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Murder and Art: The deviantART Connection

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The body of 17-year-old Taylor Behl was found yesterday after a month-long search. In custody for 16 counts of child porn is a 38-year-old amateur photographer who may have killed her. I’ve been keeping up on this case, partly because one of the roads leads back to deviantART, a site I was involved with for 4 years, both as a volunteer and paid administrator before stepping down in protest over business practices and upper management conduct.

Ben Fawley, the photographer who is being looked at for the murder, apparently had a sexual relationship with Taylor, who disappeared at the beginning of September. Taylor, for her part, used the name “tiablaij” on her Livejournal – jailbait spelled backwards. Fawley’s photos of Taylor can still be seen at deviantART in thumbnail form even though he deleted the full-size images.

Fawley, who goes by the moniker “skulz”, has an affinity for bones and skulls, listing “shallow graves” as one of his interests on Livejournal. Fawley has two children, and the idea that his computer housed images of a sexual nature involving one- and two-year-old children makes me want to put a bullet in his skull, but I digress.

This isn’t the first time deviantART has been connected to a murder.

In January, two teenaged members of deviantART strangled a classmate in the parking lot of a Taco Bell in East Moline, Illinois in the middle of the day. After the girl was dead, they dragged the body in a tarp to a wooded area and set it on fire. After six hours, the body had not burned completely so Sarah Kolb and Cory Gregory enlisted the help of a third classmate to dismember the body, put the pieces in a garbage bag and stuffed the bag in a manhole. They are slated to stand trial next month.

In 2002, a man masqueraded as a young woman in her early twenties named Madison. Using the name “Chaos” and several different pictures of various young women as “self-portraits,” the man preyed upon underage members of deviantART, successfully getting more than one minor male to send him nude photos.

While it can easily be argued that deviantART is simply a cross-section of society, with the good, bad and ugly all mixed in, I think there’s something else that needs to be looked at. deviantART (known as “DA” to members) allows many different kinds of art, including many things that to the average person would qualify as disturbing evidence of emotional and psychological problems. As a Policy Violation Administrator for 3 years, I saw literally everything you can think of, including underage nudity, grotesque corpse photos gleaned from the web and submitted as ‘original work,’ thousands of photos of sliced-open arms and other body parts and more. While DA does have certain guidelines for the submission of work, these rules can be ambiguous at times, and interpreted differently by different administrators.

DA boasts an environment where all are welcome to submit their work, be it a professional photographer like Chris Weeks, a renowned painter like Aaron Jasinski, or simply a eighth-grader who wants a place to show pencil or color drawings. Even though the premise is interesting – even revolutionary at the beginning – the trend at DA over the last few years has seen a serious rise in “crap art,” or low-grade work done by untrained amateurs with debatable talent.

The frightening thing about such an environment is not the number of poor artists, however. It’s the number of emotionally or psychologically disturbed members of the community who are able to find each other through the common interface of forums, comments, and submissions. Administrators can ban troublesome users and remove offensive pieces from public view, but with a community of tens of thousands of people it is nearly impossible to catch everything. Sadly, much of what is caught is whitewashed or simply ignored.

There are always signs. Sarah Kolb, murderer of her classmate, was involved for some months in a harrassment situation, leaving constant insults and even death threats on the userpages of other members. While her and the other parties involved were all banned repeatedly, the comments themselves remain, a terrifying insight to the mind of a killer. Another minor posted a series of photos depicting his minute-by-minute torture of a gecko lizard. The photos spanned a three-day period until the lizard finally died, much to the frustration of his captor. Ben Fawley’s userpage shows a 3D rendering of a human skull, with cryptic references throughout his commentary and journal.

In other sections of the site, one can find images depicting graphic violence and gore, like this one. Most of it is fake, but the genre is a magnet for emotionally disturbed teens who upload photos of self-mutilation, racism, and hate that are quite real. Even though administrators remove some of these pieces, many remain due to personal ideologies on the part of admins, differences in opinion between staff members, or simply because they fall through the cracks.

The question at this point must be asked: Does the conduct of its members reflect on the site and community itself? That is a question that must be answered personally by its members and its visitors. I believe in personal responsibility – no one else is responsible for your actions. That being said, I question the viability of a site that not only does not discourage the posting of violence-based “art,” but features it frequently. In my time as an administrator, I saw several children under 10 who were members of the community. A very large portion of the site’s population is made up of teenagers under 18. I personally engaged in several discussions with other members of the site’s management over the allowance of certain types of violent content. It was only after some time that a mature content filter was installed. However, there are ways around it, and the effectiveness of the filter is dependent on users and admins categorizing work as “mature.” There is no moderation at the point of submission, so pieces can go for quite some time without being noticed by admins or reported by other users.

During the first two years of its existence, deviantART did not have the same atmosphere that it does now. As it grew, more and more underage users were attracted. Many of these were lonely kids with severe emotional problems. The Help With Life forum on DA is constantly full of kids reaching out for help with everything from pregnancy to being gay to HIV to having suicidal or homicidal thoughts. Some users harbor even darker desires and demons, and many users talk about self-mutilation and other forms of self-abuse.

Where is all this going? Well, it’s my opinion as a former administrator that the level of violence-based art allowed at DA is contributing to the moral and emotional decay of minors. These kids spend every waking hour on the site in many cases. I cannot tell you how many times I banned a user for misbehavior or harassment, only to have them literally threaten suicide if I did not let them back on. Their entire lives are wrapped up in this site and its community. When you have minors with already troublesome home or school lives, spending hours a day in front of a computer at a site that features blood, gore, drugs, sex of all varieties and deviations, and violence, you’re asking for trouble.

It could be argued that TV, radio, ads and magazines all have their place in corrupting the minds of young people. I only can tell you what I saw personally, and from what I’ve experienced, Taylor Behl and Adrienne Reynolds won’t be the last time you hear the word “deviantART” associated with a murder case.

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About Kit Jarrell

  • hunter devon

    Meant five things but hit three. How proffesional. Oops…

  • hunter devon

    Your logic is presenting itself as flawed and biased. After reading your entire article, I have come to the conclusion that your logic is based on cause-and-effect such that if I look at an image of someone who has done gory movie make up art, I must be an ignorant rapist who has 98 gigabytes of child porn on my tablet. As a member of deviantart by the name of artismyaddiction ( who is also only fourteen) I can tell by experience 3 things

    1: There is no connection between deviantART and these events.

    2: You assume that because of the minority of such individuals is present, we all are as such.

    3Your logic states that if I were a member of, say, tumblr, and I commited a crime, Tumblr MUST be in direct connection to said crime by hosting me as part of it’s community. But that is the ONLY LOGICAL SULUTION. Right?

    4: Since I am only forteen, and apperently older than you in maturity and logical reasoning, I can tell you that terminating devart would be punishing alot of aspiring and proffesional artists.

    5:Perhaps instead of punishing so many good people to “stop the nonsense”, a better way to help the world may be good. recycle, give to charity, volunteer for community projects. There you go.

  • Whether the acts were connected to DA or not, it most definitely tell us one thing…the internet is not a safe place for kids, especially if parents are not aware of their activities online. Troubled teens become more troubled if they learn more negative stuff from the internet. It’s really disturbing, to be honest.

  • I-Rock-The-Skinnyz

    I’m a member of deviant art and I have never been more horrified in my life.

  • Concerned.

    Leave it to good old Kit to take her disgruntledness and post an article marginally connecting two murders to deviantART based on their perpetrators’ use of the website.

    Having been involved in the same areas of the site with which the author was involved, and having been a member since 2001, I think that anyone reading this should do so with serious reservations. deviantART’s current policies do not allow users under the age of 13 access to their site, at all. The site, as it stands, has about 15 million members, and since 2005 there have been no murders associated with its userbase, at least not that have been publicly tied to the site by the media. Two murderers out of 15 million members still makes this site have a lower incidence of violent crime resulting in death than the average population, by a great margin.

    I’ve been involved with an organization monitoring the online activities of convicted and suspected pedophiles, and I can say, from my experience with that organization and with liaising information from that organization to deviantART, that dA has one of the best policies on the internet regarding their treatment of predation cases involving minors, and their deletion of child nudity and pornography from the site is one of their top priorities in etiquette administration. Contrast this with sites like Facebook, where cries fall on deaf ears – should we then assume that all facebook users will rape children?

    The author of this article is known for putting very sensational spins on her words, and avoiding placing merit behind them unless it comes from the bible or the religious right. If you want to formulate an opinion about deviantART, join and look to the community, not to a disgruntled former employee.

  • Excuse me. My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.
    I am from Niger and also now am reading in English, give true I wrote the following sentence: “Rss feed the rss feed for airline tickets is at the following address.”

    :p Thanks in advance. Dilys.

  • Drake Von Starr

    This article is extremely bias.

    You are only focusing on the negative aspects of deviantart, and not looking at the much, much bigger picture. As an underaged user myself, how knows dozens of fellow underaged users on DevaintART, these supposed images you describe have never come up on my screen. I don’t go searching for them and if you don’t you won’t find them. Just because a handful of underaged users happen to find this stuff, either on purpose or by accident doesn’t mean that it’s only DA that makes this happen. An unstable person could find graphic images quicker by searching in google.

    The murder accusations are ridiculous! Just because a few murders are a member of DA doesn’t mean that it’s DA’s fault, these members could also be logged on to a dozen of sites that OTHER murders use to. Just because they’re murderer’s doesn’t mean DA drove them to doing it. The environment on DA isn’t a murderous one, it’s a communal one.

    Let us put your accusation into perspective: ALL murders are human beings, therefore, using your logic, it means that most underaged people in society are mental unstable and have murderous tendencies. In any community, in any place on the planet, there will be those that have extreme views, there will be those that do unspeakable things, and those witness the same things. Does that mean that every person on the planet is going to do this: No.

    Just because two murder cases happen to be linked through this vast online community, doesn’t mean that deviantart is encouraging or somehow nurturing these murderous tendencies.

    Art is art, and an art is the reason we are human beings, the reason why we are such advanced creatures. Deviantart is a website on the word wide web (which happens to allow many millions of people browse at once) that reminds us of this, and showcases people’s talents. So what if people suck at art, it’s their art and their feelings, on a page on the web. And just because I may see a macabre piece of work doesn’t mean that I’m going to murder people. Some of the most famous pieces of art are macabre, it is, in itself, a category for art work.

