Fandoms: creating art or fanning obsession?

READ : Fans of music, movies and popular culture are becoming artists themselves as they pay tribute

to their idols. But is this art or obsession?

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Blogs and YouTube have replaced bedroom shrines of idolatry as fans become artists themselves while expressing their love for their idols.

Thousands of stories, videos, music tributes or animation based on cult movies, TV shows and novels including Harry Potter, Star Trek, X-files and Buffy the Vampire slayer are published online on fan sites, blogs and video sharing sites by fans who love the originals.

Amare or love, is the root of amateur,” says Francesca Coppa, board member on the Organization for Transformative Works.  “Their work has tremendous artistic, cultural and social value.”

Kerrin Hardy is a fan who is making a graphic adventure game based on songs of his favourite artist, musician Jonathan Coulton. “People have always felt inspired by the works they love, and many people make new forms of art based on that,” says Kerrin, who also runs the fan website JoCoPro.

According to Francesca, the fan community plays an essential role in encouraging new artists and recognising creativity. “There's a real can-do attitude, with fans encouraging others to try, take a risk, and make something even though they're not professionals.

“The community values even inexpert contributions, because as every art student knows, you have to draw a lot of bad sketches to get a good one.”

Art or obsession?

These fan works in turn inspire further creativity. Kerrin adds, “I know for a fact that some people discovered people through my videos, and I hope that it inspired some of the other people that went on to make videos that I think are far superior to mine.”

But many remain sceptical of the worth of works by fans. “From an artistic point of view, 99% of all fan fiction suffers from a lack of creativity and maturity,” says Aditi Machado, freelance writer.

“They don't keep the original characters in mind and usually you end up with absurd scenarios. The writers tend to be obsessive fans.”

For this reason, writers such as Anne Rice have asked for fan fiction based on their work to be removed. Meanwhile, the BBC reports that many creators including J. K. Rowling (Harry Potter) andJoss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) have no problem with their works being adapted by fans for non-commercial purposes.


Next: What happened when rock group Nine Inch Nail encouraged fans to remix their music?

Previous: Meet the Internet stars (it could be you)




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