Sunday, April 11, 2010

Why?

Well, now that I have the attention of truly devout, I thought you guys deserved some explanation.

Not that I had any fans to begin with- I'm just another dude who knows to pick up a pencil and draw something barely recognizable. But then you already know I don't think much of myself. For me, you guys are just people who really like me and my work and are willing to walk the extra mile with me.

But in any case, here we go.


Why did you quit all of a sudden and without a reason? I mean, it all seems petty to quit over something so trivial!
No, not sudden, and it only seems petty and trivial because I chose now to be the time, but it was already decided that I needed to move on.
The basic gist of it is, I had enough of DA. It's the cumulation of over 7 years at that website that exhausted me to the point that is now. It's just the '1 million pageview' goal that I set for myself that helped me to muscle through all those years.

I had my fun some of the time during my stay, but you just know when you have to move on. I'll explain in few points why I feel the way I feel.

1. Favs and comments becomes meaningless once you go past the breaking point.
-When I was still relatively unknown every feedbacks, every comments and favs felt like they meant something. They were exciting. As time progressed and as I started getting more traffic, favs and comments became as numerous as people that viewed the work. It's really difficult to keep track of all of the attention, and they essentially became a white noise. A word without meaning, a noise without sound.
It just became difficult to care for people beyond the numbers they represented.

Also, the terror that is DA is that popular people get popular-er for the sake of their popularity. I could post something that resembled a standing person in anime style, and another honest and hard-working, but less popular artist would get buried just because he chose the unfortunate time and category to post on. Same happened to me in occasion by other, more popular artists. It's not a bad thing that good art is promoted for more views- the problem is that democratic process doesn't select good art, but rather a popular art.

2. It's a terrible place for expressing opinions.
-Fanboyism is rampant on the website, there's no doubt about that. That creates an environment that is difficult for criticism of any kind. Your attempt at making any negative critique is immediately degraded into a fight of ad-hominem and various other fallacies such as appeal to authority and appeal to common practice. You cannot argue with fanboys and fangirls. They have a rigid world view and nothing will change what they want to see.
If you don't think that's the case, let's take critique feature provided by DA for example. I challenge you to find a negative critique, and I also challenge you to find a negative critique majority of people approves of.

My first disgust at this tenancy goes back all the way to the time when I posted 'artist vs non-artist' strip. The strip until I deleted it recently, garnered about 1050 comments in total. That's probably one of the most comments you'll ever see on a deviation, if not the most. I tried remaining civil, and tried responding to each of them but when their first comment starts with ad-hominem, you can't help but get bitter at the reality of things.

3. WTF am I drawing?
-The website affects your subconscious through both negative and positive feedbacks. It drives your style to a certain direction through favs and pageviews. Yeah, it's easy for someone to say 'well, just stop giving a shit', but I'm pretty sure you've tried to recreate your jackpot one way or another after you got couple thousand favs, and you wondered what you did wrong when you didn't get the number you wanted.
There's a reason I got 1 million views only after 4 years - a feat that is yet to be achieved even by some DA seniors. I was being driven like a livestock and went where favs also went.

You could try not to care, but you could also try not to smoke and drink. I'm pretty sure we've got some drinkers and smokers here who knows exactly what I mean.

Just by controlling your face expression towards people, you can modify their behavior. DA is no different in that it modifies the behavior of eager artists on its website.

4. I don't like social networking websites
-I don't like being hyper connected and I don't like people. I only keep barest of friends on my facebook and I outright hate twitter. When I frist started with a different alias on DA (before I went by saejinoh), it was my impression of DA that it provided a webspace where I can showcase my work and it had some community feature that I didn't need to bother. You ever notice how I never faved anyone's work or how I rarely commented or posted on the forum? I simply don't give a flying B-15 crap.
But as time went on, new features were added and everything became more real-time and more connected. I wasn't so isolated anymore. The DA essentially became an extension of other social networking sites.

5. Art is political.
-Comedy is political, news is political and opinion is political, but there's one place where you're expected to stfu and just post some landscapes, robots and boobies. You don't need me to mention where that is. The problem gets much worse as more renowned you become. You know how much crap celebrities got from people by expressing their views on Iraq War? As if they were supposed to stfu and be some kind of movie making androids? They're people and they have their opinions and as do I.

Well, there's one opinion that you're allowed to take position with: Popular opinion. That's where the danger of populist democracy lies in. When you side with unpopular view, you are instantly vilified and crucified. I had bunch other near borderline strips that got into at least modest amount of heat, all in which started with ad-hominem attacks and various other attacks that questioned my intelligence.

That's not going to stop me from expressing my own views and that is my right, but telling that to a community of thousands and millions would be like whispering in a crowded mall. I'll leave the mall for somewhere more quiet, if that's what it takes. Seriously, why do you think why I drew all these strips when most artists are just happy drawing one illustration after another? I've got things to say and I gotta say it.

6. You can't force me to
-People are forgetting something when they make a big deal out of my departure. It's just a website. It's not your life, but a made-up place with zero's and one's.

My departure from DA means nothing. I still have all my skill and I'm only going to get better. I work harder than most people alive and that is not going to change now.

For supposed fans who feel betrayed, what am I betraying you for? For taking a bunch of picture from your fav's? The very pics I own my rights to? If you're my real fan, then just sit back and enjoy the work I'll be creating in the future. You can be excited about that because it'll be better and fantastic. I'm only 26 and I've got a long time to hone my skills.

7. There are other venues.
-I've been working on some youtube tutorials and timelapses in 1080p. youtube is by far a larger place than DA, and the venue I have there is unlimited. The place is ripe with political dialogue and different opinions - a benefit of being an all-encompassing website instead of restricting itself to crafting - and I'll feel right at home there.
Of course I'll be disabling comment features there but people will be able to track back to my blog for commenting. DA is a wonderful place for right people, but you gotta remember that it's not be-all and end-all.

In conclusion...
It's not like I was planning to stay there for indefinite amount of time. My departure there was predicted if not obvious. I don't like getting bound to things. I have an addictive personality and it took me violent character deletes to have myself quit WoW. I'm basically doing the same thing for DA and it will be for better.

So that's why my move to close the place felt sudden and unwarranted. There are all these things that I was not happy with and it just took me one straw to break the camel's back.

Also that 67 month subscription...
People paid me in subscription for the commissions I did for them, so they're my money. Perfectly justified.

I'll leave you with...
A strip. I'm pretty sure you've seen this strip everywhere by now. I drew this a couple years back and I never found the strength to post it on my DA page. Fully understanding the ramification this strip can have, I instead chose 4chan. If I had posted it on DA, I would've quit it a long time ago without having to wait till now.