DeviantART has long prided itself on providing a community for both visual and literary artists. To this end, they are arguably the biggest and best on the Internet, home to millions upon millions of works bridging the gap from the beginner’s first step to the professional’s masterpiece. Yet, as with all art communities, deviantART is community-driven, and there are noticeable problems in the way that this works in practice, the most glaring of which is the disturbing lack of recognition for good prose-writers.
A simple glance at the Popular Prose section reveals what deviantART really reads. Chapters from fan-fiction serials. Scripts for anime-esque stories. Every once in awhile, a comedy selection might creep into the upper echelons of daily viewing, but this small victory seems restricted to that one genre.
A check of the Popular Poetry section reveals a similar unbalance, with largely dark and unoriginal works taking the spotlight. Clearly, the only poems worth reading are those written by a thirteen-year-old who has experienced enough of love to realize that it’s nothing but a gaping hole of death, somehow relative to a black rose and blood.
This is partly stereotypical, and for those who actually do write fantastic melancholic poetry or vibrant fan-fictions (and there certainly are some out there), I apologize if this seems particularly barbed. Nonetheless, this severe unbalance shadows that diversity which should be the remarkable feature of any true community of writers. Because of the focus on these particular aspects, the present-day heirs to Romanticism and Realism are forgotten. Philosophic works remain within a tight circle instead of spreading to the rest of the community.
And what is the solution? Can there even be one? Without a widespread of movement, and a conscious effort of many to search out works outside of the comfortable genre, nothing will be done. The community will continue its stagnant trend, ever-growing in size but never getting healthier. Unless we unite as a community and retrain our focus from the familiar to art itself, many will be forced to rely upon specialized groups, which are merely smaller mirrors of this same problem. If we ever do attain this state of balance for all artists, the community’s artistic talent will flourish. And indeed, that is why we are here, is it not?