What are You Laughing At? Fan art.

Kim Kardashian Naked Selfie celebrity portrait

Kim Kardashian Naked Selfie

I was recently part of a residency in London as part of Yinka Shonibare Guest Projects. The residency was called What Art You Laughing At, and we, as a group of artists, explored the power of humour in art. Here’s my statement from the show:

“I became interested in fan art after stumbling across and becoming absorbed in the worlds of Sherlock and Star Trek fan fiction on Tumblr. I believe that fan art and fiction are subversively feminist media – often sexual in nature, they involve women and trans people as architects, consumers and voyeurs of new versions of the stories and characters found in mass media entertainment.

Though my fan art is not erotic, for me at least it does display a certain vulnerability. While WhatArtULol is an exploration of humour in art, I am definitely NOT laughing at the people I draw – they are all people for whom I have a genuine admiration and who I find inspiring or iconic in some way. The humour in this series derives from the slightly uncool or dorky association with fan art, and the fact that I’m putting myself on display by beavering away in my studio to create celebrity portraits of my heroes and icons. Context is also vital in creating humour around these works – usually confined to the darker recesses of the internet, I am creating an unexpected dialogue by bringing fan art into a serious art gallery setting.

Fan fiction gives women and other marginalised groups the chance to subvert that perspective, to fracture a story and recast it in her own way.” – Elizabeth Minkel, New Statesman, 2014

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