Opinion: It doesn’t matter if adult art is more popular than clean art.

by Patch O'Furr

“the truth” – @tinydeerguy

Tinydeerguy’s tweet shows his character being unhappy that being tame is less popular than being sexy. It has thousands of likes and the comments agree. They look down on this situation, or admit it’s true by asking him to take it all off.

Tinydeerguy’s FA gallery demonstrates it with view numbers.  The first page has many tame cartoons with a range of cute stories, but about one in eight are labeled “oh look porn”, “yay another porn,” etc.  They don’t tease, they get right to the point – dicks! Art in the dirty 1/8 gets twice as many views.

Honestly, I think the ratio of  7/8 cuteness to one boner is perfect. If that’s what you want, it’s rewarding without being a one-trick pony. If you don’t, it’s mostly just cute. Pure porn would be monotonous, but the context gives it great variety and it all fits together for the character.

The dirty 1/8 seems to be judged less valuable with titles that are less thoughtful than others.  But Tinydeerguy is enjoying the attention and pointing it out at the same time.  (You could call that a wee bit hypocritical, but I think it shows social shame, not personal cynicism.)  The many likers/judgers are doing that too.

Isn’t that kind of self-hateful?

Adult art has always been popular like that, and liable to get hate.  The Burned Furs made an entire puritanical crusade against it. They claimed it was degenerate. They were wrong.

First of all, it’s nobody’s business to judge. Sex is healthy and drawing it is more creative than any other depiction.  For furry art, it’s a feature not a bug:

“I adore furry porn,” says The Dog. “I much prefer it to images of real life humans. I think it’s worth mentioning that furry porn tends to have more humanity than a lot of ‘regular’ porn. Since it’s a drawing, the artist has to bring emotion and humanity into the image in order to make it relatable on some level.” Furry porn endeavors toward emotional narratives, and most mainstream pornographic films still don’t employ that strategy.

– Emily Gaudette, “Furries Are Having Future Sex” (Inverse.com)

Secondarily, I think adult art isn’t unfairly rewarded, because comparing it to tame art isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison.

Look beyond the one example of Tinydeerguy. Popufur.com ranks the most popular furry artists on FurAffinity. (The site seems broken and I can’t tell when it was last updated, but you can still see a list that demonstrates the point.)  The top 20 artists on the list all have porn in their galleries.

You HAVE to draw porn to get popular, right?

Wrong… that’s not looking high enough. Fandom isn’t the whole world.

Look at a list of prestigious convention guests of honor.  You can find many who are honored for achieving in the mainstream.  They may not be furries, it’s true, but they’re adjacent by accepting the invitation to mingle. They’re artists and fans too, with careers that many furry artists aspire to.

Those guests of honor don’t have to draw dirty to get professional. (Actually, some do it privately – It’s best to keep it separate from a portfolio, but I’m pretty sure that it’s not so stigmatized these days as it used to be.  Companies understand that artists work for passion or take many different kinds of jobs, and furry is even a cool marketing thing now.) They succeeded with tame art – and so can you.

Being “forced” to draw dirty is more like making a choice between getting good enough as an artist to win recognition – or delivering a type of content in demand. It’s not even a dichotomy if you’re a professional with separate accounts.  Of course, art is hard and competitive and involves doing stuff that isn’t personal passion, but that’s just part of the job if you choose it.  Mainstream pros are no less prone to feeling pigeonholed by assembly-line work.

Chasing popularity. Art by Tinydeerguy

OK, success has different standards for different kinds.  So why is dirty furry art so popular, again? Is the group filled with lust-driven pervos?  I would say they’re just more liberated and confident about following what they like than the average person. And the mainstream doesn’t have a place for adult furry content.  It’s not on the same playing field.

Tame stuff already has the mainstream to support it. Dirty stuff flourishes in a niche we created. The growth has been incredible, making opportunity for hobby artists to get chops and move ahead without mainstream patronage. Thank the freaks for making MORE opportunity for tame artists.

That’s why dirty art does so well in fandom. It’s not just about cheap thrills, it’s also about independent freedom. That’s the value of WTF.

The last thing I want to say is that it’s not a competition.  If a dirty artist gets 1,000 likes and your tame art gets three… Someone likes you.  Appreciate the RIGHT someones. Don’t chase popularity, let them find you.  You don’t need the same likes as the other guy, because you don’t need to draw the same as them.  Do it your way.

I love this fandom because nobody decided to make it happen – you did it your way.

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