Why are you here at dA?
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By wb-skinner   |   Watch
12 66 17K (1 Today)
Published: April 26, 2017

I still get inspired every day by this great site.  It is the perfect blend of fun social interaction and the promotion of the artistic side of our personalities.  There is a definite sense of wanting to better ourselves as artists by admiring and being inspired by the creativity of our peers.  We teach, learn from, and inspire one another by stretching our artistic wings and flying together.


I just finished reading a journal written by a very talented photographer who inspired me years ago with his outrageously amazing photos.  The journal was entitled 'Fuck dA'.  He wrote it 8 years ago and then abandoned his account here.  In this journal he rants about 'the little guy' getting passed by while those who have no talent but thousands of watchers dominate the front pages.


Well I think he was here for all the wrong reasons.


He was missing the inspiration part.  How others work can inspire and make you better in your own craft. He was only in it to become popular and have others admire him.  He believed that other forms of art here at dA had less merit than photography and mature artists were the only artists who deserved to be here.


I couldn't disagree more.


All artists deserve to be here, learning and maturing and striving to improve. dA is wonderful that way. I hope you all will pause and ask yourselves why you like this site.  I see so many talented yet humble and selfless artists here.  All artists should be aware that there are millions.. maybe billions of creative souls out there.  Art is not a competition, but rather a collective expression of the human race.  We all contribute to it in our own little way.


Be well, my friends!


:wave:  

 




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Comments (63)
blisterine66's avatar
blisterine66|Professional General Artist
I'm here for the pie. :iconpiesplz:
Reply  ·  
PixlPhantasy's avatar
PixlPhantasy|Hobbyist General Artist
Inspiring and wonderful words!  Love discovering new people and new art!  Everyone starts somewhere :)
Reply  ·  
wb-skinner's avatar
thanks for visiting! :wave:
Reply  ·  
Zoomer1958's avatar
Zoomer1958Edited |Hobbyist Photographer
Well, Johnny, judging by the many replies, you seem to have touched a nerve with this beautifully written and heartfelt journal entry.  I've had mixed feelings about dA for a while now.  It's often the case that many of my photos that I think are quite good don't get the responses I had hoped for--very little, if any, expressed admiration for composition or imagination or technical wizardry, etc.  I mean, cripes, I now have close to 750 watchers, 25 of them garnered since returning from our East Coast trip two weeks ago.  With that many watchers, one would expect a helluva lot more faves per photo than, on average, maybe 25!  Of those 750 watchers, I hear regularly from perhaps 25 at most.  What happened to the other 725?  What are they doing, deleting my batches of photos as soon as they come up on their pages?  Are they even looking at them?  And if not, why watch me in the first place?

I suspect that in most cases the mentality goes like this: I'll watch you and I expect you to watch me back.  But then you go to their sites and (a) they've got no deviations though they've been on dA for years; or (b) they're 15-year-old girls doing crayon drawings; or (c) they're more sophisticated artists but they only do My Little Pony stuff.  Do they seriously expect a 59-year-old university professor to watch that stuff?  I appreciate that they're artists in the first place, to be sure, but I won't do the insincere thing they're doing by "watching" them then deleting their stuff when it comes up on my page.  It's almost as bad as the Facebook "friends," most of them insincere people who don't give a goddamn about the people they're friending.

So I can, in part, sympathize with the accomplished artist who's feeling frustrated.  And I can't tell you how many times the professional photographers who work in my local camera store (Henry's) have teased me about being on dA in the first place.  My wife is under the impression that, to many accomplished photographers and other artists, dA is, as she puts it, "a joke."  Too many people here aren't serious about art of any kind--the narcissistic young women who post soft-porn (taken by themselves with their phone cameras) who only want attention, for example; or, again, the teenagers who only want attention, any kind of attention.  That's the same mentality found in so many Facebookers, which is one reason why I won't have anything to do with Facebook.

Still, having said all that, I stay on here for all the right reasons, as you've so eloquently expressed them.  This is the place to inspire and be inspired, and the level of talent I've seen here, not infrequently, is out of this world!  And even if it is only crayon drawings or My Little Pony, the point is--IT'S ART!  It's people expressing themselves.  And what's wrong with that?

