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About Digital Art / Hobbyist ""25/Male/Unknown Groups :iconalternate-worlds: Alternate-Worlds
In the sea of time
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Deviant for 11 Years
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Statistics 652 Deviations 2,339 Comments 80,869 Pageviews

Newest Deviations

Yuletide by ART5EC Yuletide :iconart5ec:ART5EC 36 5 Zollner by ART5EC Zollner :iconart5ec:ART5EC 62 15 Qonming by ART5EC Qonming :iconart5ec:ART5EC 54 11 The Cold War Crisis by ART5EC The Cold War Crisis :iconart5ec:ART5EC 18 0 Religions of Ghar by ART5EC Religions of Ghar :iconart5ec:ART5EC 14 1 Ghar Environmental Map by ART5EC Ghar Environmental Map :iconart5ec:ART5EC 21 13 Ghar Political Map by ART5EC Ghar Political Map :iconart5ec:ART5EC 32 3 Iqhwa by ART5EC Iqhwa :iconart5ec:ART5EC 34 2 Onda by ART5EC Onda :iconart5ec:ART5EC 58 6 Humid World by ART5EC Humid World :iconart5ec:ART5EC 59 4 The Logo 2.0 by ART5EC The Logo 2.0 :iconart5ec:ART5EC 5 0 Obedience and Ignorance by ART5EC Obedience and Ignorance :iconart5ec:ART5EC 6 2 Symphony of Life by ART5EC Symphony of Life :iconart5ec:ART5EC 84 5 Torrid by ART5EC Torrid :iconart5ec:ART5EC 64 6 The Big Bloom by ART5EC The Big Bloom :iconart5ec:ART5EC 38 5 Superluminal Shipping Co. by ART5EC Superluminal Shipping Co. :iconart5ec:ART5EC 7 2

Random Favourites

Iran Provinces Brushes by absdostan Iran Provinces Brushes :iconabsdostan:absdostan 5 2 Photosynthesis by dylanxedge Photosynthesis :icondylanxedge:dylanxedge 95 16 The War of the Painting by lamnay The War of the Painting :iconlamnay:lamnay 19 5 Lunchbreak by Hideyoshi Lunchbreak :iconhideyoshi:Hideyoshi 486 21 Garden of Zen by frankhong Garden of Zen :iconfrankhong:frankhong 3,920 207 Sea of Madness by synax444 Sea of Madness :iconsynax444:synax444 480 125 Europe after The Collapse by lamnay Europe after The Collapse :iconlamnay:lamnay 12 18 Bayonetta and Jeanne COLOR by vest Bayonetta and Jeanne COLOR :iconvest:vest 839 61 Concept Matte 02 by frankhong Concept Matte 02 :iconfrankhong:frankhong 414 20 Concept Matte 01 by frankhong Concept Matte 01 :iconfrankhong:frankhong 1,337 48 ancient city by AlienTan ancient city :iconalientan:AlienTan 71 2 Empire City by TylerEdlinArt Empire City :icontyleredlinart:TylerEdlinArt 5,732 371 Ancient Storm by desired18 Ancient Storm :icondesired18:desired18 408 44 Intelligent Prolacertiform by nemo-ramjet Intelligent Prolacertiform :iconnemo-ramjet:nemo-ramjet 118 95 Sapphire Blue v2 by gucken Sapphire Blue v2 :icongucken:gucken 875 124 Marbellised Maelstrom by priteeboy Marbellised Maelstrom :iconpriteeboy:priteeboy 624 235


