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SonicFox, world record Esports champion: fursuit “a peak thing in life for me”

by Patch O'Furr

It’s not every day that a POC furry pro gamer with 4 Guinness World Records wins a tournament in a fursuit. When I talked to a friend about interviewing SonicFox, I heard he was cool and didn’t have a big head about it. It was true, but the question lots of people are asking is how does he do it in a fursuit head? The best thing I do in mine is fit a beer through the muzzle. And SonicFox isn’t even quite drinking age while earning more than enough to pay for college.

Pro gaming is getting huge, and it has a juggernaut representing furries – but to SonicFox, it seems like the representing and hugeness is no big deal compared to the furry part. It’s like whether he was a rock star or just a guy next door with a cool hobby to share, he’d give it the same attitude. It’s about being friendly and as sincere as you can be in being who you want to be, especially if that’s a cute blue fox. He should win all the hugs.

Thanks to SonicFox for being so prompt and enthusiastic about an interview from a tiny furry blog – it was fast and good like his gaming. (And thanks for question suggestions from Chip, Summer, Matthias, Tempe, Codex and Tex.) Here’s some further reference, then the interview.

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Zoion, a magazine to promote furry art, is launching on Kickstarter.

by Patch O'Furr

Postcards handed out at Furry Weekend Atlanta

On Kickstarter: an Anthropomorphic Art Magazine is being launched by Zoion Media and its creator Pulsar. (It ends on April 29, so don’t wait to support.)

Our goal is to create a contemporary, well designed, image-driven magazine focusing on clean, evocative, highly artistic, well developed and well executed anthropomorphic art and themes. We want to make something the average furry is proud to show their non-furry friends to give them an idea of what furry art is all about.

Pulsar talked about inspiration for a print magazine to promote furry fandom creators and artists:

“I’ve always been an artist and I read a lot on contemporary fine art. I remember standing in the bookstore browsing Juxtapoz and Hi-Fructose and thinking, ‘there needs to be something just like this for furry art’.”

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A furry look at an abuse story about John Kricfalusi, creator of Ren & Stimpy.

by Patch O'Furr

The animation business joins the  movement, a campaign for awareness of sexual harassment that started with powerful people in Hollywood.

John Kricfalusi, creator of the Ren & Stimpy show that gained a cult and influenced many 1990’s TV cartoons, is subject of a report about grooming and sexual abuse of young girls. They were taken under his wing as aspiring artists.

These aren’t just allegations; when he was around 40 he had an underage girlfriend, as mentioned in a book about him, and his attorney admits it was true.

Ren & Stimpy played at the Spike & Mike Animation fest in the 1990’s. I remember getting my mind blown when the fest toured to my town. It inspired me to do indie stuff (like this news site.) There’s more of a furry connection than just fandom, though.

There’s a general industry connection. Since the #metoo campaign came out in October 2017, I’ve been holding on to an animation story by request due to sensitivity about the climate (nothing more than that). Pro talk on a furry site can be a bit tricky because of general stigma.

There’s a personal story too. I didn’t expect this in 2018, because I hadn’t thought about John K. in a while – but I’m not surprised. In the early 2000’s, I saw blog commenters joke about him being a Svengali to pretty young girl artists (I had no idea about the underage part). 15 years ago, give or take, I went to a party at his house in Ontario and saw something myself there.

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Pounced.org shuts down – international fans affected by American politics.

by Patch O'Furr

The site was key to starting a convention in Sweden.

Pounced.org, launched in March 2003, was a free, location-based service to help furries meet other furries. This long-time staple of fandom served them anywhere they exist. According to Wikifur, over 71,000 users and 13,000 personal ads were listed in 2016.

Ethan Staghorn, a Swedish furry, told me:

Ethan Staghorn

Pounced was key in making @NordicFuzzCon happen, and in growing the local fandom. Through Pounced, I found my very first local fandom friend, @MrJoelFox. A few years later, we decided to advertise a local furmeet since we wanted to make more local friends. About eight people showed up, among them  and @traxswe, who both were attending their first furmeet. They started talking (and spoke to me) about doing a convention, which became the first NordicFuzzCon a little over a year later. They were the first two chairmen. NFC really did wonders for the local community, too. But I doubt any of this would have happened if I hadn’t seen Joel advertise on Pounced. He’s the only person I ever contacted through the site. I don’t really get personal ads, but his ad was calling out to me “this person is in your town and must be studying the same thing as you; you have to contact them!”  knows the exact dates of many of these occurrences, since he recently did some digging for a wonderful panel he hosted at NordicFuzzCon about the history of NFC.

