Fan Art

EDIT: Here is a link to another post where I expand upon/explain my thinking a bit more. Some folks found it helpful in better understanding what I was trying to say.

I spent the morning un-following a bunch of very talented people on Tumblr. That feels like a really weird thing to say. And it is.

It was nearly a dozen different artists in all, and they were all extremely talented. Part of what moved me to Follow them in the first place was their skill. In one or more, (often many), ways they were all much better than me, and beyond the simple enjoyment of their work, I Followed them to learn from them. And I did. But I was not inspired by them. In fact, I was eventually turned off by them.

They filled their blogs, in some cases exclusively, with unimaginative fan art. Adventure Time, Portal, MLP, Sherlock Holmes, Spider Man, Mass Effect, Batman, and MS Paint Adventures, just to name a few. All fine franchises to enjoy and consume in reasonable quantities, with a healthy level of immersion in their respective fan communities.But when fandom becomes all consuming it becomes repulsive, unthinking, and uncritical.

I guess what I’m taking away from this is a lesson that I’ve learned before, but seem to have to relearn every few years: Talent does not equal Creativity. Because a person is an amazing draftsman, painter, or cartoonist it does not make them an artist.

An artists, to me, is a person with something to say; an emotion to convey, a political statement to make, or even a simple, lovingly crafted story to tell. In other words, they engage the viewer in a conversation at some level, and if they are very good, the viewer walks away from the experience changed. I also don’t think you can really be an artists and be immersed in Fandom at the same time, because (again, for me) in order to make art you have to view the world critically. You have to constantly be questioning, deconstructing, and asking why other creators did AB&C instead of XY&Z. It’s a way of improving your own craft as well as gaining a better understanding of art in general.

I hope I stumble upon these people’s work again, in a few years, when they’ve had a chance to mature and have decided whether or not they have something to say. But for now I more or less feel like having seen one picture of Daft Punk, Sherlock Holmes, and Wheton making out together, that I’ve seen all pictures of Daft Punk, Sherlock Holmes, and Wheton making out together. :P