- Exploring Drones - by RMirandinha - Exploring Drones - :iconrmirandinha:RMirandinha 40 8 A Second Home for Humankind by ValentiniaK A Second Home for Humankind :iconvalentiniak:ValentiniaK 1,289 145 Organic Lights by Shue13 Organic Lights :iconshue13:Shue13 1,995 345 5ive Percent Remaining by gucken 5ive Percent Remaining :icongucken:gucken 1,358 237 Hanging Gardens of Babylon by ertacaltinoz Hanging Gardens of Babylon :iconertacaltinoz:ertacaltinoz 1,386 135 Baghdad by RadoJavor Baghdad :iconradojavor:RadoJavor 4,297 533 The Channel Fleet by RadoJavor The Channel Fleet :iconradojavor:RadoJavor 2,958 275 The soul by tickledpinky The soul :icontickledpinky:tickledpinky 2,095 320
Just some things I've seen around during my time here and would love to hang on my wall.
Friday, 15 September 2017 marks my 11th anniversary of joining deviantart. What an incredible journey this has been, and hopefully will continue to be. According to my stats I have almost 450 watchers and over 75,000 pages views, which may seem low for somebody who has been on this site for over a decade but for which I am thankful. I mean, why not be thankful? I can brag about having hundreds of fans and technically I'd be telling the truth! I don't think of any of you as my fans though, I think of you as friends who share the same passion for art and science fiction that I do. When I first joined deviantart I was 14 years old and a little over a week away from starting my freshman year of high school. I didn't have much interest in posting my own art, and I only made the account so I could follow artists I liked and keep up with their work. I was an awkward kid (depending on who you ask, I still am) without many friends, and as such I spent a lot of time on the internet, much of it here. It was a stressful time in my life, as I had moved school districts and lost all the friends I had known up to that point (back in the day few kids had cell phones and about the only way to stay in touch, outside of actual letters, was using instant messengers like AIM, and almost none of the people I knew had their own computers). My dad had just been deployed to Iraq, which was particularly devastating since he had spent much of the 90's in Kuwait and it seemed to me at the time like he had only just gotten back before being sent right back. I was also just old enough to fully grasp the gravity of what that meant, that my dad might not be coming back (or, perhaps even worse, come back a completely different man). It was during that time in my life I developed a love for space art and science fiction. That period of time, 2006-2010, was arguably the golden era of space art on this site, and it was the greats of that era that inspired me to take up space art myself:

:iconpriteeboy: :iconrmirandinha: :iconpr3t3nd3r: :icongucken:

The works of these great artists, and many others, are what drove me to learn and improve. I taught myself to use photoshop, and over the years I honed my skills. Sometimes I became discouraged, while other times I felt my heart swell at the sight of a handful of favorites and comments. From this adventure I learned not just art skills, but important life skills: how to cope with stress, how to express myself, how to motivate myself in the face of a world that didn't seem to notice or care about me or my accomplishments. I graduated high school in 2010 a changed person, and my experiences on this site played no small part in that transformation. I would like to thank the artists here that inspired me, the people who support my artistic endeavors, and the people that made and run this site for helping me through some very tough times in my life. So, how does one celebrate being part of a community for 11 years? I tossed some ideas around in my head, but ultimately I decided that perhaps the best thing to do was look back on my time here and see just how far I've come in that time. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

My earliest deviations were old drawings I did in middle school art classes and photos I took with my trusty digital camera I got for Christmas in 8th grade (I still have it, it still works, and it's still trusty even though my phone has a much better camera in it nowadays). These things aren't particularly interesting though, so let's skip ahead to my very first piece of space art back in 2007:

Yeesh. Planets are smooth, featureless spheres floating in a completely dark void, right? No? Well, it was my first attempt, so cut me some slack. Back then I worked with Paint.NET, and despite the fact I had no clue what I was doing I enjoyed every minute of making this piece and others like it (which, if I remember correctly, took maybe 5-10 minutes each). Many of my earliest works are like this, but I was never afraid to experiment with new techniques and new ideas, even if they came out looking terrible. These days I'm not sure I still share the same sentiment about how they turn out (for every planet I submit there's probably four or five I finish, cringe at, and then store away in a folder never to be opened again), but experimenting with new techniques and playing around with tools I haven't used before is a skill I've found invaluable for art (remember kids: it's always a good idea to play with powers beyond your comprehension, just to see what they do). For a while I took up terragen in an attempt to emulate a lot of the aforementioned greats, who often used landscapes and spacescapes in conjunction:

Majestic, truly majestic. The way the fog obscures the fact those mountains are just rock-textured cones really blends well with the generic skybox that doesn't even reach all the way down, leaving a large, black bar. Who wouldn't want to visit such a picturesque landscape? Many of these landscapes are part of some long-forgotten mythology I don't even remember developing. I did eventually learn to blend landscape and spacescape:

Look at that gorgeous gas planet. It's a wonder I ever stopped making these, as I clearly could have revolutionized terraspace art forever. Perhaps I didn't want to show up the other space artists and quit doing them for the sake of the greater good. After I made this noble sacrifice I decided to go back to making plain old spacescapes.

