I started here as a young "art" aficionado somewhere in the early or mid 2000s. I made lots of friends here and saw and read some fine works made by people just like me. There were great would-be poets, visual artists and writers with whom I developed a very productive two-way relationship. I felt that people really respected me and my comments, and that I really helped some young artists by commenting and giving favorites to their work. What it did, it boosted my self-esteem and gave me an important experience in this street-level, bohemian art community. I really felt like a member.
In a way this was my only gateway to a community of young people of the same age, since I always felt like an outsider in real life. Yet I'm as ordinary as one can be, just a lonely, just as traumatized by the complexity of being a young adult and existing in that middle place between teenage years and a comfortable adult identity. I guess that's the whole idea of this community and the meaning behind the name "deviantArt". To be deviant, yet completely conforming. To be virtual in a very, very biological way. To breath here, to touch... well, to express oneself in a very deep way in this little artsy thing we were in the process of discovering here.
Everyone I ever met here was a broken person in some way. Not in a horrible psychiatric ward way, but in a way that people I met expressed their innermost hurts and feelings in an open way. To me deviantArt was a media in itself: a mixed media of traditional visual arts, creative writing and a functioning prototype of social media. We were so ahead of our time in this sense.
To me, art always was what Leo Tolstoy wrote in an essay that I understand to be his last published work. Art is something that just happens, it's a continuous trace of humanity and human experience. Wherever there is a human culture, there is art. The value of art is judged by the emotions and meanings attached to a piece of work or a performative act: it's a kind of disease that is passed on by displaying and reciting your works. It can either be positive or negative... true art doesn't have to be beautiful or pretty. Nor does it have to be conforming to certain standards of markets, social prestigé or medium. It can just as well be high art in galleries or the sloppy, juvenile scraps on this virtual community.
Many of you had the courage to tear your hearts open and spread the insides on these hypertext pages. Thanks for making this such a great experience and at the same time keeping this place so damn cool.
Anyway. I'm a studying Social Scientist now, married, 28 years old. I don't really need to, and never did have the need, to reveal my true identity here. There is no true identity. Being a person on deviantArt was always something that transcended the real-face real-name presentation of 2010s in Facebook or Twitter.
And by the way, forget about all that GeoShell skinning stuff in my gallery. That was never what I really was about here.