Basically I don't know what to feel. I agree that some of the arguments were quite valid in the sense that it is someone else's intellectual property and so to make your own profit out of them is wrong.
However, as a regular attendee at Australian cons, I've always appreciated fanart and have supported the artists who sold them. I've always believed that fanart is also an appreciation of the anime/manga, and if there is a market for fanart, and seller and the buyer both have enjoyment in producing/acquiring the fanart, then is that really morally wrong? Also, speaking from personal experience, the purchase of fan items has not decreased in my purchasing of legal merchandise to support the original creators.
I was particularly hurt by the comments about stallholders who sold fanart bookmarks and badges, which were 'crap' because apparently there was no effort involved, and it was simply there to make money off convention attendees who love the series and characters.
This year at SMASH was my first time in participating in an Artists Alley and yes, I sold fanart. It did not mean however that I put no effort into producing my works. I placed a lot of my time and effort into the fanarts, and spent a lot of money in getting high-quality prints as well as acquiring tools such as a badge-maker. There was creative decisions made on alternate clothing, colour choices and content. And overall, I enjoyed the whole process, and was very pleased by the people who liked my work enough to buy them.
Did I take money off them? Yes. Did I make a profit? No - I'm still very much in the negative.
But even if I did make a profit, is it wrong of me to sell fanart instead of giving it away as 'fan appreciation'? What about all the hours of drawing, costs of printing, of family members helping me cut out circles and the labour of making the badges? Are they worth nothing?
There's also the argument of: why don't you produce original art instead?
It seems to annoy many original artist that their works don't sell as well, due to the fact that the fanartists 'use' the established fanbase to sell their 'sub-standard' stuff instead. From a buyer's point of view, I do look at original works and appreciate them. I've also bought original artworks. I do believe it's harder for an artist producing and selling original works because yes, they do lack the fanbase, but that aside, if the quality of their works are good enough and they're passionate enough about their work, I believe that there will be success.
Also, as an artist, wouldn't you prepare yourself for the fact that there is the possibility that your neighbour's SasuNaru art sells better than your epic OC? Don't you look at the reality that fanart is out there and that yes, there is a big market for them? If you wish to continue in only selling original artwork, I truly believe that that is great and very admirable. But it's not fair to be bitter at the lack of sales because apparently fanart sellers 'sucked' away the buyers.
From an artists point of view, manga and anime has greatly affected my life and my love for drawing. To tell the truth, I've attempted in creating original characters, but none of them were to my liking. I pretty much fail in that category. I find my enjoyment and constant development of my artistic style through fanart, and found great satisfaction in being able to share my appreciation of the works with the people at SMASH. So if they were to ban selling fanarts, then my stall would be non-existent, because in addition to my lack of skills in doing original art, I also do not enjoy drawing them as much, so I wouldn't spend my many hours producing these artworks. (That being said, I do very much want to create OCs in the future when perhaps I've honed my skills and have gained inspiration. But at the moment - no interest at all.)
So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I really do admire artists who draw original works (I'm a fan of many artists who do produce them), but some of the comments and arguments in that thread about the illegal and immoral practices of fanart are probably a bit too exaggerated or one-sided. Fanartists aren't rabid fangirl money-suckers. So I for one, really hope that fanart won't be banned in Australia. It would decrease my enthusiasm as both a buyer and a seller.
P.S. I wonder if the US's decision was a result of the Otakon drama with Amuria and Ramy earlier this year?
And in other (more exciting) news!!! I'll be doing a student project where I'm shooting the cafe scene in Death Note. Specifically in episode 10 of the anime or chapter 21 of the manga.
I need a Light and L!!
If anyone's interested or know someone who might be interested (and lives in Sydney), please let me know! I need help advertising ...