The Dusty Toolbox
On paper, you wouldn't bat an eye at a mixed media piece. Pencils and paint, paper collage and pastels, an oil canvas enhanced with embroidery, think it and someone has probably done it.
The old web was just like that in a way. The materials were still raw, untouched. People found all sorts of ways to get creative with them, and so cultivating the rich collection of personal websites. As a child and as a teen, the web was my canvas. I drew my layouts, and then used tables and later iframes and divs to get the content in the right spots. The first paid website I made was for a film maker, and the website was simply an illustrated greenscreen. The different embedded films were neatly organized on a film strip graphic.
I made my own portfolio websites, filled with my illustrations. The website was one of my works on it's own, and the layout would sometimes change every month. (of course with a nice history page with screenshots of the old designs)
Then came social media, and they took out tools away. Or rather, we kindly handed them over, not knowing what we'd sacrifice. I stopped making those fun-loving websites when I was about 16. It was the time when I managed to get some freelance clients, so I had to start making 'serious' designs. Business designs. All websites started to look alike. There was an obvious success formula. A way in which Things Had To Be Done to be taken seriously.
It wasn't until I listened to the 99% Invisible podcast about Geocities that I realized what I missed. I used to have fun on the web. It was one of my main creative outlets. No wonder I have struggled putting anything meaningful to paper for the last 10 years! I'd put away a HUGE asset in my creative toolbox. While I was trying out every art tool, both traditional and digital, I left one of the most important ones in the dust: my trusty code editor.
As if by miracle I came across the name Neocities on Twitter, and I was hooked. My website was up in just a few hours and... the rest is history. I've reconnected with the intense desire to create. A feeling I had long forgotten. The feeling that made me fill up a sketchbook a month. That filled my deviantart with drawings mand made me create every single day.
Redefining myself as an artist
For me, art means embracing a concept: a character, a world, an idea... And then creating things around it: a piece of art, a snippet of dialogue or writign, a short piece of music like a personal theme song. Maybe just a pinterestboard filled with things that relate to it. This process is so interesting to me. Maybe because I tend to get bored easily if I'm working on the same thing all the time. But I love diving into a concept and work 'the big picture'. Put interactive fiction, visual novels, digital gardens and games in a blender, and you'll roughly get what's in my head. The thing I want to make and evolve. The thing that is never. A combination of narrative, concept, collections and interactivity.