I’m not an art fan. I mean, I can be dragged into a gallery and spend hours admiring the pretty pictures, but 99.999% of the time I’ll look at a picture or sculpture and think, “Wow, that really sucks.”
A lot of the problem is the cynicism that seems to have crept into the industry over the years – people buy the pictures on their walls from IKEA and the Argos catalogue, and people paint what Argos want to put in their catalogue – but I suppose that’s no different from music or film: most of it’s ultimately rather crap.
That’s probably why I find fan art so utterly charming. There’s an earnestness about it because people are so inspired by what they’re evoking that they just want to express their absolute devotion to it.
[caution: NSFW after the jump]
My problem with most “art” is that when I think of art, I think of stuff like this:
…-ing terrible. That’s what it is! There’s just too bloody much bad art in the world. This is why I love Regretsy, because it lampoons stuff like this
… and that. Seriously.
Again, I’m drawn back to the adorable stuff by Maya Brisa on DeviantArt. There’s so much warmth and life to her scribbles, and though she can draw well, it’s her caricatures that I fall absolutely in love with.
I really enjoy caricatures a lot of the time because of the playful humour they express. It’s almost impossible for a fan of Oblivion not to smile at this.
The best picture I’ve seen for ages was actually the cover of The Economist last week. After I’d done squealing “BUNNY!“, I spent a good while really enjoying and appreciating every little detail on what was an exquisitely inspired image. I just love this.
I think that’s the key: when art is not for its own sake – when it’s made to make a comment, or express admiration, or to describe a dream the artist had, or for any other reason than “hey, here’s a picture: give me money”, then that’s when it charms and inspires me.
I’m not sure if what Christy does qualifies as “fan art”, because she’s a professional artist, but her hobby-work is always very inspired – normally by comic book culture – so as an artist drawing her favourite characters, I suppose it is actually fan art, albeit of a very high calibre. Either way, it’s fab.
Her sister Ghostgirl – also a game artist – does some absolutely brilliant stuff in her spare time, too.
I think what I’m getting at is that it’s not that I don’t believe that “good art” can’t be done by professional artists, or that stuff is only good when it’s done as a hobby, but that when something is done for love – paid or unpaid, professional or amateur – then it has a sort of glow about it that cannot be manufactured.