The DeviantArt Podcast | Episode 005: DeviantArt Holiday Card Project

The DeviantArt Podcast | Episode 005: DeviantArt Holiday Card Project


– [Crew Member] Hey Matt. – [Matt] Oh, hey man. – Hey, Josh isn’t here yet. – He’s still late? – Yeah.
– Oh God. – Oh God, I’m gonna be late! – When’s he gonna be here? (screeching tires) (thump) – Is he like, flying in? (tapping) – [Josh] Holiday Card
Project, 30 000 cards, we launched yesterday. (squeaking) – Oh hey, all right. Let’s get this going. – Finally, I’m sorry for being late. – It’s all good man, it’s all good. Hello everybody, my name is Matt Buchholtz and welcome to the DeviantArt Podcast. Today we are joined by Josh Lim. Josh, welcome! – I’m glad to be here, Matt. Thank you so much! I’ve seen all your episodes! (chuckling)
– I appreciate it. Josh, we’re excited to
have you on the podcast because you’re gonna
talk to us a little bit about the Holiday Card Project. But before that, I wanna know a little bit about you so that we can
share that with everyone. – Well, so on DeviantArt
my username is Akiestar. That’s A-K-I-E-S-T-A-R. Sounds like the phrase Aqui
estar in Espanol in Spanish. I’m the Community Campaign
Manager for DeviantArt so I run all of the fun activities that are usually not contests. I’ve done Pride, Valentine’s
Day, Dias Birthday, the Mental Health Journal
which came out last October. And all these other fun projects including the Holiday Card Project which is what we’re talking about today. – Yeah, you’ve done it all. And on top of that, you
speak how many languages? – I speak eight. I speak English and Filipino natively. Spanish, Chinese and Polish at some level where I’ll be able to generally survive if you throw me in that country. Some French, some Hebrew
and basic Japanese. – You are the Bear Grylls of linguistics. – I wish I was, but I know
that he can do better than me. – Now how long have you
been with DeviantArt? – I’ve been with DeviantArt now
for about a year and a half. I was hired in May of 2018. And it’s been a ride, really. I have enjoyed being with
DeviantArt through everything and it has been an absolutely
wonderful experience. – What’s one of your most
memorable experiences at DA so far? – Well, I would have to say it’s either the birthday
last year was really fun. The birthday this year
was definitely exciting. The Holiday Card Project last
year was definitely great. I enjoyed my many times slaving away in the old conference room. (chuckles) But other than that, every day has been an
experience at DeviantArt. I love working with the people here. It’s been a wonderful experience specially for someone who moved 8 000 miles to actually start working
at this wonderful company. – That’s quite the distance. So I wanna know from
you just to get people to know you but also to build
your mystery a little bit. Two truths and a lie. – Well, feel free to guess. – Yeah, you guys can guess
in the journal below. Don’t tell if you know! – I was once a Zumba instructor. I have been to over 50 countries. And I once learned to tie
my shoes at the age of nine and that was the first time I ever learned how to tie my shoes. – I have guesses as to
which one’s correct. But that’s also because
I’ve seen you in Spandex. (chuckles) So, let’s move onto the
Holiday Card Project now that we’ve built up your mythos. Why you tell us, like a quick rundown of what the Holiday Card
Project is at DeviantArt. – Oh, all right so the
Holiday Card Project is a long-standing
tradition at DeviantArt. It’s something that we’ve
been doing since 2004. Of course, there’s some gaps in-between this is the 12th year that we’re doing it. And it basically is the community creating
wonderful greeting cards, Christmas cards and the like. They send them to us and
then we distribute them to patients in hospitals in the United States and
throughout the world. We’ve distributed a large number of cards to thousands of patients in institutions, not just here in greater Los Angeles but throughout the United States and various different countries. And it’s basically the biggest event that DeviantArt looks forward to. It’s arguably bigger than any of the other community campaigns
that I have worked with and it’s always the one that
gets people super excited. – Now, I remember last year you were tackling the
Holiday Card Project. And that was like a lot
of man hours, like you– – [Josh] It was. – You were staying super late. What makes it so intensive? – Aside from getting all the cards in from all over the world, it’s making sure that each and every card is accounted for. We want to make sure that everyone who sends in their card
gets their core membership. As you know, a feature of
the holiday card project is if you send the card to us and you have your username
attached to that card on a separated sheet of paper, you will get a one-month, core membership for free no strings attached on us. The only string is that you send the card. We wanna make sure that
each and every Deviant that sends cards over
actually gets the membership that they deserve. And we account for every
single card that comes in. I spend two to three hours every Friday in the conference room making sure that those cards are not just sorted but they’re processed and in December when they actually start
sending the cards out, that they get sorted into which hospital will receive these cards. So, it does take a lot of time. I do get a lot of help as well, especially as December
