Putting your name into a drawing and posting it into the Internet is nothing special. DeviantArt, PIXIV and numerous other sites had their glory days some years ago, even thou the userbase in these sites keeps growing day by day. Yours truly too has an old account in DA but let’s not get into that.
Generally speaking using an artist name and holding that persona while showcasing your artwork is easy. You out it up, people see it, some may favourite it, some may comment it and some may eve download it. But that particular image won’t ever change its origin, or neither does its name. Some may steal it and repost it somewhere else for three or four people to see and that’s that. It’s somewhat clinically clean operation and stays so. In the end, you have all the power to your picture (that you most likely watermarked as well) until somebody steals or traces it.
What about if you release a picture without a name somewhere only for few people to see? Then you’d see it again somewhere else. And again. And again. And again.
I’m not talking about meme creation or anything as stupid and childish. I’m talking real work of art that you have lost all control over. People take interest in this image, find their own meaning behind it and add their own emotion to it, and they also might change it. It’s not clinically clean, as the same file suddenly might have numerous different names; RinGrave.jpg, BadEnd.jpg, TrueEndToAllRoutes.jpg, GraveTears.jpg or even 1326451374.jpg.
And then it might hit you; the image you’ve lost control off has become more popular and most viewed image you’ve ever done. NOBODY knows your name or where it came. The image just exists and exists in different form to every person there who sees it. For the first time you’ve actually might have done something that people actually find interesting, and not the DA or PIXIV way where rabid fanbase likes and adds every picture of Sephiroth or some other brooding asshole to their collection. No, this time this picture you let go has actually become more than you even knew.
Few moments later you’ll realize how shoddy work it is. The lines are all off. The faces might’ve been better. The dialogue could have had some more thought into them. The font could’ve been better. Actually, the whole thing could’ve been better.
It doesn’t matter any more how much you’d contemplate the matter. It’s out there. People will see the same errors and bad lines, but the same people will see the values and strokes you never could see. It’s perhaps an anonymous artwork, but most at times it works for the better. No name attached, no explanations, no nothing. Just the picture and what it means. In a way, you’ve created an Internet graffiti, a picture that is there, and perhaps you and few other people know how has drawn it.
Very few people in general ever get popular or find work in DA or similar. People who actually work with certain companies post their images at said sites, but majority of their success comes from their portfolios and real life work they’ve done. UDON actually has their own DA account, in which variety of artists working with them post their pictures. The guy who worked with Mega Man Zero games has an account in PIXIV but barely posts anything. He also works in comics at Comic Markets and has his own website, so PIXIV’s the least of his worries.
With anonymous artwork you won’t make a name yourself, but you can bring something special to people if the time and your picture is right. Actually, this method is one way to become a professional artist, as you can test the waters on what the audience wants and likes. After decent amount of testing you might find that one particular thing the audience likes and then tag it with your name. However, most artists won’t dot his because it demands work.
It’s an interesting phenomena overall. There’s more positive input and actual discussion on anonymous artwork than on named pieces in general. Most of them are hidden from the general view or from the “hi-end” subcultures of the Internet. Most of these images stop circulating pretty soon, but some get stuck and never really die down and some attain a sort of cultural status. Well, as cultural status you can get in the Internet.