Fan art has a long history. Every piece of artwork inspired by a story is fan art, from ancient frescos of still-more ancient legends through Da Vinci’s Last Supper to the explosion of television- and movie-inspired art that floods sharing sites like Tumblr and Pinterest. Today, a lot of derision is attached to fanworks, but they are, as they have always been, one of the most powerful expressions of the relationship formed between stories and their audiences.
For much of the last century, a focus on the letter of copyright law has made creators wary of fan art, but today, with the internet growing ever more important to television networks, those boundaries are breaking back down. And MTV is showing that it can keep up, with their New York-based art exhibit showcasing nothing but fan art of the hit series Teen Wolf.
Their original intent was to commission high-profile artists already admired by fans of the show to create promotional materials for the show’s fifth season. But the art they received made them seek a way to elevate it, and in the process, all fan artists. After all, what are they doing with their artwork but making a loud, declarative statement about the show’s impact on themselves? A gallery opening places it where it belongs, on a level with all other forms of art.
The 23 works in the show are diverse in style and media, and the artists were given hints about the future of the show’s new season, which debuts Monday June 29th. The show opened in an event on June 25th which saw lines around the block, cast and creators of the show in attendance, and six of the nine featured artists there to receive their due applause.
The exhibition is being held in the Art Directors Club at 106 W 29th St, NYC, and is open to the public on weekends. The works on display are by Carina Tous, Alice Pain, Jessica Short, Frida Svensson, Carlos Rodriguez, Kendra Wells, Swann Smith, Liz Swezey, and an anonymous artist by the pen name Indy.