.

I can really see your trying to make this community better. & your are, I think ^^ but it's just sad that some people wont let it all go & it's not helping anyone. :no:

We really should be working on the community, I know because there are quite a few people here who are doing nothing but trouble here. & I'm one of there victoms. =|

To a strong leader & hard worker. Keep it up. :)
spyed Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
thank you, sir!

-- A
KimbaLemur Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2006
No prob. :salute: I just hope sometime you guys can put something that can make us delete or hide out comments. It will be good for the spamming ones. :nod:
spyed Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
we're working on a project for this currently.

-- A
KimbaLemur Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2006
Great. =D I just hope we can do the same thing for the watch option. Like removing people who came here to get banned & they watch you to annoy you with all those banned accounts.
rgnet Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2006   Digital Artist
I do beleive, spyed, that people need to get over this issue. Regardless what they think, they are not helping. I beleive people need to realise they came here to do art, and regardless whats going on, it does not effect that this place; what does taking sides help? What does fighting help? as they should be able to see by now, its actually making matters worse, not just for them, but for the community.

Everyone needs to get over what happened... they shouldnt be going on any admins page harrasing them, you, jark, anyone... matter of fact going to anyone's page to harrass them, they shouldnt be doing that either.
Vashtastic Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2006   Digital Artist
awww lame, i thought people were going to quit it. what's done is done. people need to let go. let's all move on and get on with the art making. well i suppose it's not really about the "truth" no matter what people say, it's just about the perspective they've chosen to believe. so that link you gave,, what is that?
sliquarade Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2006  Student

its crazy how people manage to find something to criticize in you no matter what.

I'm always amazed at how you handle the enormous negativity you unjustly get.
May only good things come in your life Angelo.
the-negative Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2006
Something real that I was expecting. :thumbsup:
In whatever side, politics, in a harsh way, just plain sucks.
chiisana-anisa Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2006
Hear this - I respect all of you people behind dA (false, true or whatever) because you all got dA up and running and freaking HERE for us. If it weren't for dA I wouldn't have so many wonderful, wonderful friends and jokes, and tears and laughs a day.

So thank you for that.

But on the other hand I have this big urge to stick my tongue out to you saying: "nja-nja-nja-nja" ... I don't care about this anymore.

Don't you seriously thing that this community has been divided too much in the past year and yet you drag this up? Man, respect or no respect - I have to say it: Drop it.

Have you never heard about the saying: Leave the sleeping dog lie? Because that's what you should. Go on, move from this and leave it behind. We adore you now, just like any other person behind the scenes, and we will adore you even more if you drop this. Remember, it takes a strong man to win a fight but it takes even a stronger one to know when to quit, even if he is winning.
spyed Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
Would love to; and I think now that the comments on my user page have calmed down we all can. For that reason this journal was necessary but it's over, I hope!

Thanks for your honesty.

-- A
chiisana-anisa Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2006
Well I'm honoured my opinion counts. I'm not blaming you for the journal, it's just that things like these can drag along fights that are long over and forgotten. I really hope it doesn't happen again. Ever. You're a good man, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise, ok?

I apologize if I was too rash in my previous comment. And you're welcome. :heart:
drackar Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2006  Hobbyist Photographer
I still think this entire fiasco is idiotic...on both sides. I was rather firmly suporting Jark, for quite some time after this, as every bit of information I had available pointed at one conclusion. But as time got on, the petty crap comeing from Jark got more, and more, and more hard to beleve. He seems to be haveing a great time, slinging mud at changes DA has made, that he says should have been made years ago...Yet he, himself, while he was here, seems to have done nothing for. I just think thats pathetic.

And for the Spyed front, its all still rather odd. How it was handled, early on, made it VERY hard to trust anything you had to say. And now, many months later, you post something that could have probobly cleared a lot of it up, to begin with. That article says it all, really. You WERE here, involved, and so forth. It was all working well, and you were part of it. Anything said at a later date could have been counter-acted by this. And a good number of great artists would not have left, and a lot of this ..."Im better" "no Im better" pratle MIGHT have been avoided.

just cant stand the way this entire thing has been handled. Its less like co-workers in a company dealing with problems, and more like gradeschoolers throwing snowballs at each other.
dataloss Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2006  Hobbyist Photographer
If you want everyone to get back to the art, then why the f*ck are you ripping this scab open again?? Take your own advice and just leave it alone. It's drama that doesn't need to be here.