starts coming along. But for the most part, it is something that is actually fairly easy to run. I enjoy spending a
couple of hours by myself in the conference room
counting people’s cards and seeing all the wonderful art. I actually have a few of them right here. – Oh, so for those of you
listening you can’t see these but enjoy a slight ASMR sound that Josh and I will perform of cards. (rustling) – That, ladies and gentlemen,
is the sound of bond paper. – Bond paper. – And this is the sound of card. (rustling) – Good job, Josh. – Good job, Matt. (chuckles) I like it, it’s a great,
it’s a really great thing that we can do for the community. Like I love just seeing
how many things come in because you have, I remember by the end of last year you had buckets
and like bins of letters. – Oh that is true. We have gotten at least a 100 cards on a given day of course there are days where you get 50 or you get less. But especially since our
community loves doing things at the very last minute we get
like hundreds of cards a day. Especially as December comes along. Last year we received over 2 500 cards. – Wow! – That’s a lot for a
project that runs a little over five weeks and each and every card is processed accordingly as I mentioned earlier. That’s a lot of paper to go through. We’ve had people send boxes
of like a 100 cards all from this one school and we go through every
single one of them. More often that not you have Deviants who provide 10 cards, 20 cards and only one username
so you have to imagine if it’s hard for me to count these cards, imagine how hard it must
have been for these Deviants to actually make these
wonderful greeting cards that we give out to
patients to begin with. – And the community does
really latch onto this program. I know that we’ve got quite a few users that really look forward to it every year. – Oh yeah, I know one. Jcoolarts asks every single year, are we doing the Holiday Card Project? – What’s the answer for this year? – 100% yes! – [Matt] You heard it here first. – And I will continue running this project so long as I am here at DeviantArt. I have committed to that. – That’s awesome Josh! Like, I’m so glad that you’re running this ’cause I know how much it means to you. Like Josh and I shared an office and Josh would work so
late on these things that he’d come in the
next day just like dead but happy but dead. (laughing) – Oh yeah, the latest that
I’ve stayed in the office to actually count these cards
I believe was 10 o’clock in the evening and I started
counting cards at 5:00pm. So imagine, these are buckets
full of cards laid out on the table and I would go through
every single one of them. Sometimes I’d have to
scrounge through cards and start over because I was looking for usernames that are missing. So it is a lot of effort. – That’s roughly 29 hours of card reading. From 5:00pm on Thursday to 10:00pm Friday, you heard it here. (chuckles) – Well not that much but I do try my best. This year I certainly hope to spread out the card
counting a little bit more so that as your cards come in, we’re actually able to get a
more accurate count for people. – Yeah, I know a lot of
people on staff enjoy helping you out as well. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about last year’s project
and how that went? – Last year’s project was the first time that we ran the Holiday Card Project since it was last run in 2016. That was the year right before
Wix acquired DeviantArt. Now that we had the resources to be able to run the project I was
asked by our wonderful boss to run the Holiday Card Project. – You gestured at me for people watching, I am not his wonderful boss. (laughing) – Take note I said our, so
I was referring to Heidi. She asked me to run the
Holiday Card Project again this year because we
finally were able to do so. We ran the project, actually
launched the project from our other office in Tel Aviv. – Oh, wow! – I was actually there
paying them a visit. And we decided, okay,
let’s run the project. We launched the journal while I was there and everyone was off to the races they started sending the cards in. And once the cards started
coming in, the momentum built. And you have all these people. Kids, elderly, students, artists that were professionals, artists that are amateurs,
people who create digital art, traditional art, poetry
everything under the sun. They made it, they sent it
over to us and I have seen it. – That’s amazing. And people, we distributed all
across the world last year. – We did. – What would be the furthest place that we were able to
get cards to last year? – The furthest that we got
to was Munich, Germany. We have a doctor who is a Deviant, who has participated in a few
other Holiday Card Projects and we’ve sent him some cards. We sent him I think 50 cards last year and that was definitely fun. He works at a children’s
hospital so you know these are going to little kids that are in the hospital
over the Christmas holiday so you know that you’re cards
are really making an impact. We’ve also sent cards out to
Canada and the United Kingdom in addition to places all
over the United States. If you think about it, since
this project was first run in 2004 and including the
statistics from last year, we’ve distributed over 30
000 cards from thousands of Deviants coming from over 60 countries, territories, cities, if you will. And you’ve distributed
