FANART | KWEZI | 2017
WHY I DO FAN ART
Growing up I was never shy about my fandom towards my artistic influences, from Pepper Anne, to Dexter’s lab all the way to Dragon ball Z and Pokemon. It often manifested itself in fanart, I had flip files full of drawings I had copied from tazo’s or just from watching my favourite cartoons. This was the phase that would shape me as the person I am today.
However, as I grew up and began to have a basic understanding of myself as a person, I was often looking for imagery in western media I could identify with, for which there wasn’t any. The first version of this came in 2006 when a Supa Strikas comic book fell out of my Mothers Sunday Times newspaper. The issue had Vince Mashona’s imposing figure, holding Shakes in his hand, the art from that cover captivated me in ways that still influence my work today. Later that year the Annual 06 was released and with it came a 12-part animated miniseries. This was the closest representation of myself that existed in the same plane as my other favourite cartoons, which meant creating cartoons which I could identify with was no longer a farfetched dream, but a reality I later studied towards.
As a grown man looking back, the key pull-away was simply that I was not ashamed of what I was doing, nor were there any expectations for a retweet, mention or share from the creators of my favourite mediums, I didn’t have to answer inboxes asking “has Loyiso seen this yet?”, there was no pressure or social anxiety that came with doing what I loved. Recently, I have learned to view not just my own work, but work from my peers with the same lens I had viewed everything as a child, or rather the same enthusiasm we have when the latest Marvel trailers pop up on YouTube.
Kwezi is one of the few, if not the only commercially viable comic book we have. We have our own super hero, let that sink in for a moment…..Now get excited….the same way you got excited when you saw that Black Panther trailer. Now flood our social media timelines with Kwezi the same way Black panther did. It may seem insignificant right now, but this is how the comic Cons of the world were formed, an entire culture around pure fandom. It’s an incubator that facilitates cultural growth.
WHY DO I DO FAN ART? Because it makes me happy, more specifically fan art of local IP’s. One of my favourite artists, Jake Parker says “fan art is the highest form of appreciation”, however there are varying degrees. Being an artist of my calibre, I wanted to create fan art that didn’t mimic or copy what was already there, but I wanted to bring something to the table, add to the scope of the work and expand on what already exists. And that is exactly what I did.