I’ve always been a part of what I consider to be an artistic family. My grandpa and mother are accomplished musicians. You know the sort, the kind who pick up random instruments and play them as if they were born listening to them. My grandfather grew up in the jazz age of Chicago, so I suppose it’s a given that he picked some of it up. I play a few instruments myself, but I wouldn’t consider myself a musician, just someone who plays.
This is actually fine with me. I’m more of a writer by inclination anyway, it’s a skill that has always been cultivated in my family. We’re artists at heart, all of us. It’s probably the reason that I find the new atmosphere and culture of creativity so very interesting. It seems as though we’re moving away from ‘ownership’ as a society as a whole and as usual, arts are leading the way.
Once my grandfather composes something then it goes away from him. It can be remastered, remixed, totally changed from his original piece and perhaps even his original intent. This transformation process is beautiful. Isn’t that as artists really what we all aspire to? To touch someone so profoundly that they want to take that feeling and make it their own. All art has the goal to inspire. But this isn’t happening in a vacuum. To be honest, it never really has. Artists communes may not be as popular in the physical today as they were many years ago, but online it’s turned into what we call fandom.
Fanfiction, fanart, fanmixes, all of these things are loud and pervasive voices in today’s internet culture. Creators who ignore these voices could be putting nails in their own coffins. It’s presumptuous, in my opinion for someone to feel better than those that they inspire with their work. Once something leaves me and appears on the screen it’s not really mine anymore; it’s been given as a gift. While yes, in the real world royalties are involved, I’m no longer in control once I publish something.
I like it that way. Crowd-sourcing and fandom is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever experienced. People build on each other’s ideas, share a love of a canon source and then make something else. That something else may turn into something entirely different once it gets going. It’s not something that is typically done for profit. Just for the love of the creation and the creativity. Nothing is created in a vacuum. You can make something so much better by including the community within your process. Fandom, for better or worse is a perfect example of the old artist commune spirit in action for this very reason.