Simply put, I do not agree with the direction this site has been heading. I do pop on here occasionally to show my stuff and other tomfoolery, but for the most part I've grown distant from deviantART. That's not to say that I think this site is "bad" or anything, but it has become clear to me that the priorities of the site are not in line with what I am looking for in a community.
One example? The dA T-shirt design contest. This is an example of speculative work. These "calls for entries" offer absolutely no benefit whatsoever to the entrants who aren't selected as finalists. And as I look this over, I realize that many of these contests run by deviantART are just that - speculative work. Companies get to pick and choose from the hard work done by hundreds if not thousands of artists and designers, and best of all, they don't have to pay anyone whose work they don't select.
My first few months in the world of a creative professional have been treacherous. Between spec work and unpaid internships, I haven't had much of a chance to do anything that actually nets me any income. I've been fortunate to snag a job working at an art supply store (the Plaza Art in Silver Spring, MD, starting in January) but aside from that I might have ended up flipping hamburgers at Wendy's or stocking shelves at Target to put some cash in my pocket.
But I digress.
Spec work is a cancer in the world of creative professionals. It makes it much more difficult for people who intend to make a living from their creative skills because they have to compete with other people who are working for free - so they essentially have to work for free as well. Nobody benefits - except for the companies giving out the spec work, of course. But it's a messed-up approach. Would you get in contact with a dozen contractors and have them all build houses for you, then only pay the contractor who builds the house that you ultimately decide to purchase? Of course not. Why should it be any different for creative professionals?
I figured dA would at least be a bit less shameless in how it would go about promoting such blatant calls for speculative work, but when I logged in today it was right there smack on the top of the page. Calling it a "challenge" or "contest" doesn't make it any less an example of spec work.
So instead of going on a "rah-rah" rant or taking my grievances publicly to the forums or the Journals of the admins, I've decided to simply remove myself from the community for the time being. I refuse to be a bobblehead while this site promotes and actively engages in practices that ultimately harm the community of creative professionals.
Stay classy, folks.