BushidoBlade Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2006
$spyed, keep up the good work. :thumbsup: (everyone else who helps run da ----> :thumbsup:)

This community rocks!
jeriweaver Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2006  Professional Traditional Artist
Yes, let us indeed get back to the bloody art.
ArtisticLicenseNow Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2006  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Forget all this! We need more new emoticons! The site is dead, liven it up. And not with more anime and/or sleaze. :phew:
Clovdyx Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2006
Personally I think everyone (both current staff and former staff) should focus on improving the future rather than crying about the problems of the past.

Hey, just a suggestion.
attila Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2006  Hobbyist Photographer
Famed names on deviantART today were non-existant during the founding period. There was no °arc or °tack or °attila they joined after the site launched ("was established".) So they have no idea who founded deviantART other than what they were told.

I've known you since the day the site launched. Ever since that day, I've known you to be very skilled in the art of manipulating public perception. I don't recall reading anywhere that any of us have discounted you as being a Co-Founder of this website. Although you may list yourself as a Co-Founder, as you have every right to do... you should not negate the integral parts each of your unpayed workers played in creating, managing and running this show at a time when it was not convenient for you to be seen here. Despite many of us being full-time students and aspiring professionals in our own right, we sacrificed a great deal of time, health and social lives to give DEVIANTART personality, a purpose and a network of visitors during crucial stages of its development.

I think what I have issue with, is the public relations campaign that ALL of this was done with you solely at the helm, which everyone knows isn't the truth. I remember vividly everything I was "told" about the founding of deviantART through staff emails, meetings and private discussions... and it's funny that it would be contrary to your story without you nipping that in bud, EARLY. Why would your CORE STAFF early in deviantART's development be lead to believe something untrue? Reminds me of the time deviantART was incorporated without us knowing or allowed to be involved in the process.

Anyway, I think the "re-writing history" which a lot of people are repeating over and over again has more to do with that wikipedia entry being edited and interviews you've given that diminish the roles played by both Matthew Stephes, Scott Jarkoff and your unpayed workers and prop you up in stature. That's my impression.
mattdanna Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2006  Hobbyist Interface Designer
"Although you may list yourself as a Co-Founder, as you have every right to do... you should not negate the integral parts each of your unpayed workers played in creating, managing and running this show at a time when it was not convenient for you to be seen here."

I don't know, it might just be me...but I don't recall Angelo ever belittling the volunteer founding staff members. Yes he made mention of people who were brought over from DMusic...But by mentioning them, is he belittling you? I don't think so. :confused:

Then again, I am partly thrown off by your bitterness towards the I might be misunderstanding your argument.

I'm trying to understand, since I wasn't around back old timer you. Basically, are you getting at the point that he gave himself too much credit and "diminish the roles" of the other founders?
attila Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2006  Hobbyist Photographer
Read what I typed, he said we have no idea who founded deviantART other than what we were told. Well, who's fault could that be? Surely, it is his. And if what we were told was inacurate, it's his fault to, is it not? Since he was here from the beginning, he had ample time and ability to SET US STRAIGHT. Why would he let us blieve something that isn't the truth. What was the purpose of keeping his very own core staff in the dark about who founded deviantART and WHY? Merely saying, making a point to say we don't know who founded deviantART is pointless and merely exists to lessen our presence on deviantART despite the fact that we're partly the reason why deviantART is as successful it is today.

I don't know what you mean by my 'bitterness'... is it because I'm not kissing his ass (like most others have for posting this journal), that I appear bitter, or because I dare to critically question his intent? Leave me alone about this "bitterness" stuff, it just doesn't work anymore. In your childish attempt debase what I've said, you've added nothing yourself and I'd appreciate it if you and others like you would get off my back, thanks.
faroresama Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2006
Now I know why you are a ninja, but I still have no idea why Jark's a yellow alien. Or is that hush-hush? :shh:

But anyway, late in coming though it is, this ties up a lot of loose ends. :)
Windy999 Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2006
Shakespear - "What's done cannot be undone"

The past is the past - let's look to the future and keep our noses out of this private matter which will be settled by and between those involved.

Picking either side without full knowldge of what happened on all sides (ie being there) is divisive and unproductive

That's my twopenneth - I shall now get off my high horse and plonk him back in his stable

Join me on the fence (bring a cushion - it's a picket fence)
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Submitted on
March 14, 2006