This issues letter is:
The deviant that is being featured and interviewed today is:
`OtisBee, GM for the Skins & Themes Gallery.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
sure. i'm a 42 year old male from germany who works at the opera. it's a crazy job and takes away quite a lot of my time, but i like it.
in my online life i'm known as Otis or OtisBee as in Otis B. Driftwood. i had my watchers vote in a poll about what the "B" might actually stand for here. they opted for "Bruno", which really fits me perfectly, as i think, but then again isn't my real name either.
i create skins for an app called "CD Art Display", which at some point i started submitting to deviantART some 4 years ago. last year i applied for the volunteer position to become a gallery moderator and now i take care of the Skins & Themes here on dA.
`OtisBee, how did you find deviantART?
actually i think it was deviantART that found me. in a rather sneaky and subtle manner it approached me on various random occasions, until it finally one day proposed to me.
i don't know.. i got sucked in and never realized when that actually happened, i guess.
How did you get your username?
Otis B. Driftwood.. that's a character in a movie called "The Marx Brothers at the Opera". i just loved that movie when i was a kid. i used the name on quite a few occasion where i was in quick need for a fake identity and then it eventually became my first ever email account name. shortly after that even my friends started calling me Otis. that movie has really made an impact on my life. so much so, that i now also work at the opera, just like that Otis once did in that Marx Brothers movie.
anyways.. taking the name OtisBee here on dA came in only natural for me and i only gave "Otis B." a little tweak.
What do you like most about deviantART?
that it often feels like a "planet".
the different art genres often strike me as different countries. some of them i have visited before, some i have never heard of before and most likely will never visit. and there are some genres that make me feel like home.
home, because there are people there who speak the same "language", who are welcoming us to their "country" as an inhabitant and who are making it easy for us to identify with that "country".
there are "countries" (art genres) on planet deviantART that appear to be difficult to understand and sometimes make us to not want to go there.
luckily we don't have to, but if we sometimes make an effort, we soon realize that there's so much to explore and to discover, what we never have guessed would be even there.
many of us may be interested in staying in our own countries, but as soon as we'd step out and become a "tourist", we can never prepare ourselves enough for the things we'll see and for the people we'll meet.
deviantART is so overwhelming in many ways. it's the home of those who all share an interest in expressing themselves through their works and creativity.
it's the home of a community that with all its facets is truly second to none and which can't be found anywhere else. you reach out and you'll always get something back in return. ..always!
and best of all... everything is always just a few clicks away. an unexpected hug, a soul-mate who understands you blindly, an exotic person that blows your mind away, help that you never expected to receive, encouragement when you're in need, drama that can make you doublecheck your position towards things, challenges, obstacles, reward, controversy ..and so many things more.
it is all present in the community. and that's what i like most about deviantART.
As a GM, what do you look for in deviations when you are giving DDs?
well, it's said in the guidelines that i should select works which i find "impressive or otherwise interesting enough to deserve being brought to the attention of the community-at-large. It is important to note that selections need not be of professional quality in order to be featured for the day."
the latter is often causing the drama tho, as large parts of the community seem to believe otherwise and so it's sometimes tricky to anticipate what the community might think of a feature or how they'll react.
so, while most of my DD selections are based on my own personal taste (just like the guidelines asked me to make my selection), i however try to also put myself into the shoes of those who would see a deviation in a DD for the first time then.
since i'm mostly dealing with deviations that can be downloaded and applied to a computer or software, i always keep an eye out if deviants have been reporting too many bugs in their comments to a deviation. if that's the case, then i likely won't feature it, because i wouldn't want anybody to run into those bugs and then maybe mess up their computer.
also i look for originality and i don't really like featuring any deviation that's crediting other people's work. a port over from other platforms (i.e. a windows visual style that would mimic the appearance of a macintosh system) are definitely having a hard time and i probably won't feature them.
anyways.. it's all described in those guidelines.... i feature what i find impressive or otherwise interesting enough. hard to tell what it takes to really impress me. sometimes i'm just impressed and then i bring that to the community's attention accordingly.
Are there any deviantART features that you have never used?
haha.. for writing this interview i now started using the "Save as Draft" feature for the first time ever. it's pretty handy, as you don't have to finish a note once you've started it, but can simply save and then proceed at a later time with it.
other than that i think that i have used any other deviantART feature for at least once.
oh wait.. i have never posted a "critique" on someone's work, yet.
How old were you when you first became interested in art?
oha.. that's a rather tough one.
i still don't know if it's really art that interests me or if it's the inspiration i love getting from things.
in school i was always doing good in those "art" lessons and classes and even graduated from highschool with my main topic being "art", but then again it didn't really make me an artist. i have a sense for beauty, i guess. there are things and items that attract me. they always have.
when i was i a child i used to draw sketches a lot. at the age of twelve my father gave me my first minolta SLR camera and i love taking portrait pictures or to experiment with the 22mm wide-angle lens i have. however, i have never published any of my photos and probably never will.
if "Skins & Themes" are also considered to be art, then i felt attracted to those eversince i got my first computer, which was back in 2002 or so. i always liked customizing and personalizing my desktop workspace to my liking and it was a personal tragedy that eventually made me do my first steps in creating skins myself.
just like many of the greatest love songs, poems or even paintings have been created under the influence of a broken heart, it took a woman to leave me so that i eventually found my way of expressing myself through the skins i create.
being creative keeps me sidetracked and focussed at the same time. i can plunge in and forget all around me. being creative is my remedy for many things and on many occasions. and it has always been that way for as long as i can think back.