    Deviantart can’t monitor every person’s activities, and stop them from looking at possibly disturbing things, there is no power strong or weak on this planet that can stop that. Why criticise someone for not being able to do something NO ONE can do. It’s ridiculous to even WANT to do that.

    Deviantart is a wonderful place that nurtures people’s abilities and talents, it’s a place to expose yourself to a world otherwise unknown, a world of art and inspiration.


  • Ed

    Liz: you’re probably right, although there could always be deviant exceptions (pun intended). I’m not willing to give dA a pass. It’s ironic (and kind of depressing), though, how sanctimonious and prone to arguments-by-outrage morally-myopic people tend to be.

  • Liz

    Among the response posts to this article, I am willing to bet that there’s a statistically significant correlation between “posters who disagree with the article” and “posters who do not have children of their own.”

  • Sarah

    Sorry, but I have to say that this article sounds like it was completely based on a personal bias. I am a member of dA and I also look at the Macabre section, which includes horror/blood/gore etc. I don’t want to go out and kill anyone.

    I think parents need to actively protect their children. If the kids are under a certain age, don’t let them go online without your consent or presence. There are maturity warnings that block the underage from seeing excessively “adult” things.

    I don’t think that it should be dA’s responsibility to keep the unstable from looking at pictures on their site (and yes, that implies that I think that those who get the impulse to hurt or kill from these pictures had problems to start with). Some people like Macabre art and art that includes blood and gore. If you don’t like it…don’t look. Now that’s not hard, now is it? Also, if you’re older than 18, and the maturity warnings don’t work for you, then don’t go into sections where you will find Macabre art. And if you see a thumbnail, DON’T VIEW IT. Simple enough for you?

  • A few comments:

    1. Somebody tried to make an issue out of the fact that the author is speaking against DeviantArt after the end of his employment there. This would seem to me to be a very weak basis for criticism; how many people wish to volunteer to join the ranks of the unemployed? In real life, speaking out against the business one works for tends to be a great way of doing just that.

    2. That much having been said, in the admittedly brief time I’ve been on DeviantArt, the full nastiness of the experience has been limited to the actions of one underhanded moderator in the DevArt forums and his pint sized fan club. DeviantArt has seemed to me, so far, to be one of the friendliest sites I’ve ever seen.

    Having said that I am ready to be proved wrong, as I so often am, but so far, so good. For the most part.

    3. More stuff, probably, but I want to get to bed. More later, maybe.

  • Zoey Parker

    I’m truly appaled at this article, I go to a CHRISTIAN school and we use this as a forum for out art peices, i’m known as fantasticfailure. We use this to find ref pics, check work, and turn in our photography works. I’ve never come into contact with anyone like the people you have mentioned, its horrible that such a good site has such a bad rap

  • Won’t Someone Think of the Children!?

    Totally reminds me of the Dungeons and Dragons paranoia of the 1980s (or Ozzy Osbourne paranoia, or Pac Man paranoia, or…). Hot air from a frustrated busybody, spiced up with a few lurid real-world examples to make the threat all the more, y’know, threatening.

    Educating your own progeny as to the Ways of the World is probably the first step in ensuring that they don’t wind up Moonies, Scientologists or Us Magazine subscribers.

    Meanwhile, war rages in the Middle East and the polar caps melt like icecubes in a glass of Fanta.

  • I’m a member of Deviant Art. Firstly, I must agree with the article with regards to the administration of the site, and with regards to the kind of content allowed. Secondly, in all fairness, I’ve come across some pretty screwed up people online, and they can be found anywhere online, really. No matter how hard any given site tries to seed our seedy characters 😛 it’s still going to have a few slip through the cracks … it’s the Internet. I really think that younger kids would best be kept OFFLINE by their parents. It’s the only way to be completely sure that they are safe from these sorts of things.

  • Arialith

    Hey, author! It’s rediculous to blame the entire community! Because with this article you insulted many many brilliant artists which submit their amazing works there!

    Community can’t be responsible for a single member! It’s just like you may blame the entire city because of the one murderer!

  • member of DA

    Don’t blame the entire community with this article just because of few sick people. Sick people are EVERYWHERE, and not only in the Internet. Just go out to the street. Everyone is responsible for his or her own doings.

    And also: the ART has got many faces. Erotic or gore art also exists. Not everyone who makes those art is sick.

  • artist2

    Materials whith a mature content are submited to deviantART with Parental Advisory labels. Teenage memebers or their parents can block the access to the mature content on DA.

    Also it’s ver easy to reach the mature contents not only on DA. Look at erotic/porn sites – you don’t have to prove you’re 18 years old.

  • artist

    I use deviantART for selling my arts. Pitty that those incindents took place but there aren’t only sick people on DA. I think it would be better to deny teenagers joining DA and forcing all members to type all their personal informations into the register form (for the DA stuff information only).

  • I’m a memeber of DA since may 2004… i love the site, i find it quite a great place to see lots, thousands of types of art… yes has some great artists, but with sadness i must tell to other members we must admit one thing is true: is so easy for ANYONE to get access to any kind of mature stuff… as a young art student and novice photographer the first thing i noticed about the site is how easy is to get so see a nude photo in a not so “artistic” context… i never knew there where such involment between these crimes and DA… is just a terrible thing… but is not just about the admins or the site… is about all of us memebers… true, you don’t like what you see, don’t look at it, but if it represents some kind of motivation or simply a dangerous image for a teenager with psychological problems, well you can’t let that pass by… as for me i’ll do my part to make the site a better place, is such a great project and i don’t want it to see it destroyed by such terrible events…

  • ROSE

    This site can be benign, but I’ve also seen that it can link up young people with others forming a “community” of what all believe to be a normal slice of the population. It is not. Relationships happen in the real world where people have to coexist with those of socioeconomic, racial, religious, age, and political-view differences. Being able to grow and learn as a individual to tolerate and happily coexist in real society is healthy. The fantasyworld of these online false communities draw kids in. Countless hours are wasted online instead of learning to form real relationships. Instead of preparing for their future, many young people can’t get through high school or college successfully, because their priorities lie with these additive online “communities”. What is the future going to be with a large population of dysfunctional uneducated people trying to manage in society? Will colleges and psychologists be overrun with 30-year olds trying to finally get their lives together after wasting so much time?

  • The problem exists with any large online community. MySpace and LiveJournal are also coming under fire. The problem is simply that the internet confers a degree of anonymity that most young people are not trained to be wary of. It isn’t possible for a small number of people to regulate the actions of thousands of people. Real deviants tend not to draw serious attention to themselves until it’s too late.

    But what is it that all of you are getting at? Nowhere do I see any kinds of real, viable solutions posed. What -can- be done? It seems to me that our only real choices are requiring social security and credit card numbers to join and, in addition, making content invisible to non-members, which would drive away many individuals who use DA to showcase their art to the public, OR shutting down these communities entirely. But what about young people? How can we be so despotic as to deny them the ability to connect and communicate online?

    The problem is difficult and people are quick to complain, but no one seems willing to propose a solution.

  • victoria

    I they need to start a new deviantart for kids under 18 and inforce their age rules. I never see this gross stuff on DA, but that’s because I don’t go looking for it. As for “crap art”, you can’t really objectively define it and I think it’s nice that everyone can show their work. However, separating the younger people would allow devart to focus more on censoring that site/part of the site. That’s pretty much all they could do. Plus people probably wouldn’t submit so much gross stuff or crap art if it wasn’t always getting DD’s.

  • Not Thing

    how can you attack deviantart with so many fallacies, besides, deviantart isn’t the reason people kill each other, this article is one big slanderous booger… theres more to DA than this… and unfortunatly anyone who’s never heard of DA won’t find out whats so great about it from this article…. I can’t believe you were an admin….

  • felixxkatt

    the fact of the matter is that in any community as large as DeviantArt, you get some weirdos. however, to say that Deviant Art directly contributed to anything is ridiculous and shortsighted. do you think that if DA didn’t exist the weirdos would just vanish? can you possibly believe that if we didn’t have videogames noone would shoot each other? give me a break, society has reached a point here where the violence is happening because of injustice, selfishness, poverty, and greed. everyone thinks they are entitled to things without working for them, parents are ignoring their kids and surprised when the kids go bannanas… forbidding graphic arts because SOME of it is innappropriate for kids is not the answer. and in all honesty, having been a member for over a year, and checking DA frequently, i have never encountered any of this bizzarre grotesque stuff everyone seems to think is going on. which leads me to believe you have to be actively searching for gross and debase things on DA to find them. if teens or any one else is ACTIVELY searching for sick imagery, they will find it somewhere, whether it’s on DA or on Rotten.com or whether they have to make it themselves. there are already laws against murder, child porn, child endangerment, etc. people who break these laws must be punished, but to punish law abiding citizens – ARTISTS– because they post artwork on the same site?

  • Interesting article. I agree with much of what you replied. It comes down to the person I believe. I don’t look at the images or movies and have this urge to murder etc. It’s shocking at times for gore yes, but when you look at the message in most it’s not so much about glorifying murder, violence it’s about getting near the pysche as an author who wtires an autobiography of another. Sure in a community this large your gonna have your cases where it’s not just art but soemthing real a desire. But as Moniquette said “If I live in a house with two neighbours, one on the left and one on the right, the possibilty to have a psycho among them is very low in comparison with the situation when I live in a building with 1000 apartments. Well, there will surely be psychos among them, but it’s not the fault of the building’s constructor or designer that the people living in it are ill.”

    We are a society now that makes excuses, and rather than have and or apply accountiblity where it should be (the very person who commits the acts) they blame or seek to find justifications as to why. There have been mental pyschos for ages, they didn’t ahve all the media we do now and it was just as perverse and probably a more violent society back then. Read history and you see it. So who could they blame? They didn’t have the internet yet history documents so many events that we as a society now try to put blame on media etc rather than just accepting…somepeople are just plain bad, doesn’t matter the influence, will make money however they can (sex and money associations have been around forever, now you’ve jsut got another medium)

    Predators, no matter how will always be out there, always have been. When it comes to communities not just DA and younger and older adults, people have to use their common sense and remember that. I do think DA could be more proactive in saying listen it’s a community but we don’t KNOW everyone, can’t vouch for everyone, don’t take candy from a stranger in the car type of thing.

    As members of the community we should also be telling these kids hey be careful.

  • RSM

    There are freaks involved with everything. I’ve met many online in very innocent, clean places. There’s not much you can do about them. If you’re lucky you can catch onto them and ban them.
    Let’s not ruin places like DA with restrictions. The freaks win if you do that and it’s no longer fun for us normal people.

  • Lily

    I have read your article, and while I do agree with some of the things within it, I must state that there is a lot of things that are completely uncalled for.
    I myself am a user on DeviantArt, and I do love the site. I spend a lot of time on the site, but does that mean that I do not have any morals? As with real life, the site really is a place where you can come across different people, but it can varry on what you choose to do, or to represent. I’ve come across some of this art that you have found, but not such a large amount. I’m sure that the type of people that you mentioned in the above article are many in number in DA. But what you are saying is the same as to what people are complaining about to the increase of anime art genre on the site. People are supposely starting to associate it with only anime artists. From what you are saying in the article, it seems like you are tyring to associate DA with murders/ill people in the same way. You seem to be forgetting the vast amount of people that aren’t like that, but still reside in the community.
    Many of the people I have met are kind, and are willing to help. These people have never met me, have no idea what I look like, but are still willing to talk to me and help me.
    While as I don’t agrue that there are some immature people on the site, the age factor really shouldn’t be included. If I told you that I was 15, would you begin to slight this comment? Now, if I told you that I was 27 what would your reaction be? True, there are more immature people under the age of 18, but saying that is like saying all Americans are overweight, or that everyone who is suicidal is ‘goth’ or ’emo'(which, we know, is not true.) It is the majority, yes. But the immaturity can go both ways. There are people who act less mature then those who are under 18. Personally, I feel that age shouldn’t be considered a factor. Judging on age isn’t fair. One cannot judge properly.
    I myself have been depressed/suicidal in the past, but it had nothing to do with DA. It was something within my mind, and from what I have gone through in life. DA had, in fact, helped me to get myself out of it. There were people that I could talk to. And, as odd as this might sound, it was nice to know that somebody appricated what I did as an artist and as a person, even though they have no idea who I am. What color my skin is, how old I am, what my past is like..
    Choosing to commit suicide, or commit a murder doesn’t have anything to do with the site. Yes, while the site’s users may have done something, in the end it is the person themself who choose to do it. It was their heart feeling it, their mind telling them, and their hands picking up something.
    Regardless, what you have said is, as I stated previously, some of it does hold some truth. I just believe that you took it way above what is needed, and what is nessecary.

  • I liked very much your article, a good point on DA policy administration and a very big social problem in the world.
    Everyday happens a case of this genre, there are millions of teens on DA. Isn’t it just a normal probability they have an account on DA and are ILL? Think about that. I don’t say it’s an acceptable thing, but ill idiots can be find anywhere (and I call them that way because they’re really ILL). So, first point, probability.
    Other fact, I don’t know if you’re a person involved in art studies or criticism (i just don’t know you ;)), but I assure you that some Caravaggio paintings can be more psichologically shocking than some Hellwein Art, Bosch can make you have nightmares if you compare it to Giger. People have more defence on explicit violence than on subtile psichological hidden signs, I work in advertising, made 3 years of visual communication studies and I really know that very well. I think you made the point, and the fact is that there’s a lot of young people that don’t have a goal to reach, are alone and they seem not to find a way in this word.
    Second point, visual communication and psicology.
    Is this the same argument about parents complaining about violence in the cartoons, because they leave their children watch the TV for hours?
    Is it Hanna-Barbera’s fault, or mom Julie’s that leaves her 13 year old child in front of the TV 12 hours a day? Is it suuzi9mm’s fault or mom Julie’s that leaves her child 12 hours a day in front a PC, doesn’t have a normal communication with the son/daughter, and doesn’t teach about normal behavior, knowledge, emotions, life? Children often are atracted by the censored, the not allowed things. If you teach your child that nude is bad, they’ll have problems in loving theirselves and their body, If you go naked around the home in front of your child they’ll understand there’s nothing bad in our poor orignal naked body, get the point? And they’ll not became obsessed and research the bad, prohibition, and sexual excitment about a poor lonely tit! I don’t why, but it seems in the USA young people is more ingenue, maybe because when you grow in Europe you go in the church and saw Medieval skeleton dances and walk on 1000 years old stone graves, and there are sacred reliquies alla round, or in other countries you have other problems, like surviving and trying to not walk on that dead corpse, than thinking how you’re poor and your life is terribile…well, generally speaking. In the western society death, sex, nude are considered still taboo, and most people don’t live this faces of life in a normal way, simple as it has to be, just faces of life.
    Third point,so is it DA really the problem,? Or is a more general problem, in which happens that being DA a so large community, is obviously involved sometimes?
    If I wake up tomorrow and kill my chief at work, will it be MY fault or DA? Let it be my fault, I’m a person, I have a mind, in this case ill because I’m a murder, but it’s still my fault. And most of pedo-maniacs don’t like skulls but cute furry bunnies.

    I want to see all that people that decide to censor and burn all Bosch paintings because they lead to violence. I want to see all war reporters without their photography, because children drawned corpses after tsunami, and a father crying, are more psichologically violent than some syrings in the tongue, and it’s real life, not a photomanipulation.
    This is also about censorchip in my way, and the lost and heavy part of art has to stay because of freedom of expression, as I explained before, this teens will do it with or without the bloody DD, I’m sure. Let’s focus more on their families, teachers, society. (And not on the fact they listen to Marylin Manson, watch Buffy, their problem is about life understanding in general and obsessions, not a MM or buffy director’s fault)
    Thank you for making such a good point and making me think a lot of how, fear, prejudice and some standard psichology, can lead to art censorship. I know you didn’t want to say that, but it was very close.
    I wish you all the best for the new year and keep it up with the great writing.

    (I’m not absolutely against what you wrote, but I liked to study better the question and share my opinion)

  • The artical was intriguing and opinionated.

    There are a lot of sick and twisted people everywhere. Yes, even on DA. The DA bashing in this article is uncalled for, as I’m sure that you are well aware that the society as a whole is to some degree desensitized by the influx of graphic imagery and content that we have to endure on a daily basis. I’m sure it doesn’t help but in the end it is up to each individual as to how they will react to seeing and hearing the things we see everywhere in current times. We are all personally responsible for our actions and our parents are personally responsible for our upbringing.

    For much of this degradation I blame the pace at which we are required to live our lives in todays world. The information age is making a large part of the world more aware of just how sick and unloved the people that inhabit this planet really are. Social taboos and unmetionables of yor are being exploited and brought out to light at a faster pace than ever before. People are being socially cajolled into accepting things that would have been unheared of in the past.
    Is the world a dangerous place? Absolutly! Are people morally worse off now than before the internet? I don’t think so.

    I did find it interesting that a number of people that commented on this article kept confusing the author euphoria for Jark.

  • Kit Jarrell

    Deathdog, I was not removed from the community at all. I resigned, of my own free will. This is a well-documented fact. Therefore, your premise that I wrote this article to somehow smear DA with hatred is easily disproven. Not that you care, since it’s much easier to believe that I’m just a disgruntled employee. Whatever makes you sleep better, I guess.

  • This is an interesting article here. What a strange way to link murders to a website. Yes DA has some questionable art but its not all like that. I find it to be quite fun and entertaining to look at art and chat with friends. Its not the websites fault the children are like that ((Not that your saying it is)) but maybe you should see if you could contact the kids parents. Although that could be hard.

  • Deathdog

    Frankly I believe this is a biased post from the beginning. the writer was ungraciously removed from the community now you want to give an opinion with about as much hate behind it as possible.

    In the name of art a boy filled a vat of wax and then dropped live mice in it to capture their pain as they died.

    This had nothing to do with Deviantart.

    These murders are frankly normal sick minded people who get on a community. You have them on Yahoo, MSN, Sheezy Art Geese you have them on Furcadia. :3

    It’s people. Stop blaiming things on a site that doesn’t condone such actions in their Terms of Service. It’s like a shoot up at school. Let’s blaim the killings on todays violent computer games because their parents were to stupid not to get their kids help.


    You’re wasting your time trying to turn people who don’t really care that much against thousands of people who upload their art and want to show it every day. What a crime.

    Let’s ban barbie because a girl starved herself to death trying to be thin. Afterall it’s Barbie setting a bad example. Plastic dolls do that all the time.

    Let’s ban cars. They cause far more brutal deaths.

    There was no evidence to say how these murders were connected to deviantart. They were just mentions of murders and their dates. They were loosely connected. It’s not like Deviantart was TELLING them to do it.

    This blog does not make me like Deviantart any less. Why? it’s a feature artical with no other purpose then to make people hate Deviantart. I’m sure there’s examples of Deviantart stopping suicidal kids from killing themselves because it lets them express themselves instead of going off and slitting their wrists. Why havn’t these been posted? Because this article doesn’t CARE about the lives saved. That wont make people hate deviantart will it? That wont make people hate a functioning community will it?

  • Jeff P.

    I am a member of DeviantArt, and I never even knew this was going on! It’s a shame it has to involve my favorite web site. But I suppose this sort of thing happens on many online communities. I guess us Deviants need to be a bit more careful!

  • sarah’s sister

    Bryan, i agree with you. and thank you for bringing that fact to everyone’s attention. also, Jarell with this blog topic, did you think about how you would hurt others? i mean you aren’t reliving what happened to my family every day, you are moving on, doing other things, laughing, hanging out with friends, etc…. but the world stands still here in my home. and my family takes a beating every day because of people like you. my sister is innocent, but i doubt anyone really cares about that. because it’s more sensational that a girl could kill someone than a guy who is twice as big as sarah. nevermind the fact that she had previously broken her wrist and is physically incapable of producing the force needed to strangle a girl the same size as her. never mind the fact that the car is too small to swing a stick in it. nevermind the fact that sarah’s car door doesn’t open from the inside and that sarah had her nose broken by cory gregory (who actually was the one who did this horrible crime). nevermind all that, lets just bring all this attention that you lost your job to you. and say poor jarell, let’s give him a pat on the back. this whole thing makes me sick. i won’t be posting here or even looking at any of your blog stuff anymore, it is closeminded and inacurate and it’s sad that people actually believe everything they hear. nevermind the fact that I KNOW MY SISTER.
    liz CX=

  • “This discussion of what is art and what can/should/would be posted is interesting.

    I’ve seen the deviantART posts come up in comments here often, bit never clicked until today. Until now I always thought deviantArt was some cute name like “Fear” clothes, or “KickEmInTheNuts” sunglasses.

    Art can indeed be dark and twisted but as with anything too much is never good. Art has to have emotion other than “cute.”

    Moderation is the key. And hey – that’s how we get site moderators.

    That’s an order.”

    What I think Jarell is forgetting is that most art has been disturbing and graphic… think, pre-Renessaince art was rather bloody. In fact, older illustrations in CHURCHES were quite graphic, depicting hell. Now, there’s not much in the way of art that can match that in intensity and disturbing quality; the real issue is getting rid of graphic images that shouldn’t be. Which means someone needs to actually take responsibility and work like they should, instead of whining about it and blaming strings of HTML. Now, whining about the quality of art meaning skill… that’s bullshit. That’s what the scraps section is for, and that’s probably where most low quality sketches are found. An artist shouldn’t be judged on SKILL alone, but on talent, determination, and for actually trying. Who are we to say that fractal images aren’t art?

  • Queen Guayama

    Whats up with all the “Gothic Talk”?… I like to express my emotions and Im not Gothic. Im also not disturbed although I have been through alot in life and I have seen probably more than most adults in this world… You are absolutly right Suki-

  • Queen Guayama

    My question to Kit Jarrell… How are you going to stop someone under 18 from viewing it?

  • I’m a member of deviantart.com and must say freaks/weirdos, theiving, murder, along with sunrises, rainbows, priests, and healers have all been around since man has had recorded history. Deviantart doesn’t create these things… they just excist.

  • This discussion of what is art and what can/should/would be posted is interesting.

    I’ve seen the deviantART posts come up in comments here often, bit never clicked until today. Until now I always thought deviantArt was some cute name like “Fear” clothes, or “KickEmInTheNuts” sunglasses.

    Art can indeed be dark and twisted but as with anything too much is never good. Art has to have emotion other than “cute.”

    Moderation is the key. And hey – that’s how we get site moderators.

    That’s an order.

  • As a member of Deviantart, I must stress that these kind of incidents are a rarity. I know things like this have occured before, but as mentioned these things very seldomly occur, and I think that many fellow Deviants agree with me. Thankyou.

  • Samara-chan

    I also have an account on DA and I’ll admit that there are those who use the site to post sick/disturbing images. But that’s like saying that the world is horrible because there are people like terrorists. You shouldn’t judge everyone on DA like that because there are some artists on there who just blow your mind with what they can do. You’ve gone too far to write such an article stereotyping the members of DA as being “goths” because of those who misuse it.

  • Kit, you are definitely taking this a bit too far. Your point is understood, but trying to link a website so strongly to these crimes just doesn’t make sense.

  • Suki-

    Blaming a website for these behaviors is a cop out.
    People make their own choices. DeviantART didn’t cause any murders.
    You just happen to have a popular website where all different types of people roam, the good and the bad.
    Sounds like a bitter ex admin with a grudge.

  • Rianu

    i guess with DA growing more and more, it also becomes more and more a kind of a mirror of the society …
    humans undenieably able to do unbelievably evil and good things, and the shades in between are now also being shown on DA, it’s kind of a natural development in my opinion …
    I love DA, i love it for the really GREAT artwork of many people, i learnt a lot, but i have to admit that i also love it for it’s darker sides, not the part with gore and such, but also the “gothic” and slightly mad pictures as they reflect a part of myself only very few people ever got to know …
    however, i must side with kit that some art is definitely NOT suited for people that are mentally labile, in all the variations mentioned, and that doesn’t limit to being underage, and that some art should be removed and their submitters banned …

  • First of all, I just want to correct your overly general accusation about deviantart. I?m not saying that you are totally wrong. But don?t you feel like your statement is like saying all Americans are fat, or all people that like a certain type of art are psychotic??? The last time I checked, we are to speak and express ourselves freely,-the freedom of speech and expression. And if you think there is anything typically wrong with those people, you shouldn?t categorize them as everyone.

    Personally, I love DA. I fell in love with art through DA, and it is also my greatest teacher. DA also happens to be massive. There are communities that would never touch each other. For example, I?m a healthy teenager, and I am no where near your description of a psycho addict or something. I also happen to be a DA member.

    I don?t think what you are saying is fair. There are always choices in life, and it depends on the individual to make the right now. You simply can?t mark a community as ?evil,? just because of the actions of a few people. I?m very offended by your article, to tell you the truth. DA is simply a symbol for expressions or artists. It is up to them as they interpret it.

  • It is surprising that first-time visitors to DA aren’t met with the same types of “this page may contain adult content” messages that pop up when visiting certain other websites. I suppose this is because everything submitted to the website is taken under this huge blanket called “art”, which itself has had a debatable definition throughout its entire existence. I think Kit makes a really good argument (although the subject of murder can be pretty hard to be two-sided on). But this just goes to show that DA is having the same kind of internal free-speech debate as TV censors and student newspapers are currently having. It’s good that the debate is happening in the first place, and there can never be too many people joining in on the debate. I’d personally love to see a lot less gore and violence on television, because it brings out some of the remnants of my teenage anxiety disorder that, with professional help, I had thought I’d completely harnessed. The same goes for DA, but I don’t say it with as much emphasis as I do my argument for television censorship… and it’s because of the whole “art” thing. Censoring art only succeeds in causing a riot over what level of censorship is acceptable, where violent art only succeeds in causing a riot over what level of violence is acceptable. It’s going to take the entire DA community to make the decision together.

  • “deviantART is one of my regular pages.. I don’t see a lot of what’s talked about here going on. I myself am 18, and yes I do have emotional problems, but that’s not in question. To kill someone, you need more than an art website as provocation. As the saying goes “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. Or, I tihnk that’s how it goes, not many guns over here in Britain.”

    Thank god someone understands human psychology. I was almost shot, and not because the guy watched too much TV or belonged to DeviantArt or did drugs.. but because he was lied to so I’d be killed. That’s more common and a greater threat than this issue seems to be, and quite frankly, this issue almost seems like a way to steer the blame off of people and onto a scapegoat.

  • Mister Squid

    deviantART is one of my regular pages.. I don’t see a lot of what’s talked about here going on. I myself am 18, and yes I do have emotional problems, but that’s not in question. To kill someone, you need more than an art website as provocation. As the saying goes “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. Or, I tihnk that’s how it goes, not many guns over here in Britain.

  • sarah’s sister

    actually, the case IS spotty, there was NO blood or human fluids on the stick whatsoever that was claimed to be used in this tragic event. there have been so-called witnesses who have been proven liars on the stand even. they had made false statements, and now they have no credibility. one witness yesterday stated that my sister had pinned Adrianne up against a wall and verbally threatened to “kill her” 5 FEET AWAY FROM ANOTHER TEACHER. but the teacher didn’t hear it? that’s not possible! that hallway is very small and so are the classes. THEN she said that Adrianne left with sarah to LUNCH?!?! now, that just seems extremely difficult to believe.

    and as for the public eye is concerned, the media only tells you what they want to tell you. they most all of the time NEVER check up on their sources, (as in look at their ID, call other people to confirm their story, etc.). Earlier in the week they also said that a close friend of Sarah’s visiting from Ohio was her BROTHER! she has no brothers. now shouldn’t that tell you something? the next day, i told one of the reporters that sarah doesn’t have a brother she replied,” thank you for correcting me!” they also failed to mention that Sean McKittrick lied on the stand as well. he had stated that he wasn’t close enough to sarah and adrianne to hear what they were talking about, and that he wasn’t aware of Adrainne going to lunch with them until he got to the car. THEN 2 other witnesses said the complete opposite!

    thank you coshipi for being so open minded. i really appreciated your comment. as for Kit Jarrell, my sister is nothing like Ted Bundy. you would know that if you opened your eyes. Sarah was afraid of Cory. he killed poor Adrianne and Sarah’s door doesn’t open from the inside. her window is a manual one, and it’s like this: a guy who is obsessed with you, kills a girl in front of you. the best thing is to do what they tell you to do. he wouldn’t think twice about killing you either. that’s how you survive. it’s just like being a rape victim, or being mugged. only what happened here is far worse and sad.

    i have never met Adrianne, but i pray for her, and her family every night. i have great sympathy for them and i wish them all the happiness in the world. i know what it’s like to lose a loved one. my father died when i was seven, and my grandfather (whom i lived with) died a few months prior. and now, my grandmother is in the process of passing away as well. i know the circumstances are different, but please know that we DO care.

  • Kit Jarrell

    It’s like this.

    Does the fact that Ted Bundy was not tried for every instance of rape and murder mean that he never committed them? Just because someone hasn’t been “proven guilty in a court of law” doesn’t mean they didn’t do it. Look at any case that got off on a technicality.

    Only the three kids involved and God know every detail of what happened. However, the public doesn’t have to know every fact, and a court doesn’t have to rule on it for it to be true.

    If the case were circumstantial, if the evidence was spotty, if there were no statements corroborating what investigators say happened, that’s one thing. But how is it that so many details of the case are out there in the public eye? They got there because those kids confessed, or at the very least, told investigators something of what happened. They were involved in something that caused the death of another person. They showed police where the remains were. How would they know if they didn’t do it?

    I’m not sitting here trying to be cruel or whatever. But hey. That’s the way it is.

  • I’m sorry Kit, I go along with much of what you say, but this latest comment is over the top. The reason that’s how it works in a court of law is that that’s how it OUGHT to work. Sarah is, as her sister says, innocent until proved guilty. To take any other position is unjust and unworthy of you; it’s quite as bad as any involvement dA has had in anything, arguably worse since it’s a sin of commission, not of omission.

    And whatever the truth of the matter, bystanders are NOT as guilty as those actually committing a crime. For one thing, they may be afraid to intervene; even if they’re not, even if they’re egging the perpetrator on, their guilt is less than the guilt of the perpetrator. Aiding and abetting, perhaps, but not murder.

    I’ve no intention of prejudging any issues. That’s for the court, and that’s how it should be.

  • Actually, it’s not a question of her being “proved” guilty. That’s how it works in a court of law, yes. But just because a court of law hasn’t decided to hold you responsible doesn’t mean you didn’t commit the crime. Whether she choked Adrianne, was the one who cut her body into pieces, or tried to burn her remains and stuff them in a hole, the fact remains that she was there. Even if Cory Gregory actually did every single part of that all by himself and Sarah stood there and watched, she is guilty and deserves to pay for her involvment. That is the truth.

