Fan Created Art by Topher Adam 4/30/201

Posted by Topher Adam on

I remember when I was a little boy, I saw this advertisment on the TV. They asked if you were creative, and an artist, if you were, to call this number and they would send you a pamphlet test to see if you could create these images, one of them was Jimminy Cricket, and some other images. I remember getting this pamphlet in the mail, very excited and thrilled to show off that I could actually draw. I remember looking through this small pamhlet of images and started my quest to show that I was capaiable of doing these images. Where they mine, nope, but I was able to draw them with ease, did anything come from it, no because I was scared that I would be rejected and never sent it in. But what it proved to me was that my love for Disney was so strong that is shaped me and I would dream of becoming an artist for Disney one day. But the reality of it was, no one had told me I could be, or taught me to go to college for it, or to even think I could apply to be a Disney artist when I was younger. I didn't have that support to follow these dreams. But the one thing It did do, was remined me that I could create, and be true to who I was born to be. Am I an offical Disney artist, nope, but in my heart, i'll always be a dream imagineer. Because Disney was and always has been that place for me to learn from and become inspired by. I won't ever let that go. It's ingrained in me. Fact, always will be. 
Many times I am asked how I “Getaway” with creating Disney related art. I am not sure anyone gets away with anything. I am just doing what my heart and my mind tell me I should be doing. Fan art is a gift to these companies, although many of them do not see it that way, they see it as theft, competition, and a way for people to make money off an IP that isn’t theirs. We all know that Disney isn’t innocent for this very thing. Let’s talk about it for a second. Almost every Disney princess film has been stolen from the original creators of the content. Disney has found a way to wait for this content to lose its copyright from the originator and snatch it up, claiming it, then putting their own copyright on it. Is that right, it’s not right by our estimates but to a big corporation, it’s ok because they have money to do it. What’s original about the Disney Company is Mickey Mouse, and the rest of the Disney character brand, the rest are stories long told from Brother Grimm to Hans Christian Anderson, and many, many more.

Amazing article here to read: https://www.forbes.com/sites/derekkhanna/2014/02/03/50-disney-movies-based-on-the-public-domain/#5a67fb5d329c

So, am I stealing? I am creating fan parody art, meaning I am taking imagery and recreating my own storyline from these characters in places that you won’t traditionally find these characters. Is this their IP, of course, it is! Is that stealing, it’s representing the character that has been created based on the public domain that Disney has stolen. Who is right or wrong, well, we all know money talks, so by the account of what money can do, I am in the wrong by using these characters, but I am in the right because I am under the parody act creating these amazing tales of my own through my own imagination, and creativity. Each image is hand drawn by me, each story is mine, each concept is my own, and my own funny storyline humor.

So, fan art isn’t new, it’s not something that was created by me, it’s fans way of expressing themselves for their admiration of classic characters that inspire us: Fan art is artwork created by fans of a work of fiction (generally visual media such as comics, film, television shows, or video games) and derived from a series character or other aspect of that work. As fan labor, fan art refers to artworks that are neither created nor (normally) commissioned or endorsed by the creators of the work from which the fan art derives.

Controversy: Due to the nature of fan art, there are many debated facets of the topic. One of the most prominent controversies surrounding fan art is its validity as art at all. Some people in the art community believe that since fan art is based on someone else's original content, it doesn't deserve to be considered "art." Their definition of art entails that it must be an expression of the artist, and artwork that is derived from already-existing content cannot fulfill this. A counter-argument to this statement is that fan artists add their own individual style to the art they create. Although the concept may derive from someone else's work, the content equally as individualistic and expressive as any other form of art.[2]

The information below is the legality of “Fan Art” on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_art

The legal status of derivative fan-made art in America may be tricky due to the vagaries of the United States Copyright Act. Generally, the right to reproduce and display pieces of artwork is controlled by the original author or artist under 17 U.S.C. § 106. Fan art using settings and characters from a previously created work could be considered a derivative work, which would place control of the copyright with the owner of that original work. Display and distribution of fan art that would be considered a derivative work would be unlawful.
However, American copyright law allows for the production, display, and distribution of derivative works if they fall under a fair use exemption, 17 U.S.C. § 107. A court would look at all relevant facts and circumstances to determine whether a particular use qualifies as fair use; a multi-pronged rubric for this decision involves evaluating the amount and substantiality of the original appropriated, the transformative nature of the derivative work, whether the derivative work was done for educational or non-commercial use and the economic effect that the derivative work imposes on the copyright holder's ability to make and exploit their own derivative works. None of these factors is alone dispositive.

American courts also typically grant broad protection to parody, and some fan art may fall into this category. This has not explicitly been adjudicated with respect to fan art, however. Moreover, while parody is typically afforded protection under § 107, a court must engage in a fact-intensive, case-specific inquiry for each work.

So, am I stealing or creating my own masterpieces that I love and adore from the happiest place on earth? Many will say yes, many will say no. But the one thing I believe is most important is what Walt Disney would think today if he were still alive. I do believe Walt wanted us all to laugh, to love, to live happily, and to pursue our dreams when he created Disneyland and the Disney company. He has inspired me to be a child as an adult, and I will always have this love and fascination with the parks. I share a birthday weekend and year with Disneyworld and grew up believing that dreams do come true. So, I was born to be a Disney inspired artist, it’s not that I am desperate to make a buck off of the Disney empire or Disney corporate monster, it’s because I am desperate to be remembered as someone who creates art that inspires fans, that allows them to be silly, to laugh, to love, and to dream that anything is possible. I grew up believing that dreams do come true, Walk Disney taught me this, so, I create my art by the very foundation of Walt Disney, I am the artist I am with the love and admiration I have for the Walt Disney I grew up with. So, I will continue to bring my funny and foolish art to life with hopes that I do it with the same love and support I felt I was given when I was a kid, and still live with that child inside as Walt encouraged us all to do.

Some of my favorite quotes by Walt Disney

“Disneyland will never be completed, It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”

“Disneyland is a work of love, we didn’t go into Disneyland with the idea of making money.”

“Why worry? If you’ve done the very best you can, then worrying won’t make it any better.”

“First, think. Second, dream. Third, believe. And finally, dare”

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

“If you can visualize it if you can dream it, there’s some way to do it.”


“ all of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them”


“I only hope that we didn't lose sight of one thing - that it was all started by a mouse.”

“When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.”


“you reach a point where you don’t work for money”

"When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are, anything your heart desires will come to you. If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme. When you wish upon a start as dreams do, fate will be kind to you." ~ Leigh Harline

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