So, I know the "My DeviantArt Story"
thing was supposed to be done on our actual birthday but on that particular day when I sat down at my computer I had a ton of stuff which needed my attention and my personal journal CSS happened to be broken and I had no time to fix it up to display properly (It serves me right for letting months pass by between journal entries) but I wanted to participate and I decided I would just do it "later" and then somehow it's now August 21st and it's finally "later".
My Story actually starts way back in 1999. I came home from a long day at work at my retail job to discover that some of my friends had upgraded their personal home computers and had collaborated among themselves to put together a desktop set for me from the equipment which they were replacing so suddenly I had my very first computer.
Being an artist one of them gave me their old copy of Adobe Photoshop 5 which they weren't using any more and gave me a quick rundown of how to use it and then we hopped online where they showed me my first wallpaper and skins community; customize.org (It's still around it's just nothing like it used to be).
As a traditional artist I was pretty good, as a digital artist working with a mouse and unfamiliar software I was terrible but that didn't stop me; I eventually branched out into other wallpaper and skins communities- Deskmod, Skinz, and a couple of others (All you old timers who were around in the late Nineties probably remember them).
The sites would do "link exchanges" so I caught a link from one site to here and I wound up joining DeviantArt in September of 2000.
It was new, it was small and it was close knit and it was far more active than the other artists communities I was involved with but most importantly it didn't restrict you to just
doing wallpaper resolutions or skinning- it accepted a wide range of works in a wide range of resolutions and sizes.
As a digital artist back in 2000 I can't even tell you how big of a deal that last part was because while you trip all over art communities and image hosting sites now, back then if you weren't doing wallpaper resolutions then you weren't submitting online.
Gradually the fact that submissions weren't restricted to specific formats and the higher level of activity here made the other online communities I was a part of pale in comparison so I eventually drifted away from them and made DeviantArt my sole home.
I made some connections here which got me interested in printing my works so I delved extensively into copyright law so i could better understand and protect my work once things got that far and for a time I was even involved at an administrative level at another print oriented website so my knowledge there came in handy at knowing what could or could not be approved at a quality control level.
At the time, around 2001 I think, DeviantArt was starting to move towards offering prints as well so I brought my knowledge and my personal advice into the forums here to help out other deviants with their questions and concerns. My efforts and high level of involvement there earned me Senior status and a Deviousness award (Yes it says I earned Deviousness in 1969 on my profile page but that's the result of a server error years and years ago and there's actually a bunch of awards which probably say the same date if you know where to look for them).
Shortly after that I was brought on as a volunteer and things really started to develop around DeviantArt then.
The galleries offered to the community started to expand rapidly, trying to offer every type of artist or genre a possible home and while the galleries expanded so did the community itself.
Around 2002 to 2003 online artist communities got hit badly with many of them closing or being sold (and as a result abruptly changing in ways their community didn't like) so our little, closely knit community suddenly expanded by leaps and bounds as all sorts of artists sought a new home or abandoned their old online community in favor of one which was more palatable.
Things got really crazy around here for awhile afterwards but we saw all sorts of new artists, new inspirations and new genres and fandoms appear in a crazy hodgepodge.
My art got better with the addition of my first Wacom tablet which served me well for over a half a decade and which helped translate my skill with a pencil into the digital space and I branched out into all sorts of stuff from fractals to 3D modeling based on really cool and awesome stuff which found right here in our galleries (not all these experiments wound up in my gallery since some were really, really
My own personal role at DeviantArt expanded as our policies needed to address all of these new peoples and the content that they submitted. I headed a team of other volunteers who were responsible for moderating both site content and community behavior. that team would go through a lot of changes and development to eventually be the Copyright & Etiquette Administration
that currently serves that role today as a part of the Community Operations
Along the way I went from being a volunteer to being an outside contractor to a full time employee with the company. I also shifted from being the CEA team leader to my current role as project manager responsible for making sure that the team has proper support and advice.
It's been a long, long time as I count myself as one of the longest continuously active members of the DeviantArt community and while I could fill this journal with countless anecdotes and stories and hilarious (in hindsight) moments ("Guatemala Day" anyone?), I think I will end here with one of my favorite depictions of our quirky, weird and wonderful community.