The site feared legal liability under a controversial new law – Fandom can’t just say no to politics. 

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Australia’s Lucky Dog Fursuits slurps up a job for Schmackos pet treats.

by Patch O'Furr

“Dogs go wacko for Schmackos!” If you grew up in Australia, you might have this TV ad series stuck in your brain. A big reason is the hand-made, stop-motion animation (think Wallace and Gromit, from before everything went CG). These ads have quirky, nostalgic appeal for a long-standing branding win.

North Americans might have no idea this exists. That’s why I’m happy to share it as Furry News, with a bit of animation-nerd interest. Yes, the fandom has become part of pop culture down under. The official mascot for Schmackos pet treats is now crafted by Furry paws.

Schmackos has been made since 1989 by Mars Petcare. That’s the Australian subsidiary of Mars Inc. (a global brand worth over $30 billion and famous for Snickers and M&M’s). In late 2017, they approached Lucky Dog Fursuits to commission a suit for their mascot.

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Ursa Major Awards get matching donations from Anthrocon, help wanted from other cons.

by Patch O'Furr

For 15 years, the Ursa Major Awards lacked resources. Costs came from organizer pockets.  This year they tried a GoFundMe, and it’s getting close to the goal!

Here’s some good news courtesy of Fred Patten.

At a recent Anthrocon Board of Directors meeting, it was approved for Anthrocon to match up to $350 in donations received in the UMA’s GoFundMe campaign to cover trophy manufacturing and costs.

The donation is viewed as a way to support writers. Many publishers release new works at Anthrocon, and the con has a substantial writing track which doesn’t cost much to run. Anthrocon spends a lot to support fursuiters (they can get special souvenir tags, for example), but the writing track has never asked for more.

During the discussion, it was noticed that the ALAA hasn’t gotten other cons to donate yet. It was suggested the ALAA use this opportunity to ask other cons to match a portion of GoFundMe donations too.

There was discussion of making Anthrocon’s donation regular annually – if other cons donate regularly Anthrocon is likely to join in, probably matching their amounts. Now is the time to step up and help.

AnthrOhio has agreed to host the 2019 UMA presentations, and Biggest Little Fur Con the 2020 presentations.

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The Ursa Major Awards are a fandom institution, but can we fund them?

by Patch O'Furr

Co-written by Thurston Howl and Patch O’Furr. Full disclosure – Howl and Patch have received Ursa Major awards by community vote.

Even in non-writing communities in the furry fandom, many furries are aware of the Ursa Major Awards. They’ve been around for about 17 years, have presence at cons, and each year they receive many voters. However, for all their legacy, Thurston Howl – (a furry publisher who assisted with social media and marketing for the UMAs in 2017) – has come forward with concerns involving the UMAs’ recent soliciting for donations and GoFundMe campaign.

A transparency concern.

Until now, there has been no formal budget or accounting for funding. Fred Patten, Secretary of the ALAA (Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association, which runs the UMAs), told Howl on 5/30/17: “I cannot remember that the Treasurer for the ALAA has ever submitted a formal treasury report.” Fred confirmed there were no records for 17 years, and later added:

I don’t know how much it costs to print UMA award certificates, buy frames for them, ship them to the recipients, make and ship powerpoint presentations, etc., and I don’t know how much total in donations we’ve gotten over the years…

There have been complaints in email discussion by associates.  ALAA member Bernard Doove said: “I would like a report on the finances that is more than ‘we’re broke.'” And on 5/4/17, a donor reported that they considered their donation “an unwise decision that could have been put to much better use elsewhere.” There were even fears of misappropriation, but Bernard Doove found no evidence when he looked in the bank accounts. The explanation seems to be fees of $156/year to maintain a Checking and Savings account if they have under a $300 minimum balance each.

It honestly seems like an issue of mixing small fan efforts with more formal organization, like how fandom started. ALAA Treasurer Rod O’Riley was a fandom founder who helped start Confurence in 1989. He responded to a request for comment:

The problem is not transparency — the problem is a lack of funds to be transparent about.

All donations have made their way into our bank account, and have been spent on either what they were supposed to be spent on — making and mailing out our trophies and plaques — or else were swallowed by the bank fees. ALL donations. Sometimes they took a while to get where they were going — as recently, when PayPal and our bank’s on-line system had difficulties talking to each other, for reasons I still do not understand. But eventually, they got where there were going.

