Rest In Peace Everchangingart.com
EverChangingArt, The Community For Everyone
For all intents and purposes, there will never be another site like ECA. It was where we lived to perform. It broke bad habits and created new ones.
Someday, I hope Morten will tell us that he has revived it in a new incarnation, but until then it will live here in my memory.
Here is a screen shot of me in third place for points, before Morten moved this placard elsewhere on the site. As you can see, I still think of myself in small letters. ;)
What was EverChangingArt?
Beginning just days before the September 11th tragedy, it gave many of us something else to focus on.
The brainchild of Denmark resident Morten Elbeck, the primary signups for his site were members of his family, and his local friends. And some guy that just happened to be at the right place at the right time.
I was in a Photoshop newsgroup when he ran his one and only ad and I followed the link. I didn't turn back until he had to shut it down several years ago.
ECA, as we lovingly abbreviated it, became a bridge to several of our artistic endeavors. I was already quite heavy into DeviantArt, but this offered something new. ECA was theme based. Your canvas was only allowed to be postcard sized. You earned points by your activity. Uploading and commenting were the order of the day, but you could suggest and vote on themes, create skin colors, and eventually play games.
The forums and tutorials were fun, but we started a foray into the world of Photoshop Tennis, that was in my opinion, second to none. Looking at it in the internet archives almost brings tears. Funny how you miss something so trivial as a website.
One of the last themes archived was Dust and Scratches, of course the last archive was in August and Morten didn't shut it down until sometime about November 2004. But at that time we had 1123 artists, over 14,000 images, and well over 100,000 comments posted.
Why Did It Close?
Morten could have monetized ECA fairly easily, but he swore he would never put ads on the site, because it destracted from the artistic and community nature of the site. The most ever tried was a PayPal button in the bottom corner.
Personally, I think some small advertising probably would have kept it open.
But in mid December of the closing year, his hosting company not only closed the site but deleted the content. They sited that not only was he exceeding bandwidth, he was also over his storage allowance by several gigs. Why there weren't more warnings, I don't know.
Several of us migrated other places, back to deviantArt, groups that had art themes at Yahoo Groups, Photoshop battles at our own websites, but none matched the homey feel of ECA. Several of us core members are friends on FaceBook. And I am still in contact with Morten and his wife Pernille (aka SpencerPenny and they weren't yet married as of ECA's life span)
Now the web estate itself is for sale again, as Morten has completely moved on.
The new logo was Siffen's entry in the contest. Which she won.
What Could You Do At ECA?
Well, aside from uploading, then voting. You earned different point amounts for each thing you did at the site. The point values didn't unlock anything, they just ranked how active you were on the site.
There was a tutorial wiki. Morten would add an area for any program we wanted to put up tutorials on, and we filled them up. The Photoshop, Poser and Bryce areas were the largest of course.
We had the photoshop tennis/battles.
We enjoyed voting on the next theme. Choosing from 10 user suggested themes.
We had the obvious forums which were often used for flame wars about some people's ideas of what kind of art should be allowed on ECA.
One user made regular statements with his art. Montages of current news clippings and a heavily photoshopped or even oil painted then scanned landscape or scene, with him as a central figure, or a juxtaposed figure, or even multiple poses, artfully done of course, but he never wore clothes in his pieces. Many other artists complained.
Another artist used spam pieces from emails, to create wonderful scenes. He was heavily criticized for using downplayed soft core kid porn (though when he was through, it wasn't porn anymore). He was so heavily criticized, that he left the site.
Other areas that Morten let us play included the ability to change the CSS colors and save themes for the site.
We had a wallpaper area, which allowed us to upload up to three full size pieces to the site for people to download.
We had a game area. The most popular was a tile game where you picked a tile to draw in, and you were given five pixels of the tiles around you so you could blend in the sides with what you were drawing.
Another game, was a guessing game. You were given a time limit and 20 pieces and you had to guess the artist. You were of course awarded points for each correct answer. You bet your points against the one's you lost. You could stand to lose lots of points unless you voted and commented regularly.
Commenting was another point awarded action. Comments were well received, even negative comments.
Points were also given for theme suggestions. A limit of suggestions per day was enacted early on because some people (*cough cough* not me *looks around shifty-eyed*) were very good at brainstorming up interesting ideas for themes. I think I had over 2500 suggestions after 3 years.
You could also get points for making an interesting comment about the site. Your blurb would then go into random rotation at the bottom of the page.
Books on ECAs most popular program
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Would anyone be interested in reviving ECA? Were you a member? Drop me a line at FaceBook (J. Aric Keith) and I'll hint at some of the other guys I've found there over the years. Yep, even Mikkel!