Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
Think back to a time when the internet wasn’t deciding for you. A time when you were scrolling on your phone, absent of suggestions, ads, or recommendations. It’s hard to imagine.
We live in a fully optimized world where we are consuming each other at an unhealthy rate. After spending over six years deeply involved with these algorithms of social media, Instagram famous photographer, Dave Krugman, saw these weaknesses and carved out a space “by artists for artists not beholden to.” He birthed an alternate reality to unite creators in a space untouched by large tech companies. He built Allships.
Dave, with now over 300k+ Instagram followers, has loved photography since a young age. Being an observer, he noticed in the creator industry that there was a major frustration in regards to mental health and social media. In a world so consumed with only highlighting the peaks of everyone’s experiences, this content hungry society can really take a toll on the mental health of those expected to provide such high moments. He recognized that large platforms prioritize “growth at all costs, and [those] costs [are the creators], [their] well-being, [their] sanity, and [their] ability to live an undistracted life.” Talking with Dave, he discussed the truth that no matter how loud someone’s following or splash on social media is, that volume doesn’t equate to the quiet beyond screens. Dave knew it was important to share in honesty that success and happiness aren’t guaranteed from a massive following.
Dave mentioned that “people don’t get weird on social media.” With too much validation dependent on the tapping of stranger’s fingers, content creation has become streamlined to a formula. Creators are now building their careers on platforms they ultimately have no dictation over and relying on the approval of strangers they’ve never met. The world lacked a collaborative space for artists that looked past competition, so he took notice and got to work. Dave wanted to design a world where the internet never peaked past his nostalgic memories of Super Nintendo, where optimization was never an option and creators could collaborate beyond “easy to digest” material. He would build an “anti-algorithm social club.” Owned and operated by himself, Dave made way for people to appreciate each other’s work at the speed it used to take aol dial-up to load, slowly.
Over the course of a year, Dave rounded up artists and collaborators to help develop this world that contradicts the fast paced, internet obsessed one we live in today. After coming across the work of Christopher Anry, Dave thought his pixel art would be a great match for Allships. If Anry commissioned a piece for the site it would perfectly evoke the early internet feel Dave was striving for, and Anry agreed. This, and his “serendipitous” meeting with Laxalt & McIver, website builder and designer, whom he fortuitously met at a coffee shop, gave way to the cyber-punk, anti-tech company establishment that is Allships, meant to “elevate” artists as “all ships rise above the tide” and beyond unconscious systems.
The incredible site covers interviews with other artists, Dave’s personal inspirations, podcast links and more. His unparalleled content ensures his readers linger longer than a quick swipe. Beyond the aesthetic of the artists, when he first chose who to interview, Dave was most interested in the humanity of each creator. Not one to separate the artist from their art, he wanted to shed light on net positive creators and delve deeper into discussions about who they are and how they work. Unwelcoming simple, “snackable” content, Allships is about exploring more extensive, stranger conversations.
After coming across the work of artists that caught Dave’s attention, he would then message them through DM. Upon agreement to join the efforts of building this creative community, Dave would go on to interview them through direct message. This unique style of discussion shines through as each interview effortlessly manages a rhythmic dialogue. Choosing to conduct his interviews through a newer technological means of communication, that being direct messaging, only adds to the juxtaposition of Allship’s early-internet theme.
After a successful launch on August 19, 2020 and receiving raving feedback from his announcement post such as “sounds like what we all need” and “this is going to be HUGE,” Dave has plans for expansion. When asked about the future of Allships, Dave referenced regards to food, philosophy, and music, not to mention the site in an app format. Allships will continue to branch out among the creative community and become embedded with deeper sectioned content. Accepting no comments, no likes, and no algorithm, Allships is a reminder that creating is about the community, not competition. Chasing people over profit, the site is an excuse to be unconventional and encourage curiosity. It’s a site that is sure to change the game for creatives everywhere.