Ten years ago, the track pad on my family's new laptop was starting to show a discernible white spot in the center, surrounded by hairline scratches, worn from constant use, day in, day out. We just had internet installed in the house, and I had been busy playing catch-up: Myspace, Homestar Runner, and a new one called "YouTube" (which I misheard as "YouToo", when I'd first heard another kid talking about it at recess, then "BlueTube", which could've ended disastrously for my naive self). Two of my other favorites were DeviantArt and Andkon. The first helped me start poking at a desire to be a part of something online, and the latter, the beauty of Flash games that could be run through in an hour. Somewhere in that time frame, I found Newgrounds.
I know it was a game that drew me to the site, but I don't remember which - it may have been Agnry Faic 2, or Newgrounds Rumble. Whatever it was, I clicked that "Sign Up!" button, saw it through to Mindchamber's artwork of Pico pressing his hand to the login panel, and was quick to lose focus of all those other sites for this one. They were fine, but there was something very different about this place - and I use the word "place" very deliberately. It was a term that came to mind when the 2012 redesign happened, where I likened the site's transition to that of moving from a homely suburb to the flashy, graffiti-laden, bustling city, but that's jumping ahead a few years. In the beginning, I got hooked on the RPG-like system of voting experience, blam points, whistle status, and more (who doesn't enjoy watching meters fill up?). I was always so excited to come home from school to get another medal to pin on my page, or see what the new game of the week was, or see what my favorite content creators were up to, whether they were animators, programmers, or musicians. The best part of it all? They were all just a bunch of regular guys, working on some of my favorite Flash games one minute, and spouting off cock jokes (90% of which were little more than "cock joke!") the next.
Seeing all that I did, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it, and make Newgrounds my online home. The site drove me to take influences from everything around me, and put them into my own art. My first few games and animations were love letters to the Newgrounds creations that drove me in the first place. I wrote my first album, Orchestra of the Zodiac, a hodgepodge of genres pulled right from the Audio Portal's listings. My first book, LOCKED, took inspiration straight from all of my favorite sci-fi stories at the time. Looking back at all of them, I could cringe at all of the technical flaws, but the humor and memories I associate with them still make me smile.
A lot happened in the intervening years. Life, mostly. I'd always kept in touch with Newgrounds, but haven't done much more than scratch the surface. I've been wanting for so long to really come back in earnest, and with a sharpened focus, I'd need a more distinct, definite identity (it doesn't help that LDAF already stands for "Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry", "Lower Delaware Autism Foundation", and "Libyan Defense Air Force").
Enter Intrapath. It was originally an idea I had for the name of a band in my teens, combining the prefix "intra" (within) with the suffix "path" (one who does). The summarizing philosophy would be, "unique juxtapositions for a greater whole." More often than not, that'll come from the realm of surrealism, bringing together things that exist in two different worlds, only to take on a greater meaning when brought together than when separate. The ethic of this aesthetic that I love the most comes from the different interpretations that people bring with them to the piece - I've had some really interesting conversations in that regard with some of my past works with a symbolic lean, and I want to carry that forward.
What gave Newgrounds that permanent spot in my heart is how I've been exposed to all these mediums, being inspired by the artists here to make my own content - animations, games, music, illustrations, and literature. This new brand identity brings all of that under a more consistent umbrella. My old content isn't going away, even if it's not representative of this new path - I can't roll my eyes enough at artists that delete their older work, just because it's not up to par with where they are now (at least on a technical level). How are other artists supposed to be inspired by your progress if the first thing they see when they sort by date is your biggest and best? Failures, embarrassing as they can be, make for such a great learning experience for both the artist and viewer.
All of those art forms I've talked about are vehicles for their story, an ethereal thing not tied to any particular medium. I want to dig into how to take advantage of each - the movement and sound of animation, the interactivity of games, the auditory ways of music, the snapshot-nature of illustration, and the figurative language of words. With that mountain said, I couldn't be more excited about this new slate, and sharing with Newgrounds what I build on it.