Goku’s Furban Exploration goes to inner city Baltimore and Fort Armistead.
by Patch O'Furr
Here’s a sequel to Fursuit photography from the urban jungle: Goku’s Furban Exploration.
Years ago in the Rust Belt, my friend liked exploring decommissioned grain silos and factories of the area. He took me to climb an eight story brewery that closed in the 1980’s. The entrance was a hole in a fence and the inside was covered in spraycan murals, making an unauthorized art gallery. (Hey furry artists, if you’ve done such work, show me!) The stairs were dismantled for the first few floors. Could we climb up on the conveyer belt that used to scoop grain? No, but there was a fire escape with most of the steps still hanging on. Most. The upper floors had stories-tall fermenting vats and a movie worthy view. It made quite an impression to see the afterlife of a place that wasn’t supposed to have one. The place was gone soon afterwards, with a demolition party where people on the street watched it come down. It was an experience to remember.
Creativity in fursuiting gets boosted when you stage it in exciting locations. And for going bonkers with intense photography, street art and abandoned architecture are a class of their own. That’s why I loved the improbable idea of combining both. I put out a call to see if anyone was doing it, and Goku rose to the occasion. He sent in a new update. I love his work so much I’d love to meet him and help some day – and there will be more stories from him! (- Patch)
This story comes with a gallery of 40 photos, see the complete collection here. Photo credit: @seikoliz and @rclatter. Follow Goku: @KasigFuchsGoku
Good Afternoon Patch,
Here’s the latest installment of my Furban Exploration endeavors- I was hoping to have photos from my visit to the abandoned tunnels of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but the photographer is taking his time processing them. In meantime, I have photos from inner city Baltimore. Then there’s a venture to Fort Armistead, a former Confederate fort turned into a public park in Glen Burnie, MD that has unfortunately fallen into disrepair. (I’ll make another trip to the fort with others in the near future since I was really amazed with the graffiti, catacombs, and feral cat haven nestled in the structure).
Late in September, I made a venture across to Maryland with my boyfriend to see two good friends of mine- Seiko and Clatterbuck. We have been friends for a few years- usually when Anthrocon would come around, we always found each other for a drink or a meal and a photoshoot. Seiko loved the angst from my fursona, so whenever we were at a con together, he always shared his expertise to accentuate my gruff fursonality. For urban exploration, Seiko was more than willing to share sites in his own backyard. Chatting about the abandoned tunnels of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, he was telling me about “graffiti alley”, an open canvas for talented graffiti artists that was part of an art display in Baltimore. Clatterbuck, a dear friend if mine and Seiko that helps with making superb photos, joined in.
My beau Danny and I arrived shortly before noon in Baltimore- a city I had always driven through, but never actually stopped for anything. The area where we would rendezvous with our photographers was bleak to say the least; a lot of business storefronts have not been open for a while. The only bustling businesses were one supermarket, a check cashing place, and a Dunkin’ Donuts that was way past its heyday. We met as I was parking my car, had a couple of cups of coffee, and I donned my fursuit on a main street and began to walk towards the gallery.
It was invigorating to get all types of attention as I did all sorts of poses in this small alley. I had artists at the gallery, one drug dealer, a couple of junkies, and a mother with her infant children all stop to ask questions (everything from if I was part of the exhibit, to if I was an undercover officer, to how much I was being paid to walk around in a costume… you name it). The alley was a great experience even though it was small.
We continued wandering the avenues of Baltimore to see if there was anything else. It led to laying on the walls, crawling on the sidewalk, and climbing into dumpsters (I have no fear, bleach and OxyClean work wonders on a white fursuit). Seeing what this area was like years ago was a high I needed to enjoy myself.
After 90 minutes I got back in street clothes while we discussed supper plans. We decided to drive to Fort Armistead, then get some good mid-Atlantic seafood. We drove for about 20 minutes away from Baltimore to Glen Burnie, into an area full of dingoes, boats, and vessels of all sizes.
We left our cars in a lot and took a short hike up a muddy trail to the fort, and just gazed at the graffiti, trying to get shots in as sunlight peered through the clouds. We had a few odd encounters- first were some burnout hippies living out of a late model Toyota RAV4. They were stoned, and they couldn’t believe a fox was walking around as they were listening to dubstep mixed with the Grateful Dead, with tall boys of Natty Ice in their hands. Then we came across some motorcyclists that looked like they were doing Initial D cosplay (or some similar anime), posing like I was in fursuit, with their crotch rockets and full gear.
I had to tread carefully as I walked around the fort- there were open holes that went a couple of stories deep (and I was all too eager to try and push my luck). Finally, as we circled back from our starting point near the hippies, we saw a small colony of feral cats living in this fort. The hippies stopped us, warning us that the cats weren’t the friendliest, so we just admired from a distance, and before the rain came, we packed our bags and went to supper.
The fish and chips were delicious, and I got to play every reincarnation of the Pac-Man franchise from 1980-1987. If I wasn’t so exhausted, I was tempted to ask the restaurant owners if they wouldn’t mind me suiting up for a few rounds with Ms. Pac-Man.
Still just super thrilled to see the work going anywhere visible! Too often projects like this float under the radar, I appreciate that you appreciate it!— Seiko (@SeikoLiz) October 22, 2018
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