ARTISTS--THEY'RE MY KIND OF PEOPLE.
Reply  ·  
wb-skinner's avatar
As far as the watcher thing goes.. I have 7100 and only get 200 views per deviation.. sometimes more.  This is because at one time I was very popular on this site (2003-2009).  I would post a shot and regularly get 300-500 favs.  After my deviations started breaking the 100 fav mark in the first few hours, I stopped trying to thank everyone and focused on replying to comments ..  and then life struck.. I became a single dad with no time for the camera. I abandoned my account for 7 years.  95% of my watchers left the site while I was gone.

I've started from scratch and, since my return in March, I've acquired a modest 500 new watchers. I've gone back to thanking folks because it's been manageable.  I have to say it's a much more rewarding experience being unknown again... making new friends and taking more time to view others galleries. Popularity on this site tends to isolate an artist from the community because there is too much going on the message department and it becomes overwhelming.

The ONLY reason to cherish the favs around here, is to acquire enough in the first 12 hours to have your work appear on the front page in the 'What's Hot' section .. this draws more watchers and eventually the buyers if your work is good enough.. believe it or not there are people out there who buy prints :nod:  So you see, dA popularity is a double edged sword.  The money from print sales is nice.. but so is an intimate social experience, which tends to decrease with popularity.. my dilemma is that I cherish both. 

On the topic of dA being a joke, tell your friends at Henry's they're full of shit :D At the height of my dA popularity, I was making 2-300 CAD per month selling my prints.. without lifting a finger.  I was also picked up by a German publishing company to use my photos on book covers and book promotion material.  I made 4000 CAD on that one deal!  So dA was my monthly car payment and paid for a trip to Asia.  Hardly a 'joke' for someone who actually has a career and income and wants to make money on the side from their hobby  .. The site is still loaded with semi-pro artists who cherish the atmosphere and make money selling prints... just not as many.

In 2008, I literally told the tech-geek photographers at a camera shop to go fuck themselves after they scoffed my HDR techniques. My prints were selling at a two local galleries here in Thunder Bay and these guys hadn't even tried.  And yet they were trash talking me.  They all could talk a great game and had certainly mastered their expensive kits... but guess what? Their photos were technically good... but lacked any sense of artistic inspiration.  A great photo does NOT require an expensive kit, and guys that hang around camera shops are like the bikers who hang out at Timmys .. they'd rather stand around and talk about their equipment than actually ride.
Reply  ·  
Zoomer1958's avatar
Zoomer1958|Hobbyist Photographer
Ah!  Now I know why you wanted to respond, Johnny!  I'm very much in sympathy with your contempt for the crowd at Henry's who scoff at dA.  I really didn't know what they were getting at and why they were saying such things!  Some of my students at the university who know about dA were also on--once upon a time--and all quit.  I also sensed a bit of jocularity on their part at my expense--though, again, I didn't know why.  I'm certainly not ashamed to be on this site; in fact, I rather enjoy it!  I check in several times a day.  And I'm delighted to hear that you've had some serious success selling your prints--though I suspect that your happy case may be exceptional.  Maybe not!  Still, my wife and I have been under the impression that no one sells anything on this site.  Perhaps that's one of the reasons why the Henry's crowd gave it up, who knows.  I've been on here for three or four years and only ever sold one print.

Anyway, as usual, your commentary is forceful and eloquent, and I applaud you not only for defending dA and the artists here, but also for your success.  May you continue to have more!

:cheers: 
Reply  ·  
GoodSpiritWolf's avatar
GoodSpiritWolf|Professional Artisan Crafter
The right sentiments - DA is an amazing place. Here you can see accomplished artists and aspiring artists and people struggling to find and express their artistic talent. It's all beautiful. What a great place to see and be seen. I love it here and am so thankful for it. This is from an old (68) young at heart, inspired by DA fellow traveler. 
Reply  ·  
wb-skinner's avatar
wb-skinner| Photographer
well said! :highfive:
Reply  ·  
Norski's avatar
Norski|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Good question.

I'd *like* to get more hits per day here than the Drudge Report, win every 'art' award - including those invented to recognize my epoch-defining genius - and become outrageously rich. ;)

That's not gonna happen, and it's not why I'm here.

