Thoughts from the winner of the record-setting $11,575 fursuit auction.

by Patch O'Furr

1428626149.twilightsaint_dsc09619What a price for a fursuit!  On 2/14/15, furries saw their highest auction ever.  It was only a few months after the previous record (I wonder how long this one will last?)

While $11,575 is amazing, I don’t think it should cause drama… some people spend much more money on cars for a hobby.  Hollywood effects costuming can add another zero on the price.  I often argue that higher prices make creativity easier for artists, and art patrons benefit the art form.

There was a lot of notice for my article about the February auction.  Furbuy (host) and Phoenixwolf (maker) commented, but it took a while to reach the buyer, Twilightsaint. We finally connected.

I asked Twilightsaint:

“There was controversy about the auction reaching $14,000 with non legit bids. So perhaps it was a hard contest, and you had luck to win the suit. Do you think it ended up fairly?  How did you feel to win? Art value is very subjective of course – is there any reason it’s worth so much to you? Has there been any other drama?”

Twilightsaint says:

“Thanks for asking! Happy to answer some questions and shed some light on this pretty epic auction.

Since you bring it up first, yes, I saw the strange, later retracted, bid of $14,000, which of course added quite a bit of buzz to this already widely watched auction. That illegitimate bid honestly did not surprise me, since, at the time, another auction on FurBuy, (a Border Collie, in particular,) had been plagued by similar happenings, and that whole auction eventually had to be taken down and reposted as a result. After these kind of fishy practices, I think many furs and I watched the Angel Dragon auction even more closely.

The bids to the end of the Angel Dragon auction were legitimate, both on my side and that of the other bidder, who was, in fact, a real person and not a troll as many had assumed from the get-go, (and even to the final moments of the bidding.) I must admit, I was enormously happy to win, yet I did feel a bit bummed as I also knew how much the other bidder wanted the suit as well. As of now, the other bidder is seeking a suit of their own, and I am looking forward to fursuiting with them at upcoming conventions as Angel Dragon friends!

tumblr_nmirjvtwzn1tdhdlio1_1280A lot of people have asked me, and continue to do so even now, why I spent so much on the suit. First and foremost, how much someone spends on anything is nobody else’s business, I just want to put that out in the open now. Nobody has the right to question anybody else on why they purchased something and for what price, no matter who they are or what the item in particular is.

Art by TwilightSaint.

Art by TwilightSaint.

Like you, I like to consider myself a patron of the arts, and especially as an artist myself, I really value art very highly. I know how much it means to me when someone wants to commission me for my most detailed artwork option or the most elaborate reference sheet. It really makes my day, and I appreciate it so much when someone else also values my art that much that they are willing to spend top dollar and beyond for it. So with that in mind, it also means a lot to me to be able to commission other artists for their works, because I know how that feels myself, and it is awesome to be able to return that to such a vibrant community. A community, I may add, that is what it is because of artists and creative minds, both the artists who can create pieces and those who have the imagination to think up such great character designs and stories and music and dancing and acting!

And another aspect as to why I valued and spent so much on the suit is because, as an active duty pilot in the military, you could say my life is a bit stressful, (no sarcasm there whatsoever.) Art and fursuiting is a fun, productive, unique way to express myself as well as spend the pent-up energy that I otherwise cannot just cut loose on when I am on a mission or training, or even simply being in uniform as an Officer, so fursuiting is, in a way for me, a type of decompression. And that is something that nobody can put a price on. I can, quite literally, call myself ‘fighter pilot by day, furry by night,’ hahaha.

Unfortunately, there has been some drama, mainly surrounding a recent convention that I attended. It was brought to my attention beforehand that several individuals were threatening physical harm to me at the convention. I had briefed handlers on the situation, and despite this, the convention was a blast and went without a hitch. This was really due to my handlers who I cannot thank enough for keeping an eye on me! I did overhear the typical, ‘That’s the suit that went for $xxx,’ (insert random, incorrect amount here,) so I was happy to clear things up in person when I caught ear of these. There was one instance that was brought to my attention where one individual made a move to pull a gun on and gestured to shoot me, though security was alerted of the situation and nothing else occurred. I am sure that I do not have to say this as it should be obvious, but NOTHING is worth threatening violence or someone’s physical person over, not even jokingly, especially something as trivial as a fursuit. It is really unfortunate that some individuals feel the need to behave in such a depraved manner.

tumblr_nmkfjtO51l1tdhdlio3_1280All this said, I am extremely happy with my decision to purchase the suit. As plain as day, I can say, ‘No regrets.’ The suit has more than paid for itself with the enjoyment I have gotten from it so far, and I am really looking forward to performing more as the character at future conventions and meets, and am excited for all the fun events yet to come! To anyone out there who may be on the fence about getting a fursuit, I cannot recommend it enough! It is a fun, totally unique experience! Thanks again to my handlers at conventions and watchers online for your continued support of my works, and PhoenixWolf and all other makers, artists, musicians, writers, and creators and fans for coming together and sharing your talents and loves in such a vibrant community!”

More pics:

http://www.furaffinity.net/view/16238859/
http://www.furaffinity.net/view/15911341/
http://twilightsaint.tumblr.com/pos…..ak-the-weather
http://twilightsaint.tumblr.com/pos…..-first-outdoor

Here’s some more thoughts about Furries and their burgeoning market for art:  

Comment received –

I’m not understand the concept that this guy could go to any suit maker in the world and be like “Bitch .. suit me!” and get .. anything…

As in … his or own hearts desire… as oppose to a character made up by someone else.

Yeah the suit is cute… but at that price it’s not a extension of you, it’s simply clothing.

My personal thoughts –

“The suit maker created a pre-made with 100% artistic freedom and no direction. It’s like buying a painting or any other piece of art created by the artist, and not commissioned. There’s only one of these in the world, so it’s a lot more than just any clothes.

Getting your own original character is cool – on the other hand, it can limit artists to what’s popular demand, and that isn’t always very creative.

Just recently, some suit makers (like Wild Life) are finding success by taking no commissions and only putting their work out for rare auctions. If they’re good enough, it sets a healthy value as a contest by limiting supply. That’s good for artists. Hustling for commissions may bring in pay that’s very low for the labor it takes – commissioners who just want a cheap price don’t support makers all that well. The more money an artist makes, and the more freedom they get to make their own work, the more they can invest into the art form and push it forward.

Fursuit-making has grown by leaps and bounds in the past decade or so.  I think recently we’re seeing fursuiting changing from a hobby into more of a cottage industry. This is one of the signs, another is that now small collections of makers can afford to do it as a living. It lets you hire a specialist instead of having no choice but doing it yourself.

Art markets are interesting. The values are very subjective. For example, high prices cover the artist’s years of sweat to get good at making it. $11,575 buys one fursuit, but also the suit-maker’s experience.

If one day, the stuff we like actually started working like the fine art market, we’d see things like gallery elitism and commercialism. Right now, this is still 100% fan-driven stuff and considered “low art.”

I don’t see any problem with occasional crazy auction prices. Everyone else can still buy a suit at the incredible bargain price of a few grand for weeks of labor, to make an entirely custom piece of apparel. How much custom apparel does anyone own? If people paid actual price to hand-make a pair of jeans, they’d cost hundreds of dollars.  And if you want to save more… make it yourself. That’s the beauty of what Furries do.”

Thanks, Twilightsaint!  No matter what a suit costs, I think most people appreciate that fursuiting is a performance we can all share.