  • God bless America. Land of the free, home of those who can’t take responsiblity for their own actions.

  • sarah’s sister

    please remember that sarah is innocent until proven guilty. the burden is on the state to PROVE BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that she is guilty. you do no know all the facts and neither do i. i do know that i know my sister is not capable of these crimes that she is accused of, and that the media has on more than one occasion made false statements and never checked up on their sources. i love sarah and i pray every night for every family involved. what happened to Adrianne was horrible and never should have been, she was young and as i have been told full of life. i have never met her, and i regret that. it also disturbs (sp?) me that people are constantly looking over the fact that Cory Gregory is the one who actually did this. there are many things that i am not capable of talking about, but please realize that the media wants to sell papers, not the truth. it is more sensational to portray a girl as a murderer than a boy. a number of witnesses in the trial so far have been discredited but nothing has been written about that at all. coincidence? i think not. it is up to the judge and jury to decide my sister’s future, and no matter what the outcome, i love her and i know she is innocent. i grew up with her, no, she is not a “goth”. she never wore white makeup and black lipstick like some of her ex-classmates stated. her fav. color is not black, it’s purple. she doesn’t like ICP, she used to but grew out of it. the media has stated that it is “goth music” when in fact, it’s rap. sarah likes all kinds of music. yes she loves coal chamber, but she also loves Journey, and Fleetwood Mac. and also, just because you hang out with juggalos and juggaletes doesnt’ mean that you are one. i am freinds with lots of them, went to school with them and most are very nice. i guess what my point is, don’t judge people especially if you don’t know them. you may hear things about people but that doesn’t necisarily (sp?) mean that it is true. i apollogize for my horrible spelling and grammar, but i do not appologize for defending my sister.

  • Frankly, that’s a load of crap. You’re blaming DeviantArt much along the same vein as Jackie boy blames video games. Ya know there’s a lot more murders involved with drunk people as the killers, or methheads, but that’s played down.

    The fact that people use a free art site means that there’ll always be weird people appearing. Blaming a group of people who are trying to make a place to showcase their art for a large group of people for the few twisted minds that exist is just placing the blame in the wrong place.

    I’ve got an account myself, and though there is a little twisted material, there’s much more twisted material in the movie buisiness. Slasher flicks are just as much to blame if you’re just going to blame popular culture.

    Blame should fall on parents that didn’t teach right from wrong, not those of us who use a free art site (free being the reason it’s more preferred over pay sites) to put up drawings and paintings we’d like to share.

    I myself spent time in therapy to fix mental problems that are far worse than what you showcase. Most of us are actually TOLD by therapists to draw out what goes through our heads, instead of bottling it up.

    Granted, there are the immature people who get off on doing things like posting photographs of torture, but more than that, there are decent, nice people just trying to showcase art. This is almost reaching the point of libel, the way your article is tearing apart a reputation sheerly apon a FEW coincidences.

  • Eclipse

    How dare you. How dare you even say such things. Do even live in the real world? As a member of DA I am simply appauled.

    Yes I’ll agree that the murders are horrible. Yes I agree there needs to be some better guidlines for what can be posted. But can you honestly, truely blame this site? If you think this is bad take a look at some of the other places on the internet. I wish the world didn’t seem as corrupt as the internet sometimes displays it to be, but the fact is, that’s life.

    There are psycos, there are rapists, there are serial killers, and abusers, and none of those are limited to any one age range. These things have been around forever, it’s only recently that we’ve realized there existance to it’s fullest extent. DA is only one of many places where the world’s problems can be found, and compared to some of the others its extremely docile.

    The problem here is that you’re taking a pesemistic point of view. This site has helped so many people. Far more than it’s hurt. And to blame the site for any sort of outside action users who just happened to be there took part in is just plain idiocy. Had they not been there they would have gone elsewhere. It isn’t like DA encouraged those people to do what they did. In fact, they tried to stop it as far as their power allowed them to.

    As I said before, the site has helped far more than it’s hurt. It’s such a wonderful feeling to post things you’ve put your heart and soul into (no matter your level of talent) and have that work praised by people worlds away. It’s such a nice connection especially for people who share no real connections in the world close to them. The world is a horrible place, with wars, disease, famine, and different people have to find different ways to make it through each day. I’ve seen DA help so much with that through both the acceptance of artwork and the advice offered by others.

    You’re taking your blame out on the wrong place. Care to look into the histories of those murderous people you mentioned and I’m sure you’ll find the real answers. Troubled childhoods, mental problems, long held grudges, these cause murder, not art, and not websites who discourage it. Blame drunk parents, overly critical school teachers, the batrayal of once-called friends, because these are the things which truely determine who we are and what we do. I believe you need to rethink some of those so-called supporting points you presented.

    Feel free to hate me, flame me, whatever. I’d be more than willing to continue this argument, especially against yet another closed-minded human who believes they understand everything and can explain it all away simply by placing the blame in one spot.

  • i have never done this before but here i go. i am a close personal friend of sarah kolb. inside her there is a scared little girl who does not know what shes done and just wants to be taken care of. shes never had the proper parenting that she has needed. she has always longed to belong and to fit in. she has lived all over the country and been in coultless schools. i love her with all my heart. my heart, prayers and sympathy also go out to the family and friends of adrianne. i cannot imagine what you are going thru. i just wish i could take sarahs place so she would not have to go thru this. my heart is breaking.

  • uao

    Some thoughts:

    1. Not knowing DA, I’ll go by the writer’s words and assume it was a great site with a noble purpose when it was created. Great egalitarian sites in any arena are doomed from birth, because they are literally swamped by exponential numbers of members, and the larger numbers then to sink to the bottom, most never really even “get” the concept of the site. So, the site’s decline was inevitable, unless it became less egalitarian and more exclusive, which compromises its original concept. That’s internet life.

    2. The general morbidity of the average internet surfer, and the pathologies of the sick ones, make it a dangerous place. It certainly isn’t a place where 9-year-olds should be hanging out. Nor should 9 year olds (or 13 year olds) be constantly grooving on images of sex, murder, and mayhem. The blame there goes on the minors’ parents, and they are deserving. However, given DA’s content, there should have been a strict no-minors policy, insofar as possible. It’s hard to police, but not impossible. If anyone mentions their age as under 18, in any context, they’re booted, end of story. Some will sneak back in, others won’t. And it will take some of the wind out of the resident pedophile’s sails, and make their targets easier to notice.

    3. On the sickness in society issue, who can debate that society is sick? Until we find remedies for the sickness, it will continue to ail, symptomized by all the familiar crimes and perversions reflected at DA. DA isn’t responsible for that, but once it became evident that critical mass of pervs had been reached, people running it needed to so some serious thinking about whether their concept had failed and would it be irresponsible to maintain status quo. One would think that not one but two murder cases among members should cause some soul-searching on some important issues.

    4. I’m not in favor of censoring web content, let there be all the filth and perversion among consenting adults have its place, among the noble experiments and honest business. However, I am in favor of protecting minors. More could be done by websites, web providers, software makers, hardware makers, and parents to protect minors and prevent them from accessing material that would earn an X or NC-17 rating at the movies.

    For what it’s worth.

    I’d like to commend Kit Jarrell on a brilliantly written article -it creeped me out- Courageous too; I’m sure he’s pissed off a lot of people too. Great links, they really helped tell the story. Thanks!

  • I am sorry for what happened to Adrianne. Thank you for your comment. It was appreciated.

  • shyanne825

    i am adrianne reynold’s mother and though i do not blame DA for what happened to my daughter the things i have seen & heard on this sight are atrocious!!! i do blame the parent of my child’s killer for allowing her daughter to be a member of such a sight though because i must question whether the ideas for what she did to my daughter did come from this sight. the child had serious mental problems long before she joined DA but i do wonder how much DA may have contributed to the deteriorization of her already fragile mental state. for that reason i do believe that sights such as DA are no place for minors who are so easily influenced.

  • Zelia Theb

    Thank you for this.

    While I am not one to say that censorship is what the world should come to, I do believe that if murder and violence is illegal, so should “art” that depicts such.

    That’s not to say that famous Renaissance artists deserve to have their paintings burned. The point of their art was perfect for their area.

    The point of the art as you describe is nothing more than shock value, and yes, progressing disturbed minds instead of helping them.

    Personally, I always thought it was disgusting. I can’t appreciate or hold value to images as morbid as that.

    People may argue and say that these types of people deserve their own outlet for their…”art”…, but I would have to say that the majority of the community would most likely prefer it if it maintained that art gallery feel.

    The problem with this is that people tend to think that matters of psychology are based on opinions, and with the points you are making, I can see them trying to argue with you.

    But your connection is valid. And I (along with many others) implore you to continue to voice it.

  • Goddess Atma

    Hi, I’m Goddess Atma, real name with-held for personal reasons, and I have been a member of DA for almost a year and a half, and in that small time, I have seen so much change from when I was a young fledgling to the friendly, open artist I am now. All the recent drama and policy changes in the past few months have given many a DA user a headache, including me. It came as a shock when Jark/you was booted out of power, because you/he was such a kind admin. Then came the mature content filter, the incredible sudden spawning of thousands of rather untasteful “fetish” photography photos making the top favorites/daily devs, and the sudden surge of art thieves/”crap” artists/whatever other “low-levels” may be about.

    I never knew it was this horrible underneathe. I always attributed all the problems to internal power struggles, like most site issues are about. I don’t blame you or anyone who wants to leave or step-down because of this. Not much in this world can really shock me or bother me, but this came across as truly disturbing for me, both as an artist/DA community member AND a human being.

    Unfortunatly, we all have to remember that this is the internet. It’s a very real place full of both wonderful and horrible people of all ages. Real emotions are shown, real problems are presented, and real drama does happen, and this just proves it more. Every web-based community is going to see its fair share of problems, no matter how big or how small. I’ve seen plenty of problems on every website/forum/comm I have been a member of, and I will see countless more problems arise in my life.

    Is it the community’s fault as a whole? More than likely, it isn’t. It will most likely be just those couple-few members that are starting shit’s fault. I have seen both situations where it’s been just a squabble between members and the community leaders being the problem, but I digress.

    DA is home to tens of thousands of artists, as you said, and there is no way we can all be personally monitored and kept in line. In an ideal community/world, yes, we could be and everyone would get along and be happy, but it’s not going to happen anytime soon, or possibly at all, so we have to live with this.

