How social media destroyed the web's art communities

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I was an avid used of DeviantArt, the problem there wasn’t social media. The problem was the site itself, there was too much favoritism, very insulated toxic groups and forums, and plenty of gaming of the system to get artwork featured (which often translated into easy sales and commissions). Not to mention rampant art theft as well. I should probably download all my work from DA but that scene got played out, sadly i can’t see of a way they could’ve avoided it. If i was going to get back into drawing i’d most likely rather set up a small blog somewhere or make myself a personal site.


Ironically, I find Pinterest to be the true death of the old wave of art on the internet. As useful as it is for creating an inspiration board for a project, that same ability also translates into turning any piece into just another block of content you can accidentally scroll past because it looks like every other similarly tagged image. At least DeviantArt seems less likely to have duplicated content and allows the original artist to control how their work is presented and tagged.


I thought what killed web art communities was the large amount of art theft so people could sell their bedazzled bullshit on Etsy.


My Son gave the same glowing review of DeviantArt.


I posted a bit on ConceptArt around 10 years ago, but I honestly found that community really hard to “break in to.” Response seemed to be mum unless there were some boobs on display. The best fun was found in the weekly challenges section, but it never felt like a camaraderie developed (for me at least). At best it was a lesson on “give not take” in terms of commenting, ect. It’s not the one way street that the rockstar in our minds expects.

I have mixed reviews on instagram for art. On one hand, I’ve ‘met’ a few similar-minded artists on there and feel like I’ve made a positive connection with people I’d never have interacted with otherwise.

On the other, there can be an intense pressure to make work for the platform, quickly and in an eye-catching way, just to get that sweet dopamine hit of a few “likes”. This is a nasty cycle. And it can be a dark place when you see people doing amazing work in stunning studios while you toil away in a tiny room by yourself… And it can be tough to watch your peers move into the 5-digit-follower range while you’re still in 3-digits, then chastising yourself for having lusted in your heart for shallow fame in the first place! And do those followers really mean much in terms of artistic success? Are they necessary for a sustainable career?

Anyway, like, subscribe, follow™


Lol well i could fix my typo but it seems very apropos. I do have fond memories of early DA, for the most part i stayed away from all the drama of the social circles there but seeing people get constant recognition over low effort, pandering content really irritated me but i’m sure DA isn’t the only place where that happens. There was also a level of legitimacy the site never really obtained, outside of the site i always heard people refer to it with heavy derision.

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I used to peruse the art there. Haven’t stopped by in probably 5 years I was kind of wondering if it was still a thing even.

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I would think so, but i have no idea how healthy the scene looks there. Maybe they’re doing ok, but all of the friends i knew that were active on there none of them use it anymore and for most of them it mainly came down to art theft.

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That sucks. I dunno how you get around that as an artist and putting crap online. Other than only posting artwork with huge watermarks through out? which kind of ruins it.

I’m a naturally cautious and low-key paranoid kind of person so i was always careful about what i posted online because i didn’t want to see my work ripped off. I saw friends that would routinely do work based on pop culture characters and properties and the art theft was/is rampant. Because of it i made sure to only post original work, i rarely put big watermarks on drawings but depending on what it was and how good it looked i sometimes resorted to watermarks

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I have a DA page as well, but hardly even look at it anymore, much less upload to it. I was never part of the community, so I avoided that whole thing. However, one time I was made aware of a sketch of mine ending up in someone else’s gallery. They changed it slightly, but it was obvious.

I got around it by no longer worrying. Not that I want my art stolen and claimed by someone else as theirs, especially if it somehow ends up on a product and making them money. But, I’m one guy, no lawyer, and a bank account always in the low five digits. I can’t stop them.


I havent uploaded to mine in 10 years or so, last time i logged in was maybe 6-7 years ago. I’ve made my peace with the possibility someone’s possibly ripped off one of my pieces but as long as i don’t find out i can live with it. If i knew though i’d be pretty livid. But i havent been creating art for some years now so the problem is non-existent for me at this point

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The thing with all these “Scene X is dead, Community Y is toxic” articles is that community interaction is moving to private spaces and falling off the radar. Just like Google is not the only place to find information (your local library almost certainly has stuff you can’t find on the Internet, ask the librarian for help), the big social media sites are not the only place people are forming communities. You can’t parachute in to the old places, look around and write an article talking about how content creation is dead because you didn’t find anything in the 15 minutes you looked. Articles about scenes will need to be written by people actually in them, not just using quotes from people that aren’t.


A lot of furry art has been moving to twitter but much of it is still on FA. The furry fandom is still an art community that can move around stuff like this.

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(The original) mp3 com presented a situation where the global artist community as a political and connected force was bigger than the RIAA, meaning it -became- the industry by sheer headcount, as all the artists were connecting with each other.

As part of the threat to destroy mp3 com and other artist community sites, the first thing to go was the forums and the ability for artists to connect with each other and to collaborate and promote their work. All forums were shut down at all sites the aggressors were able to fornicate or acquire. It later followed that all such competition (sites) were just shut down completely, even when profitable.

Originally, mp3 com referred to and treated the artists as “content producers” but once Vivendi took it out, the artists were redefined by the site as “customers” while the intended customers of the artists were otherwise stymied to make it as hard as possible to find the stars in the vast haystacks of artists that were created to bury all independent artist competition and to hide them from the public at large.

None of it was accidental nor randomly occuring.


Same happened with soundcloud. First a lot of more “social” and cooperative communities gave up because Soundcloud really absorbed everything, then SC shut down the forums and finally even groups, effectively killing any communication or collaboration between artists. As an independent producer there’s just no reason why you should upload anything there anymore.


Every time I don’t notice that a google hit is going to take me to pinterest, I find I have to deal with a browbeating overlay bullying me into subscription.

I may have to block that site.


My most vivid and formative memories participating in early 00s online art communities were in relatively marginal, not exactly private, but somewhat off-the-grid art forums with really vibrant communities. ‘Eatpoo,’ was a more irreverent place than, but still had heavy-hitter artist who could make good, if severe, crits (some of the members have gone on to do significant work, like Adi Granov, who’s the lead artist on Iron Man and designed his movie look, and Matt Rhodes, who’s one of the lead artists on all those huge-ass Bioware games). ‘Gingerbox’ was a weird hipster comic art forum where folks like Bryan Lee O’Malley and Michael DeForge were posting before they were household names.

Both of those places vanished a long time ago, and their communities dissipated before that happened. Which is sad. This post initially made me nostalgic for the loss of those spaces, but your comment made me wonder whether those kinds of spaces are truly lost, or whether they exist and are still, as they were back then, a little more ‘off the grid,’ a little more private than the big social media platforms that draw most peoples’ attention. Have weird peripheral online arts communities really been choked out by social media, or has social media choked our feeds out to the point that we’re not as good at finding our own way to rarefied creative spaces?

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the “web” atr communeities have not been destroyaed any more than comic books, albums or greek sculpture. algorhymes is/ are