Which artists (off and on dA) inspire you?
you know, Albert Einstein once said something like "we should always strive for making the things as simple as possible. but not any simpler."
i think that's both a challenge and an inspiration.
a mood, an atmosphere, a thought, a tune, a gesture, a feeling, an emotion ... wow, so many things can be inspirational, that i wouldn't really want to put a few names up here (and forget about others) of those who would maybe represent all that for me. sometimes i'm blind to any inspirational spark and sometimes i can retrieve my inspiration from the most minor details. it comes and goes, and yet it never runs dry.
What are your pet peeves on dA?
the miscats by all means.
some people seem to pay little to no attention at all to where they submit their works. they submit to places where it's beyond my comprehension what made them think that this might be the appropriate location. muro doodles in photography, photography in icons, icons in journal skins... well you name it.
the miscats are everywhere and they take away a good portion of our everyday browsing conveniences.
i've seen gallery categories here on deviantART, to which its name doesn't even fit the content anymore and miscats are slowly taking over. at least that's what it seems like sometimes.
i understand that there's often a language barrier, so that some people simply don't understand what's all written in the deviation submission module, so they make a rather random choice there. i also understand that some people see other miscats and may come to a conclusion that it doesn't really matter where to put what, especially if their friends have submitted to "that certain location" before and already. and i understand that the category names are sometimes not that self-explanatory, so that mistakes can easily be made.
some people may submit to the wrong category/gallery by accident while others do it deliberately.
but it doesn't change the annoying nature of a miscat.
i would so much love to see a different solution for the issue, than the one we currently have.
reporting a deviation for being miscat sometimes doesn't seem to have any effect at all, while i'm sure that the helpdesk people are doing the best they can to resolve each and every one of our filed tickets.
there has to be a complete revamp on the whole miscats situation, imo.
my idea would be a pool or something, so that deviations could be tagged quickly and easily for being miscat and then a copy of the original deviation would be moved to that pool, which then again could act like an own gallery where there are only miscats inside. then the community would be able to somewhat re-locate any of the deviations in that pool and maybe even get a reward for every valid new location suggestion.
in other words, i would let the community participate in the process of cleaning up the galleries, rather than having a selected group of only a few (even paid) people, who presumably hate their job and most likely only deal with upset deviants day in day out.
Recently, there have been quite alot of natural disasters around the world, have you been affected by any? And do you have any messages for those affected?
oh my, is that hard to comprehend what's happening there right now.
it's so far away in many ways. i see it in the news, almost daily.
earthquake. tsunami. nuclear stuff...
it's so unreal somehow, and yet it isn't.
it won't really get to my head what the people must feel down in japan right now.
it must feel terrible and yet, here i am leading my same old normal life.
what can i do? if there's anything i could do.. but what? donate?
i'm not sure in which way this would really help. i mean, sure.. money was never a bad idea, but it'd never satisfy my wish of actually having done something. i'd still be sitting here having done nothing. i could draw a picture, send some prayers maybe. it still wouldn't suffice to take away anything from how powerless and helpless i will always feel. and speechless and strangely stunned.
oh my god... it's not far away.
and i think it won't ever be again.
it isn't unreal either, even if it feels like it.
it's currently affecting people like me and due to the nuclear crisis, it is even affecting our everybody's eternity.
i am deeply concerned, to say the least.
my thoughts are with the many many people who are affected by such devastating power of nature.
please, take good care of yourselves the best you can. i think about you every day and it saddens me that i can't do more.
What type of music are you into?
hmm.. i'd say pretty much everything that has a deep, heavy and throbbing bassline to it. a bass that's rolling out like thunder, you know. not too fast tho. the bass has to go boom and right to my stomach.
well, dub music is a perfect example there or anything that's in any way related to it, like reggae, trip-hop, downtempo, deep-house, drum&bass, even jazz or pop sometimes. but it gotta have that ridiculously phat bass in it, that makes your neighbors go berzerk.
What kind of movies are you into?
i totally love the epic special effects type of movies. like those marvel movies with Hulk, IronMan, GreenLantern and what they're all called. i hate the horror and zombie movies tho. i just can't stand all the suspense and thrill. yep, i'm a sissy in that matter.
loooong movies are great too. i love watching a movie that'd last for more than 2 or maybe even 3 hours. the LOTR trilogy is just perfect there.
the Coen brothers, Tarantino, Guy Ritchie.. they all have created some pretty awesome stuff, which i simply can't get enough of either. more of that and i'd likely watch movies all day long.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
nope. i think i've used up all of your patience with my long answers already. sorry about that.
but hey.. thanks for this fun interview.
I'd like to say a huge thanks to `OtisBee for taking the time to be interviewed.
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