    It’s merely up to the individual member(s) to keep peace, and a lot like to throw this responsibility to the wayside.

    All we can do as people not involved directly or even at all with the problems is to sit back and hope for the best and not antagonize the situation further.

    Best of luck to our future as an art community.

  • sixoldscars

    Kupo-chan, I do remember reading comments on someones page, I think the paedophile associated with the 17yr old girl (I have trouble remembering details), and I hate paedophiles, but as one user said in response to one of those “OMGFUCKINGBURNINHELL” etc comments, “Oh great. What was the point of that? What have you achieved?”.
    Not to mention the guys account is frozen so it’s unlikely he’ll be checking in it, even more so as he’s probably sitting in a jail cell right now *hopes he hangs himself*

    Allison, I haven’t been using dA a lot recently due to pretending I’m studying for my end of school exams, but I’m SURE I saw a suicidegirls ad the other day? Couldn’t have been more than a month. If that. When did they take them down?
    Also, kids do lie about their age. It is up to the parents to keep tabs on the sites they are visiting, but many either don’t have time, don’t care, or are even computer illiterate.

    And this society is screwed. dA is just a cross section of the general population of our world. Fixing one internet site is like putting a bandaid on a gaping wound. Removing all violence from the media won’t stop fighting and wars.
    Better we just destroy the human population. It is imprinted in us to be screwed up. But in the meantime, why not just have counselling and provide better for the lower class, and not let people like Bush get into the top office in the leading country of the world?
    What am I saying, all politicians are like Bush, just most can read.

  • Kupo-chan

    Uhm, I’m a member of dAand I must sya that when I joined not even a year ago it wasn’t as bad…
    Lately there have been lots of fights and those stupid ‘gore’ pictures up…I’ve become very concerned for my close friends on dA due to the fact that we are almost all female and under 20.
    I have seriously considered leaving dA but it’s the only way I keep in contact with most of them…

    I’m really saddened by the crap that’s happened to innocent people that didn’t deserve it due to dA, like that Sarah girl, I know how freaking awful people can ‘comment’. I’ve seen really horrible stuff, too but…

    People are still spamming her page, saying terrible things…That’s partly what made her snap in the first place and I don’t see why it’s so damn hard just to say nothing if you can’t say anything short of ‘Omgz, FUCKINGBITCHBURNINHELL.’…The fact that dA IS made up of underage…People, is exactaly why those kind of ‘comment’s exist.
    Because the newest majority of dA IS under 16 and don’t know how to act right…

    I’m not very good with words but I hope some of my point has been made.

    Kupo-chan of dA

  • Allison

    I see this writer has skipped over a few very important points in this article. Perhaps it’s because they have bias.

    There are people who get into this kind of trouble every day. There are things that happen in real life like this. Sure, there are psychos everywhere. I suppose we should all remain in our houses and not walk out in the street?

    Another point made is the ads. According to community developments and the apparent absence of these ads, they have since been removed. The point with 10-year-olds seeing them really isn’t valid, considering this ties into personal responsibility. The Internet Privacy Act, put into place I’m sure at least a few years ago, forbids people under 13 years of age to give away personal information. I myself remember going through a registration process where this is act is in place. In order post such art or get an account there, they would have had to fake their age.

    This is also subjective to opinion, but deviantART puts in place a mature content filter. I know this is user activated, but there are administrators looking. Also, community members can report a deviation if they find it inappropriate.

    I admit, there are people of that community that might act in such a way. But it is up to us to remain safe and not give away such information to people whom we don’t know. This writer makes a living by writing on the internet. I suppose at some point one or more psychos have read this and other posts made here? I wouldn’t doubt that.

    In case you haven’t heard, today’s society is full of weird people, not just the ones of dA.

  • sixoldscars

    “Personal responsibility is out of fashion at the moment”

    “art history is chocked full of crazies but i will leave it at that.”

    “One last problem I’d like to point out is the argument concerning the rise of “crap-art.” This also has nothing to do with the topic, and is entirely subjective. Not everyone is a Picasso or a Van Gogh, and everyone “has to start somewhere.” DeviantART is also very open about posting any skill level of art. It is not a site where you come to showcase your masterpiece collection for most users. It provides a reliable and free way to manage, store, and share your art.”

    I know I am merely another minor, a 17 year old, and my art really isn’t that great.. But all these people have made excellent points. I know there is an abundance of crap on deviantART, BUT we all have to start somewhere. And uploading or images helps us to hone our craft.
    So what if we’re not another Picasso or van Gogh? Art is a form of personal expression, as is music, writing.. Even sport can be used for some of the reasons myself and many others use art.

    To stereotype all users of deviantART as being murders, goths, whatever is just stupid. And to say that seeing these images may cause others to self-harm/commit suicide/murder/whatever, that is a little more plausible, although I believe it is a combination of factors, and (to be a little cliché) todays society gives an abundance of this sort of graphic representation of sex and violence. If they don’t get the inspiration from here, they’ll just get it from somewhere else.
    Everyone is schizophrenic. Some more predispositioned towards it than others. It will not come out in all, but some things may trigger it off in some people. I think all these behaviours are the same.

    I find it disgusting that children (even those my own age) have access to much of the material viewable on deviantART, but it is hard to define what is violent art from what is plain violent, or what it pornography from what is an artistic nude shot.
    I have 14/15 year old friends who use some of the more graphic art in their display pictures on msn etc (people with needles through their tongues, people performing self mutilation), and one of these friends is actually a self-harmer herself. But I’m sure she was doing it long before she was introduced to dA.

    Again, to be cliché, it is truly the responsibility of the parent to make sure their child is no exposed to this sort of media. But realisticly, most parents work long hours or have little contact with their children. They can’t be watching them 24/7. And unfortunately, many parents just don’t care.

    Perhaps the governemnts of our wonderful world should be focussing on fixing the problems at home, rather than banning things left, right and centre. Providing better support for families, offering more counselling for young children.
    In Australia, we have the kids help line. I rang it a few years ago and ended up getting frustrated with the counsellor and left. I also know that they are understaffed and many children don’t get through.. But anyway. Better support needs to be given to children in areas such as these, and more help offered at school as well as in the general community.

    On a site where the vast majority of members are below 18 (some as young as 10), ads like suicidegirls.com banners are not appropriate. Stricter filterings need to be placed on what is submitted. Parents need to have more interest in their childrens life. Blah blah blah. Its never going to happen, is it?

    May as well sit back and relax, and let the world go thundering along on its tracks towards the complete collapse of society. Who knows, we may end up with a wonderful new world like that of Brave New World or Nineteen Eighty-Four!! There’s something to look forward to.

    Sorry for this confusing rant.. all over the place.. Anyhow. I felt at least some of it needed to be said.

  • dissipate

    your point about deviant art is so incredibly stupid. it is an art community. and there are not a lot of bad artists there either. they are all talented, what about you? how can you just judge someone’s art so cruelly? art comes from the soul, and when you say that you are saying the same thing about their soul. amateur? no. DA is there for us to show the world what we are capable of. if people show pictures of grotesque things, you have the option of not looking at it. if the troubled teens are posting pictures that scream “help me” then you don’t bash them! that’s the reason why they do it in the first place! i used to be like that. i am an ex-cutter. i am under 18. and i am a part of DA. but i had people who reached out to me. i had people there for me and that’s why i came out of the darkness. it’s because of people like you that they never change. it’s because of people like you that it drives them even further. DA is an excellent place. it’s one of the best sites i’ve ever been to. the people are really nice, they help me out so much. they encourage me to keep doing what i do. it’s not DA’s fault that Taylor got killed. i may sound unsympathetic when i say this, but i have to say it’s her fault. she should know that the internet is not safe. DA warns us against doing those kinds of things. it’s up to us to actually follow through.

  • i have often wondered what the connection was between drugs and artists (musicians painters poets). i finally figured it out during a lecture on outsider art, art made by untrained artists who think differently than most people (usually prisoners or mental patients, its not the drugs that make people make great art its the the risk taking. the ability to make a mark without fear of consequence. why do convicts make great art? because they are not afraid to put a mark on the paper or hold up a convenience store. Joan, the teacher giving the lecture, gave an analogy that supports this. she asked a group of Harvard students to say the first thing that came to there mind when she said something. the room was silent. she did the same exercise with a group of convicts and they were shouting out answers. Paul Cezanne is a great example of a disturbed artist, “Cezanne exorcised his own inner conflict in scenes of murder and rape…”(H.H.Arnason history of modern art, 50). Cezanne’s “ideas were among the most revolutionary in the history of art.”(H.H.Arnason history of modern art, 50). but the list of depressed or disturbed artists goes on. some like Van Gogh acted on there impulses. Van Gogh sliced of his ear during an argument with the starry night was painted at the sanatorium of saint-Remy where Van Gogh had been taken after his second breakdown. art history is chocked full of crazies but i will leave it at that.

    some of my art is probably offensive, but i am a pacifist in nature and i have a clean bill of mental health. although they are not usually used this way, i think scenes of violence can be used artistically. for example one of my pictures has a stuffed animal being hung, that piece is about misplaced empathy you shouldn’t really feel bad about the stuffed animal being hung because it was never alive, and therefor cannot die, but you do.
    even though i think art should not be censored i am glad that you brought up the issue because i think it is important to discuss.

  • larcom of DA

    i agree totally with you, Its sick that kids would even veiw this i dont even post that type of art i believe art should be fun and not so dark and evil but yeah its just sickening.

  • Lulu

    I am in DA, I have friends in DA, and we do get our emotions express through art and poetry posted there. While some pics may not be considered good, none of them have gore or sexual themes. You are acting as if DA is a bad thing, yet it helps me heal. You need to do some more research before you accuse DA.

  • Ranuel

    I first became aware of Deviant art about a year or so ago via a link a fanfic author posted to illustrations based on her story. 90% of what I have viewed since has been anime/manga based fan art. My point? With a collection as large and diverse as DA the nature of the site is what you make of it. I’ve never gone looking for the sort of art you mention so I’ve never seen it.

    If someone goes looking for it then it’s their own responsibility and if they are underage then it is their parents’ responsibility to monitor what they are viewing.