I was indeed improving at an alarming rate. The clouds were no longer part of the flat, smooth surface of the planet. The gas planet had more than one color, adding to the realism of the piece. And, as I stated in the description and as you can clearly see, I had mastered making nebulae by this point. I was so confident about it I decided to put it on mugs, even though I never actually did that. With this absolute masterpiece I decided I had reached the limits of what I could accomplish with Paint.NET and decided it was time to invest in photoshop, so I opened my wallet and promptly went to The Pirate Bay to get a copy. While I may have stolen this initial copy of photoshop (CS2 I believe), which was wrong of me, I can't say it wasn't worth it:

Ensemble by ART5EC   Green Phantom by ART5EC   Dawn by ART5EC

While many of the techniques I had developed in PdN were easy enough to translate over to photoshop, others were not and I became somewhat discouraged, as I felt I had simply gone back to square one. I didn't give up though, I doubled down and started looking for tutorials and guides that would help me learn the intricacies of photoshop and its powerful tools. 

Corsica by ART5EC   Forge: This Glorious Sunrise by ART5EC   Tycho by ART5EC

As my skills developed so did my personality. By this time I was starting my junior year of high school, and things were looking up. My dad had come back safely from Iraq, I had made new friends (who remain my friends to this day), and I had begun to find out who I really was and who I wanted to become--or at least who you think you really are and who you think you want to become when you're 16 years old. I delved head first into the world of science and philosophy, educating myself as much as I could and developing a taste for science fiction beyond simple scifi action thrillers and Star Trek. I started reading the works of Asimov, Heinlein, Vonnegut, and, perhaps most importantly of all, Sagan. I developed new loves for biology and computer science, and became the first member (and later administrator) of the Speculative Evolution forum. I also discovered the joy of cannabis at this time, which, as cliche as it sounds, did give me more of an appreciation for space art (and art in general) and reaffirm my belief that I too could one day be a great space artist. I also unfortunately took up tobacco as well, which I don't recommend.

Aphrodite by ART5EC   Arid World by ART5EC   Methane World by ART5EC

While minor improvements continued to my technique I began to feel I was stagnating, and at the time a new group focused chiefly on space art developed from deviantart called The Luminarium. I joined their forums and posted some of my work for critique. At the time I was kind of offended at their words, which was stupid considering I literally asked them to do that, and looking back they honestly weren't as harsh on me as they could have been. They were quite encouraging actually, and provided me with some resources to use that would help me improve. I learned to swallow my pride and followed their advice. Although I never did attempt to join The Luminarium again I did rapidly improve thanks to their support:

Spartacus by ART5EC   Aegis by ART5EC   ...And Still Nothing To Watch by ART5EC

While these new pieces I began to make were a definite improvement on everything I had made prior, they were part of what I now call my "cookie-cutter art" phase. I wasn't really putting as much thought into my work, and as a result it began to feel less like I was making individual, unique pieces and more like I was decorating cookies: superficially they all look different, but deep down they're all the same uniform shape and size. I began to get more attention on deviantart than I had ever gotten up to this point though, and that gave me a false sense of confidence. I began to think that perhaps I had "figured it out" and was now making space art the "right" way. So I did what any of us would do: I shamelessly stole thematic ideas from my idols.

