Thursday, June 7, 2012

Becoming a Deviant

Deviant Art has been around for twelve years now and I've known about it for some time. But it wasn't until a couple weeks ago that I finally dug my grave and became a member. If you are not familiar with deviant art, it is an online social network focused on art. As of 2010 it gained 14.5 million members and has expanded far beyond that number by now.

I'm not much of a tech guy. I am very much a geek when it comes to horror movies and vinyl records. But a nerd of evolutionary gadgets I am not. I resisted getting a cell phone for years and have only acquired an Iphone two and a half years ago. The last video game I played was Tetris. Even when the first Resident Evil came out in the mid 90s, I hung up my joystick and decided it was time to become an observer. My computers are never up to speed and that is fine. As long as my turntable's motor isn't burned out and I can still spin vinyl, I'm a happy fiend.

Social Networks are no different. I avoided myspace and only decided to join a few years before it wasted away to the ghost town it is today. Same with Facebook. Same with Twitter. So why should it be any different with Deviant Art. I didn't quite understand the need or desire to be on the network. I had friends that were artists and I could communicate with them through email or other social networks. Most of them were not even on deviant art.

Then I met Ron Martino, producer and director at Deviant Art Network, at the San Diego Comic Con 2011. He spent some time explaining to me the community of artists that live on this network and how many of them are active around the world at one time. It is very impressive. But still, I didn't join for almost another year.

What did it was my frustrations with other networks like twitter and facebook. I am an artist. I wake up as an artist, I live as an artist and I make money as an artist. Whether I am writing little fairy tales, illustrating monsters, painting nightmares or trapping moving pictures on digital cameras I live to create art. So I would become very frustrated when I posted artwork on my networks and did not get the response that I was looking for. I could jot down some nonsense (in 140 characters or less) on twitter about my twinky having diarrhea and retweets explode. But a post about a signing or an art piece gets the occasional chirp.

THAT'S TWITTER. I get it. I've learned to play the game. I find myself contriving the most facetious crap that sometimes, and usually, warms my face with embarrassment just to say such mindless babble because that's what people want. I've discovered Facebook isn't much different. I get a good response when I post an illustration or painting. But really, people on Facebook are looking for drama. They want to hear you bitch about your day or complain about this or that. Everybody is a fan of misery as long as it's someone else.

Deviant Art is nothing like that. Deviant Art is a community of artists (whether they are amateurs, hobbyists or professionals) who are on there to share and experience art. It's not about what you had for lunch. It's not sharing that instagram photo of the drunk passed out at Denny's at 2am. It's not about posting your passive aggressive attacks on "you know who".

Twitter and Facebook have their place. I'm not saying anything against people who use them, because I use them and I enjoy them for what they are. But there is no other community for the artist like Deviant Art. Join, visit my page and partake in the largest growing online art community worldwide.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Grimlify This...

Over the past few months, I started hosting competitions on my networks to create a more interactive presence for fans, fiends and followers. Most of the competitions involved name drawings for MCP store customers and challenges that introduced new fiends to my work. In February, I hosted a competition that required fiends to complete and submit a Valentine's day poem. The winner had their poem illustrated and released as a virtual card.

This month I started a competition that would be just as thrilling for me as those involved. The competition is called "Grimlify This..." and it went like this: Every follower on Facebook could submit an idea. In this case, it was an animated cartoon character. They had one week to chose one and post it on my facebook. I then went through the submissions and chose five of those characters to illustrate in my style. The reasoning for the five that were picked had to do with many factors. I wanted something that would challenge me. Therefore I didn't pick characters that are too similar to my style already. That would eliminate characters like The Addams Family, Beetlejuice, Monster Cereals...etc. I didn't pick characters that were too vague and had no distinguishing characteristics. Heckle and Jeckle are great characters. but once Grimlified, they would just look like my crows. I didn't pick characters that were too obscure. Part of the fun of this project is that people will look at the character and immediately relate to it because they are familiar with them.

With that said, these are the 5 characters that I picked and Grimlified...

Once the characters were completed and posted, it is up to the fiends. The image with the most likes at the end of the month determines the winner of the grand prize. I can't control this from becoming a popularity contest. Some likes will be based on helping their friend win the prize. But I hope most people will vote on the illustration that they like the best.

I really enjoyed this competition and look forward for more to come. The options are endless. Grimlify...superheros, pop stars, Disney, Hanna Barbara, breakfast cereals, fruits...etc.

I'm looking forward to it.

Go here to vote before April 1st 2012: Gris Grimly Facebook

Join the Society of Grave Robbers Facebook to be notified on the next competition:
SOGR Facebook

Be Grim!
Gris Grimly