    Personal responsibility is out of fashion at the moment, since it is not politically correct to blame people for their own mistakes, so bashing DA instead of those people who happened to be members who committed horrible crimes is an easy way to write a feel good article to make the reader feel superior to those poor messed up kids who supposedly were too stupid and easily influenced by images on screen to exercise any modicum of self control or humanity.

  • luna-amara

    Im a 17 yr old girl, part of deviantart. Theres alot of tasteless art there I admit, some of it makes me sick Chatrooms named Fuck and Whores and all I want to do it talk about anime. And then theres sluts like kristyvictoria.deviantart.com Who post a bunch of pictures of themselves pretending to be lesbians for pageviews making people think its cool to lick rug

  • I’ve seen a lot of crazy people who has never visited DA.I’ve seen a lot of people in DA who are normal.I am normal.All my friends are normal.

    If there is a link between DA and those murders, that must be some kind of paralel universe.So,it is just like someone said; everyone who visits slash dot, or google, is conected.If tomorrow, someone goes sycho and kills a cat, it is google/slash dot fault?Come on.If you don’t like DA,its ok,but don’t use falacies to blame us.Or are you going to tell me that,as you made part of DA,you are now a crazy sycho from hell?Get real.

  • alex

    what are you on about mate. Deviant art is there for the art community. So what you don’t agree with some of the art you don’t like some of it…DON’T LOOK AT IT THEN!
    You forget how popular DA is does it matter if your not really good at art. Before you start saying about ‘crap art’ I submit my work so that it can be viewed by others and also get feedback on it. Violent pictures have their own sub category so you don’t see them all the time in face i havent really at all so dont say that its common. Don’t slag off DA and remember that meetings over the internet no matter what are always unsafe, hence the reason you don’t arrange to meet with people, which makes it more the peoples fault than DA’s and last but not least remember the saying ‘It’s always the minority that ruins it for the majority’ ill let you ponder them thoughts shall I?

    I hope you’ve enjoyed this lecture
    if you would like to reply then send a note to planescape.deviantart.com

  • tal

    im a member of dA. And for you to call it something along the lines of it being a bad site because it has crap artists, then obviously you dont know what art is about.

    The products of human creativity; works of art collectively,The creation of beautiful or significant things.

    COMMUNITY!!! IT isnt all about the art. and besides, who said you have to look at that gecko being tortured, or sliced limbs etc.? people look at what appeals to them. Its v ery unlikely that someone under 18 will pose nude for a photographer. Even if they do, or if they take a picture of themselves nude, that is expressing yourself, ART>!!!!! i know your come back for that will be ‘but what about the peodephiles?!’ i agree, that is a problem, but either you love dA or you dont, but dont link any of this crappy murder with dA ok? apparently they met up on a differnet site.

    and they 3 people burning and dismembering their classmate? CLASSMATE! not someone they met on dA. So wat if that someone has a dA account, so do lots of others, dA is very popular!

    hope you see your wrongs.
    Tal COhen
    [ please reply by email 🙂 ]

  • NIcole

    You sir are pathetic. Just because DeviantArt features gruesome things doesnt mean anyone has to act them out. I can tell you from experience that art has in fact been one of the few things that have helped me stop self-mutilation. Its a new form of self-expression for the members and often a substitute for real action. The murderer could be lumped into any minority but moody artist just seems the easiest, doesnt it? what if he worked at Mcdonalds? would that mean all burger flippers are murderers? no! Are all macabre artists murderers? no. Everyone has violent thoughts at some point. its all a matter of how they deal with them.

  • christine

    I’m a member of deviantART from a long time ago now, I’m a 15 years old girl and I never felt the desire to kill or injure someone. I don’t think that this website have something to do with this; the one to blame of their acts are the one who’ve done it, not a website.
    DeviantART was originaly a place where we can put our piece of art, where we can get help from others person to improve our artisic skills. Why blame a website of a murder?
    Seriously, photographies or drawings with blood on it is another type of art. People that make this type of art aren’t all crazy and psycho…

    If dA is ”source of inspiration for killers”, violent video games too, horror movies too, images of war on tv too, violent cartoons too, violent music too… See how many things we should associate with murder case?

  • Arukaene

    DA is supposed to be the ‘free speech’ of art pretty much. and as with any freedom, there are those that will abuse it. so DA can’t really be to blame, just because it doesn’t stop these sorts of things from happening, doesn’t mean it’s responsible for them. also, if people didn’t get there gory fun on DA they’d just get it somewhere else.

  • Colette

    D/A is a place where those who want to express their thoughts and ideas through art can do so just like those who choose to respond to blogs like this one. One could easily find a murder in a chat room or posting in a blog it has nothing to do with art. Maybe they all visit google too so does that make a connection between murder and google. NO it doesn’t.

  • I completely agree. I’ve been a member of DA since October of 2002. It’s gone totally downhill. The scary part of all of this is, that I talked to Sarah Kolb on many occasions. She was posing as “Liam,” I did a potrait of “Liam” because I’d talked to “him” many times online. It wasn’t until some random person (I’m assuming an acquaintence of Cory or Sarah, since she/he sort of stuck up for them) Im’ed me on AIM one night and sent me the link to The Dark Side Of True Crime (I’m sure you’ve been there). I’d been threated through DA notes from Liam (Sarah) while I still talked to him/her, and the things she said were not pretty. It took me a long time to stop having nightmares about the situation. But now that this thing with Taylor has come up, I have a feeling they are going to come back. I used to complain about my parents peering over my shoulder while I was online, but I now completely understand why. I’ve since then taken off alot of information and deviations because of things like this; I watched the dateline tonight on Taylor and it’s getting out of hand. My thoughts go out to her family and friends and I hope nothing like this happens again.

  • Roko

    Honestly, this article sickens me. I see more generalisations and assumptions than I see in my school, and I didn’t think that was possible. You are basically accusing the entirety of DeviantArt to be bad because of a percentage of users that is basically equivalent to or less than the percentage of diagnosed schizophrenics in the United States. (And in this percentage I’m only including those who have committed horrible crimes and such. Because I really see most of the little “goth” types on the site as attention-seekers who probably have some teenage equivalent of Histrionic Personality Disorder.)

    DeviantArt is not full of psychotic nutcases looking to hurt people. I’ve met plenty of people through that site, in the chatrooms or forums, and they’ve all been nice to me (except for one, but that was due to miscommunication).

    In any community, there is going to be a minority of depraved people. The larger the community, the more of them there will be. Simple common sense there.

    And about the “art.” I can’t speak for anyone else, but drawing things of a violent nature often help me to NOT commit any violent acts myself. When I’m pissed off at someone, if I draw a picture that’s almost as bad as the stuff in Battle Royal, I feel better. The more I’ve gotten into my art, the less I’ve had problems controlling my temper. Precisely because I vent on paper.

    This site’s even HELPED me. Before I came to DeviantArt, I had horrible, debilitating social phobias and related issues that kept me from participating in life. I couldn’t do an oral report at school, and I couldn’t even go into a chatroom without having a borderline panic attack. Since then, the community spirit of the site has helped me be more open and friendly to people, and it’s been affecting my life. I can go up to cashiers and buy something from them (couldn’t before), my hands don’t shake hard enough to keep my from typing in chatrooms, and I’ve stopped getting horrendous participation grades in school. I can TALK to people now, because I came to DeviantArt and was exposed to plenty of friendly people, most of whom don’t live on the same continent as me. So don’t you dare try to tell me that this community is having a negative effect on my mental health and is going to get me raped and murdered, or turn me into a murderer.

    And if seeing certain things messes up kids’ brains, DeviantArt is the least of the problems, then. There’s the rest of the Internet (especially if the parents have not installed filters on their browsers), there’s TV (Dave Chappelle, Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, Playboy Channel) there’s music (Eminem, Marylin Manson, NIN, Rammstein provided they understand it, alternative and hard rock in general), there’s strangers, there’s REAL LIFE (accidents, murders, domestic violence, car crashes, etc.).

    But hey, what do I know? I’m a teenaged girl who listens to industrial rock and has a couple of bloody pictures in her gallery. I must be some sort of mentally challenged nutcase, or a wannabe thereof.

  • Ahz

    I don’t see how the kids being murderers and them being members of dA are connected in any way.

    Yes, there’s “angsty” poetry, pictures, and stories on Deviantart. Yes, there’s gore. But isn’t it true that if you express yourself and talk about your feelings with people your age, you can deal with those feelings better?

    Of course, don’t listen to me. I’m just an “angsty underage” of Deviantart who is obviously about to turn into a homocidal maniac because I watch violent flash movies.

    But then again, I may have gotten those feelings from every other violent thing in the world, eh?

  • CConnor

    This may be true. But you say this, and forgot that there’s another site which people like this pry on. In fact probably on a site with less rules than DA

    A deviant has a chose to turn off viewing Mature art. It is up to the deviant.

    You don’t need to be on DA to see the same images. Almost every art site will have someone who submits the image. And personal sites will be worse

    Plus, people with that mentallity, won’t matter if they view anything on various artsites/personal sites

  • “Comment 8 posted by Kit Jarrell on October 8, 2005 04:14 AM:

    I think it’s quite possible to be both. I t’s a self-perpetuating cycle.

    Kids are f’d up, they go to DA, where they see this type of thing, get more f’d up, submit their own work, which tells DA that they like it, so let’s give them what they want.”

    This is riddled with logical fallacies. First off, the entire second paragraph is what is commonly referred to as a ‘slippery slope’ logical fallacy. This presumes that one thing inevitably leads to another, based more on presumption more so than any real evidence. It is akin to saying something as foolish as, “Banning ethical slurs means no more freedom of speech.” To say that kids are already screwed up means that you cannot blame DeviantART (or any influences) for their actions. If they were screwed up before going to DeviantART, it cannot be the root of their delinquency. That is, if these children were screwed up before the fact, then they would still be screwed up with or without visiting DeviantART. Also, just as Ozzy Osbourne music didn’t actually tell kids, “Go kill yourself, you stupid punk.” neither does DeviantART.

    You also fail to see that many of the arguements you present are based on appealing to the emotions and prejudices of the masses (ad populum), or by attacking someone as a person without a connection to the topic at hand (ad hominem). How does ‘skulz’ child porn connection have anything to do with the topic at hand? You are doing nothing but associating the person on DeviantART with a very disliked subject, though it’s relevance to juvenile delinquency on DeviantART is absent. By doing this you make readers believe this person is a terrible man, regardless of whether he really is or not, and subsequently bias their opinions.

