The Fosters is back and to celebrate one of our super talented fans is going to be creating a piece of fan art every day, all season long! Meet August:
August is a 27-year-old, transgender artist from Orlando, FL. He’s always been a superfan of something (the progression looks roughly like: art, dogs, superheroes, the Danish 19th century philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, Harry Potter, more superheroes, and finally, The Fosters). He has recently worked to create art for The Orlando Gay Chorus, as well as illustrations and the cover design for YouTube personality Ash Hardell’s book, 'The ABC’s of LGBT+'. He is very tall, very nerdy, and contrary to popular belief not actually a bean.
We caught up with August to find out more about his love of The Fosters and fan art. Here's what he had to say:
How did you discover The Fosters?
I was, and still am, a regular viewer of Switched at Birth, and I saw the commercials for The Fosters while I was watching it one night. I had the night off when the premiere aired so decided to just give it a chance. I am SO glad I did. I think I sobbed through most of it! If I hadn’t watched it, I think my life would look vastly different right now. That sounds dramatic, but it’s honestly so true.
Why do you love the show?
This show is very personal to me. It came out at a time when I was starting to explore my own identity. I grew up in an extremely conservative environment and I’d never really seen any examples of families that weren’t traditional, or even people that were part of the LGBT+ community -- at least none that would be considered healthy or in any way accurate. A part of me was terrified to explore my identity and I had held off for a long time because I didn’t want to lose the chance of having a family. I didn’t want to risk being alone or ostracized if I didn’t fit in traditional molds. When I watched the pilot episode, it was a watershed moment for me of, “Oh. This… is a family. This is a group of people who are figuring themselves out, but they still care deeply about each other. On the outside, it might look different than what I’ve been told a family is, but there is still warmth and love and teasing and hugs and pancakes for breakfast, just like any other family.” It opened my eyes to the idea that I could have that one day, whatever I ended up figuring out about myself. It gave me courage and hope and the space to explore who I am and it still does. When I watch it I don’t feel so alone.
What is your favorite episode/moment and why?
It may be little sad to be a favorite set of moments, but Callie visiting the Olmstead house in 'Now For Then' (S4E4) and then the continuing narrative of her destroying her project and having a talk with Aaron about her story in 'Justify' (S4E6) gets me every time. There is something so powerful about seeing a character revisit something that threw them in their past and try to understand it from a different perspective, and grapple with coming to some sort of peace with it. I think everybody has moments in their lives that they keep coming back to, that have affected them or the course of their lives, but we rarely get to see such a nuanced version of that on TV because storylines can easily get heavy handed or rushed. However, these were moments that came from four seasons of character arcs and story groundwork. It was heartbreaking, but amazing to see that kind of rawness and realness portrayed.
Which character do you relate to the most and why?
I’ve always kind of related to Callie the most. Like Callie, I’ve had my own self-sabotaging moments and then also moments that were just out of my hands, but I think I try hard to move forward with life, even if I don’t get things right the first time or get stuck for a while. I’m also trying to figure out my place in the world and how to accept myself and the journey I’ve been on, and how to give back where I can; which I feel has always been big parts of Callie’s storyline as well. I think Callie is far braver, more resilient, and more selfless than I’ll ever be, but that also gives me something to strive for.
How did you get started creating fan art?
I was around 15-years old and 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe' was filming. I was a massive fan of the books growing up so I was on one of the Narnia forums almost every day looking for news about it. At one point I realized that people had cool icons and signature banners because promotional images and photos had started to trickle out, and I was like, "I want one!" At first I was using Microsoft Paint to try and edit, but then I figured out how to download a free image editing program and starting messing around with it. I was really terrible at first because I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but I was also stubborn and just kept doing it. I’d always enjoyed art and it was a whole new method of creating that was exciting to me because it also involved something else I was passionate about.
What’s the best part of creating fan art?
I think what I love most about it is that it’s a way to produce commentary on something without necessarily having to use words to do so. Whether it’s creating a digital edit or a traditional piece of art, when you're making fan art you’re expanding on the original in some way. You’re drawing the attention of others to something specific. The colors you use, the textures, how you frame it, and so on, all seek to enhance a feeling or a mood you get when you watch or read as a fan and share that feeling with others and connect with them better. I'm aware all of that probably sounds so pretentious but I think that desire to expound on deeper feelings or messages or truths, whatever the medium, is almost a basic human instinct. When you think about it, humanity has technically been creating fan art for hundreds and thousands of years. The Sistine Chapel, when you break it down to its essence... it's totally fan art -- ridiculously amazing fan art that I could never hope to achieve in my wildest dreams, but fan art nonetheless. I think nowadays GIFs are just a lot easier to create and share than an entire chapel ceiling.
Send August requests for The Fosters fan art that you'd like him to create this season!
Got a favorite character or moment that you'd like him bring to life in his own unique way? Just tweet @TheFostersTV and use #TheFostersArt to submit your request to August.