To my amazement, I really was inspired. Yes, there was the usual amount of stuff drawn by people who were still very amateurish (and I will be in that category, if I ever join Elfwood as an artist). But I also saw two outstanding pieces, both derived from the Harry Potter books. One is called Redemption by Erin J. Kluk, and the other is called Alone by Noel Dwyer.
Redemption imagines Severus Snape on the day when Voldemort is finally defeated, and the Dark Mark disappears from his left arm, forever. It is powerful, staggering, intensely moving.
Alone is a picture of Remus Lupin standing by a lake, gazing at what appears to be a sheet of paper--but in the other half of the picture, the artist shows us that he is in fact holding a photograph of himself and his three best friends from school--all of whom are now either dead or who have become followers of the evil wizard Voldemort. This is also a moving piece, and I thought very imaginatively done.
Having looked at a lot of Elfwood artwork yesterday, I wrote to Erin Kluk, telling her that I considered Redemption to have surpassed the realm of 'fan art' and become what I consider Art, period. I didn't write this to the creator of Alone, because, while that picture did in some ways make Lupin's loneliness clear, a viewer really had to know what had happened to everyone in the photograph, to get the full impact of the illustration.
This morning, though, I got to thinking about Art. And it occurred to me that a lot of 'great art' is actually 'fan art.' It is fan art based on the Bible, or fan art based on Greek myths and legends. But still, if you are unfamiliar with the Bible, does the painting in the Sistine Chapel of Adam touching God's hand mean anything to you? Wouldn't it simply appear to be two men--a younger and an older one--touching fingertips? Would The Last Supper mean anything to people who know nothing of Christianity? It's just a bunch of men eating dinner at a table, looking shocked, while the man in the middle points upward with his index finger. For all a non-Christian might know, maybe his dinner companions think he is making a lewd gesture.
So I am beginning to think that maybe, in most cases, art is simply art. Maybe one person's fan art is another person's art; I'm not sure. But it was interesting to think about, today.