Responses to fursuit auction story confirm $17,500 top price.
by Patch O'Furr
January 2018 update: Here’s a note that record top auctions just rose from $11,575 to $13,500.
Last week’s article about fursuits and top prices had very nice feedback.
@DogpatchPress Fantastic article guys, thanks for the shout-out and we're happy to help you with the research! We hope the market grows!— FurBuy (@furbuy) December 30, 2014
Andreus wrote to mention that he owns Vex:
…a realistic MixedCandy-made werewolf fursuit that cost roughly $4,500 US / £2,600 GBP at the time of purchase. It’s got body-shaping padding such as digitigrade legs and large muscles for the proper muscular werewolf look. It’s also got a moving jaw.
The responses helped to settle on some figures that were being speculated about:
- $4,500 as a general high range for standard commissions.
- $8,025 as the top auction to date on Furbuy. (Update: $11,575.)
- $17,500 is now confirmed as highest price for special commissions. (Of course every commission is special, but you might say that some are more experimental than others.)
Spottacus shared very interesting info about his highly specialized collection of suits:
“I have multiple suits that surpass the $8k mark, and I can verify the $17k one. In my most costly suits, the reason has usually been NFT fur, custom electronics, or special parts.
For example, the Clockwork Creatures sabertooth by Qarrezel and Matt, the NFT fur and a custom set of handpaws by Lance Ikegawa that had resin claws cast around my fingers so the claws were rock hard, a bit sharp, and dextrous (I could pick up small items with the tips) came to about $9,000. The same is true of my NFT covered serval with sewn spots, which came to about $10,000.
More costly was my recent Primal Visions cheetah by Lex Rudd. The NFT fur was woven on the loom with spots woven in fiber by fiber on a 4 way stretch backing. The result is a fragile fur but little stitching that fits like a body glove, stretches like dancewear, and feels like cheetah fur to the touch. The fur was over $8,000. With assembly and fees, the suit cost $15,600. Also, there is an arduino system that changes the eyes based on my breathing, growling, and heart rate. It did not fit into the tight head in our first build, but will be installed, and this adds nearly $2,000, for a total of $17,500 (this is the $15-17k suit Patch alluded to.)
My latex sabertooth with custom latex foam life-cast for the inside, and sculpted in clay for the outside (not carved from foam) with custom laser cut and hand appliqued hundreds of spots was about $9,000.
Last, in progress on drawing board stage are several suits that will be more. Most costly is a fully body illuminated ardunio controlled light suit. Two local furs (you know who you are) are working on this, and when done I expect the cost to be close to $25,000 completed.”
A critic responded:
“I investigated NFT for a build and was told it would wear out after about a year or so because it was designed for film shoots. Sounds like a very odd choice for a long term costume unless one has the goal of demonstrating affluence.”
This is a hobby – not a necessity of life – and so what? I defended what Spottacus called his artistic decisions. My answer:
“I brought up the topic because I like the original art of fursuit building and performance. Someone has to support artists who do it. If they are taking in large sales for very special custom creations, I think that is wonderful for the art form. Suit making is hardly a wealth building career, more like something that could let you get by OK, if you’re one of the handful of the most dedicated crafters.
Let’s count people who support them as patrons of the arts. Having a piece of wearable art like that is hardly investment spending – it’s to use, and I like to think it makes others happy. So I can’t criticize that, even if I couldn’t afford the top prices. Compare it to owning a special car – these prices aren’t even more than a cheap car costs for anyone.”
You could much sooner criticize drivers who zoom around in flashy cars. Some people like car shows or NASCAR events for a mainstream-approved spectacle – but I’d rather go to a Furry con.
A very good partial fursuit can be had for under $1,000. I think it’s a very accessible price for a hobby. Those who don’t buy often make their own – and this is why furries are cool. I can’t find anything wrong with a little bit of “conspicuous consumption” that spreads fun, creative performance like that.
On NFT durability – we’re finally retiring one of our oldest NFT suits this coming year, after eighteen years of good use. The first five years were very heavy performance use, too.
18 years! That’s amazing longevity in this not so old subculture 🙂
I imagine that the comment about a fursuit wearing out after about a year refers to the film shoot and sports mascot suits, where a suit would get harder use than for a furry fursuiter who only wears his fursuit at two or three — maybe one — furry conventions a year. Also, presumably a furry fan would take better care of a fursuit and repair it more carefully than an actor or sports mascot-wearer who would expect a commercial employer to replace it more frequently.
Film production often uses materials which degrade over time because some foams are quicker and easier to use than others. Alot of the latex appliances are like that.
I don’t know if I should presume to speak for the entire ALAA committee, but we have never tried to keep this a secret. The one category that we have gotten more requests than any other to add to the Ursa Major Awards is a Best Fursuit of the Year. But the ALAA has never figured out how to vote on a “Best of the Year” for fursuits. Most fursuits are not seen beyond two or three furry conventions a year, and then in “mob” settings. The ALAA does not get photographs of them to put on a ballot for furry fans internationally to vote among. Most fursuiters try to keep their fursuits &/or fursonas going over a long period of time, rather than getting a new one after a year, especially at $1,000 and more. Many fursuiters refurbish their fursuits, or replace them with lookalikes rather than replacing them with different ones. Contrariwise, some fursuiters own multiple fursuits, and try to show them all off.
