On June 17 and 18, deviantART, home of the world’s largest online art community, will host its first annual summit at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles. A conference designed to help artists educate themselves about the promotional and business aspects of art, the summit will include exhibition space, speakers, classes and workshops on a variety of topics ranging from software application techniques to marketing, and perhaps most importantly, an opportunity for emerging artists to network with professionals working in a variety of media.
At the summit, artists will have an opportunity to hear speakers who are making it in the art world of today, including Mark Brooks, an artist at Marvel Comics, and Sean O’Keefe, president of Union Entertainment, a production company that produces feature films and video games. In addition, TOKYOPOP, the largest English-language publisher of manga, will have representatives on hand reviewing portfolios. As manga is a very well-represented (and constantly growing) genre at deviantART, this provides manga artists with an opportunity to get noticed by a major publisher. deviantART CEO and co-founder Angelo Sotira predicts that many of the future mainstream players in the manga field will come from deviantART.
The digital revolution has had a twofold impact on the art world. First of all, many new markets for art have been created. As the internet moved from a text-based medium to a graphic medium, graphic designers and artists found new markets in the area of web design. Offline, artists and designers have been creating increasingly sophisticated and complex artwork for games and software interfaces. The second part of this impact has been the increasing sophistication of digital technology in the face of decreasing costs, bringing the tools of productivity into a larger number of hands. A younger generation of artists uses the computer as naturally as their elders wield pen and brush. Digital art forms, whether they are exclusively digital or combine digital techniques with more traditional media, are gaining increasing and long-overdue legitimacy in the art world. As the internet continues to shrink the globe, today’s young artists are entering into an increasingly competitive marketplace. While the stereotype of the artist is that of the creative mind with little or no interest in the business world, the fact is that anyone who wishes to make a living at art needs to master the same techniques of marketing, self-promotion and networking that anyone else in the business world needs to master. Young artists would be well-advised to take advantage of opportunities such as those being offered by the deviantART summit.
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