DeviantArt (deviantART from 2001 to 2014; abbreviated "DA" by members) is an online artwork, videography and photography community. The website was launched on August 7, 2000, by Angelo Sotira, Scott Jarkoff, Matthew Stephens and others. Artworks are organized in a category structure, including photography, digital art, traditional art, literature, Flash, filmmaking, skins for applications, operating system customization utilities and others, along with downloadable resources such as tutorials and stock photography. Additional features include "journals", "polls", "groups" and "portfolios".

DeviantArt, Inc. is headquartered in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California, United States.[2] Fella, a small, devil-esque robotic character, was the official mascot of the website until 2014.[3] The domain deviantart.com had at least 36 million visitors annually by 2008.[4] By 2010, DeviantArt users were submitting over 1.4 million "favorites" and 1.5 million comments daily.[5] As of July 2011, it was the 13th largest social network with 3.8 million weekly visits.[6] As of January 2017, the site had over 26 million members and 251 million submissions.[7] On February 23, 2017 the company announced it was being acquired by Wix.com in a $36 million deal.[8]


DeviantArt started as a site connected with people who took computer applications and modified them to their own tastes, or who "deviated" the applications from the original designs. As the site grew, members in general became known as "deviants" and submissions as "deviations".[9][10] DeviantArt was originally launched on August 7, 2000, by Scott Jarkoff, Matt Stephens, Angelo Sotira and others, as part of a larger network of music-related websites called the Dmusic Network. The site flourished largely because of its unique offering and the contributions of its core member base and a team of volunteers after its launch,[11] but was officially incorporated in 2001 about eight months after launch.[12]

DeviantArt was loosely inspired by projects like Winamp facelift, customize.org, deskmod.com, screenphuck.com, and skinz.org, all application skin-based websites. Sotira entrusted all public aspects of the project to Scott Jarkoff as an engineer and visionary to launch the early program. All three co-founders shared backgrounds in the application skinning community, but it was Matt Stephens whose major contribution to DeviantArt was the suggestion to take the concept further than skinning and more toward an "art community". Many of the individuals involved with the initial development and promotion of DeviantArt still hold positions with the project, from administrators to volunteers serving as gallery directors and Message Network Administration. Angelo Sotira currently serves as the chief executive officer of DeviantArt, Inc.[12][13][14]

DeviantArt ran for 7 years without any additional investment besides the initial US$15,000 from its founders at the moment of its founding. It has used several different monetization strategies before having its own cash flow.[15]

On November 14, 2006, DeviantArt gave its users the option to submit their works under Creative Commons licenses giving the artists the right to choose how their works can be used.[16] A Creative Commons license is one of several public copyright licenses that allow the distribution of copyrighted works. On September 30, 2007, a film category was added to DeviantArt, allowing artists to upload videos. An artist and other viewers can add annotations to sections of the film, giving comments or critiques to the artist about a particular moment in the film.[17] In 2007, DeviantArt received $3.5 million in Series A (first round) funding from undisclosed investors,[18] and in 2013, it received $10 million in Series B funding.[19]

On December 4, 2014, the site unveiled a new logo and announced the release of an official mobile app on both iOS and Android[20] to be released on December 10, 2014.[21]

On February 23, 2017, DeviantArt was acquired by Wix.com, Inc. for $36 million. The site plans to integrate DeviantArt and Wix functionality, including the ability to utilize DA resources on websites built with Wix, and integrating some of Wix's design tools into the site.[22]

As of March 1, 2017, DeviantArt banned Syria from accessing its services entirely.[23] All geoIPs in the country have been blocked from entering the site, under the justification of USA sanctions over Syria.

As of February 12, 2018, DeviantArt has changed the authentication system, making the ban more strict. On February 15, the ban was extended to Iran.

Copyright and licensing issues

There is no review for potential copyright and Creative Commons licensing violations when a work is submitted to DeviantArt, so potential violations can remain unnoticed until reported to administrators using the mechanism available for such issues.[24] Some members of the community have been the victims of copyright infringement from vendors using artwork illegally on products and prints, as reported in 2007.[25][26] The reporting system in which to counteract copyright infringement directly on the site has been subjuct to a multitude of criticism from members of the site, given that it may take weeks, or even a month before a filed complaint for copyright infringement is answered.

Contests for companies and academia

Due to the nature of DeviantArt as an art community with worldwide reach, companies use DeviantArt to promote themselves and create more advertising through contests. CoolClimate is a research network connected with the University of California, and they held a contest in 2012 to address the impact of climate change. Worldwide submissions were received, and the winner was featured in The Huffington Post.[27]

Various car companies have held contests. Dodge ran a contest in 2012 for art of the Dodge Dart and over 4,000 submissions were received.[28] Winners received cash and item prizes, and were featured in a gallery at Dodge-Chrysler headquarters.[29] Lexus partnered with DeviantArt in 2013 to run a contest for cash and other prizes based on their Lexus IS design; the winner's design became a modified Lexus IS and was showcased at the SEMA 2013 show in Los Angeles, California.[30]

DeviantArt also hosts contests for upcoming movies, such as Riddick. Fan art for Riddick was submitted, and director David Twohy chose the winners, who would receive cash prizes and some other DeviantArt-related prizes, as well as having their artwork made into official fan-art posters for events.[31][32] A similar contest was held for Dark Shadows where winners received cash and other prizes.[33][34]

Video games also conduct contests with DeviantArt, such as the 2013 Tomb Raider contest. The winner had their art made into an official print sold internationally at the Tomb Raider store, and received cash and other prizes. Other winners also received cash and DeviantArt-related prizes.[35]


