Monday, 16 February 2009

Art Monday: Deviants on Darwin

The massive art-sharing site DeviantArt is a place of wild abandon and artistic freedom...and a lot of Shonin and Shoju manga. I've had a gallery there almost as long as I've been blogging.

I wasn't planning on writing too much more about last year's Darwin piece. I may have some more news concerning its use, but that's all. However, while I was busy liveblogging a new Darwin painting and enjoying other people's posts on Darwin Day, I didn't realise that one of the DeviantArt high-muckety-mucks named Stykera had selected it as a Daily Deviation for Darwin Day.(click on the nice man to go to it's place in the DeviantArt gallery. Once there, click to enlarge)

It was a torrent, at least by my standards. Suddenly, since it was included as a Daily Deviation;
-it has received about 5700 new pageviews,
-been commented on over 400 times (ignore ones authored by "Nobody"; seems to be a glitch)
-I've received another 400 inbox comments,
-456 people have favourited the painting and added it to galleries,
-66 people have downloaded the image and
-some mudslinging by creationists has been ably handled by some real science-lovers on DeviantArt!

All while I obliviously worked on the new piece. I feel like there was a concert in my painting's honour, complete with a love-in of "Happy Darwin Day" and a chair-busting brawl while I was out buying milk.

Lucky for me, science, and our man Charles, there are some very enthusiastic science-loving articulate and patient artists who gave the creationists a dressing-down while I fiddled with my paintbox.

Wading through all the comments is taking me a while, but here's some of the fine folks whose galleries I'd invite people to visit and comment on. These able people - before now, all strangers to me - rushed in to stack barricades of science books against the tide of baffling ignorance. Not all are atheists - but they understand evolution by natural selection.

Stykera, Azkardchic, Not-Bernard (he really was amazing and patient with a particular commenter) Oddspelling, Alyxium, thewizardess, Archimedes-Theory, and Se1ene.

Thanks to all DeviantArtists for their support and wishing a merry Darwin Day!
- - - - - - - -
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Sean Craven said...

This is fascinating. I guess your work is controversial by virtue of its subject matter but to see this wave of activity around it...

And there you were struggling with another Darwin piece. Not only is this the kind of thing that can only happen on the internet, this is the kind of story that can only be properly told on the internet.

Good for you -- your thoughtful art provoked a lot of thought.

Glendon Mellow said...

It's certainly not the kind of discussion I've often come across on DA.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Deviant Art, I'm now a member. So, be sure to look for "Rapt2540" on Deviant Art soon (My art anyway.)

Heather Ward said...

Congratulations! DA is a huge site so to be selected like that is quite an accomplishment. A well-deserving piece.

Glendon Mellow said...

Thanks Heather! *dancing*

DA has some really massive talent. I'm still sometimes surprised by how much the internet has changed art and community.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the internet still surprises me, no matter in what aspect of life. The web has certainly been an amazing invention. We, Homo sapiens, are ceratinly creative.

Karen James said...

This is exciting stuff. Congratulations and great idea to point us to those science-friendly artists who backed up evolution.

Yes, the internet is awesome. And as further evidence of its awesomeness, a high school student thousands of miles away in Maryland, whom I've never met, has made an animation about one of my projects which includes an animated version of me. *does jig*

Anonymous said...

It's what art is all about, making people think!

I had to quit my discussion, we got absolutely nowhere despite my patience. The guy was adament that the presence of eyes meant that our bodies must have sensed light, and decided we needed to...err...sense it. Then we deliberately created bits to become an eye. Yeah.

Honestly, great job :-)

Eric Heupel said...

I went to and was amazed by the activity around the image when your twittered it. Some really good (and patient advocates out there!) Congratulations on the image once again creating a good discussion, and a DA quite the discussion!

Ash said...

Congrats Glendon! Glad to see dA glorifying something that isn't shoujo or something that is on the verge of being pornography.

Way to go also for bringing dA some intelligent discussion that has nothing to do with Naruto.

Glendon Mellow said...

Raptor: I'll watch your blog for announcements about DA!

Karen: I gotta watch that video! Animated you in the picture looks pretty zany.

Not Bernard: You did so well. And remember, it's not just the people you patiently engaged who may learn something from your responses, it's the countless other DA readers who may not know much about the issues at hand who will benefit.

Glendon Mellow said...

Eric: I still find it amazing the power an image of Charles Darwin has to inspire casual spite in some people, and reasoned, passionate defense in others.

Ash: Thanks!

Whaddaya think, should we throw together a Naruto fan-fic where a skeptic comes in and explains the periodic table and tells them "the elements" is all wrong? ;-)

Betül said...

Great news, Glendon! Especially something on Darwin & Evolution and on DA is a very big accomplishment. Thanks for sharing this :)

Glendon Mellow said...

Thanks Betül!

This image has been fairly popular for me for a while. I love how much noize it has generated on DA; makes me think about it as a bit of a catalyst to discussion - which why should that be? Just because it's Darwin? That's interesting.

Betül said...

Well.. I can draw Darwin and put up on DA, but I can ensure you that it won't make the same effect (not even close) as yours :)

I think you tell more than one thing in this drawing and that is the secret. When I first saw it (actually this is the drawing that introduced your blog to me, remember) I thought that it was very unique. That is why I liked it at first hand.

There are so many paintings on Darwin (him with monkeys - enough already!... ) and you don't just put Darwin up there. You actually hit to the point and reveal what Darwin actually did : he took steps - right? What is the better way than actually saying this? Nothing. I like how you put the steps and say what is it (claiming the facts like a scientist) and then drawing the first tree he did for extra interpretation. A very original piece of work and it will be last slide of my doctoral dissertation as I told you :)

Glendon Mellow said...

Thanks for your clear-headed dissection of this painting's appeal, Betül.

I've always enjoyed doing portraits; perhaps I should do more of them.

(If you need a higher-res copy of the image, let me know closer to D-Day.)

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