Ad Astra Per Aspera by ART5EC   Serenity by ART5EC   Kingpin by ART5EC

During this period in my life I was a senior in high school and completely unsure what I wanted to do with my life. It was a source of great stress for me, and quite honestly I blame the American public education system for a lot of that as a lot of time was spent by the school counselors to push us to start choosing a college to go to and a major to study. Honestly, how do you sleep at night when you spend your day going up to 17 year old kids and telling them "you really should know what you want in life by this point and should be focusing on the career path you've surely chosen by now?" It didn't help that my family, already poor, was severely affected by the recession that was in full swing by this point. Although I had been poor my entire life, with portions of my childhood spent in literal poverty (the "living off food stamps in housing projects" kind of poverty) most of my late childhood and teen years hadn't been too bad. Suddenly though I found myself living in the basement of a three bedroom house with five other people: two were retired, two were toddlers, and one lived on tips. It was perhaps the most stressful point in my life, even to this day, and was only made worse by the loss of several friends after graduation. As people I had known for years began to move away for college or simply drift apart from me in their post-school life I began to find myself alone and uncertain about the future. I fell into a depression, something I had already struggled with for a lot of my life, and started isolating myself. I began a daily ritual of waking up some time after noon, smoking a joint in the woods, and wandering around the park until the sun started to set. I lost interest in art for a while, and considered just giving it up altogether. I wish I could tell you some kind of uplifting, amazing story about how I overcame my depression and turned my life around, but the truth is after several months of this I just got sick of feeling sorry for myself all the time and instead turned to silent self-loathing and ignoring my feelings instead of brooding. You know, like an adult.
Passage by ART5EC   Encounter by ART5EC   A New World by ART5EC

I started channeling my frustrations into my art, deciding that even if I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life there was at least one thing I had some talent and skill in. Rather than copy my idols and follow tutorials to the letter I started to try to develop new, innovative techniques myself. By this time the golden era of space art on deviantart had begun to wane, and despite making some of the best pieces I had ever attempted the interest in the field was dropping fast among the general DA populace. Even so I decided to press forward, views or no views. My art was no longer so much about trying to become a popular deviantart space artist, now it was about me doing something I wanted to do, enjoyed doing, and was good at. As such I began to develop my own style, focusing on realism and planets rather than the more eye-catching and epic scenes of those that inspired me to take up this hobby in the first place.

POTW 1: Survey by ART5EC   POTW 3: A Tale of Two Moons by ART5EC   POTW 7: Small Red Marble by ART5EC

I decided to start trying to make one really good planet a week, and during that time I discovered that, while people did see and like my space art, what they really enjoyed about them was the stories and descriptions that accompanied them. I learned that while my art may not be as flashy as the space art that got thousands of views and hundreds of favorites, it had something else. It made people stop and think about things they had never even considered. They would see the thumbnail and click on it out of curiosity, and find not just a picture of some imaginary planet but a world; a place with history and character. I started to get not just comments on the image itself, but questions about the world I had built around that image. I had people telling me I had made them stop and think--really think--about ideas and concepts that they never even knew existed. My art started sparking conversations and arguments, and piquing curiosities. I found that, although I never did become the famous space artist I thought I had always wanted to be, I had become something I never realized I wanted to be: a storyteller. 

There isn't much more to the story from there. My technique hasn't really changed all that much, although I have developed a lot of pretty clever ways of getting detail (I have to compete with the 3D rendered planet crowd somehow), and I imagine I'll continue to do so into the future. The past 11 years have been a long--and, at times, painful--journey for me. I never did find out what I wanted to do with my life, although I have learned that it's okay to be uncertain (lately though I have been seriously considering perhaps trying my hand at being a science fiction author). Deviantart has been with me throughout that journey, and hopefully it will continue to be there in the future. I've met some life long friends on this site, and found comfort in the support of total strangers who did nothing more than say a few kind words about my art. Here's to 11 years of deviantart, and hopefully 11 more!
  • Listening to: They Dyson Sphere by MogueHeart
  • Reading: Consider Phlebas
  • Playing: Tyranny
  • Drinking: Red Buffalo Vietnamese oolong tea
One topic I've found it somewhat difficult to approach while working on my Ghar project is what I'm calling the humanity spectrum. This project takes place in untold thousands of years into the future and while I'd like to keep some technology out of the discussion (I'd like the project to be as hard sci fi as possible but it's rather difficult to predict technological advances on their effects on society thousands of years into the future) one thin that I simply cannot avoid is transhumanism. Whether you're a fan of transhumanist philosophy or not the fact remains that humans will inevitably at some point begin altering their genes and incorporating technology into their biology, complicating the definition of "humanity." So I'd like to address my thoughts on the matter in this journal, partly to organize my own thoughts and partly to get feedback from those interested in the project on said thoughts. The humanity spectrum is a range of "states" of humanity that include everything from "baseline" humans to gestalts/individuals that have been fully digitized and lack a physical, organic body altogether. Most humans (and I'm not just referring to the Aksmi system's some 200 trillion inhabitants) fall somewhere between these two extremes, usually more towards "baseline" than fully digital. 

