The DeviantArt Podcast | Episode 001: A Special Place

The DeviantArt Podcast | Episode 001: A Special Place

– Hey, welcome to the DeviantArt Podcast. This is the very first episode. – Aww. – Yeah, we did it. – We did it. – A podcast. – Aw, who would’ve thought? – Who would’ve thought? So, what’s really cool about this is we decided to make a podcast so that you, the listeners, or
viewers if you’re on YouTube can get to know some of the
faces behind DeviantArt. The comments that you see on journals, the posts that happen on your
page when someone favorites and you see the ‘lil DeviantArt
symbol next to their name. This way you get to know who we are. – And we get to prove that
we actually are human beings. – We get to prove that we’re
roughly 100 people globally, not a room of robots. – Not a pile of algorithms. – Not a hoard of lizard men. – Not a, god, okay. (laughing)
That was a good one. No, we are actual human beings. – Yeah. – We’re there on the other end
of the things that you say: nice and not nice. – Yeah, and through the podcasts, we can have a nice
little dialogue with you, get to talk to you.
– Yeah, we get to talk back. (laughing) – We get to share some things
that you might not know about DeviantArt, some
things that are coming up, and some awesome exciting things. – It’s gonna be really
cool to be able to have that transparency, talk
about stuff a little bit before it comes and sort of
just explain a little bit about how it gets made,
what goes into the sausage. – And hopefully to be a
little bit entertaining too. We’re gonna have some
amazing interviews coming up in future episodes, some
cool educational stuff, all sorts of things to make this podcast what you guys, the DeviantArt
audience, could really use. – We will strive to not be boring. – We will try not to be boring. – We’ll endeavor! – But let’s talk about who we are. – Yeah, let’s do that. – So, my name is Matt Buchholtz. You can find me on DeviantArt @ggmattb and I’m the Head of Social
Media, here at DeviantArt so a lot of my job is getting
to find and elevate a bunch of artists to show them off to the DeviantArt community on social. – Anyone in particular? – Oh, well, so it’s tough,
because I wanna make sure that people see all the artists that they know and love already. – Right. – So your Loish, Dave
Rapoza, Arvalis, Yuumei. All the classics.
– The great artists. – All the classics. (laughing) But also I wanna find
the artists that really are doing amazing things,
but just might not have all the eyes on them yet. – Anyone in particular? – So, HumanMgn, SillyJellie, Soyochii, like a lot of people that are really just in my feed right now that
I’m loving getting to share, but it’s super fun to get to do that. I love finding art and getting
to share that with people. – It’s always cool being
able to put new artists under a spotlight like that. – It is, it is. And I’m joined today
with Justin Maller, CCO, Chief Creative Officer of DeviantArt. – Sounds impressive. – It does. (laughing) – It’s not. – Well, tell us a little
bit about your time at DeviantArt. – Well, okay so I joined DA in 2001. – That’s like, year one. – Yes.
– Yeah, two. – No, it was 10 months in. – 10 months in. – 10 months in, so it
was June 2001 I joined. And that was it for me
like that was the end of the rest of my life– (laughing) No, but really. So ever since then I’ve
been a digital artist. So I started off like
you, a rank armature on DA and just stayed with it for
a really, really long time. I was a freelance artist there for most of my life since 2001. – Still the same profile too. – Yeah, yeah. Still Ekud, E, K, U, D. You know like so many users of DeviantArt, I’m still settled with
decisions I made in my teens. It could be worse. – It could be much worse. – It could be better. (laughing) It could be much better. Yeah, so you know, I have been an artist for more of my life than not at this point and a professional for
nearly all of my career. And yeah, so like a year
and a half ago I joined as the Chief Creative and
it’s been a really cool ride, because I get to bring that perspective of having been an artist all
my life into this position. My day to day work mainly concerns, so it revolves around stuff
that we do on the side itself. So like the features that
we build and the things that we have planned that are coming once Eclipse launches fully. – Yeah. – And then a lot of the stuff
that we do with the community, so a lot of our activations and contests and the stuff that we do
to engage and interact with the DeviantArt community
broadly, I’m involved in all that sort of stuff. And it’s cool, because I’m
able to bring the perspective of a Deviant. I mean, I’ve been to Deviant– – You’re a voice over there
longer than I haven’t. Which is a crazy–
– That’s nuts. That’s insane. – Yeah, but I do get to
bring that real perspective of having been an artist or
having been a DeviantArt user for so long into discussions
where we’re talking about how to build new features,
how to build new tools. And like really, honestly
and authentically, represent how useful or not
useful, how valid or not valid and how credible things are for artists. So it’s not guesswork, it’s not maybe artists would like this. I’m able to actually
say from my perspective, which is certainly not
to speak for all artists. But it’s better to have one
