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Mike Williams
Mike Williams

10 Pieces of Fan Art that Ask “What If Things Ended Differently?”

Mike Williams
Mike Williams

We live in an era of fan fiction, when it's all too common for people to imagine and describe how their favorite characters could have ended up—and that impulse stretches to art. Here are a few of our favorite alternate endings to great pop culture tales as imagined by artists, many of which were part of the Bottleneck Gallery’s “Alternate Ending” art show.

So without further ado, I ask you to explore “What if."

1. Classic Disney Films: The Villains Won

Justin Turrentine has created a number of artworks based on some of the most classic Disney films, but perhaps his most thought-provoking works are those that ask, “what if the bad guys won?” In the series, you see Gaston posed with Beast’s head on a wall and a portrait of him and Belle together; Ursula sitting down for a feast of Flounder, Sebastian, and Scuttle; Cinderella’s sisters sporting glass slippers; and more.

2. Batman: Bruce’s Parents Weren’t Killed in a Mugging

No, Daniel Irizarri doesn’t explore what would happen if Bruce Wayne’s parents survived, because then Batman just wouldn’t exist. Instead, he explores what if Batman’s parents died in different ways, causing him to take vengeance on something other than criminals. He questions if he might become a vigilante designated driver if they were struck by a drunk driver; if he might instead be Captain Planet if they were killed by pollution; if he would attack fast food if they died from high cholesterol; and, of course, what might happen if they were plagued by colon cancer.

3. Star Wars: Anakin Didn’t Go to the Dark Side

To be fair, if Darth Vader never “killed” Anakin, then the best Star Wars movies never would have happened and no one would even care about the series. But, if DeviantArt user Castellani’s version of the story happened and Anakin never turned evil, one family in the galaxy would be drastically happier.

4. Se7en: John Doe Put Something Good in the Box for Detective Mills

Serial killer John Doe still might not have the happy ending Andres Lozano Martin shows after Doe already killed five people, but without playing the role of “Envy” and pushing Detective David Mills into killing him, and thus taking on the sin of “Wrath,” Se7en certainly wouldn’t have had such a dark ending—and Mills would sure be a lot better off.

5. Pretty in Pink: Andie Walsh Went for Duckie

As someone who always hated that Pretty in Pink ended with Andie choosing the rich guy over sweet-hearted Duckie, I love Darshana Pathak’s embroidery showing what Andie should have done.

6. Dumb and Dumber: Lloyd and Harry Agreed to Be Oil Boys

If they were just slightly less dumb, or if the bikini team specifically asked Lloyd and Harry to be their oil boys rather than hinting that's what they wanted, then this could have been the real ending, not just a great image by Greg Puglese.

7. King Kong: Kong’s Trip Went Well

Of course an angry wild ape would go wild and cause mayhem and destruction if he was forcefully captured and transported to New York, but what if he was treated more cordially and the journey was more of a vacation? Mike Williams imagines what would happen if Kong got to enjoy New York like any other tourist.

8. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: Frank Shirley Did Press Charges

Sure, Frank Shirley should have warned his employees not to expect a Christmas bonus, but that still doesn’t excuse kidnapping, and Paul Ainsworth shows how Clark and Eddie’s holiday would have ended if they pulled this stunt in the real world.

9. The Dark Knight Rises: Gotham Was In Ashes

My question is, if Rob Loukotka’s ending really happened and Batman finally had Bane’s permission to die, would he do so right away? And if so, would it be through suicide, murder, or just because the hero finally gave up the will to live?

10. Comic Books: Companies Sponsored Superheroes

Roberto Vergati Santos’ “what if” might not be an alternate ending like many of the other artworks on this list, but it seems the most realistic if any of these tales actually took place in our world. After all, while Iron Man and Batman might have the funds to support their own labs and keep improving their equipment, Hawk Eye, Bruce Banner, the X-Men, and many more could certainly benefit from the increased funds corporate sponsorship could bring them—and you know Coca Cola, Monster, Microsoft and other major companies would jump at the chance to put their brand names all over superhero uniforms.

