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deviantART is an online artist community that focuses on curation of user submitted artworks and collaboration among its users. The website’s content pool is sectioned into a number of categories including digital art, photography, traditional art, film and animation, cartoons, manga, flash animation and literature. Aside from showcasing artworks, the site also hosts a discussion forum where users can discuss their artworks and a category section dedicated to educational resources and tutorials for artistic techniques.
Launched on August 7th, 2000, DeviantART was founded by Scott Jarkoff, Matthew Stephens, Angelo Sotira and others as part of the Dmusic Network, a larger network of music-related websites and blogs. In the beginning, DeviantART was designed as a place to upload and share custom designed skins for applications, similar to other projects like Winamp Facelift, Customize, Deskmod, Screenphuck and Skinz. The site was well-received upon its launch and quickly gained a strong and loyal user-base as well as a team of voluntary moderators.
In less than a year after its foundation, DeviantART was officially incorporated in April 2001. Later that same month, DeviantART user switched submitted a mascot artwork of a robot cat named “Fella,” which went onto win the site’s contest and became adopted as the official mascot of DeviantART.
As the community continued to grow, one of the co-founders Matt Stephens proposed a plan to expand the scope of the site from application skins to a general art community. In November 2006, DeviantART enabled a new option for users to submit their works under Creative Commons license, which gave the artists the right to specify how their contributions can be used and shared by others. In September 2007, a film category section was added to the site where users could upload their own videos and add annotations for comments or critiques during playback. Many individuals who were involved in the early development and promotion of the site continue to work for the site, including the co-founder Angelo Sotira who serves as the chief executive officer of deviantArt, Inc.
- Both unregistered visitors and members can browse millions of user-submitted artworks through thousands of category sections by medium, genre or style. Once signed in, a user can easily “favorite” bookmark any artwork by clicking and dragging it into the user’s collection page. Users can upload an unlimited amount of artwork at no cost.
- Users can also create and customize the profile page to introduce oneself to the community at large. The user profile section also offers journal entries and custom widgets, as well as pageview statistics on submitted artworks.
- Users can also earn revenue through selling prints of their artworks, receiving 20% of the profits in transaction. With a premium account, users can be rewarded 50% of the profits.
According to one of the co-founders Angelo Sotira, the site had over 14.5 million members, 100 million total submissions and generates roughly 140,000 submissions, 1.4 million favorites and 1.5 million comments per day, as of August, 2010. The site holds a Compete rank of 344, a Quantcast United States score of 97, and is the no. 121 in the entire world on the Alexa scale as of July 2011.
Art fads are popular amongst deviantART users, and often consist of a sort of challenge to draw certain things, such as one’s OTP, original character, or favorite things in different situations like Nyu’s Art Meme, Sparkledogs, and the DeviantArt Age Meme. In addition, Emoticon-based fads, such as Pyong or Lick Icons, can be commonly be found on the site as well. The site is also notable for popularizing template-based survey memes; there is even a group (and a supergroup at that) on deviantART dedicated to these called “Meme Station”. Many of these memes are desgined to create humorous situations and are often used as brainstorming tools for new art or fanfiction.
Popular Meme Formats
List format memes: The user makes a list of 10 characters, assigns each of them a number, and then follows the given situations. (eg. 2 and 5 get into a fight, who would win?)
Shipping memes/Draw your OTP: These memes usually open with a series of questions that the user answers about their favorite pairing. Then they must draw their pairing in the given situations.
Art challenge memes: These are often listed as “The ___ Meme” (eg. The Guro Meme, the Yaoi meme) and give the user a list of things to draw that surround a common theme.
Switcharound memes: Two or more users collaborate on several pieces of art, each user doing one stage. For example, Users A, B, and C do a meme. A draws lines, B colors, C shades. They do this 3 times so the result is 3 different complete drawings.