Sometimes, it actually pays to be a Stan.
Twitter artist @FAMEKILLED grabbed the collective attention of Stan Twitter and Katy Perry herself this month with a re-design of the singer’s cover art for upcoming album, #Smile, which envisions the pop singer at the center of her own larger-than-life carnival. The design – both visually delightful and on-brand with the singer’s bombastic aesthetic choices – was met with waves of positivity from the Stan community, racking up over 86k likes, 13k retweets and a whopping 6+ MILLION impressions.
The re-design was so well-received that it prompted a response from Perry on Twitter, who just days earlier had caught flack from select corners of the internet over her original design for the ‘Smile’ album. At the time, it appeared she was only joking when she told @FAMEKILLED she’d reach out for designs from them in the future.
calling you for next record! ♥️😩🤡 https://t.co/H23U5ojvAe
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) July 10, 2020
A couple of quiet weeks later, it appeared that Perry had already forgotten about the viral moment @FAMEKILLED generated for the ‘Smile’ era with their cover art. But in a twist of events, the singer revealed this week she’d be including the artwork in her official discography as an alternate cover for ‘Smile’ on her website.
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) August 2, 2020
In an interview with Pop Crave, @FAMEKILLED (who prefers to remain anonymous) confirms that Capitol Records reached out with an offer to buy the artwork. While they aren’t allowed to disclose many details about the deal, including the price tag, the artist reveals they’ll also be credited on the back of the cover. Since Perry‘s interaction, @FAMEKILLED’s page has continued to grow substantially with over 10,000 followers to date (and counting).
Perry’s decision to purchase the artwork is both a huge win for @FAMEKILLED and the Stan Twitter community at large, proving that the online network of KatyCats have more real-life influence on an artist’s trajectory than they might’ve initially thought. It’s a smart move that shows Perry is willing to listen to her fans, one that will hopefully encourage even more engagement and fan art among her biggest fans.
Original ‘Smile’ cover art
@FAMEKILLED is no stranger to the world of Stan Twitter. A self-professed stan themselves, the account has largely been known for its Gaga-related content and impressive portfolio of self-made cover art, re-designs and more. Pop Crave was first made aware of the page when Grimes shared one of @FAMEKILLED’s designs for ‘Chromatica’ – at that time known as #LG6 – on her Instagram back in September 2019.
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) September 12, 2019
@FAMEKILLED capitalized on the Grimes co-sign with even more stunning artwork inspired by the #LG6 era. A visualizer for ‘Rain On Me” grabbed the attention of Ariana Grande‘s manager, Scooter Braun, while another ‘Chromatica’ cover art was featured on Pop Crave’s list of the best #LG6 fan artwork. @FAMEKILLED also dabbles in video as well, like this popular “teaser” for Gaga‘s ‘Babylon’:
imagine if she came back with sumn like this pic.twitter.com/KEiFjhB0wM
— ً (@FAMEKILLED) July 8, 2020
The artist tells Pop Crave their re-design for Perry‘s ‘Smile’ took about two days to create. “When I saw the official ‘Smile’ cover, Katy’s outfit reminded me of a circus tent texture, so I imagined what that would look like if it was really a tent,” they tell Pop Crave. “Then I searched for circus visuals to build on my initial idea and got inspired by this one image.” (See below)
While it’s their most popular edit to date, @FAMEKILLED admits the process was shorter than usual. “It’s faster than most of my other work because the concept came together so well and the assets were easy to work with,” @FAMEKILLED tells us. The re-design ended up being noticed by such celebrities as James Charles and Iggy Azalea in addition to Perry.
“I was so excited that Katy noticed it that completed the hype, but also overwhelmed by all the notifications and back-to-back celebrity notices,” @FAMEKILLED says. “I didn’t expect it to get this big especially because I made it in a shorter time that it usually takes.”
Capitol Records finally reached out to @FAMEKILLED just a few days ago with an offer to purchase the art following weeks of silence. Perry even went out of her way to give a shout out to the artist on her first installment of ‘Smile Sundays’ this weekend.
omgg i finally found the video…. i dont know a better person i dont pic.twitter.com/QrWD8fwhqb
— ً (@FAMEKILLED) August 2, 2020
@FAMEKILLED tells Pop Crave they’re pursuing a career in the visual arts, making Capitol Records’ purchase of the ‘Smile’ re-design one of their first big achievements in the competitive field. “I prefer to do creative and visual related jobs more than anything – my dream is to become an art director or something similar to that.” The artist also reveals to us that they’ve received commissions from casual fans, while an unconfirmed “official artist” has already employed them to do their next cover art coming soon.
As supportive as the Stan Twitter community has been toward @FAMEKILLED’s work, the artist admits that not all KatyCats were pleased to witness their success. “Being a Gaga stan account, they wouldn’t expect me to do a ‘Smile’ cover out of all people. However, their reaction has been mostly positive and very supportive. I’ve gained many new mutuals, although a few are convinced I dislike Katy because of childish Stan wars we both used to engage in.”
With Perry‘s notice and a growing following online, it looks like @FAMEKILLED is just getting started in transforming their Twitter hobby into a possible profession. Check out some of the artist’s other popular work below: