Last week I made some observations of Pokemon fan art of Elfwood.com, as well as making some observations about the communication style on the site and comparing them with my own experience of Tumblr. As I mentioned last week, these observations are slight, and by no means exhaustive or indicative of how the websites in question operate in relation to fan art on a large scale. These observations merely reflect my personal experience and ability to navigate the sites.
So with that disclaimer out of the way, into this weeks website: DeviantArt! To be quite honest, I have only visited the site a handful of times, and never before have I specifically sought out Pokemon related fan art for auto-ethnographical purposes. For anyone unfamiliar, DeviantArt, LLC is an online community showcasing various forms of user-made artwork, first launched on August 7, 2000 by Scott Jarkoff, Matthew Stephens, Angelo Sotira and others. deviantArt, Inc. is headquartered in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California, United States.The site aims to provide a platform for any artist to exhibit and discuss works. Works are organised into categories including photography, digital art, traditional art, literature, Flash, filmmaking, skins for applications to name a few.
Like I did with Elfwood, keyword searched “Pokemon” and brought up a host of results.
The first thing I noticed was the difference in standard of artwork that was produced upon searching the term. Most of the artwork that I found seemed to be digital art, or art that has been edited/enhanced digitally with visual art software, like Photoshop as opposed to hand sketched, then scanned and uploaded. GIFs and info graphics were also present and often included humour or incorporated elements of fan fiction or fan theories into the work. As I was scrolling, I noticed quite a few artworks that I had seen posted or reflagged on Tumblr, which suggests sharing of material across websites and platforms. One particular image I came across was a fan’s impression of a Tumblr -inspired poke ball which I had seen reflagged on my Tumblr wall a while ago.
The main comparison to be made between DeviantArt and Elfwood for me is the size of each website. DeviantArt evidently has a much larger user base than that of Elfwood, and thus the range and quality and quantity of Pokemon related fan art and fiction is much greater. Both sites however serve as a platform for fans of the Pokemon franchise to share their experiences and creative talents in ways that foster creativity and interaction between users. Like Tumblr, people share their both their work and their options with like minded users.
deviantART, I. (2014). deviantART, Inc.: Private Company Information – Businessweek. [online] Businessweek.com. Available at: http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=22872779 [Accessed 7 Oct. 2014].
This is such an interesting way of really thinking about your research topic and thinking outside the square about how you can really assess the topic in an autoethnographic sense. I actually have had a lot of experience with DeviantArt, especially whilst I was in year 11 and 12 as most of us high school kids used it as a platform to store our artwork and to gain some inspiration from other artists all over the world.
I just had a super quick look at DeviantArt and actually it has changed A LOT over the last 3-4 years since I had looked at it last. I can completely agree with you when you could only really find digital artwork and art that has been digitally enhanced. When we all used it at school it was very much filled with drawings and paintings which is completely different to what DeviantArt seems to be now.
Well done how you have compared both the different platforms and I think you have done a great job in researching the way that fans use all kinds of different platforms to engage and interact with Pokémon and all different tv shows, games etc all over the world!
Have you ever seen images made from the Pokemon Fusion generator? It is a website that creates a Pokemon by fusing two of the original 151 Pokemon together to make a new image. This has mostly been used for comedic purposes though, by using a combination that will create a funny name, like Farter (Farfetch’d and Haunter). I think this would be something interesting to have a quick look at because the Pokemon fan art community is so huge, it’s even spawned it’s own genre of “comedy fan art”. http://pokemon.alexonsager.net/