When I joined DA in 2002, I always knew this day would eventually happen, and a decade later - here I am. I considered simply going without explanation, but didn't want to leave any outstanding questions; further I still have a fondness for what this website used to be, the myriad of people that I spent time with here, and the wealth of creativity it contained. Besides, you guys know how much I like to talk.
Several weeks ago when some teenage schoolchild made it his personal crusade to educate me that comments such as "I like it" passes for a critique, I knew it was getting closer time to leave this place. When my dear friend `fangedfem
popped her head out with her latest journal, it was a bittersweet reminder of how much soul this website has lost, never to be regained again. Before I get to all of that, I simply wanted to express my gratitude and appreciation to you all.
Ten years ago, I was in graduate school struggling with my physical health and confidence, unsure where my life was going. I was introduced to DeviantART by ~akyra
, and ~undisclosed
all whom I had known for years before. These friends of mine loved to take photographs and after several months lurking on their pages, finally became a member. Not sure anyone could've predicted the general upward trajectory my life would assume for the next decade.
I always believed in doing the best you can and you'll attract the right people. One by one, deviants started watching me and commenting on my work and I'd return the favor. I began to submit text I wrote in college. I knew little about photography and submitted digital photos I captured with a 4 megapixel point-and-shoot. I experimented with Photoshop and photomanipulations, then proceeded to turn Valentine's Day into a worldwide personal crusade of sheer angst. It was so awesome encountering so many genuine individuals, variety of interests, and wide scope of talents. Within a few months, my literature submissions became very popular and regularly featured on DA's front page. When I submitted the "Guide" in 2004, !onestar
actually called me that morning at work telling me I needed to log on and see what I started (I wound up getting this call a few times. Kitty.). You couldn't beat the smart and humorous banter on display throughout this website. There was a warmth and soul to this site that in which °jark
was the heart.
As friendships here grew and matured, so did my creativity. Having earned a Master's degree in architecture after many hard-fought years in design school, I never considered limiting myself to DeviantART. With 8 dollars to my name, I was hired the day after I graduated by an architectural practice that allowed me to flourish as a professional designer. I got to travel nationwide and see my designs become built reality. While splitting residency between Georgia and North Carolina, my snapshots caught the attention of a couple master photographers in both states. They encouraged me to share my photos, to which I was surprised at the welcome response. In what seems like a whirlwind of time, I became a displaying, award-winning, published photographer. My photography and writing style caught the attention of an editor in the region and she hired me to become a regular contributing writer to her published magazine. Today, with a reputation for photography, writing and architecture, I'm fortunate to run my own business and am currently laying the groundwork for my second company.
During all this, I remained on DA through all the ups and downs. I encountered a few bad apples with twisted agenda but the truly great people I met here and wonderful things I've been part of far outshine any negative experiences. I'm overwhelmed at how you've all accepted me and am better for having met so many of you over the last decade. I got to see ~ProsePetals
tie the knot and see their children sprout. Flew out to see !onestar
get married to finally - the woman that is perfect for him. `bookdiva
treating our entire clique, including the likes of ~highpriestess
and I as she would her own children. Seen teenagers like `Zlatty
, and `triptychr
grow up to become full-fledged, responsible, interacting...adults. Watched the lives of ~whohaugh
forever transformed by their beautiful children. Observed the creative talents of ~shebadapuddytat
, and ~Glory-Of-Valor
take off early in their lives and watched with amazement established pros like `Laurazee
. Seen ~jl
write right. Bounced ideas off of ~escapism
as we all figure out this professional photography thing and adopted ~althepal99
as a mentor against his will
. I try to see `fangedfem
everytime I travel up the East Coast. Talked life and architecture in Dallas with ~avadon
, walked Charleston with !chilipalmer
, visited Washington DC with ~JamesBardolph
, explored Durango with `jerryhazard
, and met ~draco490
and his wife after they moved into town. *simba
and I still have to sneak down to South Carolina and steal the conferedate flag from the state capitol. `imogene
, all have added to my life in one way or another. Hell, there are people I talk with whom I've forgot their usernames ages ago that aren't listed and deviants from yesteryear that I never kept in touch with but wonder how they're doing. Even the folks I only know on DA and admire their creativity such as ~icarus-ica
, and `getcarter
have been true joys to watch evolve. If I haven't listed you, it's not my intention to omit you, but there are so many people I've been blessed to know I didn't recognize just how many until I began assembling this journal.
I realize I'm waxing old and nostalgic, but I truly am grateful for everything and everyone because I wouldn't be currently doing what I do today if I didn't discover this website. As many deviants I came to know left, our friendships have blossomed well past DA and are sure to last a lifetime. I got to witness so many writers, bloggers, designers, photographers, and artists evolve in front of my very eyes to become real world successes. To all of you reading this - my friends, the artists that I've followed, and the many who have watched me over the last 10 years - from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU SO MUCH for EVERYTHING.
Yeah, this place is huge now, I'm sure it makes a ton of money, but it's a hollow shell of what it used to be for me. I tip my hat to °jark
for keeping the heart that beat behind this place alive as long as he reasonably could; it's never been the same since his abrupt outing. It would be egotistical to say I've grown beyond DA, but this place has nothing for me anymore, nor I to it. All in all, I can truthfully say while I was here that I did it my way. I am - and always have been - exactly
the person you see here on DA. I never felt the need to impress anyone, didn't compromise who I was, my core beliefs, the creative work I shared, or words I had to offer. I never had to hide or pretend to be someone I wasn't. I regret nothing I've ever posted here because I took the time to think about it when
I said them, so that they would ring just as true today as they did when I first uttered them. That's the way I try to live my life no matter how tough the slog is. Sometimes I fall short, but the majority of time it works out just fine.
I will not be deactivating this account (yet) for legal and archival reasons I'll not delve into here, and will need access to this account if something weird arises. I'll still log in to lurk but make no mistake, I'm done here. I left ten submissions in my gallery and perhaps someday I'll be able to freely deactivate.
Until then, some final words of advice on DeviantART and beyond: Fuck your popularity, your pageviews, your favorites, and your DDs. I've had them all to great extent and trust me, they never meant much. Even the real world popularity I've had and currently experience is fleeting in nature. DeviantART is not the real art world and hopefully most of you are savvy enough to know that by now. That's not to say there's a complete disassociation with art or to ignore the great talents that still remain here, but you need to consider this place with a massive grain of salt. The internet has become littered with cloned art, devoid of meaning, stripped of individual style, lack of critique and this website has unfortunately become the epitome of that. Whether you succeed or fail, take your own path. Stop being sheep - or llamas - whatever that stupid thing is. Follow your own path, push your art - and push yourself - change in the direction you
need to go, and not anyone else. During your journey, throw your ego out the window and seek as much criticism as possible. Never settle for where you are right now and continue to hone your craft. If you can help it, avoid fake, pretentious people as much as you can. Loyalty is an undervalued commodity in today's fickle world. Stand your ground and stay true to what you believe is right and ethical, no matter the challenges to you - have faith it'll work and that people are generally smart enough and GOOD enough to figure it out in the end. Just focus on growing with those around you and doing the best you can with what you have. Do good and do good work.
That's it. Hey, it was a good time - much love to you all.You can still follow me on these websites: