I was told in class once that inexperienced artists that don’t yet have an audience are most afraid to collaborate with fans. And true to form, during class most people, myself included, came up with consequences of collaborating with fans rather than finding any positive perspective. Since that day I have been thinking a little more about what it really means to collaborate with fans. The answer that recently struck me was that people grow a thick skin to criticism, strong conviction for their work and get past their insecurities all together. After that I began to think of all the ways an artist can collaborate with fans. I’ll only talk about two though.
For literal artists, the best solution that I could think of was creating a space where your fans can actually try to perhaps make their own interpretation of the artist’s own work. There would have to be some kind of security though so perhaps any work that is intended to go within that fan area could have some kind of watermark or signature. This idea would need some work though since most people who follow artists closely, are most likely not artists themselves; or at least not near the same level of skill.
The second is something every artist does now and then but it’s effective and so continues to propagate. Fan art is not only a way to show your fans that you at least appreciate their support but also that you look at what they comment. Often at this point of the artist’s career they are already communicating with fans so it may only add but it carries a special sentiment. What fan wouldn’t like to have something made for an artist they admire? Well, there is Alan Moore who actively resents any popularity his work may attract and hates all adaptations of his work.