First I suppose we should address why "baseline" is in quotes. In my research into human genetic modification, particularly with technologies like CRISPR (which I highly recommend reading about because you'll probably be seeing a lot more about it in the near future as the technology develops), I came across a bit of a black swan in that most, if not all, genes a person edits into their genome is going to enter the germ line. What does this mean? It means once we start artificially adding traits to our genome those traits are going to become part of the collective gene pool of humanity: improvements you make to yourself or you kids will be passed down to future generations. Even if they aren't expressed or are somehow deactivated those genes still get inherited, and thus have the potential to mutate into something new, or perhaps mutate in such a way that previously applicable "solutions" to keeping them from being expressed fail. Baseline humans are the product of thousands of years of these modified human genomes blending together, and as a result they are very different than you or I genetically, despite looking physically the same. Unlike the humanity we are members of the baseline humans on Ghar and throughout the universe Ghar is a part of are virtually immune to (naturally occurring) genetic diseases, deformities, and abnormalities. Other traits that were once for the elite of society that could afford it have become commonplace: baseline humans have, on average, 30% more muscle density; sharper senses; better memories and higher average IQ's; and faster regenerative abilities than their ancestors (us). While these traits do make them a lot healthier and more capable than their ancestors, there are also drawbacks: their metabolisms are much faster than ours and baseline humans requires 4000-6000 calories a day (though they can also tolerate a diet much higher in fat and sugar than we can, though such a diet is still not recommended); on average puberty lasts four years long than it does for their ancestors; they have a higher body temperature and a more difficult time maintaining homeostasis (dehydration is something they'd get much easier than us, and whereas you and I can go for around a week without water before dying they will make it three days at most). Beyond the standard genes are more extreme traits found in groups not considered to be baseline humans, one of the most common being full regenerative ability. Humans with these traits, like many animals on Earth, can fully regenerate lost limbs and appendages, but such genes are risky as, unlike those animals from which the traits are taken, humans are not resistant to cancer and the loss of a limb is just as likely to result in very aggressive tumors as it is to result in a new limb. Unnatural hair and skin pigmentation is also quite common, though most people who inherit these genes opt to have them suppressed or outright removed at some point in their lives. There are also groups of people with "non-standard biochemistry," often people that have colonized worlds with native ecosystems of an incompatible biochemistry who have opted to edit their genetic code to share that ecosystem's biochemistry. Several populations on Ghar have such modifications, and most of them live isolated from the rest of Ghari civilization since they are incapable of reproducing with humans that have "standard biochemistry." 