Personally, I’d like to know what would happen if one of the boys in Weird Science stayed with Lisa, but I guess they tried to answer that one in the terrible TV show based on the movie. What about you guys, are there any stories you’d like to see end in a different manner?

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A Secret Room Full of Michelangelo's Sketches Will Soon Open in Florence
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images

Parents all over the world have chastised their children for drawing on the walls. But when you're Michelangelo, you've got some leeway. According to The Local, the Medici Chapels, part of the Bargello museum in Florence, Italy, has announced that it plans to open a largely unseen room full of the artist's sketches to the public by 2020.

Roughly 40 years ago, curators of the chapels at the Basilica di San Lorenzo had a very Dan Brown moment when they discovered a trap door in a wardrobe leading to an underground room that appeared to have works from Michelangelo covering its walls. The tiny retreat is thought to be a place where the artist hid out in 1530 after upsetting the Medicis—his patrons—by joining a revolt against their control of Florence. While in self-imposed exile for several months, he apparently spent his time drawing on whatever surfaces were available.

A drawing by Michelangelo under the Medici Chapels in Florence
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images

Museum officials previously believed the room and the charcoal drawings were too fragile to risk visitors, but have since had a change of heart, leading to their plan to renovate the building and create new attractions. While not all of the work is thought to be attributable to the famed artist, there's enough of it in the subterranean chamber—including drawings of Jesus and even recreations of portions of the Sistine Chapel—to make a trip worthwhile.

[h/t The Local]

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15 Things You Should Know About Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe’s enchanting floral still lifes are now a deeply ingrained part of American culture—so much so that they often eclipse her other colorful accomplishments. For a more complete portrait of the artist, who was born 130 years ago today, brush up on these 15 little-known facts about her.

1. FLOWER PAINTINGS MAKE UP A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF O'KEEFFE'S BODY OF WORK.

Though O'Keeffe is most famous for her lovingly rendered close-ups of flowers—like Black Iris and Oriental Poppies—these make up just about 200 of her 2000-plus paintings. The rest primarily depict landscapes, leaves, rocks, shells, and bones.

2. SHE REJECTED SEXUAL INTERPRETATIONS OF HER PAINTINGS.

For decades, critics assumed that O'Keeffe's flowers were intended as homages—or at the very least, allusions—to the female form. But in 1943, she insisted that they had it all wrong, saying, “Well—I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flowers you hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower—and I don’t.” So there.

3. SHE WAS NOT A NATIVE OF THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST.


Joe Raedle/Getty Images

O'Keeffe was actually born on a Wisconsin dairy farm. She'd go on to live in Chicago; New York City; New York’s Lake George; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Amarillo, Texas. She first visited New Mexico in 1917, and as she grew older, her trips there became more and more frequent. Following the death of her husband in 1946, she moved to New Mexico permanently.

4. HER FAVORITE STUDIO WAS THE BACKSEAT OF A MODEL-A FORD.

In an interview with C-SPAN, Carolyn Kastner, curator of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, explained how the artist customized her car for this use: "She would remove the driver's seat. Then she would unbolt the passenger car, turn it around to face the back seat. Then she would lay the canvas on the back seat as an easel and paint inside her Model-A Ford."

Painting inside the car allowed O'Keeffe to stay out of the unrelenting desert sun, where she painted many of her later works. The Model-A also provided a barrier from the bees that would gather as the day wore on.

5. O'KEEFFE ALSO PAINTED SKYSCRAPERS.

While nature was her main source of inspiration, the time she spent in 1920s Manhattan spurred the creation of surreal efforts like New York With Moon, City Night and The Shelton with Sunspots.

6. O'KEEFFE IMMERSED HERSELF IN NATURE ...

While in New Mexico O’Keeffe spent summers and falls at her Ghost Ranch, putting up with the region's hottest, most stifling days in order to capture its most vivid colors. (The rest of the year she stayed at her second home, located in the small town of Abiquiu.) When she wasn't painting in her Model-A, O'Keeffe often camped out in the harsh surrounding terrain, to keep close to the landscapes that inspired her.