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Interview with the CEO of Commiss.io – a service for project management, creators and fans.

by Patch O'Furr

How devoted are furries?  To commission a fursuit, they tortuously wrap themselves in duct tape, pay thousands of dollars and trust a years-long wait before getting something back. Imagine if you had to do that for a new car or stove?

The upside is direct exchange for hand-made goods, but the downside is a clunky process with a lot of invested effort and risk of fraud or failure. It works because fandom is close-knit, but there’s opportunity for better platforms to help buyer and seller. (I was posting about it in 2013). Fursuit makers seem to be niche enough to handle their own business, but freelance artists handle smaller projects much more frequently. Art commissioning sites have started up to help. Achieving scale of users may be a challenge, but they’re in a growing fandom and word is getting out.

Commiss.io first caught my notice with their banner in the dealer’s den at BLFC. Now Hunter, the CEO, joins me to chat about the service.

My impression of Commiss.io is a business aimed at the freelance art marketplace. It was started by furries but it’s for any and all users. Do I have that right? Who’s on the team?

Pretty much! Though most of us have at least some involvement in the fandom, Commiss.io was created for any and all creators. Not just anthro artists, but musicians, sculptors, and more! We’ve really seen a lot of adoption within fandoms, furry and otherwise, and we’re really happy to provide a great place for that!

Right now there are four of us that work on the project. Myself, Mark, Chris, and Nate. There are, of course, all of the great artists and commissioners on the site as well! Right now we all do a little bit of everything, from outreach, marketing, customer support, and coding.

Commiss.io is described as a “place to manage your creative shop” – helping with payments, project management, licensing, asset delivery, and more.  Is this improving on other services?

We saw a niche that needed filling. There are gallery sites, social networks, project management sites, and sites for very small freelance projects and very large ones. Together they all create a very disjointed experience, with little focus on projects in the range that many freelance fandom artists tend to focus on. As a result, creators end up with an uneven experience and the need to manage themselves across a number of platforms, without a central location to track their projects and ensure protection for sellers. When things are messy, it’s easy to get lost.

Our goal is to be a central hub, with the process fading into the background so creators can focus on creating, and clients can have a great experience.

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Made Fur You sews up a fandom record with a $13,500 fursuit auction at The Dealer’s Den.

by Patch O'Furr

Some highest fursuit auction records: 

Those are public auctions, but I also confirmed a private $17,500 commission and a $25,000 one that would involve special electronics. Other prices for personal builds and commissions may not be known. The Dealer’s Den told me:

With 82 total bids, the $13,500.00 Made Fur You auction that ended yesterday is our new record winner, beating out our previous record of $10,100.00 on a Mishka Silver Fox fursuit auction by Howl Yeah with 37 bids back on 9/08/16.

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Furry artists among top highest-paid Patreon creators, but face threats to their livelihood.

by Patch O'Furr

This article went out in January 2017 titled “Yiffing for Dollars”. Here’s a re-edited update a year later, to coincide with a bump in notice and a concerning situation. 

Furries have built their own small industry on creativity worth millions. Their membership is rising and it’s likely to see the “furry economy” grow with it. You can see what’s up by watching the small slice who are devoted enough to make a living in the fandom – Profans.

Adult art can have an edge in dollars because it has more of a niche quality. Clean art is perfectly valid, but perhaps the mainstream is where it succeeds most – making an apples/oranges comparison. This look at indie art business will focus on the naughty stuff, but doesn’t exclude other kinds, and it applies outside of fandom too.

Check the list of top creators on Patreon and play Find The Furries!  

When first looked at in January 2017, fandom member Fek was earning $24,000 per month for making furry porn games. (Quote: “Ditch the dayjob and live the dream.”)  He had the stat of #2 best-paid per-patron on all of Patreon.  (See his art on Furaffinity.) Others were in or near the furry ballpark (dogpark?) Most of the NSFW entries in the top 50 had furry content. #12 was the Trials in Tainted Space NSFW game, earning $27,000 per month. #30 was the kinda-anthropomorphic-NSFW artist Monstergirlisland, earning $20,000 monthly.

I haven’t checked these numbers since early 2017, and I think the list changed from “amount of money” to “number of patrons” which knocks furries down the list, but… Artists are getting rich from this, no joke.

Older news:

  • Cracked – We Draw Furry Porn: 6 Things We’ve Learned On The Job. “Every artist agreed it would have been impossible to make a living doing this as recently as 10 years ago. But today they constantly have multiple projects going and portfolios with hundreds of completed works, and they find themselves in ever-increasing demand.”

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