5th Annual Bolt Award
The Bolt Award is an accolade that recognizes an individual's significant contributions to deviantART. The Award celebrates such contributions and brings to light the exemplary work performed by its recipient.
This year, we are deeply honoured to announce that the 5th Annual Bolt Award recipient is non other than our Advisor in Chief, Josh Wattles ($makepictures).
Josh is the perfect advisor. Smart, helpful, stubborn, and kind. He's kind of like an army general, but with a great sense of humor and a desire to help always.
Please read this Bolt Award Winner Testimonial ("Testimonial") carefully. It contains points of praise ("Compliments"), and interesting anecdotes ("Libel") that pertain to the 2011 Bolt Award Receiver ("Josh"). Josh is also referred to in this Testimonial as "he", "him", "$makepictures", "moustacho supremo", and "our lawyers".
There are 4 reasons that our hero Josh has earned this Bolt Award: 1. The Skills, 2. The Love, 3. The Moustache, and 4. The Secret Ingredient.
1. The Skills: Josh can talk. Josh can talk about anything. Josh can talk about anything for a long time. In fact, it's a running joke that if you start talking to Josh about anything, it will go on for a really damn long damn time. The real truth is, though, if you're ever lucky enough to talk to The Moustached Wonder at length about any subject at all, ever, you'll quickly find that you have learned a lot that you didn't expect to, and that you've had one of the most interesting conversations you've ever had in your life. True facts.
Not to mention: Josh is a killer lawyer. He'd make Manfred von Karma quake in his boots. (that's a joke for the young people, Josh) I'm pretty sure he could sue me just for thinking everything I've written down so far.
Of course he doesn't like to be called deviantART's Lawyer. He's the Advisor in Chief a title befitting a nobleman! And finely earned. Josh is never short on advice, and is always ready to jump in with advice for every community project we run. Which brings me to...
2. The Love: Josh has something wonderful to add to every project or discussion I've ever seen happening at deviantART. Whether it's Portfolios, Collections, Groups, Profile Pages, Contests, individual articles, comments, anything Josh has something to add, and isn't shy about adding it he's an artist, an art lover, and community member at heart and he brings it all to the discussion table usually from an angle the rest of us haven't thought of yet. On deviantART, Josh's perspective is irreplaceable.
3. The Moustache: It's killer. You have to see it to believe it.
4. The Secret Ingredient: Sometimes Josh likes to act cynical like he's seen everything been there, done that and so forth. It doesn't take long to figure out it's totally made-up. Josh, even if he wouldn't like to admit it, is a total softy, and a total kid. I so much admire Josh's enormous enjoyment of life, and the fact that he's a stickler for mischief. I'm pretty sure half the advice he gives is given solely to cause trouble at the office. Of course we'll never know which half, so we gotta listen to it all just in case.
Josh also proves you can live to the ripe old age of 900 and still win a Bolt Award.
WE LOVE YOU JOSH.
p.s. Look out for the Josh-Pachunka Comedy World Tour in the near future, at a streetcorner near you!
I consider myself very fortunate to have the opportunity to interact on a daily basis with Josh. It's hard to make a list of what he means to dA but if i had to choose a few high level things about Josh and his importance to dA I'd start first with his passion, about the arts in general and deviantART's community specifically. During internal debates Josh always supports the rights of the creative person and keeps us focused on the rights of the user over competing interests. His intellect I mean, you don't become general counsel of a global entertainment power like Paramount without having some serious brain power we're lucky to have someone with his experience in our mist. Thoughtfulness it'd be easy for Josh to use his passion and intellect as a hammer in any conversation but he's always willing to listen to different viewpoints and takes the opinions of others seriously. Lastly, for me, Josh is an awesome mentor.
In the years we've worked together, I've grown as a manager, as a person, as an employee and am better at what I do today in part because of things I've learned from Josh along the way. In short, he deserves this award because he is a passionate, smart and thoughtful advocate for the arts and dA and we make smarter decisions everyday as a Company in part due to his impact all across deviantART.
Some words from those who know him best...
Each Bolt Award winner since Chris Bolt (its namesake) has been commemorated for making their mark on deviantART the community and the company for different reasons. Yet each has held a similar quality that staff at deviantART truly admire. As co-founder and CEO of deviantART, I feel a responsibility to all the co-founders, our membership, and our founding principals to not only bring people close to deviantART who fuel the notion of "deviantART Loves You," but also to commemorate those on our team who stand apart as examples of this. In doing so, some have paved a particular path and provided understanding for all our staff, and they've been held up as admirable contributors to our cause as a team. Needless to say, I take the internal nominations for the Bolt Award very seriously, as I feel they help year-round in upholding the very fabric of our community and team cultures what the "deviantART Loves You" mantra stands for. Without folks like Chris Bolt, Heidi Chambers, Stanley Sy, Simon "Pach" Murray, and (now) Josh Wattles, there might be ambiguity around what our team should strive to be. The only misfortune is that there is only one Bolt Award winner each year, and we have so many wonderful teammates to consider who I believe also embody the spirit of deviantART.
