Justin Maller is a freelance Illustrator & Art Director from Melbourne, Australia. He has been producing artwork professionally since graduating from the University of Melbourne in 2006. He is also the Chief Creative Officer of deviantART. Justin was nice enough to stop by First Comics News and let our readers know about his career and DeviantArt.

First Comics News: You were going to the University of Melbourne in Australia at the same time you were serving as Creative Director at Depthcore in New York, how did that work?

Justin Maller: At the time, Depthcore was not based in NYC. I started Depthcore in Melbourne, so I suppose if it was based anywhere in those days it was in the Southern Hemisphere!

1st: What facilitated your move to Los Angeles?

Justin: In early 2018, I moved from NYC to LA to start work as the Chief Creative Officer of DeviantArt. It was a great opportunity for me to take the experience I’d had as the Creative Director of Depthcore – and as a freelance artist for more than 10 years – and translate it into projects with greater scope and impact.

1st: You have worked with brands like Nike, American Express, NBA, Coca-Cola, and Sony Pictures what made DeviantArt the right fit?

Justin: Transitioning from being a full-time artist to being part of the team here at DeviantArt was big, but I thought getting the chance to use my unusual career experience to benefit the artistic community that jump-started my passion for art and career was too great to pass up. A member of DeviantArt since 2001, I have deep roots here and a long term perspective of the community, as well as the way it has evolved over the years. The opportunity to fuse my community outlook with the point of view I gained over the course of progressing from an amateur artist to a full-time professional was a unique proposition.

1st: As Chief Creative Officer, what are your duties?

Justin: As the chief creative officer I am involved in a lot of different aspects of the company, but my two primary concerns are product development and community interaction. For product development, I am involved in strategically updating the website, the features that we are building for it and the direction that we want to move in. From a high level, I am able to represent an artist who has been through the various walks of an artistic life from beginner to a full time professional. One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is being able to represent the creative point of view as we make products for artists. My day to day consists of brand partnerships, such as Universal How to Train Your Dragon, and community activations.

1st: What is the split with the artist when their art sells on DeviantArt?

Justin: Subscribed members are able to set any sale price they like above the base cost price, which gives them the ability to specify their own margins.

1st: How do artists find work from DeviantArt?

Justin: One-way artists can find work on DeviantArt is to always be creating more art. The DeviantArt team is always interacting with the community and a lot of brand partnerships have formed from our team reaching out to the artist because their artwork is a great fit for a brand we are working with.

1st: What can you do to make your art stand out on DeviantArt?

Justin: The best way to be noticed is to always interact! Giving other members feedback on their work and being involved with the community at large is a great way to begin to grow your own network.

1st: What makes DeviantArt better than other services like Pencil Jack, Art Station or even Instagram?

Justin: DeviantArt has always been a great place to learn to be an artist. We have a culture of constructive criticism and are very welcoming of all artists at any stage of their creative development.

1st: What is The Comic Creator Connection?

Justin: DeviantArt took 10 emerging, young artists to the Comic Creator Connection to connect them to writers. The Comic Creator Connection is best described as speed dating for writers and graphic artists. This is a great way for writers and comic artists to collaborate and discuss a project they would like to work on together and to gain experience in their professional lives. Since we’ve seen a lot more writers in the room than artists in the past, DeviantArt hand-selected 10 artists to become involved in this collaboration of creatives.

1st: How did this year’s Comic Creator Connection go?

Justin: From the artists to the creators of the Comic Creator Connection and the San Diego Comic-Con, feedback from everyone involved has been overwhelmingly positive. It was so wonderful to watch the group of artists we brought to the event bond and create together. I’m excited to see what projects emerge from the connections made at the event!

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Justin Maller is a freelance Illustrator & Art Director from Melbourne, Australia. He has been producing artwork professionally since graduating from the University of Melbourne in 2006. He is also the Chief Creative Officer of deviantART. Justin was nice enough to stop by First Comics News and let our...