This is a blog that I wrote a few months ago for #dirgeofcerberusclub, so if you're a member of that group and have read it already then I apologize for the double posting.
However, I did not realize that I hadn't posted it to all three of my groups. This might have been intentional because I am more lenient about the quality of artwork that is accepted to #LucreciasGlassPrison or #FF7-TheTurks, or I might have simply overlooked it. Regardless of whether my position has actually changed or I just forgot to mention it before, I don't think it would benefit any of my groups to feature copy art and here is why, as copied from this blog posting: [link]
Even though the group's submission rules state twice that this sort of fan art is of little to no value to us, I occasionally receive submissions of "copy" fan art. What I mean by "copy fan art" is art that is just a copy of a screen cap, official character artwork, etc.
It is often very visually impressive. Consider this, for example:
Is it aesthetically pleasing? Certainly (well, except for the god-ugly watermark, that is). Is the deviant a talented draftsman? Inarguably. Is it art? Yeah, sure, it's Tetsuya Nomura's art— and since Tetsuya Nomura didn't upload that deviation, I'm not really very concerned with it. I've seen that image before and frankly I don't care if the deviant can copy well. This is a group for Dirge of Cerberus fan art, not The Talented Draftsman Parade.
Now consider something like this:
Given the choice a hundred times, I would choose to add the latter deviation to the group's gallery over the former every single time. Is the anatomy perfect? No. Does the artist have a good command of the tools he used to make it? Not really. (And I realize the deviant is a group member so I apologize for being blunt. ) But there's an original idea there. It's a brand new image, a brand new rendering of Vincent Valentine that none of us have ever seen before. There's a story that the artist put some thought into: Vincent is holding the Protomateria and looking pensive. What is he thinking about? What is he feeling? We can ask these things because we truly wonder what the artist meant to put into it, because the person who rendered this image is the person who decided that Vincent would hold the materia that way and look at it like that.
The artist of the first image did not decide these things. Some CG artist over at Square-Enix decided it. We can wonder what they meant by it, but until they decide to upload their work as a deviation it will not be accepted as a deviation in this group.
Today in my World Art class, the teacher spoke briefly about art and agency and compared traditional portraiture to modern art in these terms, and it kinda hit the nail on the head as far as why I place little to no value in copy fan art so I thought I would share it with you.
The basic principles about art and agency, as he told us, is that there are three components: the prototype (the thing that is being depicted), the art/artist (the depiction of the prototype), and the recipient (the audience of the finished piece).
Consider a portrait artist back in the days before cameras. They would be commissioned by some noble or king to depict the client (let's say it's the king). The king calls the shots here. The king says, "I want to look like this" and the king is concerned with how flattering the image looks and perhaps whether or not it's a good likeness. The artist takes his orders from the king and draws the king as the king instructs. The recipient views this work and says, "Yes, that looks like the king. Good job. It's a very accurate likeness, therefore this is a good picture."
Now consider modern art. Pablo Picasso (the artist) asks you to sit for a portrait. You (the prototype) are flattered! You have some idea of the artistic process so you understand that it may not look like you, per se, but that it's more about the artist's interpretation of you. You do not tell the artist what to do, but instead trust the artist because you know that the art is more about the artist communicating than it is about what you want people to think you look like. Lo and behold, the resulting artwork looks nothing like you. In fact, it isn't even remotely flattering. We (the recipients) view the resulting piece and say, "This has a lot of emotion in it. Therefore this is good art."
So, what I'm suggesting is that the difference between a good picture and good art is that a good picture is something an artist renders with concern only about how accurate it looks. The prototype dictates to the artist, and the important factor is what the prototype looked like. Good art is something an artist decides. The artist works from the prototype, but the artist dictates what the outcome will be. The important thing here is the artist's message.
I am bored with empty displays of skill that contain no message. I will not burden the rest of you with such boring things either. I don't give a shit about artists who are merely tools; I care about artists who use tools to say something.
Don't be a tool.
Now, I should clarify something: The reason why I am more lenient about fan art of Lucrecia or the Turks is that there is much less of it than fan art of Vincent. In fact, my standards of Reno or Tseng fan art are closer to my standards of Vincent fan art, and fan art of the lesser DoC characters are closer to my standards of Lucrecia or minor Turk character fan art. It's a supply and demand thing. I figure with so much Vincent art out there, no one really needs to be spending any time looking at a stick figure drawing of Vincent. But with so little Lucrecia fan art, a stick figure drawing of Lucrecia might still tickle someone. (Fun fact: There is more art in the first folder of #dirgeofcerberusclub than the entire #LucreciasGlassPrison group.)
However, I still don't think the demands of Lucrecia fan art justify resorting to looking at uninspired copies of other people's artwork. Bear in mind that in either case (copy art of high-demand or low-demand characters) I am willing to accept some degree of "artistic input" as sufficient "inspiration" to accept a modification of copy art...but it must be a modification and not just a copy.