in the room than not, I think, when you’re talking about
building products for artists. – Definitely, and
speaking about new things. We’ve been referencing DeviantArt Eclipse which is new DeviantArt. – Wow, that was well named. I’d like to meet the guy who named that. – So today, we’re going to
be talking about Eclipse. (laughing) I got that idea– – I just wanna make
sure the listeners did. – Listeners at home, Eclipse,
brought to you by Justin. (laughing) We’re gonna be talking about Eclipse and kind of the whole process behind that, because it’s been a massive undertaking. – It’s a huge undertaking. – 19 years in the making. – Yeah. So prior– – New DeviantArt. – Prior to joining the staff in this role, I didn’t realize quite
what an endeavor it was to update a website like
Deviant, I didn’t get it. ‘Cause I had updated my portfolio
many times over the years. If I wanna change the background
color, it’s the CSS change. You change a value and then that’s it. – Now. – It doesn’t work like that. (laughing) – Well, let’s get started with where DeviantArt is currently. – Yeah. – So how do you see
DeviantArt kind of as it is maybe a month, two months ago, before Eclipse really started rolling out? – Yeah, look I’m under no illusions and I don’t think any
of our executive team or anyone who works here at
DA is under any illusions as to what the site currently is and where we currently stand. DeviantArt, look, let me
start by saying something. I really mean this. DeviantArt is a special place. It’s a unique place on the internet. It’s such a creative, welcoming,
warm, constructive place where you don’t need to
be in any kind of box, or you don’t need to fit
into any kind of descriptor to join DeviantArt and really grow. We will nurture your creativity. It’s a safe place like that you
can be an absolute beginner, come to DeviantArt and
be at home immediately. Or you can be a total professional whose been doing it their
whole life, come to DA, and find your audience
and find your space. And I think that’s a really
special necessary thing in this world that if you’re
just interested in creating and you wanna find that
affinity with other people who are interested in
what you’re interested in, DA’s just such a great place for that. That’s always been true of DeviantArt. What’s also true is that the site itself is a bit dated right now. We get it. I think that everyone who
works here is perfectly aware of what the existing website is and it’s an extremely functional site. It works beautifully.
– Yeah. – There’s no two ways about it. What it does, it does really well, but it’s also not necessarily
super viable in 2019 as if you’re coming and this
is your first impression of what DeviantArt is,
you’re going to feel like the site is a little
out of touch, you know? If you’ve been here for years
and years it feels like home. It feels like just this wonderful,
warm and welcoming place. – Yeah. – Totally. But with any community
and any network online, fresh blood is important. Having new people come in
and starting the process of moving from being an
absolute novice through to a hobbyist, through to wherever you wanna
take your creative career. It’s really important to have
that sort of new life flowing through a network like DA,
because people drop in and out of creative stuff as time,
career, family allows. – Yeah. – So that’s important to have new people to make the artwork and
new people that come and see your artwork as well. Anyway, that’s where DA is right now. It’s a wonderful, necessary
place in need of a bit of a facelift. – So what are some goals
and changes we’re looking at for Eclipse as we build it out? – I think what we’re trying
to do is make a place where the art comes first. You land on the page,
there’s no ads which is nice. – That’s a major perk. – Very nice. And the art is really put
right first and foremost so your eyes not distracted,
not taken anywhere else. It just exists on a beautiful stage. You can enter into theater
mode, which I like to do. Stay in that mode and start
browsing through artwork and really have that deep,
immersive experience. So yeah, I think that
giving every artist a place to showcase their work
like that in a format that’s a lot more professional and clean, than perhaps the previous iteration was, was really important. I mean, I feel like those two
goals in and of themselves are a great starting point for Eclipse. – Awesome. Now going into that sort
of change over 19 years of legacy content. That’s gotta be difficult. So what kind of challenges do you find when making those changes? – Well, when you’re updating
a site like DeviantArt, you need to consider how many things you’re
actually updating at once. So I like to break this down into talking about atomic units. When you look at any other website, any other social network,
usually there’s one unit. Whether it be the tweet,
or the Instagram post, or the Medium journal type thing, right. It’s the main thing that
they do with the couple of little add-ons and a bit of a browse. DeviantArt has all the
things I just mentioned and so far as that we
have a status update. We have a journal, we have a place where you can browse
arts, search for arts, sort art by all these
different sorts of categories, the profile page itself which contains all of those things again
in a different context. – Everything we packaged,
