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Friday, 3 May 2013

Fan Art, & The Problem With Deviant Art

Fan art is awesome; seeing good quality fan art is one of the things that motivates me to become better as an artist.

The general definition of fan art is that being of fan art are artworks created by fans of a work of fiction (generally visual media such as comics, movies, TV shows, video games) and derived from a character or other aspect of their work. Notice the word 'fiction', as in characters that do not exist in real life. I take it this doesn't include actors, pop stars, movie stars and other celebrities in the public eye. Yet I would argue that the concept of fan art should also include actors, celebrities. Besides the legal implications, where does it say you can be a fan of a real-life celebrity and NOT produce art such as drawings, paintings? Nowhere. Fan art is and should be also about works on art based on celebrities, as well as characters from all types of visual media and it is not done for monetary gain.

With regards to video games and blockbuster movies that have established characters and a huge fan base, it is rather discerning for me anyway to see the less popular franchises and series, not to mention celebrities have little or be it no quality fan art on display. There are a number of factors as to why this is the case, with one being not enough artists, who are fans of that particular franchise, celebrity or series. The other being the most popular and successful that series is, the likelihood of more and better quality fan art being produced and posted online.

Deviant Art is one website, which gets a lot of traffic but also thousands of artists- both professional and unpaid choose to upload their works online for the rest of the world to see every day. There are a lot of good and amazing pieces produced; even though the community on there is narrow-minded, childish, stubborn & consist mostly of Anime -loving fans & kids, who refuse to branch out & develop their artistic skills. Some of whom go to extreme lengths and make fun of and bash people who do realism. Yes attacking people, who choose to do a different type of art, that's so mature. Not. The amount of snobbery towards realism and artists doing non- Anime and cartoon work is frankly horrendous.

I had an account on Deviant Art one time, but deleted it because it just wasn't working for me. The other thing that bothered me was the increasing amount of bad fan art consisting of sex, porn, foul language, as well as the rude comments criticizing the person's art. Deviant Art is so poorly moderated. I didn't want to be part of that, anymore.

Another issue I have with Deviant Art is that unless your work is of a exceedingly ginormous high standard, well that, or just comprising of Anime and Manga drawings, hardly anyone will comment on your work, nor will it attract lots of views. I posted lots of drawings on Deviant Art and only managed like 6-8 comments and less than 30 views on each of them from other users, during the 3 or 4 years as a registered user on the site. I now make my work available on Twitter only - I don't bother using Deviant Art or other art-based sites to showcase my art anymore. At least the people on Twitter appreciate what I do and some take time to offer nice feedback and comments.

One time, I got a notification from Deviant Art telling me to upgrade my basic account to a premium one. I chose not to and thank God I didn't go through with it. Good thing I chose not to part my money to a website where it consists of trolls, flame-baiters, ignorant people. Oh and did I forget to mention that I read that many of the moderators of Deviant Art are members of 4Chan to name. Websites that feature porn and encourage racism, sexism, rape and Pedophilia.

The only time I go on Deviant Art is when I need to repin a piece of work onto one of my boards on Pinterest. That's it. I never comment, post on Deviant Art.

Art is about self-development and improvement. We all have to start somewhere.... but having trolls and idiots saying your work sucks or making other crass comments, just doesn't help at all. Which unfortunately happens a lot on the site. In the past 2 or 3 years, Deviant Art has gone from a website that cherished and appreciated art from people of all levels.... to a site that celebrates mediocrity whilst not acknowledging the efforts of artists, whose works only attract 30 views or less. 

It's all a popularity contest that if your work is not in the popular all time section, then in Deviant Art's eyes, you suck as an artist. Well, I'm sorry but that is what they are implying. 

A lot of those people are so immature in their years, they have little or no appreciation of art and the hard work it takes to create something that they make silly porn art or drawings, just to shock people. And worse, the Deviant Art admins aren't even doing their jobs properly. Because if they were, they would put a stop to all the offensive fan art being posted on that website. 

In regards to Anime, I like some of the cartoons and I don't necessarily hate the style; the good Anime drawing styles for me are the ones during the late 70s - early 90s. After that, the more people replicated this style, the less I like it. It really tells you something about the mentality and lack of maturity by some Anime fans who draw Anime, & who lash out and overreact when someone makes a logical and bold statement as to why people dislike something. Besides, why should Anime artists care what critics and us realism artists think? It's not like it stopped them from drawing it.

Besides, applying for a BA in art and going to art school with a portfolio of nothing but Anime drawings is not going to help one's chances, because (rightly so) admissions officers don't take too kindly in seeing the same generic style that is in every Anime piece. One may get away with it in Japan, but in the West at art collleges and universities, you're not.

Getting back to the issue of fan art and quality fan art; it appears that from what I've noticed online, unless it is a really popular and well known series or celebrity, a lot of artists don't tend to produce art for it. Which is sad because there are a lot of TV shows, movies, video games, celebrities, who are equally deserving of some quality fan art. I can't quite put my finger on why this is the case; whether it is to do with fans of that particular series who are artists and of whom can't be bothered to draw, paint or whatever.

When I draw something that is related to a medium, I don't ever think about the obscurity of the character, person or series. Or how popular it is or they are. Or the fact they are a Z-list celebrity. Fan art is about art dedicated to something or someone you admire or look up to, or show your appreciation to as a fan yourself. There is no point drawing something that doesn't interest you or you're not a fan of.

Fan art has become increasingly popular over the years, and with social media and the internet allowing you to view fan art, it has given people access to those works on their computer. Forget about the notoriety or lack of popularity or mainstream interest or success, if you enjoy the series so much or are a big fan of the celebrity or character, then go and produce work for it.

There is Facebook, Twitter, blogging sites, sites like Star Portraits for those wishing to show off their celebrity drawings and paintings, and Instagram. Therefore, why on earth would you want to post your work on Deviantart, other than the reason being it is the biggest art site around? The vast of people on there only comment on your work if it is either Sonic the Hedgehog, Anime, or if it is really, really awesome. 

Anything in between awesome, such as good or not as good in their eyes, and they don't give a crap about your art. But that says a lot about the community on there. 

And thus, was one of the reasons why I (rightly) deleted my account and left Deviantart. And it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I have no regrets whatsoever. 

You don't need the trolls, haters on Deviant Art or the lack of art dedicated to a particular fandom to dissuade you from doing so.
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