I joined because the price is right - free, for the sort of membership I have - because it would be an opportunity to show what I do: and an opportunity to learn by noticing and appreciating what others do. That includes the enthusiastic amateurs, gifted professionals, photographers, painters, digital artists, and everyone else.

I think we've all got something to share: and, most likely, something to learn. So far, it's been a good experience for me.
Reply  ·  
wb-skinner's avatar
well said my friend :nod: and I like the price too .. can't beat 'free ninety-nine' :D
Reply  ·  
justfrog's avatar
Quite right! Inspiration and the sense of community are what keep me here. dA has made me a better photographer but it has also made me a number of friends which is much more important.
Reply  ·  
wb-skinner's avatar
:nod: thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Reply  ·  
scotto's avatar
scotto|Hobbyist Photographer
Totally agree with this mate. DA is very different now. A new breed of deviant faving 1000+ images per day for the sake of owning that easter weekend with most popular average picture. But in reality they only are owning themselves. It's a shame for those who should be getting more noticed. I was quite inactive for a couple of years, lost my father and soon after I lost my stepfather, I few out of love with photography for a while and eventually getting a drone reignited my love of the outdoors. There isn't much of a drone community here but I do enjoy sharing my pictures and checking others for more places to fly etc. Just watch the right people, keep producing quality that makes you happy and DA can still be somewhere worth visiting.
Reply  ·  
wb-skinner's avatar
not exactly sure what that 1000+ favs thing accomplishes.. are you saying they fav stuff to get favs in return?  I've also noticed folks giving away thousands of llamas to pad their page-counts.  I saw someone with 20,000+ views in 2 months.  Anyway, all that shite is meaningless (as you know).  Glad you dropped in Scott! :thumbsup:
Reply  ·  
scotto's avatar
scotto|Hobbyist Photographer
Seems that way yeah, the problem is by thoughtlessly fav'ing everything they see, they bring rubbish to the front pages frequently often preventing decent work being seen. I'll always love DA as it was my first online gallery and there are still some really nice people here, just a shame to see so many using it all wrong. Anyway I'm off to the dentist now, got to have a bunch of shit done and I aint looking foreward to any of it! hehe. take care bud :)
Reply  ·  
wb-skinner's avatar
good luck with that bro!
Reply  ·  
Dark22Rose's avatar
Dark22Rose|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is so inspiring, I don't think anyone could've said it better. There are so many judgmental people who will try to put you down for doing what you love to do, but what you said is an amazing way to look at how people share their work.
Reply  ·  
wb-skinner's avatar
I appreciate you taking the time to read it :)
Reply  ·  
wb-skinner's avatar
thanks for reading :hug:
Reply  ·  
jonathanjessup's avatar
Johnny I very much agree. It's important for us to watch our egos and its ceaseless expectations.
Reply  ·  
wb-skinner's avatar
yes! thanks for dropping by!
Reply  ·  
Chaldemone's avatar
I originally joined dA about a decade ago just to have a place where I could share my art, where maybe my voice could be heard. The first message I got on this site was one of hate, telling me that my voice didn't belong here. By and large, my experiences here have mostly confirmed that even though I have found a few friends. There are just so many voices, so many expressions, that any ripples I make seem redundant even if I struggle to find pieces that really resonate with me. I think a lot of people join dA in the hopes of having their voices recognized - not made prominent or popular or marked as great, but just acknowledged. Not sure many find that here anymore. I come back to this site for the friendships and the inspiration, but I stopped sharing quite some time ago.
Reply  ·  
wb-skinner's avatar
wb-skinner| Photographer
Hard to disagree with you.. maybe a good percentage of what drives the creation of art is acknowledgement by others.  Sad that you don't share anymore.  You obviously like to create and view art. 
Reply  ·  
Chaldemone's avatar
Well, I certainly know many people who create art and don't give a damn whether or not others see it, but those aren't the majority of people who are drawn to sites like this. I still share my art; I'm just a lot more private about it these days. My art is generally reserved for an audience of two (including myself - three if you count the cat).
Reply  ·  
anonymous's avatar
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