A resident of Pasadena, born in the Bay Area, created fan art for the television series “Game of Thrones,” placing his own twist by setting his paintings in medieval Japan, and has received acclaim since he initially posted it on the Internet. David Hollin created the artwork as a hobby and to show his appreciation for the series.
The art portrays the characters and scenes from “Game of Thrones” in feudal Japan instead of feudal Europe, where the series is originally set. The artwork displays Japanese-looking individuals and authentic Japanese weaponry to portray the look of the series in a different location.
After receiving much acclaim on the Internet forum Reddit, where it was first posted by Hollin, the artwork was copied onto multiple other websites and blogs.
“When I first posted the pictures I didn’t expect them to be that popular with the whole community,” Hollin said. “I posted them because I thought it would be a neat concept and only expected a couple people to casually enjoy and make comments. I had no intention or [preparation] to make them go viral.”
Fans of “Game of Thrones” around the country commented on his work, greatly impressed by the professional level of artwork in the pictures.
“I love the careful attention to detail regarding the feudal culture,” one comment on Reddit revealed.
The Mountain View Voice published an article about his artwork and printed a link to his website. After the Mountain View Voice’s article, Hollin said that he had an increase in views on his site, but otherwise the article did not affect his life drastically.
“My life hasn’t changed much after interviewing for the Voice, mostly because I live and work in Pasadena, Calif.,” Hollin said. “Since the series [artwork] went viral back in January, I’ve seen a bump in the number of commissions requested, as well as a three-fold increase in viewers on my blog (it was as much as 100 times for a day or two right when the images got picked up).”
In “Game of Thrones,” each of the characters has to create their own morality, where there is no set right or wrong, which is one of the elements that draws Hollin to the series.
“It’s interesting how there is no ‘good vs. evil’ and that every character is trying to make the best of their own situation using their own moral code,” Hollin said. “[It] reminds me a lot of classic literature like Shakespeare, as well as tales from feudal Japanese history.”
Hollin has one Japanese and one American parent, and he gained insight into both cultures from each of his parents. He said that his heritage partially motivated him to create a new take on the popular American TV series.
“I’m half Japanese, fluent in the language and also a dual citizen ––it’s a pretty big part of my life and identity,” Hollin said. “I would also say that it has influenced the way I perceive the world and make art, though this project was the first time I attempted to do a traditional woodblock print look.”
Hollin has been designing on computers since he was a child and loves the ease of using software because it better fits his needs. Using computer software for his designs allows him to move elements around without totally redrawing the entire picture.
“My parents used to work at Adobe so I’ve pretty much been around design software since before I could type,” Hollin said. “Although I have a foundation in traditional art as well, I prefer digital because it suits my personality better. I like to throw things together messily and see how they interact, and move and alter them until I have good composition, and then start polishing the scene. This is much harder on actual paper and canvas when you don’t have an undo key and entire shapes and colors can’t be swapped at the click of a button.”
Hollin is selling the works through a Mountain View based company and has had hundreds of orders from Game of Thrones fans. He sells the prints on greeting cards and framed in wood or metal in varying price ranges.
“As of today, I have sold 180 prints, the most popular print being ‘Mother of Dragons’ and the least popular being ‘The Execution of Eddard Stark, ” Hollin said.