The second issue I should discuss is that of cyborgs. At this point in the future the term cyborg doesn't really exist in the collective human lexicon because, well, pretty much everybody is a cyborg to some degree. Around 95% of all humans are born with nanomachines in their bodies that are inherited from their mothers in the womb (the remaining 5% are usually the product of one of the various non-sexual reproductive options). The function of these machines are to perform tasks that the body cannot do itself such as repairing ocular and dental degeneration (optometry and dentistry are extinct professions), replacing scar tissue with normal tissue, repairing nerve damage, and monitoring bodily functions such as nutrient intake, vitals, etc. Essentially these machines act as your own personalized general practitioners, giving you constant medical check-ups, dental procedures, and corrective ocular surgery. They can also act as a secondary immune system in a pinch, but not allowing your own immune system to do its job is generally frowned upon by society. Baseline humans are those with the "standard" genes and "standard" nanomachines, but there are other common technologies integrated into many humans. Second only to the nanomachines the most common technology integrated into humans is that of a standard, non-invasive brain-machine interface. A thin net of sensors is implanted around the skull, just under the scalp, that is capable of both reading brain activity in a manner not unlike that of an MRI scanner, as well as actually influencing the brain using concentrated magnetic fields in a practice known as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). The brain scanning aspect allows the interface to accept commands via thought while the TMS aspect allows it to stimulate certain parts of the brain in such a way as to provide feedback. It can use this to stimulate the visual centers of your brain to overlay a HUD or other images directly onto your field of vision without the need for any kind of screen or contact lenses; play music and sounds without having to stimulate any part of your ear; and it can even make you perceive smells, tastes, and sensations of touch without any actual outside stimuli. It's also capable of doing the opposite, blocking out sensory information you don't want to experience such as foul smells or people who are being loud and rude; its even capable of dulling (safety regulations won't allow it to outright block) pain. Using this system people are able to perform feats such as "telepathy" (sometimes its more like telepresence where you perceive whoever you are calling as a "ghost" interacting with you in the same environment, with the interface making their image act in a believable manner rather than just mirror whatever they're doing at that moment, thus preserving immersion), streaming sensory data (livestreaming in the most literal sense), or even sharing actual memories complete with all the sensory information you experienced. Just as with the genetic modification there are plenty of humans that are further down the humanity spectrum, integrating more technology into themselves. While some do have fully prosthetic bodies Ghost in the Shell style, most have more subtle integrations related to the nanomachines mentioned earlier. The nanomachines are modified (usually by a professional but laws on the subject differ from place to place and there's a black market for everything) to do things like replace bone tissue with matrices of sturdy alloys, replace muscle tissues with stronger synthetic fibers, and construct various bits of tech throughout the body. The process takes several years and requires that the diet be supplemented with decidedly non-natural "nutrients" like graphene, but there are plenty of multivitamins containing such things, and an entire industry of cuisine marketed at such people.

Further down the spectrum you have people that have modified themselves to such an extent that they no longer physically resemble human beings (though under the law anybody born a human being remains one regardless of how extensively they modify themselves). Such drastic modification via genetics is illegal, but many humans have synthetic bodies (some robotic, some organic, some a mixture of both) that do not have a humanoid form, and some lack physical bodies at all, being fully digital. Throughout human space all kinds of modifications, genetic or otherwise, can be found: some populations have chlorophyll in their skin to supplement their calorie intake (this is most common in people with non-standard biochemistries that increase their daily caloric requirements beyond those of even baseline humans), some have fur to more easily survive colder environments, some have multiple hearts to deal with higher gravity, and so on and so forth. In the universe of Ghar humanity is a state of mind rather than having anything to do with the physical makeup of the body.
  • Listening to: Carbon Based Lifeforms
  • Reading: Consider Phlebas
  • Playing: Tyranny



Add a Comment:
Joe-Roberts Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for the F:+fav:ve
SeekHim Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
I haven't talked to you in awhile. Hope you're well.

Remember that Tkara pic you did for me?
Well now you get to see one of its cities!
Let me know what you think!
Dawn on Tkara by SeekHim
ART5EC Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I saw this! It looks fantastic!
SeekHim Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
What stood out the most for you?
ART5EC Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The palette. The use of limited colors but a large number of shades really gives a dark (color-wise), urban feel to the piece without giving it the dull, gray tone you usually see in cityscapes.
Jax1776 Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
Happy Birthday!
dissapointinglysad Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
hhhhgghgAAAghaaAPApppy BbbjhhbbhIRIRithththdAAAy
DesOrages Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Happy Birthday!!
calexfc Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2017
Happy Birthday!
Jakeukalane Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
happy birthday :)
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