For a good portion of my life, I’ve been an artist on deviantArt and throughout that time I’ve come across a lot of fandoms. These fanbases can range from more common interests like anime to media that is meant for much younger viewers like Thomas the Tank Engine. What I’ve always found intriguing about this culture though are the behaviors that seem to carry over into every fanbase no matter the origin. One of these behaviors is the tendency to create overly violent artwork.
It does not seem to matter what fandom you look at, because there is always several pieces of artwork depicting blood, death, or injury. Often times artists who draw these things have galleries littered with similar media. Even fandoms for children’s shows like My Little Pony are not safe from this wave of violence. From what I’ve noticed, it is mostly pre-teens who create these pieces, though I have also seen the more uncommon adult partaking in the practice.
What I have always wondered is why? Why do people have an interest in drawing Thomas or Twilight Sparkle battered and bruised? What is the point of this? From what I can put together, it’s a response to the artists’ lives. Pre-teens and even adults go through hardships now and then, sometimes for extended periods of time. In school, one can be bullied or dealing with emotional instability like depression and anxiety. Out in the workforce, things can be similar, and more than just those issues can crop up for anybody. Our society does not always offer outlets for people in less than comfortable situations to speak out. Therapists are expensive, and sometimes medications are too. When one has nobody else to talk to, where do they go? The answer is the internet.
It feels good to join a group of like minded individuals, and even if you are interested in something obscure or completely off the wall, you are bound to find someone who agrees. These people can feel like family to a lonely individual, and when one feels that their true family isn’t listening, they can turn to those they know online.
Now, is it appropriate to draw such violent scenes for the public to see? Well, that depends on your view of free speech. I do worry for the safety of these artists and the people around them. I find that often times, viewers will simply laugh at these pieces of art, and I’ll admit that I am guilty of this as well. It can be rather humorous to see a childhood icon in such an ‘edgy’ piece of work. What we should be doing though is analyzing the reasons for these pieces and talking about the nature of mental health. The country needs to have a serious conversation about what is happening here, because violent art can be just the beginning of a downward spiral that could end in fatal results for the artist.