Welcome to my mind!
The following questions are derived from inquiries I receive all the time as a CV and as an artist in the photomanipulation community. The questions also came from a couple of "Ask me anything!" polls. I didn't realize that I had so much to say until I sat down and wrote it out. I hope you enjoy my story.
First, why photomanipulation? Why not digital painting or traditional drawing?
I don't know how to explain my love for photomanipulation, really. It is like taking reality and making it more serene, more surreal. More fantastic. I really love that you are taking a piece of life (photos) and making it into something larger than life, if that makes sense! Also, while it helps to be a great painter or drawer, you don't have to be as precise necessarily when you do photomanipulation; you bring out details that are already there in a lot of cases. Does that mean it is easier? No, I don't think so. Doing a true photomanipulation takes a LOT of time, patience, and energy. It's not just about sticking a model onto a background.
What stimulates you to work at your craft?
I refuse to put up a piece of art that I feel is not done to the best of my ability. I always want to learn and to achieve new effects. So, my work is intrinsically motivated! I'm a perfectionist and want to create art that is as wonderful as that of my friends and watchers. YOU stimulate me to keep working at it.
Do you have any tips for someone just starting out in this art form?
There are a LOT of tutorials out there, but your friends are an even bigger source of information. Don't be afraid to note people and ask them how they achieved certain effects. Most people are pretty open and willing to share their secrets. Practice and experiment A LOT.
Learn about what you can and cannot use as stock. Oh! And learn a variety of methods, such as the Pen Tool in Photoshop, for cutting out your images.
If you could start afresh, is there another medium you would master?
Everyone says digital painting, but I'd really like to learn photography, especially darkroom.
How did you find out about dA?
I was a "tagger" maybe 10 years or so ago. That's someone who makes signature tags to be placed in e-mails, websites, etc. We were really young and used a lot of copyrighted materials. A lot of people got images from dA and used them in their tags. That was at the very beginning of dA. I had a run-in with an artist who didn't want me using her work (understandably so), and I decided to make my OWN work instead.
What made you want to be a CV?
For a long time I was active in the photomanipulation community, trying to organize programs, contests, and events. I tried to set up a mentoring program that didn't go so well.
I tried to get people to provide feedback to one another. At some point I realized that I could have a bigger platform for making a difference as a CV.
So, what are the best and worst things about being the Photomanipulation CV here on deviantART?
The BEST thing is getting to make people happy by helping them promote their art. I absolutely love being a CV, as it gives me a chance to get involved and work with people on a really intimate level.
Something that's not so great is that, to a lot of people, I've lost my identity as "just Jade." A lot of people don't realize that, in addition to being a CV, I am also a student who is working to put herself through school. I'm really passionate about health, especially mental health. I am a daughter, sister, girlfriend, aunt, and friend, and I'm a "mom" to an 8-year-old golden retriever.
If there were one other gallery you could volunteer for, which one would it be, and why?
Community Projects, because I love being involved with the community and always have great ideas for getting people involved. However, my biggest desire is to stay with the photomanipulation community.
What are your hopes for the photomanipulation community?
We have an AWESOME community and a really popular one. My main hope for the community would be that it could become a less "you versus me" type of environment and rather one that embraces "you AND me." There is no limit on the number of favorites or views that can be given; why not spread some love?
My other hope is that people will find the courage to stand up for what they believe in, even when it's not popular. It's okay to be different, to say that something isn't right, or to express your own opinions without worrying about being attacked.
If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change about the photomanipulation gallery?
People would play more nicely in the sandbox. I know that's not realistic, but it's a MAGIC wand, right?
This means that people wouldn't request that their followers not give faves or views to people they don't like. People would do their own art and follow their own consciences. People would support each other rather than attacking each other. People would have artistic integrity rather than bribing or threatening others for faves and comments. Finally, people would take time to develop their art rather than investing time in negativity.
Why haven't we seen any art from you lately?
It's simple: lack of time.
When I do have time, I'm doing journals and contests and things for the community. Also, when I do have the time, creativity is elusive!