7. …WHATEVER THE WEATHER.

The artist would rig up tents from tarps, contend with unrelenting downpours, and paint with gloves on when it got too cold. She went camping well into her 70s and enjoyed a well-documented rafting trip with photographer Todd Webb at age 74. Her camping equipment is occasionally exhibited at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe.

8. SHE MARRIED THE MAN BEHIND HER FIRST GALLERY SHOW.

"At last, a woman on paper!" That’s what modernist photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz cried when he first saw O'Keeffe's abstract charcoal drawings. He was so enthusiastic about this series of sketches that he put them on display—before consulting their creator.

When O'Keeffe arrived at his gallery, she wasn't pleased, and brusquely introduced herself: "I am Georgia O'Keeffe and you will have to take these pictures down." Despite their rocky beginnings, Stieglitz and O'Keeffe quickly made amends, and went on to become partners in art and in life.

9. O'KEEFFE AND STIEGLITZ WROTE 25,000 PAGES OF LOVE LETTERS TO EACH OTHER.

When the pair met in 1916, he was famous and married; she was unknown and 23 years his junior. All the same, they began writing to each other often (sometimes two or three times a day) and at length (as many as 40 pages at a time). These preserved writings chart the progression of their romance—from flirtation to affair to their marriage in 1924—and even document their marital struggles.

10. SHE SERVED AS A MUSE TO OTHER ARTISTS.

Thanks in part to Stieglitz, O'Keeffe was one of the most photographed women of the 20th century. Stieglitz made O'Keeffe the subject of a long-term series of portraits meant to capture individuals as they aged, and she made for a striking model. Though he died in 1946, the project lived on as other photographers sought out O'Keeffe in order to capture the beloved artist against the harsh New Mexican landscapes she loved so dearly.

O'Keeffe later wrote:

When I look over the photographs Stieglitz took of me—some of them more than sixty years ago—I wonder who that person is. It is as if in my one life I have lived many lives. If the person in the photographs were living in this world today, she would be quite a different person—but it doesn't matter—Stieglitz photographed her then.

11. SHE QUIT PAINTING THREE TIMES.

The first break spanned several years (the exact number is a matter of debate), when O'Keeffe took on more stable jobs to help her family through financial troubles. In the early 1930s, a nervous breakdown led to her hospitalization, and caused her to set aside her brushes for more than a year.

In the years leading up to her death in 1986, failing eyesight forced O'Keeffe to give up painting entirely. Until then, she fought hard to keep working, enlisting assistants to prepare her canvas and mix her oil paints for pieces like 1977's Sky Above Clouds/Yellow Horizon and Clouds. She managed to use watercolors until she was 95.

12. AFTER GOING BLIND, SHE TURNED TO SCULPTING.


By Alfred Stieglitz - Phillips, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Although her vision eventually made painting impossible, O'Keeffe's desire to create was not squelched. She memorably declared, "I can see what I want to paint. The thing that makes you want to create is still there.” O'Keeffe began experimenting with clay sculpting in her late 80s, and continued with it into her 96th year.

13. SHE'S THE MOTHER OF AMERICAN MODERNISM.

Searching for what she called “the Great American Thing,” O'Keeffe was part of the Stieglitz Circle, which included such lauded early modernists as Charles Demuth, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Paul Strand, and Edward Steichen. By the mid-1920s, she had become the first female painter to gain acclaim alongside her male contemporaries in New York's cutthroat art world. Her distinctive way of rendering nature in shapes and forms that made them seem simultaneously familiar and new earned her a reputation as a pioneer of the form.

14. SHE BLAZED NEW TRAILS FOR FEMALE ARTISTS.

In 1946, O’Keeffe became the first woman to earn a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. Twenty-four years later, a Whitney Museum of American Art retrospective exhibit introduced her work to a new generation. Fifteen years after that, O'Keeffe was included in the inaugural slate of artists chosen to receive the newly founded National Medal of Arts for her contribution to American culture.

15. SHE WASN'T FEARLESS, BUT SHE REJECTED FEAR.

O'Keeffe was purported to have said, "I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do."

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