“You will never make it. You are not good enough. Your art is not what any industry is looking for.” Those were the words of my college Art Design class teacher.
It Starts With A BANG!
I grew up in the art world. There was nothing I wanted to do in life other than being part of the artistic world. I worked hard to understand human behavior as well as the surroundings.
I developed a very observant eye, and my attention to detail is overly developed. I leave nothing to chance, which might not be because of a variety of art courses I took. It might be because of my OCD and chronic anxiety.
I received praise for my artwork for a long time until two doors slammed shut in my face. One for my writing when I was 18 years old, the words were, “We have a little girl of seven years old who wrote a story with her grandma. She is fantastic and wise beyond her years. Sorry, learn to write.”
The second time was when I was 30 years old. I decided to take courses to go more in-depth with my artistry. Private college and two teachers spat on my art. I go to their end of the year celebration priding themselves in their students’ work, and what do I see on the screen? At least 10 of my pieces.
First Of All, Let’s Get Psychological
I was already on DeviantArt when the latter happened. Except, what my Storytelling Design teacher said stuck with me. It was my friend James. I believe it was something like six in the morning to have me go in front of my computer and video chat. He’s in Maryland, and I’m in Quebec. This man never gave up on me.
I wore my Bazinga hoodie, hood over my face, my nose was runny, my face flushed from all the crying, and my eyes swollen from the tears. I let my hair down, still messy from the bed. After all, I was in bed when I texted James. He knew something was very wrong.
See, my teacher didn’t just say those words to my face. He also texted me on Messenger to go in deeper like rubbing salt into an open wound. He knew my dream and everything in my life, I do so that one day I can write and maybe draw one piece for DC Comics.
I applied for their workshop and received a personalized email from one of their recruiters. I was the number just after the last they picked and wanted me to know to work harder for the year that followed. But, two of my teachers spat on my work, and it broke me.
The DeviantArt Incident
It had a long time coming. I wanted to let at least a year go by before writing about it. I don’t want to stir crap to make it worst, but I want people to know that nobody is ever safe, even in the art industry.
James helped me get better. That even include my husband and my favorite artist of all time—that’s right! My favorite artist of all time sent me a text on Messenger, letting me know that I shouldn’t give up. You can guess where he works.
DeviantArt used to be a safe place for artists. But, it was more like a platform for “high-end artists,” not like what we’re used to seeing now, from beginners to professionals. It is good because we can see artists at their very beginning grow before our eyes.
However, just like everything else, DeviantArt became like a school playground for bullies. I wasn’t an exception to those attacks.
The More They See, The More They Envy
Because of what happened to me with my teachers and my OCD, I couldn’t brush off their words easily. So, I turned to my first passion, Disney and The Lion King. I started drawing the characters and jump to The Lion Guard and what not. Big mistake.
See, the trick on DeviantArt to expose your art to the masses is to join as many groups as possible. I learned that from the extraordinary artist and excellent friend, Nico Quintas. So, I would share those artworks, but I learned something else in the process.
Some fandoms are overly protected and filled with bullies that come together as gangs. I felt like I entered a minefield planned by the freaking Joker! A list of fandoms follows this article, and sadly, The Lion King/Guard is one of them.
I had the bad luck of drawing a screenshot of the final battle between Simba and Scar. They accused me of plagiarism. It’s fan art. It is not legal because I am not licensed, but I am not making money. They weren’t accusing me of plagiarism in the movie but an artist.
Losing A Battle To Win The War
I kept receiving threatening private messages accusing me of plagiarism, and one proved it by basically stealing my work and place it over the “original.” To which I answered, “Of course, it looked like a tracing drawing, I used the grid method, and I have twenty years of training in drawing and illustrations. It was to shake the dust off if you will.” But it never stopped.
I went back and forth between Disney and DC Comics, and time went by until I posted other TLK work. At this point, it got personal. I didn’t follow the gang’s lead bully. However, other artists who knew me and loved my work would warn me. I did some research, and now, enough was enough.
I had to put an end to this obsession with me and my work. I used DeviantArt as my portfolio and my primary source of income as an artist. I worked as a freelance artist and had full-time commissions. If one of my clients saw what they said of me from those bullies, it could have ruined my name.
When Super Awesome Turns Super Mean
This Claire-Cooper, because yes, this user needs to be called off on bullying, turned my life into a nightmare for three months. I took screenshots of the conversations as you see, and I did share it with DeviantArt. I proved her wrong and even mentioned many other users came to me denouncing her actions.
They responded that there was nothing they could do. At the time, I was given by an anonymous donor a free Core membership. I was not going to leave the platform. Plus, I made wonderful friendships, leaving would prove DA and Claire-Cooper right. So, instead, I remained on social media.
However, I wasn’t out of the woods just yet. The bullying kept going long after I decided to stop drawing Disney characters for a while. When I shared that my favorite artist of all time reached out to me to make me feel better, they called me on not only someone who does plagiarism but also a liar.
My reputation was going down the drain at an alarming rate. I was terrified and afraid.
Cut Off The Nose To Spite The Face
It was her or me. We faced each other on her page. She kept talking smack behind my back. Now it was time to say it to my “face.” Her words hurt me not because they were true but because she dared to drag in the people I loved the most.
Call me whatever you want, it’s okay, I’m un-insult-able, but if it messes with my dream or the people I love, you’re in for a world of hurt. She knew nothing of me at all. She still doesn’t nor cared to know. This user is clearly in need of help and doesn’t know the meaning of what it is to be an artist.
Claire-Cooper doesn’t do art and only buys it. Nonetheless, this heated conversation on my part and useless attack on hers proved me right. She is not a civilized person rather full of hate if you ask me.
That is why I asked her to block me since she hated me so much. I didn’t understand why she would even waste time on me. Some of my friends at the time went to my rescue without me asking anyone, but they tried having her calm down. It was in vain, but I opened a dummy account to keep track, and she did get a report from other people on my doings, whom I was able to block.
You Made Your Bed Now Lie In It
It turned out my reputation was not as tarnished as I thought it was, but I had to be careful a long while. It had me absent from the website and spending less time on the platform. I saw a corner of DeviantArt I never thought existed and didn’t want to see again. However, I am happy I know about it.
Bullies are everywhere, and they crawl in the most excellent places. I posted a few journals on there letting people know that you have no idea what another person is going through, so don’t attack anyone. If you don’t like what you see, walk away.
Humans are mean and even meaner behind a screen. Bullies gather together and jump on someone at once. They did it with me. I had each of Claire-Cooper’s minions after me trying to teach me about copyrights and plagiarism. Of course, none of them knew what they were talking about because I went to school for it while they didn’t.
But trying to reason with bullies like them is a lost cause. It is like teaching calculus to a rock, it won’t interrupt you, but it didn’t hear anything either.
Watch Out World I’m An Artist Forever!
I guess what I wanted to share with this article was that it doesn’t matter who you are, your age, or where you are. Bullies are everywhere. I’m not saying that DeviantArt isn’t safe, but it isn’t safer than any other platform.
You can’t hide from bullies, so you might as well face them or ignore them. I couldn’t go due to my dream and my career. It was scary despite being thirty at the time. After hearing, I wouldn’t make it and how bad an artist I was, I was afraid.
The fact is, once they don’t have fun, they go to someone else. Don’t give in to anyone’s hand. This user goes from one victim to the next. So, chances are Claire-Cooper is still out there harassing innocent people.
It’s not okay, but all I can do is share my story and hope it can help those who need it.