DeviantArt, since its launch nearly 10 years ago, has grown from a niche art site to one of the internet giants. With over 10 million submissions, contests, gadgets and growing number of influential artists, it's a place to visit and admire.
DeviantArt is an online gallery, but with a specific theme and atmosphere. As the name suggests, this place is mostly for the people of unusual tastes, so we can find goth, fetish, and mostly 'dark' pieces or art (or pieces which aspire to be art)
The site has started as a haven for graphic designers interested in customizing desktops, skins and templates, but has evolved into a gallery with a very broad selection of categories.
Every adult can join the site and either just browse and comment, or and upload their photographs, digital pictures, animated films, and even poetry and stories. Profiles are divided into a general description with a featured piece, and favourites, the gallery itself, a journal (which seems to be a neglected part in most profiles), and a part for the user's favourites and prints, if available.
Other users can, of course, post comments, add certain pieces to their favourites, download and share, creating a lively community of artists. Users can 'add to friends' or express their social connections by joining and creating groups or posting links to their friends' profiles.
Each profile contains detailed statistics, such as the number of pageviews, comments and uploads, which is useful to people who want to keep track of their popularity.
Stock galleries are an important feature of DeviantArt. Users can post their photos with a 'stock photo' notion, which means that someone else can use the photo to create another piece of art, and instead of paying they just post a link to the original picture.
Another interesting thing is the possibility of requesting a critique, which is a detailed and professional assesment of the work, posted by an experienced artist. The author can decide if the critique is fair or unfair, and it later appears on his profile along with the evaluated picture.
Ordering prints functionality is also very useful for aspiring artists, who can not only earn money this way, but also have their art advertised offline.
The whole DeviantArt site is kept in a set of different tones of green, which is probably not very pleasing to most users, especially those with a highly develop esthetic sense. Also, the site has so many features, and ikons that mark them, that it is posiible to either get lost, or just stick to the basic set and never get to explore the hidden places.
The most important part of the site, which is the galleries, is well designed, with a powerful search engine, that allows to find pictures by topics, keywords and techniques.
The use of animated gifs and avatars can be a bit controversial as well - some would say that it gives the users the opportunity to fully express their personalities, others would say it's annoying.
DeviantArt is a place one can explore for hours and never see the same picture twice. There are thousands of really inspiring artists, and wonderful works, that you can not only see at the screen but also arder and have at home. Of course, there is a fair share of low quality things as well, but the site is design in such a way, that the best things get promoted and are the most visible.
There are, of course, some flaws in the way the site looks, or works, but they dont overshadow the content.