Here we go again. A dude is making a thing that mostly non-dude fans have been doing for decades so suddenly it has value and is worthy of attention.
And to make up for making you look at this with your own eyes, here’s some great research on some great fan art.
Fan art as activism on race issues
Gilliland, Elizabeth. 2016. “Racebending Fandoms and Digital Futurism.” Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 22.
Gilliland looks at fan art on Tumblr which recasts white characters from popular culture as people of colour. She argues that this practice is a form of activism that rejects mainstream media whitewashing and creates an ethno-futuristic space.
Pornographic fan art, time and desire
Brown, Lyndsay. 2013. “Pornographic Space-time and the Potential of Fantasy in Comics and Fan Art.” In “Appropriating, Interpreting, and Transforming Comic Books,” edited by Matthew J. Costello, special issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 13.
Brown looks at pornographic comics and fan art and how they relate to time, pleasure, and desire. She argues that in some ways sequential pornographic comics and single-image pornographic fan art are similar to each other and fundamentally different to written or filmed pornography. The still image stands in a different relationship to time to the filmed or written narrative. “[T]he pleasure of these works lingers across bodies in various states of being, frozen in time, taking a hedonistic joy not just in depicting the intimate, but also in expanding that category past any limits imposed by the panel.”
Fan art as fannish and industry history
Švelch, Jan, and Tereza Krobová. 2016. “Historicizing Video Game Series through Fan Art Discourses.” Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 22.
Švelch and Krobová look at fan art for video game series, and how it and the material surrounding it (artists’ notes, comments, etc.) interweave fans’ personal histories with those of the video game franchise and the in-game fictional setting.