Happy Moonday, Teen Wolf fans! We’re back with another installment of the Moonday Fandom Fix. Even though Teen Wolf will be moving to Tuesdays when it returns in January, we’re celebrating Moondays as long as we can by highlighting some of the awesome, creative members of the Teen Wolf fandom – artists, cosplayers, you name it – during the hiatus. Each week, we will check in with new fans and talk about what they’re doing in the fandom, why they love Teen Wolf, and what they’re looking forward to in Season 5B. We will also be including some special editions relating to interesting topics in the fandom.
This week, we’re chatting with Liz Swezey, a Teen Wolf fan artist from Pequannock, NJ whose work has been featured everywhere from Wolf Watch to San Diego Comic-Con to Times Square. If you think you’ve seen her work before, you’re probably right: she also designed one of the perks for the Parrish-inspired Hound EP Indiegogo we featured last week. We spoke with Liz about her artistic process, one of her upcoming pieces (which YOU have a chance to bring home at Howler Con), and – of course- why she loves Teen Wolf.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Photographer. Digital Artist. Pop culture enthusiast. It’s sort of my version of sugar, spice, and everything nice. I’m 24 years old living in New Jersey as a photographer and digital specialist for a market research company. My life revolves around photography and digital arts, and I couldn’t be happier about it – it’s what I went to school for after all!
How did your Teen Wolf love begin?
I’ve loved Teen Wolf from day one. Teen Wolf came out before Netflix was a part of everyone’s daily life and it really filled a void I had in my life for television with great characters. I scrolled through my tweets to find some of my early TW related comments and came across this gem from early 2013: “@dylanobrien in @MTVteenwolf fills the Seth Cohen sized hole in my heart”. The cast was so fresh and vibrant; it was really a breath of fresh air.
What inspired you to start creating Teen Wolf fan art?
I experimented with my “mosaic style” my senior year of college (2012/13) but got caught up in my senior thesis that I put the style aside until after I graduated. I was a whiz at Photoshop but had little experience in Adobe Illustrator so I decided to challenge myself and try creating these mosaics again. I was inspired to do the cast of Teen Wolf simply because I was a huge fan of the show. I’m a big Tumblr user and they’re always all over my dash so it was an easy decision!
You’ve created some stunning pieces – loving the bold colors and mosaic style! What does your process involve?
The mosaic style I work with is actually called “WPAP” or Wheda Pop Art Portrait. I found the style on deviantART a few years back. It was tough at first but once I found my groove I was able to experiment a bit more and I get better and faster. To create these mosaic portraits I need to start with a reference photo. These images are completely based off of the contours and lighting changes in the face. I trace shapes from the reference photos and fill them with color once I’m happy with my selection. I experiment with tracing over references images in most of my work.
What’s the biggest challenge you face when you create your work?
My original Teen Wolf fan art was based off of random images from the Internet. For various reasons I eventually switched to doing my art based off of screen captures from episodes. It’s harder because the images are not always crisp or evenly lit. It’s hard to make a portrait look like someone when you can hardly see the photo to begin with! But these challenges have lead me to create some of my favorite pieces.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of sharing your work with the fandom?
The best part about sharing my work is being able to meet people. Between meeting other fans, other amazing artists, and the cast I’ve met some pretty incredible and inspirational individuals. The second best part is the sense of accomplishment and confidence it gives me. In the past two years I’ve been an Alpha of the Week on Wolf Watch, my art has been featured in the Teen Wolf DVDs, in a NYC art gallery, on a billboard in Time Square, and used at SDCC as the featured art that the cast signs. I had always been timid about sharing my work, especially since it’s so bold, and hearing such positive responses is the reason I branched out and continued to make more work for other shows.
Which character is your favorite to capture in art? Which is the most difficult?
People with really defining details are always fun to create, for example if someone has dimples or an iconic hairstyle. From the Teen Wolf universe I love to do portraits of Tyler Posey. Between his beautifully crooked jaw and puppy dog eyes he’s always fun to create art for. The most difficult is anyone with facial hair. Facial hair can really change the way a person looks and getting it wrong can make an entire piece look awful!
You’ve also done beautiful work for other fandoms, from Halsey to Scream Queens. Do you have a favorite (other than Teen Wolf, of course) to work on?
I love popular culture but I really only create art for shows and characters that I love. My favorite thing to do is create series. Any show with a strong ensemble cast is always a blast. It’s super cool to do each piece individually and see how they come together when sitting side by side.
Can you share any teasers for upcoming pieces?
I’ve teased this Ryan Kelley piece on my Instagram but I’m giving you guys a different view. It was created for Howler Con this year and their Cystic Fibrosis Foundation art auction. It’s going to be a huge 13×19 print, and with Ryan at the convention I’m hoping he signs it so it can raise some more money! I’m going to post the full image once Howler Con is over.
What’s one thing you’d like to see happen in Season 5B?
I’d like to see Stiles forgive himself and open up a bit more. Talk to someone. I don’t care if it’s to Scott or Malia, or even the school janitor, but I want him to let go of some of this grief, distrust, and guilt he’s been carrying for the entire season. Based off of the teaser trailer from NYCC I don’t think that’s going to happen but a girl can hope!
Thanks so much to Liz for joining us on the Moonday Fandom Fix! We can’t wait to see where your art will show up next.
You can find Liz on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. If you’ll be attending Howler Con, make sure to keep an eye out for her and her work – and don’t miss out on your chance to bring home the stunning Ryan Kelley piece teased above!