    Several other problems exist, but I think I have done enough to point out the problem with this text. One last problem I’d like to point out is the argument concerning the rise of “crap-art.” This also has nothing to do with the topic, and is entirely subjective. Not everyone is a Picasso or a Van Gogh, and everyone “has to start somewhere.” DeviantART is also very open about posting any skill level of art. It is not a site where you come to showcase your masterpiece collection for most users. It provides a reliable and free way to manage, store, and share your art. This is why it is so popular.

    If you want to make the case for DeviantART contributing to people being murdered, threatened, or any other number of punishable crimes, you have to make an arguement that makes sense. Most of this argument is based on flawed logic, the belief that one thing leads directly to another, that someone is easily manipulated by graphic images (and that this manipulation would produce undesirable results in youth), that the rise in “crap-art” is to blame for anything, that because a person does something that it directly relates to their interests, and many other problems commonly seen in opinion pieces.

    oct 2005

  • Kit Jarrell


    “I have a few guesses as to who you could be, but to be honest the point is that you have an agenda to ruin deviantart inc. That was the point of this article.. not to help out struggling teens, not to safely allow them an outlet for all their misunderstood feelings, not to help the largest art community in the world… you simply want to destroy it because you can no longer be apart of it. of course it’s going to change, everything does, and so does a group of hundreds of thousands of artists.

    why do you hate the community you used to love so much? because it isn’t the reasons you provided, those have *always* been there.”

    Actually, you don’t have to “guess” at who I was, as I never was hiding it. My name on DA was euphoria. As for my ‘agenda’, I assure you that there is not some behind the scenes motive to ‘ruin’ da. I don’t hate the community at all. You seem to be under the impression that I am no longer an admin through circumstances I did not control. However, I made a conscious choice to resign my position, and I’m glad I did.

    As for as me not wanting to “help struggling teens”, you’re showing either your age or your beliefs about personal responsibility. Letting a bunch of “struggling teens” get together while you show them a whole lot of violence, gore, sex, etc and then tell them that’s what’s “cool”….I think I’m helping them far more by getting the word out to parents that they need to step up and take a look at the site and what it’s offering their kids. They need to step up and parent.

  • Eric Olsen

    very powerful and disturbing Kit, although I do understand the extreme complexities of trying to run a generally “open” “community-based” site. I agree that under-18 children are the real issue here, and thin in order to move forward, DA will have to much more severely restrict their access to the site.


  • There are a lot of disturbed people at deviantart, but a lot of more normal people too. I would say that the majority of young people there are simply looking for attention of some sort or another… DA itself is not a bad site, though I think the Jark fiasco (the “bad business practices” that the author mentioned) is making people think long and hard about all aspects of the site. Any time you bring that many people (all self-proclaimed artists) together, you’re going to have some trouble among them. I don’t think that DA has anything to do with murders committed by its members, but rather the darker aspects of DA are due to some people like them coming in… but instead of shunning them, showing people kindness will help them.

  • This story personally makes me sick. I didn’t enjoy your repetition (almost to the point where i would skip whole sentences because I felt I already read it) about “distrubed” teenagers and your oh so holy ex-vantage point of “administrator.”

    Personally I believe dA is too strict in their policy violations. Messages of extreme hate, blasphemy, and even murder CAN be art, if presented correctly… however these are all whiped clean away in the current submission policy, as well as any explicitly sexually themed work of art.

    What exactly do you want a primarily volunteer staff to do? They are keeping up with policy violations better now then they ever have under Jark’s command. As soon as an offending piece of art is found by a member or staff member, its sent with its ticket to them. If it comes out clean and back into galleries, then someone can send it back AGAIN. It’s not a perfect system, but with the thousands of pieces of art that come through daily, I’m more then a bit impressed by the efficieny of the current Policy Violation team.

    I have a few guesses as to who you could be, but to be honest the point is that you have an agenda to ruin deviantart inc. That was the point of this article.. not to help out struggling teens, not to safely allow them an outlet for all their misunderstood feelings, not to help the largest art community in the world… you simply want to destroy it because you can no longer be apart of it. of course it’s going to change, everything does, and so does a group of hundreds of thousands of artists.

    why do you hate the community you used to love so much? because it isn’t the reasons you provided, those have *always* been there.

  • I taught secondary for ten years and I can tell you in no uncertain terms that kids ARE affected by what they see. There are certainly the primary factors; uninvolved parents, poor social skills, bullying by other kids, but kids don’t really have the experience to draw upon when differentiating reality from fantasy. They don’t see consquences for their actions, and many times we are simply a prop in an elaborate fantasy we don’t even realize is going on.

    Marilyn Manson isn’t to blame for Columbine. DeviantART isn’t either. But don’t think for even a second that it isn’t a factor, and that no responsible parent would allow a kid with serious issues to listen or watch that bullshit.

  • Of course, no one brings up the real objection to DA, it’s godawful, inflexible, user-unfriendly interface.


  • Bryn

    You talk about DA, like it is forcing these children to become like this, to kill, to self-mutalate, etc. When you refuse to talk about the many people that have gotten help through DA’s members and not done such things. Your are sensationalizing the bad thigns and ingoring the good things.
    Sure bad stuff happens on DA, because of members on DA, etc. But it also happens on SheezyArt, Live Journals, on any place where a person is allowed to express there opinion, there feelings and themselves. Any place that allows people to express themselves can and will be used for the wrong reasons, and the bigger it is the more people will do it. Just because of a small percent of any site or type of site does this then the whole site should be punished? No. Anyway if DA was abolished, people would just go to even more sleezy sites like it and post there. All that would happen is that everyone would go from one art site to another and when they get there they would find all the people that DA banned back with them again. Like again (not to single any out) sheezyart, a DA knock off that in a way ends up getting all the people that DA has banned for good, it gets lots of art thieves, the policy violators, etc. Not that there aren’t good people there but it is just known to have alot of that on it.

    Take what you are posting your opinion in, Blogs, I am positive that there are places that have horribly racist, sexist, derogetory, etc. blogs but that does not mean that all blogs are bad and should be done away with.

    So really, deviantart may be your current beef and you may think that getting rid of DA would get rid of all of these things but it won’t. Murders, child porn, grudges, self-mutilation and the likes will exist with or without it. Removing DA would just be punishing alot of good artists who are really trying to let there art be seen and appriciated by more people than close friends or just themselves. Why punish the majority of the Deviant artists on DA for the few things that the scum on there have done.

  • Kylere

    I really supported you Jark, but BEFORE you were “fired, resigned, quit, etc” all this was true on DA, but it was paying your checks and it caused you no public drama about just how pathetic DA is at it’s worst, but NOW you want to complain.

    It is truly sad that when you could fix this, you did nothing. But now you whine. For shame, your sense of ethics lacks any real value to you.

  • Sya

    I’ve been following this story too, mostly because I was intrigued by the Deviant Art factor, being a member there myself. I don’t feel that DA is a good place for children, but so many of their members are, either by age or by maturity level.

    I am not really sure I would say DA is to blame for it though as there are people who are into the dark scene, child porn, and a number of other kinks and perversions in any given community. The only difference is that at DA, artists are praised for being twisted.

    I was visiting a chatroom the other day at DA and a young girl said to me “We all deserve praise because we are artists.”

    I failed to see why just because someone claims to be an artist, other members of society should praise them. But this is the mindset of many in todays artistic online communities… that artists are above all others and that their actions and interests are not manifestations of perversion but “art” when it is presented as such.

  • N/A

    Its not all of us here. I’m a member of DeviantArt. I happen to be under eighteen and I object to this kind of “Art”

    I do believe all of this, however, and I myself have seen many emotionally disturbed teens that complained about how bad their lives are. These people are usually found in deviantarts big “Photo Manipulation Section” as I like to call it. So its not really all of DA, even though you can still see morbid things in drawings and such from teens of the “gothic nature”

    I do not consider a picture of a young teen covered in blood and sharp pointy objects “Art”. They do it seeking for pity is what I believe. Theres alot of things I could say about these kinds of people. But I’m gonna keep it fairly clean. But its not all of us here who submit stuff like that.

    ImaginaryHangover of DeviantArt

  • This reminds me a lot of the arguments over heavy metal music and dungeons and dragons.


  • Kit Jarrell

    I think it’s quite possible to be both. I t’s a self-perpetuating cycle.

    Kids are f’d up, they go to DA, where they see this type of thing, get more f’d up, submit their own work, which tells DA that they like it, so let’s give them what they want.

  • But the question is still whether DA is a symptom of the problem or contributing to it.


  • Their passivity in allowing these types of submissions when their main userbase is under 18 is pretty negligent (I mean that in a moral sense, not a legal one).

    My point was not that they should be telling people what kind of art to be involved in. my point was that if they are under 18, they shouldn’t be able to view that type so easily on DA. When you put all those factors together, you’re going to have problems. It’s logical. If you have a room with a large number of pedophiles, you don’t put pornography on the big screen 24-7.

    The point is, DA is not a place for children, and it IS becoming more disturbing by the day. Consider this: a minor is barred from seeing the “Artistic Nude” section, yet will see an ad for suicidegirls.com. There’s a problem there.

    The things I talked about in the article were real. I saw it every day for over 3 years. I had more seniority than any other Policy Violation admin there, and more than most admins in the entire community. I know what I’m talking about, and there’s a lot I left out. The bottom line is, if you’re going to have your community open to children, you need to pay attention to what they have access to.

  • I don’t see how DeviantArt as a community can be seen as a significant factor in any of these cases. Its nature is pretty passive. It doesn’t tell participants what kind of art or what kind of behavior they should be involved in. It seems far more likely that tightly wound artistic types are attracted to the avant garde character of the site, and are also attracted to risky behavior as a separate interest.


  • rastafeekee

    your husband lift my burka and touched my lotus flower

  • magnumforce2006


    I’ve basically only ever viewed the site as a good resource for wallpaper and application skins 😉

  • I know that can take some courage to say in a segment of the world that – rightly or wrongly – seems to set few limits. Thanks, and keep up the good work.

  • Very, very strange.

    Throughout my travels online, I’ve always read about deviantART being a place for “goths” and weirdoes (I know that’s a stereotype, but it does have some base I’m guessing).

    But I do have the site bookmarked because it has free high-resolution desktops that I use, most by very talented artists. Never interacted with the community or visited any page outside of the forums…I guess it’s for the better.