I believe there is no right or wrong way to promote ones self. The internet makes it much easier these days to show off your stuff and draw some fans. Lately in an attempt to draw more attention to my brand I have included some fan art into my collection. For the past few months I have created a series of pen and gouache drawings and paintings based on the legendary game Mortal Kombat. I myself am a fan of the game and play on regular basis, though I am awful at it. Knowing the depth of popularity of that game and a huge fanbase around it I gave it a go at infiltrating it and draw some people to my art. Of course in order to stand out from hundreds of other artists that are also in the crowd I spught to put my own spin on the game’s design; considering the games notoriety for its over the top violence and gore I presented its colorful cast of deadly ninjas, assassins and mercenaries as cute and adorable dolls, like the Mini Me of Austin Powers nemesis Dr. Evil, or in Japan which is more commonly referred to as chibis. In doing so my once sluggish Twitter and Instagram accounts really picked up and follower count grew exponentially.
Now I am aware that fan art is a pretty sensitive subject in the art world; I am making art based on someone else’s creation, so it is pretty akin to stealing the other artist’s idea. There are quite a handful of articles online, not to mention those nagging voices of your art professors and advisors from way back when, that strongly condemn such practices, warning of possible legal and ethical breaches.
But on the flip side artists copy each other all the time. Even the great Pablo Picasso once quoted
Good Artists copy. Great Artists steal.Picasso
Maybe you are stuck in that awful artist block and look to other works of art for inspiration. Or you want to imitate the style and techniques of your favorite piece of art as a warmup exercise which you can then incorporate into your own original work. Or you worship the artist and want to pay homage to him or her by making a replica of their most famous work and just adding a sprinkle of your own style to it so you are not totally making a photocopy of the original work.
But that still does not excuse one from making art off of someone else’s concept. Worst case scenario is you get your @$$ sued to rock bottom or get locked up behind bars for theft or copyright infringement (especially if you are making big bucks off of it, which right now I’m not so I can say I’m safe from that). It is important for artists to make art that is his/her own so the audience can appreciate your creativity and take you seriously. I hope to one day introduce my more original art to the audience I have gained. Sure I can expect to lose about half of them when they no longer see their favorite MK characters in another wacky misadventures I have created, but I will not stress about that. I will have to find the right time and balance of distribution of my original art and fan art.
Until next time…