them all over the world. This project is not big just
in terms of the logistics that’s required, it’s big in
terms of scale and impact. And it’s something that
the community knows that they can see a
tangible outcome in terms of where their art is going. They love the fact that
their art is being seen by people who may not get to see otherwise because they’re in the hospital. – It’s really cool, like getting
to hear so much about it. Especially from like your
point of view where you are so hands on with it and know it so deeply. Speaking of last year’s, what were some highlights of that for you? – Well, I loved delivering
them to hospitals. – Which you did by hand
like you drove them to the hospitals in our area. – I did, so I actually drove down in my grandfather’s 1990 Toyota Corolla with Delena Humblehills, to UC Irvine Medical Center
and they were so gracious with us giving us a
tour of the facilities. It’s a wonderful hospital
especially for people out in Orange County and they loved
the cards that we received. I also brought some cards
over to LECUSC Medical Center. For those of you who are not in the greater Los Angeles area that’s the largest hospital in LA County and it’s the teaching hospital of the University of Southern California. They sent us a letter in
late January of this year, thanking us for giving
them the opportunity to bring some cheer to these people who may not get it otherwise. And they loved the
cards that we sent them. We’re actually sending cards
to them again this year. And we look forward to
working, not just with LECUSC but with the other hospitals
that we’ve partnered with throughout last year
and definitely this year that they will receive more cards. I can already commit to sending cards over to Pittsburgh when
I went home last year we gave cards out to
Allegheny General Hospital which is that city’s biggest hospital. They actually asked us that
they want cards this year and we’re definitely
sending some that way. – That’s awesome. Again, we’re doing this this year in case someone went to the bathroom or like a plane flew overhead
and you couldn’t hear it. If someone wants to participate in this, what are the steps they undertake? – So we have a journal, the journal will be
linked in the description to this podcast. – Right below.
– Right below. But just in case, you can search for, Holiday Card Project
2019 exclamation point. That is the title of the journal for the Holiday Card Project. All they have to do is
create greeting cards. Paper or any other material if you will. And you send it to us, the
address is in the journal. We need to receive your physical cards in order for us to process them and to make sure that they go to hospitals in the U.S. and throughout the world. Now, there are a lot of Deviants who are unable to actually
print out these cards. They may for some reason
not have the money or they don’t have a printer or they are unable to do so but they still want to
create their cards digitally. There are groups out there
that will do this for them. And I actually want to
give a shout-out to one of these groups because
they were being so helpful with the Holiday Card Project
last year and this year. So that’s Mariah Mirelles and the Holiday Card Helpers Group. If you need your cards
produced and you are unable to print them out on your
own, she can help you. Check out Holiday Card Helpers, they will send your cards to us. – We will also have them linked below. Well Josh, thank you so
much for joining us today. – Well, I’m glad! I certainly hope that the Holiday Card Project
continues to impact people. I mean we’ve had people actually tell us, it’s so great that artists are
able to share a little bit. That actually came from
Princeskingforever. (chuckles)
– Oh sure! – And we’ve had another
artist who actually says, we’ve had people tell us this
is their favorite activity. I saw a comment from Sassycatssooocatty. That so with four o’s. Or is it Three o’s? Three or four o’s. That, this is their favorite project, they love how they’re able
to do this every single year and they imagine all the
smiles on people’s faces. This is the happiest activity that you will find on DeviantArt. Please, if you are able to do so no matter where you are in the world, no matter what language you speak, no matter whatever your
circumstances are in life, please participate in
the Holiday Card Project. We will welcome your
cards not matter what. – All right Josh, so where can people
find you on DeviantArt? – People can find me at Akiestar, that’s A-K-I-E-S-T-A-R, sounds like aqui estar in Spanish. I’m generally everywhere in DeviantArt. I run a weekly contest for core members called
the Thursday Prompt and I also run a bi-monthly
feature Filipino artists called, “Looking at the Sun and Stars.” You’ll see me anywhere. – Excellent and again you can find me on DeviantArt at Ggmattb. Pretty easy, G-G-M-A-T-T-B. – Certainly easier than mine. (chuckles) – It rhymes! So anyway, thank you
so much for joining us. Please take part in the
Holiday Card Project and make sure to like,
subscribe, tell your friends about the DeviantArt podcast. Tell them about the Holiday
Card Project, get that core. – Definitely, don’t forget, use the hashtag Holiday Card
Project 2019 on social media. – All right, thank you so
much for joining us all, bye! – Bye, everybody! (swoosh)

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