In January of 2006, I had this odd notion that a site where illustrators posted articles might be a fun place to hang out. At the very least it sounded like a place where I'd like to hang out.
Somehow or another, I got a few other people to think it might be fun as well. Dave Bamundo, Randall Enos, David Gothard, Don Kilpatrick, Mark Matcho, Hal Mayforth, Robert Saunders, Michael Sloan, James Steinberg, Nancy Stahl and Steve Wacksman were all willing to listen to this rather peculiar idea.
Around 2:30pm, February 9th 2006, Dave Bamundo bravely clicked a save button where no man had clicked a save button before and just like that, Drawger was born. About an hour later, Mark Matcho wandered in, clicked on a comment link and typed a few sentences. The first comment arrived.
The following day Randall Enos published the second article here at Drawger.
On Drawger's forth birthday, there are 7,632 articles here and 82,295 comments. Image galleries here contain over 10,000 things to wonder at. Getting Drawger started, I have to admit, it was a rather selfish thing for me at the time. I just wanted it for me, me me. Remarkably, it's now for thousands daily, because of everyone here.
A few memorable milestones (for me)
September 11th, 2006 - The homepage became a spontanious memorial. Without a doubt, one of the most moving experiences I've ever had. I realized then that Drawger was much more than fun, it was deeply meaningful. Sample of that day, from Edel
Monkey Song - October 2006. A completely blank post by David Flaherty got 151 comments. I try to derive meaning from this, but never arrive at any.
November 2006 - Enos published his first My Life on the Slanted Board. I hoped there would be more. There are.
January 2007 I notice a very real spike in traffic and wonder what's going on. I track the traffic back to a rather obscure, politically right-leaning site. The reason people were showing up here? To convince themselves that the "artistic intelligenicia" were suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome. It suddenly dawned on me that Drawger was having an impact. Until then, I thought we were all here just talking to each other. We got 50,000 unique visitors that month. 50,000 visitors is often a daily occurance here now.
September 2007 - Drawger is officially on radar as sites like BoingBoing (here linking to a Nancy Stahl show) and others start to take notice that something might actually be going on here.
June 2008 - Note to self: The most popular content at Drawger is Lou Brooks' Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies, with over 375,000 unique page views for the week.
July 2008 - Barry Blitt's New Yorker cover, titled "The Politics of Fear" just about crashes the server as thousands arrive hourly to send him hate mail (pro-Obama hate mail), even though his page here has nothing on it at the time. Fortunately for Barry who wasn't even able to eat solid food at that point, his email box was full and all that stupid crap bounced back to Drawger.
June 2009 - The New York Times refers to Drawger in print and then online, regarding Google's requests for free art in exchange for links. After getting an average of 10,000 hits per minute, Drawger goes down hard and we get a new server.
July 2009, Tim O'Brien posts Eyes, a portrait trubute to Neda Agha-Soltan. Visitors from around the world arrive by the thousands, we're linked to by sites I can't read. The portrait is displayed at her memorial service.
This is an amazing place to call home
A good neighborhood is made up of people who you learn to know and love, where you don't mind the guy next door throwing a trash can in the street at 2am, where your neighbor is willing to help you jump-start your car when it's 10 degrees outside, and where you don't have to lock your doors. To me, that's Drawger.
Happy birthday Drawger! I love you!