Another suggestion that we have gotten is for the ALAA (or “someone”) to publish a coffee-table book “all about Furry Fandom”, with a section of color photographs of the best fursuits. This gets into copyright issues. Can anyone just photograph and publish a portrait-quality picture of a fursuiter without their permission? On a website, maybe, but in a book sold for money? Would most fursuiters give their permission for themselves to be photographed for those photos to be published in a commercial book? Do the fursuit manufacturers have any rights here? If someone, an individual or a company, makes a $8,000 fursuit, can a portrait photo of it, even with the wearer’s/owner’s permission, be published without the maker’s permission also? Can such a photograph be published online for a Best of the Year vote without the maker’s permission? The ALAA doesn’t have the money to hire a good copyright lawyer.
Hey fred- great comment.
I was just editing a “fursuit style” article as you commented! I can definitely appreciate the demand for a “best fursuit” category. You know what this needs? A fursuit fashion show. Not just a fursuit show, but one that’s specifically about designing and accessorizing costumes to make creative statements and enhance performance.
I have often spoken about a coffee table book idea. One solution is to partner with an established photographer who handles model releases and such, and then pitch the suit designers about publishing their work for exposure. There are a number of such photographers and I’ve tried to promote them.
This makes a new article topic to post soon.
Hey Fred! Thanks for showing such positive interest in our weird fandom. Even though I’m a furry, I’d totally buy a coffee-table book about the Furry Fandom. Might get it as a joke present for my parents at Christmas or something. 🙂
Copyright issues are something one rarely gets into with fursuits, although it’s a complicated area. See, there exist several stages in the process and several people involved. I own Vex, pictured above, so let me walk you through who these people are in Vex’s case:
– The originator of the concept, who had the original idea for the character. In Vex’s case, that’s me.
– The artist who drew the model sheet for the character based on the originator’s specifications. You can find that here: http://www.furaffinity.net/view/8898967/ – it was drawn by SpottyJaguar, a furry artist.
– The fursuit maker who made the fursuit according to the specifications of the model sheet. That’s MixedCandy, whose website can be found here: http://latinvixen.phpwebhosting.com/
– The owner, who wears the fursuit. In most cases this will be the same person as the concept originator. In Vex’s case, that’s also me.
– The photographer who takes a picture of the fursuit. In Vex’s case that’s dozens of people. There are photographs of me floating around on Facebook and Twitter that I don’t even know about and I have no problem with that.
Sometimes, the originator of the concept doesn’t own the fursuit anymore (they may have sold it). Sometimes the originator of the concept makes their own fursuit, and this is often the case for personal fursuits of fursuit makers. In fact, in the case of LatinVixen, who’s one half of the MixedCandy team, she’s a talented artist as well as a talented fursuit creator, so she draws her own model sheets and makes her own fursuits from them.
The reason copyright issues rarely come up with fursuits is that fursuits are significantly more trouble to copy (and thus, to violate the copyright of) than art or photographs. If you don’t have the skills to make a fursuit yourself, you’d have to find a fursuit maker who’d be willing to work off of the same model sheet (and I am proud to say there’s no fursuit maker I’m aware of who would do something so dishonest). The reason there’s so little agreement on “who actually owns the copyright to a fursuit” is because in general no-one’s making a profit off of photographs of them – all that fursuiters generally require is that you name and credit them in the photograph’s information. I like people to mention that the fursuit is made by MixedCandy but if they link to my FA account that information is readily available anyway so it’s no big deal. No-one would ever dispute that I OWN the suit, and in all circumstances I’ve ever encountered thus far that’s been enough.
I would imagine the question of to whom the intellectual proeprty of the suit ultimately belongs would probably be answered with “the fursuit maker” – it is a piece of their artwork that they sold to the person that wears it. Ultimately they usually can’t tell the owner to stop wearing it (just as a painter usually can’t tell you to stop displaying their work on your wall) but they would be well within their rights to tell him to stop selling photographs of it for a profit. If you wanted to sell a book that had a picture of a fursuit in it, you’d probably have to ask the maker for permission first, but it would certainly be polite to at least consult the current owner, too.
Ultimately I don’t think this is a question that’s ever had a definitive legal answer because furries in general are nice enough not to bring about the need to ask it. I hope it stays that way, and I hope that I’ve helped demystify things for you a little.
Great comment! I agree the non-profit fan love keeps things simple, for now.
Article from last year – Fursuiting and copyright: an important issue for fandom
If you ever get an itch to share an article about any topic, I’d be happy to host and promote it 🙂
[…] as originally posted on The Dogpatch Press […]
[…] Every maker has his or her own style and process. Some only model their suits on real animals and opt for naturalistic features, while others go more fantastical or cartoonish. The price of suits can vary widely, but a hand-crafted, professional made fox or hound or unicorn (or whatever you want) full suit usually runs between one and three grand at the very least. According to Dogpatch Press, a furry news site, $4,500 is “a general high range for standard commissions.” […]