It’s awesome artwork featuring a pair of Barbarians who appear to have very high cold resistance, but I’ve got a question… is this fan art? It’s by Phroilan Gardner, an artist who contributed a lot of artwork to the Diablo, Warcraft, and Starcraft universes, but who left Blizzard in 2010. This is new art though; he just created it for the Reveal fan art contest. Details on his blog.
So yes, it’s “fan art” in that he doesn’t work at Blizzard anymore, but really… is it “fan” art? If this were called official art none of us would suspect otherwise, and since the artist was involved in the creative process that produced the Barbarian, he’s as or more qualified express the class in art as anyone.
If a brand new artist hire at Blizzard created a Barbarian painting, would that be more “official” than Phroi’s work? If Diablo 3 inspired Matt Uelmen to compose a new piece of music in the spirit of the game, would that be “fan music?” Obviously those aren’t serious questions, but the situation is odd enough to deserve some light pondering.