I wholeheartedly agree with you. For me, fandom is a place for innovation, interpretation, and - most importantly - for goofing off. One should never take oneself too seriously.
Be it art as therapy or art as aspiration, I doubt two Colemance headcanons will ever be alike.
I think it’s important to remember: Artists from all walks of life find their initial inspiration in the realm of fandom. Many of us learn through emulation. Next is deviation.
For an aspiring artist, fandom is a blessing and a curse. You’ve got a community of people, some of whom may be qualified to offer you insightful critiques about your work. On the other hand, you’re working within a pre-established world. Some people are more flexible than others regarding canon deviations. If you’re a new artist, and you’re sensitive to that - Fandom eats your ass alive.
No two eyes will ever find the same truth in a work of fiction. No two artists interpret anything the same.
That being said. Some critics are attempting to regulate societal misconceptions, mostly in literature. I have a healthy respect for that, as well.
Colemance draws a diverse set of minds. The range of interpretations is huge, and within the fandom there is so much volatility - Autism comes up, unique brands of sexuality, countless other things. So many triggers swinging back and forth. People with the best intentions, watchdogging their causes. People with real-life hurts extending far beyond the realm of fandom who cannot stand to see stereotypes perpetuated. People who are already angry, and have a right to be. Things get messy. Fast.
You see then, my hesitation in creating a critique-free zone for Colemance. On one hand, I want aspiring artists with unique points of view to feel safe. On the other hand, if five autistic people point at something and say “This is Ableist,” I’d hope the artist wants to know. I know I’d want to know.
It’s unfortunate that these exchanges can’t always be civil, however. Blossoming artists are overly sensitive. People championing a cause are driven by the fires of divine justice, as-well-they-should-be.
The real issue then becomes writing/arting outside your realm of experience. Transcending bias, championing diversity. Let’s be real: That’s a lot to ask from a hobby artist who’s just trying to unwind.
And so you look at it, and you’re going-…For fuck’s sake. Can we relax? Can we just look at drawings of Cole and read some smut, please?
And so, my critique ban remains. On my subreddit of, you know, 40 people. None of whom will ever read this rant. I rest assured that if someone is offended, they’ll find a way to let the artist know without using the little reddit as a forum.