From The Verge: In social network years, DeviantArt is ancient. To paint a picture of the era it was born in, the online creative community was originally started in 2000 to share skins for media players like Winamp. But CEO Angelo Sotira, who co-founded the site when he was 19, maintains that the platform is very young, at least when you look at the age of its users and how long they’ve been making art.
Now, after its acquisition by the website-building platform Wix in 2017, the site’s perennial army-green design is being revamped with a sleek new layout called DeviantArt Eclipse. “The aim is to be DeviantArt for the next 10 years, not the past 20,” Sotira says.
In its heyday, DeviantArt was home to a tight-knit community for artists of all skills. Users could leave constructive criticism under people’s art and write messages on each others’ profiles, long before Facebook was invented. Professional artists — like the Oscar-winning director of Pixar’s Bao, Domee Shi — credit the site as the place where they got their start. “Online art communities are probably a huge reason that you’re seeing a lot more girls getting into animation and illustration,” Shi told The New York Times in an interview.
But as social networks began taking off, users gradually started to leave for bigger platforms like Tumblr and Instagram. Artists traded the niche, art-focused community for broader networks that were easier to use and could reach more people, and visits to DeviantArt began to plummet. In 2012, DeviantArt advertised having 65 million monthly visitors. Just three years later, it would fall to 45 million, and the platform hasn’t updated the stat since.
Now DeviantArt is hoping to reclaim its place as the creative social platform for artists — and it might be the perfect time. Recently, competing sites have been struck with their own set of problems: much of Tumblr’s oddball community fled the site after a crackdown on adult content, and Instagram’s algorithms have made it harder for artists to be discovered unless they post content regularly. Platform fatigue is setting in, and artists are looking for other options.
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