The site has over 358 million images which have been uploaded by its over 35 million registered members.[36] By July 2011, DeviantArt was the largest online art community.[37] Members of DeviantArt may leave comments and critiques on individual deviation pages,[38][39] allowing the site to be called "a [free] peer evaluation application".[40] Along with textual critique, DeviantArt now offers the option to leave a small picture as a comment.[41] This can be achieved using an option of DeviantArt Muro, which is a browser-based drawing tool that DeviantArt has developed and hosts. Although only members of DeviantArt can save their work as deviations. Another feature of Muro is what is called "Redraw"; it records the user as they draw their image, and then the user can post the entire process as a film deviation.[42] Some artists in late 2013 began experimenting with the use of breakfast cereal as the subject of their pieces, although this trend has only started spreading.[43]

Individual deviations are displayed on their own pages, with a list of statistical information about the image, as well as place for comments by the artist and other members, and the option to share through other social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).[44] Deviations are required to be organized into categories when a member uploads an image and this allows DeviantArt's search engine to find images concerning similar topics.[45]

Individual members can organize their own deviations into folders on their personal pages.[40] The member pages (profiles) show a member's personally uploaded deviations and journal postings.[46] Journals are like personal blogs for the member pages, and the choice of topic is up to each member; some use it to talk about their personal or art-related lives, others use it to spread awareness or marshal support for a cause.[47] Also displayed are a member's "favorites", a collection of other users' images from DeviantArt that a member saves to its own folder.[48] Another thing found on the profile page is a member's "watchers"; a member adds another member to their "watch list" in order to be notified when that member uploads something.[47] The watcher notifications are gathered in a member's Message Center with other notices, like when other users comment on that member’s deviations, or when the member's image has been put in someone's favorites.[47]

In order to communicate on a more private level, "Notes" can be sent between individual members, like an email within the site.[47] The other opportunities for communication between members are DeviantArt's forums, for more structured, long-term discussions, and chatrooms, for group instant messaging.[49]


DeviantArt has been revising the website in "versions", with each version releasing multiple new features. The third, fourth and fifth versions of the site were all released on August 7, the "birthday" of the website's founding.[citation needed]

Version Release Changes
1 August 7, 2000 Site goes public as part of Dmusic Network.
2 February 5, 2002 In version 2, browsing was made easier.[50]
3 August 7, 2003 The "extreme speed and reliability increase" was accompanied by some bugs that had to be fixed.[51] For the release of version 3, there were numerous free giveaways.[52]
4 August 7, 2004 In version 4, the chat client called dAmn was added to the site.[53]
5 August 7, 2006 In version 5, each deviant has a Prints account, through which they may sell prints of their works for money, receiving 20% of the profits.[clarification needed] Users can also obtain Premium Prints Account offering 50% of the profits and an immediate check of material submitted for sales. Before version 5 of DeviantArt, users did not have by default access to this service and it had to be obtained separately. By paying for a subscription, a deviant could also sell their work for 50% of each sale.[54]
6 July 10, 2008 In this revision, the message center, front page and footer were revamped. Users are now able to customize the DeviantArt navigation toolbar. The design style of the site was slightly modified as well.[55]
6.1 Early 2009 In this revision, there is a slight change of design and easier search options. Users are given more options to customize their profiles, and stacks are added to message center later in 2010.
7 May 18, 2010 Features a new smaller header design and removal of search bar except on home page. The staff later made updates to Version 7, including a search bar to every page.
8 October 15, 2014
(updated December 4, 2014)
Re-styled header, removal of the large footer, updated browsing interface, addition of "watch feed", a news feed containing a summary of postings by watched users, status updates, and additions to user collections.

Along with the version upgrades, there have been numerous features that DeviantArt was using before other social websites. Co-founder Angelo Sotira shared these in an interview:[41]

Innovations DeviantArt launched it in... Other networks (year founded)
A messaging center that tracks and highlights community interactions 2000 Facebook, 2004
Galleries for photos, artworks, and videos 2000 YouTube, 2005
Personalized, blingable profiles 2000 Myspace, 2003
Default subdomains (yourname.DeviantArt.com) 2000 Tumblr, 2007
Small square 50x50 avatar icons 2000 Twitter, 2006
Crowdsourced emoticons 2001 Friendster, 2002
Thumbnail images with drop shadows 2002 Flickr, 2004
CSS-based layout (no HTML tables) 2003 Most online networks
Tools for commenting in pictures rather than words 2010 Tegaki, 2008

Live events

The Hollywood Palladium while hosting the first deviantART Summit
World Tour meet in Toronto in 2007

deviantART Summit

On June 17 and 18, 2005, DeviantArt held their first convention, the deviantART Summit, at the Palladium in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California, United States. The summit consisted of several exhibitions by numerous artists, including artscene groups old and new at about 200 different booths. Giant projection screens displayed artwork as it was being submitted live to DeviantArt, which was receiving 50,000 new images daily at the time.

deviantART World Tour

Starting May 13, 2009, DeviantArt embarked on a world tour, visiting cities around the world, including Sydney, Singapore, Warsaw, Istanbul, Berlin, Paris, London, New York City, Toronto and Los Angeles. During the world tour, the new "Portfolio" feature of DeviantArt was previewed to attendees.[56][57]

"Birthday Bashes" and deviantMEET

Occasionally, DeviantArt hosts a meeting for members to come together in real life and interact, exchange, and have fun. There have been meetings for the birthday of DeviantArt, called "Birthday Bashes", as well as simple general get-togethers around the world. In 2010, European DeviantArt members held a deviantMEET to celebrate DeviantArt's birthday in August.[58] There was also a celebration that year in the House of Blues in Hollywood, California.[59]


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External links