An Interview with a Fringe Fan Artist
Meet Cheri Nowak (@CheriBot), a talented illustrator and vital member of the Fringe community. Just spend a few minutes perusing through Fringe fan art, and sure enough, you will stumble across one of Cheri’s amazing pieces. She helped the Twitter campaign reach new heights by creating icons to promote the selected hashtag, and she is responsible for creating The Fringe Event logo. Her work has even been acknowledged by Seth Gabel and Joshua Jackson!
How did you get involved making Fringe icons for the Twitter Campaign?
I’ve been doing Fringe fan art for a while, but I never really put it on my website (www.cherinowak.com) or really shared it anywhere. Last December/January, I started using Twitter a little more. I’d been using Twitter for a while just to read news and stuff about Fringe and my other favorite shows and movies. I would tweet out some of my artwork every now and then, and one day, I tweeted out a pic of Olivia and I received such a HUGE response! I couldn’t believe it. I had a few others in the works, and I tweeted those out, too, and I met some amazing Fringies in the process. This was right before the “Cross The Line” campaign. I thought “Hm, how can I help,” so I made an icon and shared it with @Fringeship (Kelly). She liked it, asked if I could do it in other colors, and that was pretty much the start of the weekly icon! I think it’s awesome that since then, there’s been a lot of other Fringies who make weekly icons. Every week there’s a small gallery of Fringe art to share all over Twitter. It’s great.
Aside from the Twitter icons, what other Fringe art pieces have you created? Do you have a favorite?
I have a ton of quick doodles, sketches and finished Fringe fan arts, mostly character portraits. I don’t like to draw them *exactly* like the actors. I try to work my style and a little bit of cartoony-ness into it. I keep all of it on my Fringe fan art blog : CortexiFanart.tumblr.com
My favorite icon that I’ve done up to this point was the one for #FightTheFuture. It has a sort of constructivism feel to it, and fits the mood of the Observer-controlled future.
As for other stuff, some of my favorites are the Fringie Birds, which started as a complete joke and they just took on a life of their own. One of my favorite sketches I did is of Liv and Lincoln- it’s pretty much that photo of the two of them where she’s holding up the award she received for saving his butt from a vortex. I did that one right after “Everything in it’s Right Place” aired, because that episode pretty much ruined my week and this was my coping mechanism LOL! I’m a huge Lincoln fan, so I tend to draw him a lot.
Another thing that’s a favorite of mine, and one that I’m probably most proud of is the logo and everything I had to create for The Fringe Event. It was so great to be a part of such an awesome fan and charity event. Truly once in a lifetime on all accounts!
I’ve also cosplayed as AltLiv a few times, so I made a Fringe Division badge and an earcuff.
What is it like designing artwork for such a devoted fanbase?
It’s a lot of fun, because you can put one tiny, little detail in there, and people will get it. As with anything I do, I like to design or draw something that I would personally like to see out there, something that I could be a fan of- in this case, there are a lot of people who feel the same way! I never intentionally do something because I know people will like it, though. That’s pandering, and it doesn’t look good on me or the Fringe fans.
The fanbase for this show is off the charts, I’ve never seen or have been part of such a huge family of fans! Like I mentioned above, the Fringie Birds started as a joke with @tribeoftyrones (Tas) and I about Lincoln playing Angry Birds on what was obviously an iPad. After the Lincoln bird, people kept asking “Are you doing an Olivia? A Walter?” etc. and so I just kept going! With the icons, I like to mix up character icons and typography based designs. I’m a fan of type, and I think with the right typeface and colors, you can really convey a LOT without having to add an actual character image, or very minimal imagery.
What has been your favorite moment from Season 5 and why?
Hmm that’s a tough one. It’s so weird, because this season feels like such a different show, but I love that it’s willing to take those risks. I’m a huge sci-fi nerd, and I love anything by Phil K Dick and this season has so much in common with his work. So from the hard sci-fi side of things, I’m loving it.
As for an actual favorite moment, it was in “The Human Kind” where Olivia talks Peter off that ledge of Observerdom- he remembers everything they’ve been through, and just cuts that tech right out of his head and comes back to reality. It was just so satisfying, and the way it was shot with the quick flashbacks- the moment just culminates in a great character moment. We know Olivia can kick some ass and is super smart, but I loved seeing her get emotional and using *that* strength to save Peter.
Who is your favorite character from the alternate universe and why?
No brainer here- Lincoln! When he appeared again in Season 3, I’m sure I’m not the only person who referred to him as “Hey, that’s the guy that got blown up in the season finale!” but he quickly became my favorite.
There are a few reasons why I love Lincoln. I found him to be so different from everyone else at first because he had a bit of a light-hearted, jokey attitude, but he took his job just as seriously. Everyone had crap they went through, sure, but he didn’t seem to let that get in the way. I mean, dude looked like what you find on the bottom of your BBQ for a while and still went out there and did his job. Secondly, his loyalty to his team and Olivia is amazing. He will do, and has done, any and everything for them. I’m getting feels just thinking about “Bloodline” right now. I also liked that he was the science, “Mr. Wizard with a fancy degree” guy of the team (according to Charlie LOL), but also a Captain and a field agent. He was also a sort of gateway to loving the Redverse in general, kind of like “Oh, look. They’re people too, just like our ‘verse.” Plus, Seth Gabel is amazing (duh).
Thank you Cheri for your beautiful contributions to the Fringe fandom!