DeviantArt – A Different Kind of Art Community

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Flickr is the most commonly thought of community when it comes to the world of photography.  It’s a recognizable name, and it’s huge.  So huge, in fact, that everyone (and their kids) seems to have a Flickr account.  The community is, of course, a great place to share your work and your ideas, and Shutter Photo surely endorses it as a great place to turn (we do, after all, host the Shutter Photo @ Flickr group there).  But it’s not all that’s out there.  There are dozens of communities for one simple reason:  Flickr (or any of them) are not a one-size-fits-all type of community.  If you want to try out a community with a bit more attitude, check out DeviantArt.

Unlike other communities, DeviantArt is designed around modern mediums.  You will find a lot of digital art, hand-pixeled creations, themes for popular software, desktop backgrounds and literature.  It is all combined under one hood in a massive engine that hosts millions and millions of works from creative people all over the planet.  I have personally been a member for six years (username: coplan), and I will say that most of what I learned and most of my inspiration came from other DeviantArt Members.

The nine-year-old site has somehow flown under the radar with a bit of a word-of-mouth and cult-following advertising campaign.  The site’s name is barely recognizable outside the close-knit circle of members.  I have seen a few members leave, but the majority of people I started following six years ago still regularly update their works.  That says a lot about the community.  Members find a lot of value from the community, and there are thousands of people ready and waiting to share their honest thoughts and suggestions about your works.

The thing I find most appealing about DeviantArt is that it is not focused on one specific medium.  As I mentioned above, you’ll see works from all corners of the creative landscape.  Not just photography.  As many will attest, not all inspiration comes from the medium in which you practice.  I am inspired by a great many things and a great number of art forms:  Digital art, comic books, music, dance, poetry.  And while DeviantArt doesn’t host all my inspiration, it does host a great deal more than any other community.

But it’s not just a community, it’s also a store.  Many artists sell their works through DeviantArt’s Store.  Any member (even non-subscription members) can sell anything uploaded to their gallery.  If you sell enough, you can get a seller’s account through DeviantArt and earn a higher commission on your sales.

Non-subscription members aren’t handicapped in the way you might expect.  If you don’t pay for a “Pro” account at Flickr, you’re limited to a number of uploads every month.  But at DeviantArt, there is no cap for non-subscribing members.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t benefits to membership.  Paying members get a number of benefits, including customizable preview systems, the ability to change your interface, elimination of ads from the site, a premium portfolio, access to widgets for your social networking or websites and extended statistics reporting.

The community may not be for everyone, but everyone will likely find something they like there.  Everyone should at least browse the site and dig around for a while.  I’m sure you’ll find something there that you’ll like better than most other communities.  You really can’t go wrong at DeviantArt.

Visit the site: DeviantArt

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About Author

D. Travis North is a professional Landscape Architect, a Freelance Photographer and founder of Shutter Photo. Ever since he picked up his first SLR, his father's Nikon N2000, he's been hooked on photography. Travis likes to photograph urban environments, architectural details and has a new-found interest in close-up photography. His work can be found at D. Travis North Photography. Follow Travis on twitter: @dtnorth.

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