Fan art is surely the ultimate expression of fandom—merging one's own creativity with that of a show or book or movie's creators, to create an homage that's as much about one's love for a work of art as it is about the work of art itself.
Game of Thrones, of course, has been the recipient of more fan art than most TV shows—fantasy being a particularly ripe genre for this sort of thing. Recognizing this, HBO has embraced its fan-art community for a wonderful campaign, tied to the final season, called "Create for the Throne."
The network gave 18 international artists replica GoT props and invited them to put their skills and creativity to the test—to reimagine them as something new.
The results are astonishing—surely some of the most brilliantly crafted user-generated content ever. The full collection will appear, beginning today, on @GameOfThrones social channels.
Below are the creations in more detail:
Artist: Jeff Soto | Painter | New York, New York
Artist: Simon O'Rourke | Wood Carving | Wrexham, North Wales
SANSA'S PURPLE WEDDING NECKLACE
Artist: Magdalena Kaczan | Painter | Cracow, Poland
QUEEN CERSEI'S CROWN
Artist: Mike Wrobel | Digital Artist | Tokyo, Japan
DAENERYS' DRAGON NECKLACE
Artist: Nicholas Brown | Sculptor | Belfast, UK
WHITE WALKER ICE SWORD
Artist: Okamoto Studio | Ice Carver | New York, New York
JON SNOW'S LORD COMMANDER CLOAK
Artist: Sarah Symes | Textiles | Highlands, British Columbia
DRAGON GLASS DAGGERS
Artists: Kris Kuksi | Mixed Media Assemblage | Lawrence, Kansas
BERIC'S FLAMING SWORD
Artist: Precision Neon | Neon | Brooklyn, New York
Artist: Robert Ball | Digital Artist | London, England
Artist: Lena Danya | Painter | Bradenton, Florida
Artist: Eva Eskalinen | Painter | Vancouver, British Columbia
Artist: Laurent Durieux | Illustrator | Woluwe-Saint Pierre, Belgium
JAIME'S GOLDEN HAND
Artist: Thomas Grabarczyk of Rextorn Metalwork | Metal | Wroclaw, Poland
DAENERYS' HAND OF THE QUEEN PIN
Artist: Victo Ngai | Digital Artist | Los Angeles, California
Artist: Julie Bell | Oil Paint | Allentown, Pennsylvania
DAENERYS' MAP MARKERS
Artist: Chris Shey | Wood | Lebanon, Ohio
SONS OF THE HARPY MASK
Artist: AJ Fosik | Wood | Portland, Oregon
The 18 artists were chosen based on their love of Game of Thrones and their preferred artistic medium. The agency paired each artist with a props that best matched his or her talent—e.g., Jaime's gold hand was given to a metalworker, Rextorn. Beyond that, the artists had almost total freedom to create whatever they liked.
Fans are encouraged to share artwork throughout the final season with the hashtag #ForTheThrone. HBO will select some more fan pieces to highlight on its social channels.
Flip through the gallery below to see another view of all 18 works:
The artists talk about the creation of each piece in a series of blog posts on HBO's "Making Game of Thrones" site.
For example, Welsh wood carver Simon O'Rourke describes the process of making the remarkable nest of dragon's eggs:
"Once the concept was decided, I needed the right piece of wood. I had a large stem of Yew in my yard, which had been waiting eight years for the right project. It's a beautiful color inside, and this particular piece had such a gorgeous looking outer skin. I had to change my design to include some of the amazing texture."
THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE
"Getting a lid mechanism to cover the eggs when closed, sit nicely on the edges of the wings, and not touch the eggs when opening and closing."
"Starting from the interior, the teeth inside serve the main purpose of holding the eggs upright, and also give it a dangerous edge. The scaly lid is reminiscent of dragon scales, as is the exterior fixed section. I chose to go with an organic feel, a feel of a mutated dragon.
"The random teeth add to this mutated feel and give a really edgy and uncertain aspect—which ties in with the whole idea of a dragon's egg. The feeling of danger is heightened by the thought of the lid snapping shut.
"Around this organic casing is the shroud formed as abstract dragon wings. This gives the feel of protection over the eggs and shows off the grain of the wood. The smooth finish on this aspect also has a good contrast to the scales of the inner shell, and the rippled texture of the outer wood.
"The ash wood carrying poles were a functional and useful addition, as well as giving an impression of a very valuable cargo. I chose stainless steel rings to thread the poles through as the shiny steel is a real compliment to the natural material of the wood."