everything we packaged. – Look though, the point of
illustrating the amount of units that we have on DeviantArt is to show that all of these things need
to coexist with each other in different contexts
and when you update them, there’s a lot of things
to consider and talk about and make sure synergize in an update. So that and mapping all
of that to 19 years worth of back content. – Right. – It’s not easy. – Yeah, it’s just not the
places where they fit in as you built it out. Now it’s actually making a homogenous, holistic sort of view of the website. – Exactly. – And of that experience. – Yes, exactly. So, I mean, look I could go into a lot greater depth on that. That’s one of my favorite
things to talk about. I think I could take up the
entire rest of the podcast in discussing just how many
aspects there are to DeviantArt, but when you consider what you can even do when you hit that submit
button from deviation to poll, to journal, post, the
forums, chat, groups. These are all websites
in and of themselves. Other networks do just this
one thing in and of themself. We do all of them and update is just such a massive
undertaking when you have that many products on Arthur. – Yeah, because again, you change one, it changes across the website, ’cause it exists in so many place. – Yeah, exactly. – Well, all these changes
being put into place, why are they essential to our artists? What makes this update so
valuable for our artists? – It gives us a base to build on. That’s what Eclipse really is. I mean, I’m really looking forward to it and we don’t say Eclipse anymore. – Aren’t we all. – It’ll just be DeviantArt. – It’ll just be DeviantArt. – But no, when this new version rolls out, we’re going to have a
2019 version of the site that we love. I’m sure most people listening to this, probably at least like
DeviantArt, if don’t love it. – Yeah. – You’ve been to DeviantArt otherwise. – I’ve been on there over a decade now. – Really? – Yeah. – That’s a long time. – Oh, you can see all my
OCs from early, early years. – Oh, I’m gonna check that out. – Oh, please don’t. – I’m going to. GGMattB, that was the username? – Yep, get ready for ’em. Lots of ninjas and pirates. – All right, so Eclipse is
a base for us to build on, because DeviantArt and
its product offering has been around for a long time. You know what you get with DeviantArt, but there’s an opportunity
for us to offer a lot more. Once the site feels like
the kind of site you expect to be encountering in late 2019. So that’s what it is, it’s a base. It’s a viable base for us to build tools and create a jumping off point
for new things in the future. – When people wanna give
feedback for Eclipse, because we’re starting to roll it out, more and more people are
being able to experience it and get to play around with Eclipse. – We’re nearly completely out. – It’s almost to 100, yeah. People can now give feedback on it. – Which we do listen to. – We are listening to. – I feel like if you see
how Eclipse has evolved since the beginning, a
lot of that evolution came directly from user feedback. We put the journals out with the change log and
everything like that. We read the comments
and we stack rank things based on how much we’re hearing about it. Like it all gets heard. – And if you want to leave feedback, you can go to or if you’re on Eclipse already, you can click on your little avatar icon, drag down to leave feedback
and just put it there. That’s the best way it
gets to all the right teams and it will be read so
make sure to do that. – You can even give us
feedback on the podcast. – You can give us feedback on the podcast, but if you do that, go
to which is where these podcasts will live and you can just leave a comment
right on the journal there. – Yeah. – And those will be things
that we can respond to, we can see how you feel about the podcast. – Well, I mean we can
answer questions directly. – We can answer questions directly. – We can take requests for people you’d like to see interviewed. – Oh, I love that idea. – Bits, sketches, please
request for us to do sketches. – Please don’t. – A radio play, would you
like us to do a radio play? – I would love a radio play, though. – It would be good, wouldn’t it? – Oh yeah, okay. – But, either way we’re open to feedback is what we’re trying to say. – Well, that’s one of the best parts of this entire podcast initiative. – No doubt. – Is you guys now get to talk to us in such a better conversational way. – These are our faces. – Yeah. – You’ll be talking to us. We will answer, we will
read your question, we’ll talk about it. – But again, you’ll be able
to find all these podcasts on – Go team. – And we really appreciate you joining us. Thank you so much. Again, I’m Matt Buchholtz. You can find me on [email protected] – I’m Justin Maller. You can find me at /ekud. – And thank you for watching. Have a great one, guys. (swooshing)

3 thoughts on “The DeviantArt Podcast | Episode 001: A Special Place

  1. absolutely… dA is a special place!
    and yes… fresh blood totally is important!

    but… how come this ghreat idea dropped into your mind, anno 2019?
    why did it not drop there, way before the rise of farcebookstagram?
    and what does eclipse have to do with it? if it's so ghreat, i wonder why everyone hates it so much…

    anyway i do like the podcast idea.

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