Josh Wattles needs no award or recognition to be who he is. In fact, while honored, I'll bet he'll immediately wish someone else received the award who is younger or more in need of a boost or some such thing. And he'll really mean it. His humble nature is completely disproportionate to his wisdom, and his emotional need to support and inspire the people around him is achieved each day at deviantART HQ. He genuinely cares to guide people and causes those around him to experience success, with the satisfaction being purely a life better lived, a person better served, or a soul moved into a state of greater joy.
His career acclaims are endless, and his fit as a member of our team is unbelievably fortunate for us. As a Copyright professor and General Counsel for over a decade to one of the largest movie studios, his history, when added to deviantART's complex landscape of Copyright and general legal matters, is a clear win for us all. But this enormous benefit is the least of it, for me. Josh's position as "Advisor in Chief" provides my office and the offices of each of our team members with an arsenal of experiences from a 35+ year career in Entertainment and the Arts.
As a team, we go to Josh for everything from important business matters to ridiculous and hilarious issues only a company like ours could come across. And he's there for us, day and night, weekends and holidays, years upon years, without any hesitation EVER. What deviantART needs, what any staff member needs, work-related or personal if Josh can help, he's always there to do whatever is necessary.
Through the past 11 years, I've had the pleasure of a first- or second-row seat to Josh's life. I've watched his kids grow up from when they were 6 and 8 to now 17 and 19. I've seen Josh transition roles before he came to dA, and I met him in the context of some really awesome discussions surrounding the legality of the MP3 format over Pho (Vietnamese noodles) back in the late '90s, when I was just a teenager myself.
Since then, the experience of building deviantART has brought me to all manner of places, to meet all sorts of incredible people that do all sorts of incredible things. It's cool to be the CEO of a top-100 website if not solely for the fact that you get to meet loads of awesome people and see a ton of awesome stuff out there in the world. I guess I'm just trying to build up my credibility so that I can say: from all I've seen so far in life, I've never witnessed a better father to two teenagers. I've never been so fortunate as to benefit from the wisdom of a wiser Chief. And I couldn't be more proud to understand what responsibility, duty, and dedication means from the vantage point of Josh Wattles. The honor of a glimpse of this view, granted to anyone who sits in his office for an extended chat (by choice or not ;) ), returns purity and love and understanding and perspective that sets youthful ambition on a path for good.
If I were to summarize Josh's presence in our midst, it would be that he brings more good to each of us.
And that, my fellow deviants, is what a Bolt Award winner and a great person is all about!
Josh, thank you for inspiring us, for caring about us, and for embodying the spirit of "deviantART Loves You" so gracefully.
Josh is our requisite long-talker. While I don't have to have official conversations with him as often as some, whenever I do I prepare for a talk that will take at minimum three times longer than planned. If Josh walks by and shouts "Hey Ryan can I talk to you for 5 minutes? It'll only take 5 minutes," realistically I know that it will actually take 15-20. They're not bad conversations, though. Josh has seen all and knows all. I'll usually go in to talk about legal implications of a project, and come out knowing more about post-modernist architecture. It's good to have Josh as part of our team, and his dedication to furthering the recognition and respect for the arts is unmatched. A big congrats to him. Had anyone else won it I might have thrown a fit.
On the heels of our Comic-Con presence perhaps it's cliche for me to refer to Josh ($makepictures) as a super hero but since he was an integral part of bringing us there it all makes sense! From the first time I met him, I knew he was a caped crusader. From his artistic roots as an incredible photographer, to his professional history of copyright law and defending artists, I knew he'd be a superhero for deviantART. I've had the pleasure of spending a great many years working with Josh and being privy to his incredible advice and wealth of knowledge, and I know, without doubt, that he's defending the honor of deviantART EVERY day. Josh is our personal batman and when I throw out the bat signal he's always there to remind me 'it's all Rock'N'Roll'. I can't think of a better person for the Bolt Award this year.
Josh is awesome. While he does a lot of complex work behind the scenes here at deviantART, it's really his super infectious excitement for the art community and this genuine love for photography that's truly hard to miss!
When deliberating over this year's recipient of the Bolt Award, there was no question in my mind as to who should get it. A truly unique person, in only the best possible ways, Josh Wattles is a jack-of-trades Advisor in Chief. As someone who has known Josh for nearly ten years, I can testify to his unwavering commitment to championing both deviantART and the arts in general. He is a true collaborator who is guided by the needs of the deviantART community and artists everywhere. Always there for his fellow staffer in every way whether it be for counsel, advice, legal expertise, a story, or a joke Josh is someone whose leadership and conviction add immense value to deviantART, online and offline. Josh occasionally makes reference to how the majority of staffers surrounding him at deviantART headquarters are younger than he is, but the friendships and bonds he has made with anyone who's spent time with him clearly prove that he's an indispensable part of our family, and why we love him dearly.
What can I say about Josh that hasn't been said already? Not much! Working with Josh is always an enriching experience. His knowledge, passion and commitment to the arts is something which cannot be beaten. Josh is one of these invaluable people who not only has a genuine desire and enthusiasm to develop our community in innovative ways, but he also has wealth of experience and stories to back it up. You can be sure that any time you engage in conversation with him, your own knowledge is enriched and you'll have a smile on your face. Congratulations Josh, we love you!