When it comes to photomanipulation, what have you found to be a "snag point" in your own work, and how have you taken steps to improve - to turn the "snag point" into a learning experience to improve your work overall?
Creativity. I feel pretty confident about my skills at this point-- or at least I feel confident that I could learn what I needed to know. But sometimes it's just creativity and inspiration. I refuse to pump out art that looks just like everyone else's. I also refuse to pump out art that is sub-par. Sometimes all it takes, though, to spark that creativity is rotating a canvas and approaching things from a different perspective. Other times it's looking for new stock and taking an image in a new direction.
Do you, or did you, have any fears about being a CV?
I used to be afraid I wasn't good enough as an artist to be a CV. And really, I pale in comparison to my predecessors. But, I have worked through that, identified my limitations, and striven to improve. Also, while you do have to know about technique to judge things like DDs, being a CV is not about being a phenomenal artist. It's about loving dA like crazy and loving this community and all its quirks.
Actually, I do have one fear: I worry that the people who have seemed so kind to me while I've been in this seat will turn their backs on me when I give it up and am no longer "important."
What is your favorite work that you've ever done?
OK, I'm going to cheat and give you two.
This is my all-time favorite because of its meaning, in spite of its flaws:
"I Long to be like You"
This is one of my newer ones, and I am enamored with the concept and the colors. I bet I spent more than 20 hours on this thing:
"The Time of my Life"
Who is/are your favorite artist(s) on dA?
If I start to list people, I'll inevitably leave someone out and hurt their feelings, so I'm not going to go there.
What have been the biggest ups and downs in your time on dA?
I know I'm not supposed to get excited about favorites but when The Compass
made it to the front page and got nearly 1,800 faves, that was a pretty big up. The other major ups were when I got the e-mail from $Moonbeam13
asking me if I wanted to volunteer, and when the CV mentoring team offered me a spot with them. Finally, it is a huge up every time I receive an unexpected gift. I've gotten several prints, some of which were made especially for me. I've also gotten several dedications and some really nice notes. It moves me to happy tears. I've also gotten many cards and e-hugs from around the world. YOU ALL are the biggest up.
I don't think I've had serious downs. It can be pretty hard hearing sharp criticism about what you do, who you do or do not give a DD to, whether the tutorial you posted is of the "correct" technique, etc. But, in this position you become pretty thick-skinned.
It really doesn't bother me anymore because, at the end of the day, I do the absolute best I can do every day.
Is sanguine vampirism an actual way of life for you, or is it just a username?
I'll leave that up to your imagination but remind you that both "vampirism" and "sanguine" can have different meanings.
Do you sparkle in the sunlight?
How old were you when you first killed someone for their blood?
Twelve. I got a late start.
Where do you find the deviations you choose for DDs? Do you browse the galleries in addition to using suggestions?
Suggestions account for maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the DDs in a good month. The rest I browse for. I usually spend 2-3 hours every night browsing the photomanipulation galleries. The suggestions are important, though, not because they save ME time, but because they give the community a voice in a decision that otherwise would have been up to one person unilaterally. That's why I give them priority.
You have been a deviant for very nearly 8 years; how do you think the deviantART community has changed in the past years?
We've become much more concerned with exposure since the advent of groups, I think. For the better, we are now better connected with one another and with news that goes on in the community. For the worse, we have lost sight of the fact that dA is about the ART and, in the process, become a bit self-centered about our own art, getting exposure, and belonging to the "popular" groups.
Who was your first favorite artist here on dA?
- Lara Jade Coton
What was your first deviation about?
I did what a lot of people do and posted some lingerie shots and model stock (which I have since removed). There's also the obligatory golden retriever picture.
My first photomanipulation
was for ~michmellow
's winter contest in 2005:
Do you have something you want to share with your friends?
I want to make some tutorials and some stock. And I have all the little secrets about myself in this journal. LOL. My close friends will be getting something from me before too long. I don't know what it is yet. Maybe a special dedication.
Don't be bashful! I wanna see your self-interviews. It doesn't make you arrogant or self-centered; it means you have something to say. And I want to hear what you have to say.