Let’s start off with – what exactly is a gallery? To me, and for the purposes of this discussion, an image gallery is a collection of images with a common quality of some sort(be it artist, subject matter, or something else) posted online for public perusal, and not in a temporary fashion(IOW not imageboards).
The reason I want to lay out this definition at the beginning is that there are two different main kinds of galleries out there, and thinking about differences and reasons to use them is what started the gears turning on what will probably be another dragonwall by the end.
The first type is what I’m going to refer to as personal galleries. These are galleries that you have full control over what goes in them, and no one else. These are the meat of sites like FurAffinity, Weasyl, and SoFurry, and this style also bleeds over into Social Networking like Facebook, or other unfocused sites like imagur and tumblr.
These can serve several purposes, depending on the reason for their creation. A lot of artists(especially on sites like FA or tumblr) are artists, and this allows them to show off their work for whatever reasons they may have, whether it be selling their skills, showing off some neat idea or image, or puffing up their ego. Then there’s also those who aren’t artists, who may be sharing works that were created for them, again for similar reasons as the artist. This is FA’s raison d’etre after all; to show art created “by you/for you”.
Separate from these are the general galleries. Most of these fall into the imageboard category and thus outside the bounds of this discussion, but there are a few here and there that were created to focus on general subject matter, such as e621 and Herpy. On these sites images are sorted and tagged by the content, but anyone(that registers) can post to the “gallery” for a given type of content. With these there might be some small acknowledgement somewhere of who uploaded it, but primarily they present just the images all together in one giant melting pot, similar to what someone might have in terms of an Images folder on their computer.
Now, as to what prompted this.
As seen in many of my previous posts, I’ve been commissioning art of myself quite a bit since the turn of the year. I’ve posted them to my own galleries, and the artists have mostly done this as well, though there are a few who still have yet to post it themselves. A few of these artists are actually fairly well-known among the furry community. A while back, when I got that first adult picture, I ended up running across it on both of the galleries I named above, though without any of the context being included by the uploader. When I got the adult second picture of myself a short while later, from a lesser-known artist, it never showed up on either, and in fact has yet to show up, despite it being “sexier” in my opinion(and at least one other person’s).
I got as far as registering an account at e621, but never got around to tagging it properly there, and I have yet to register at Herpy. I recently considered whether I should put up the other pictures, and decided to go poking using a well-known example.
Just like there are artists well-known for their quality and subject matter, there are also some dragons who have commissioned a lot of art from a lot of artists and have become rather well-known. This was actually how I found some of the artists I’ve patronized: browse the gallery of some of these popular dragons and follow the images I like back to their source artist, and go from there. Do this for long enough in one sitting you can even sort of start to see how the dragon artists and the more art-prolific dragons interweave in a huge web, and even between each other.
To name a specific example, Byzil is one I was aware of long ago(relatively) and one of the first dragons that I gallery-dived to find artists. In this case, I used her art as a test to see what would show up on e621 and if any of it had come from the artist or the dragon herself. From a semi-random sampling, all of them were posted by others, and most of it was either of an adult nature, or on the cute end of the spectrum.
Just browsing any general subject on e621 it becomes very obvious that for most art to be uploaded it has to be either a) epic, b) erotic, or c) adorable. Herpy is even easier to categorize, as the main board sections are split up by erotic content and the non-adult section is mostly full of fanart of well-known mainstream dragons e.g. Spyro and Eragon. They do straddle the line a bit however as there are some artists that have their own personal galleries there as well, but that is not germane to the discussion at this time.
One thing I’ve considered is exposure. With how fast the front page on most of the furry galleries moves, and with how much crud there is surrounding the decent pictures, it’s easy for new submissions to get lost without being noticed by a sizable amount of folks unless you’re already well-known, or the art is obviously very good. There’s just so much content that the chances of someone stumbling on your gallery by accident are fairly low as well.
When you commission well-known artists however, folks who like your image might follow the link back to your gallery and follow you as well to see what other pictures you might commission. I know this is a thing as after a couple artists I’ve gotten art from I’ve had new watches as well for just this reason. It gives you more exposure to the art, and what is the point of art if no one sees it?
Well these general galleries have even more exposure, but it’s of a different kind. There’s a lot of folks who just go to these sites just for new fap material, and the adult art of varying quality far outnumbers the “clean” art of any stripe on e621. Herpy, well I went into that just a little bit further up.
This got me into wondering; do I want that sort of attention?
Some would say if I didn’t I should never have posted the pics I got, or for that matter have commissioned them in the first place. Well, as I may have said, looking back I’ve realized I have a streak of exhibitionism, and this plays to that tendency. I also have a tendency towards shyness as well among strangers, so that wars against that urge, which leads to the mixed feelings I have on the topic in general. I guess you could say I like showing off, but on my terms.
Anyways, some of the comments I’ve seen on Herpy have gotten into the downright creepy range. Compliments are one thing, but making RP advances towards the subjects of the image are another entirely. If this were just a random character, that would also reduce the impact; or for that matter, it might even be encouraged! In this case however, this IS me. I would guess this must be what it feels like to be a moderately attractive young lady finding your picture online with creepy guys talking about how they’d like to bed you in various graphic ways.
Just like anyone can post images on them, anyone can post comments, so even if I posted an image myself I wouldn’t be able to moderate the comments if they started getting out of hand. On the other hand, some of this art is just plain nice regardless of the content and I’d like to share it. Especially if it’s by one of the underrated artists who get lost in the Catch-22 of getting attention in the first place.
For now, if it ends up there it ends up there, I think. I won’t purposefully post anything at the moment, but if someone else does, it’s not like I have any control over it. Once I get my new ref sheet and get another pic or two that I have in mind, I may post the other adult works that haven’t made it up, and just try and ignore any unwanted advances. It’s not like they’ll ever have any option or opportunity to try to bed me, as that privilege belongs solely to my mate, whenever she wishes to claim it.
And after all as the saying goes, if you’ve got it, flaunt it!