Salon Discovers Fan Art…By Men

Fans might be interested in Salon’s article on fan art: The most extraordinary movie fan art by Matt Zoller Seitz. Good stuff on display here, though it’s too bad that they limited the selection to movie-based art–and works by men, apparently.

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  1. Silvia commented:

    Very interesting and creative art on display in the article, yes, but I wouldn’t classify it fan-art. I read the article quickly, but it seemed to me most if not all of the artists cited work in the field anyway (or as artists).
    I need to think about fan-art and how to define it, I suppose. (The connection between being works by men and not what I would define fan-made may be significant).

    • ratcreature commented:

      Plenty of fanwriters also write profic. That doesn’t make their fanfic any less “fan”. It’s the same with illustrators. I think the only grey area is when people who work officially on a property also post non-official art for the same source. There are a number of female fanartists who work as illustrators too. And you see the same type of art posted by female fans as well. Things like poster mockups, covers, fake picture books in old styles…

      Like gnatkip’s HP picture book pages “Wonders of the Muggle World”:

      Actually a lot of gnatkip’s art is style homage as well as fanart, and that is common.

      Like HP Fringeart regularly runs imitation challenges where HP fanart is done as style homage to other art and illustration styles.

      Same for the fake paperback covers, female fans do those as well, like Hope for Torchwood:

      SPN as 60’s movie poster:
      more SPN movie posters:

      And of course there are countless of macros and the like. That fanart linked in the article is pretty much like any other gen fanart that is a bit style-oriented instead of solely character-focused, IMO.

      • fcoppa commented:

        This is very true, and kind of unsurprisingly a lot of fan writers are also pro writers, and fan artists have some sort of art background, and a lot of vidders did art or went to film school etc… That’s what made it so striking to me that the article was guy-focused. It wasn’t just that they were “professional” but the aesthetic of their fan art was more mainstream, IMO, than the aesthetics of a lot of female fan art.

        Meanwhile, Ratcreature, this is a really, really great counter-list to Salon’s! It might be worth posting this over there!

        (Take 2 posted in the wrong place!)

  2. Betty Anne commented:

    The article and the slideshow attached to it came across to me as someone who’s trying too hard to fit fanart “neatly” into the Modern view of pop art. I define my own fanart as pop art, but I also don’t find “pop art” (as an umbrella term) to be limited just to that found in the works of the 1950’s-1970’s America, which is what a lot of the chosen works and artists resemble. The difficulty in categorizing fanart is that there isn’t even a good definition for most art being created today – labels like “post-post-modern,” “contemporary art” or “new modern” are just that: labels intended to help people niche themselves. (Artistic genres are generally defined after the art era has passed, otherwise you end up with very old art still being called “avante garde” or the like.)

    One of the segments of the article I particularly took exception with was this one:

    But there’s a thriving subcategory that could be called “amateur professional art”: work that’s created by people with serious aesthetic and technical chops — graphic artists, Web designers, filmmakers or former art students whose day job has nothing to do with movies. The purpose of the second kind of art is much the same as the first: to communicate enthusiasm for, and understanding of, favorite films and filmmakers, and perhaps indulge the fantasy of being the person who’s paid to create the real thing: the posters and teaser sheets and DVD box art and tie-in book covers that you see in the marketplace.

    In particular, the use of the term “the real thing” rubs me as suggesting that only paid graphic designers in employ of the movie studios are “real” artists – everyone else is an imitator, or in their words, “amateur professional.” You’re not a professional professional until you’re under the heel of a studio or PR head who dictates what your art looks like and conveys. To me, this is the antithesis of fanart. We, as fanartists, create art that conveys our vision and our thoughts about the series in our manner. (Yes, there are plenty of fanartists who also are just copying manga covers or screencaps for kicks and to get e-applause from their friends. The article briefly touched on that, in a somewhat disparaging commentary of, “crude but endearing work that’s personal, private and not intended to impress, much less sell, but merely to amuse.” I consider it a separate type of fanart, not something less worthy, as this Salon article insinuates.) I’m also annoyed by the insinuation that “personal” art is intended “merely to amuse,” but that’s another matter.

    Off the top of my head, some examples I’d like to share with the Salon writer to muse over are:

    Art that fleshes out the original story: (Dragon Ball Z)
    Art that honors unseen aspects of a character: (Harry Potter) and (Dragon Ball Z)
    Art that plays games with a connection between fandoms: (Dragon Ball Z/Transformers G1)
    Art that parodies another media or idea: (Multi-fandoms)
    Art that idealizes/fulfills fantasies: (Dragon Ball Z)
    Art that empowers women: (Nintendo; Super Mario Bros/Legend of Zelda)
    Art that explores roleplaying/personalization of media: (Cosplay, Legend of Zelda) and (Cosplay, Saiyuki Gaiden)
    Art that picks up the slack of a “cheap and fast” consumer society: (Pirates of the Caribbean)
    Art that provides humanity to non-human figures: (Transformers G1)
    Art that fills the “classic” niche of portraiture of popular figures: (Looking for Group)
    Art that provides social commentary on media: (G1 Transformers vs. Michael Bay Transformers)
    Art that pleases the “male gaze” (classic female pinup): (Wonder Woman)
    Art that pleases the “female gaze” (boylove male fanservice): (Gaia Online)
    Art that illustrates: (Harry Potter)
    Art that romanticizes: (Batman: The Animated Series)
    Art that speculates on story/continues the universe: (The Dark Knight)
    Art that conveys mood or feeling: (Gensomaden Saiyuki)
    Art that re-envisions a character through a character trait: (Gensomaden Saiyuki)
    Art that pairs with writing to create new stories with familiar characters: (Doujinshi/fan comics, Dragon Ball Z)

    IMHO, there are way, way more forms and expressions of fan art than this article writer is considering.