Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Category: Business

What if furry fandom had a Central Fursuit Supply?

by Patch O'Furr

Furry auction site Furbuy recently went down. It left a gap now filled by just one comparable site, The Dealer’s Den. (Read more at Flayrah — FurBuy down for ‘months’ after spat with security researcher.)

Loss of a long-time specialized service brought up a fandom paradox. People want more professional services, but there’s a conflict in the way fandom is organized. Furry websites and “institutions” depend on volunteering and cooperation without high resources or efficiency. That’s like every socialistic organization ever. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it can make more access with less elitism. Would you rather have a rag-tag fandom full of freewheeling freaks, or a cleaned up corporate Mickey Mouse Club? A subculture or a fad? It’s a tradeoff when The Fans control their Means Of Production. (Read more — Furry Socialism: You’re Soaking in It! – by Tempe O’Kun and Dralen Dragonfox.) 

This fandom can work like a social lab. That’s why a few furries had a round-table chat about a thought experiment. What if services (like Furbuy) were more centralized for furry makers, but still independent under fan control?

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Debunking Furry Misconceptions about Copyright — guest post by Grubbs Grizzly

by Dogpatch Press Staff

Welcome to Grubbs Grizzly, known for his “Ask Papabear” advice column and Greymuzzles group popular among the original generation of fandom. He started The Good Furry Award for furs who demonstrate outstanding community spirit, and is at work on The Furry Book where copyright has a chapter. 

(Editors note:) It happens time and again. Someone traces art, does a “recolor” or reposts without asking. Or perhaps without knowing, with all the memes and reposts on social media. There’s good ways and bad ways to fix mistakes and spread constructive awareness (something easily forgotten in fandom.)

First, DO: send a DM saying “hey I don’t know if you were aware about this but can you please credit/take it down?” — DON’T: Rush past doing a DM to brew up a nasty mob and grab that callout clout. (Especially if the art isn’t signed and it’s a super-generic meme used all over the place.)

Nicely asking is the way to start with fan-to-fan issues. Fake-legalese can sound threatening, but what’s the ratio of sad drama vs. real lawsuits you can name about furry art?  Unless there’s mass-production going on, that’s just likely to spread nastiness and waste time when you could have been constructive.

I once bought a warehouse of cases of a photography book for next to nothing, saving them from being put out in the rain. I tried contacting the photographer to see what happened but got no answer. But after starting liquidation, he found me with a nice letter saying “the distributor screwed me and went bankrupt without telling me, I could sue about ownership, but I made them for love and really want them, is there any way to work this out?” I could have told him to piss up a rope because it would never be worth the lawyer fees; but his approach got me to ship him a truckload for only my loading cost and his transport cost. Win-win. He was a Playboy photographer who now likes furries. Triple win!

This site started like many fan projects as a free wordpress.com blog, promotes countless creators as a not-for-profit community service, and costs me to run it. There’s hundreds of years-old articles that won’t get weeded and could have a few reposted files in them (I don’t know). It can happen with posts taking 4-12+ hours to write. If any issue turns up, send a DM or “Here’s my Paypal if you can do a modest fee.” It’s that easy to get a win-win.

Writers get paid peanuts, but at least guest submissions here now get thank-you pay above fandom-standard rate (compared to fiction publishing, as the only furry news site that pays anything at all). Plus there’s a new regular banner feature that commissions underrated artists — the upcoming one is a Mexican fur. For this guest article, I’m grateful to Grubbs for declining compensation, he’s a great fandom supporter. (My opinion is independent from his). Enjoy! – Patch

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Furbuy goes offline, fandom organization issues, and a need for constructive criticism.

by Patch O'Furr

Flayrah covers a tech problem with a longstanding fandom auction site: FurBuy down for ‘months’ after spat with security researcher.

Furbuy says they’ll be back with a completely new site. The old one relied on software mostly written in 1999, offering a service that drew some complaints for security problems or less-than-modern functionality, complicated by some conflict with a site owner about expected handling of complaints.

Furbuy also offered a valuable free service, accommodating fandom high points like record auction prices for creators without taking a cut like nonfandom markets. (It earned some donations, but not as much as it cost to run). With a hobby/not-for-profit project, accommodating demands might not always be fast or easy or welcome to the providers. Still, security issues can’t be dismissed and complaints can come with feelings about less-than-professional standards.

Sound familiar? Like every complaint ever about management of Furaffinity, the biggest fandom art site.

I think it’s a structural thing. It comes with the benefit of a decentralized fandom, where most commerce is self-owned and fan-to-fan without middlemen, with DIY-ness for love as much as money. Making a living that way is rare, and rarely enriching, and it makes limited resources to do better. Professional service is a must in many ways but “pro-fan” can be an oxymoron. It’s a furry paradox.

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“A book about joy:” the publishing of Tom Broadbent’s At Home With the Furries

by Patch O'Furr

“At Home With The Furries” is at US-based Amazon sellers now.

Sent by Tom via Furplanet

In early 2018 I wrote about a Kickstarter for a book of Tom Broadbent’s furry photography. These aren’t your usual convention photos. He stages them with characters in their homes like storybook pages. As soon as I saw what he was up to, I knew this would make extra special art. One publisher he approached was someone I knew, who I had already tipped that someone should do a furry photo art book. My copy sits on my desk where I write up crazy happenings in the fandom. Let’s hear from Tom how things went. – Patch

Hi Patch,

The book was officially published on 30th September last year. At the time I thought the Kickstarter was hard in terms of raising the backing. Producing the book was a whole different story, I could not be prouder of the finished product but it took a lot out of me. Essentially with the Kickstarter reaching its target I buried myself last year into producing the book to the absolute highest standard I could do. Not only because I felt a deep responsibility to the backers, but also the furries themselves, the furry community and ultimately myself. It’s only going to be published once after all, and it’s out there forever, sitting on people’s bookshelves, in bookshops, museums and a variety of National libraries (some of which I’ll come to shortly.)

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How furries resist a commercialized fandom (Part 3)

by Patch O'Furr

Furry fandom often has DIY ethics (intentional or not). That can mean nonprofit volunteer-led events, and directly supporting each other’s art instead of just consuming corporate products. A Daily Beast reporter asked about it and I shared lots of info that didn’t all make the news — so here’s a followup in 3 parts.

Part 1 looked at the roots of fandom, with fans being “fans of each other”. Stigma and undermining showed how the fandom didn’t just follow the path of least resistance, it broke out under pressure. A sense of outsiderness and self determination has stayed ever since.

Part 2 looked at conventions making a platform for industry and expression that keeps the group untamed. Relations with the media got better while making a certain fandom identity (instead of letting others make it). It can even connect to deeper identity of members, because it lets them be who they want to be.

Furries care about fandom identity with a kind of tribalism. When members say they’re prone to “furry drama,” it can come from conflict about who defines it or benefits from it. That’s how The Daily Beast noticed conflict about a luxury “designer fursuit” brand, which usually wouldn’t matter to anyone except furries.

I told the reporter: “I think it really struck a nerve. It really got to the root of this possessiveness that the subculture has about itself and what it built for itself.”

It’s a case for looking at resistance to commercialism. Backlash at the brand was provoked by tone-deaf marketing, where bringing a mainstream approach wasn’t workable with art based on unique personal identity. Also, luxury brands don’t get made from scratch when others go back 100 years. (Fans in-the-know could compare this with furry brand Hyena Agenda, whose stuff speaks for itself without rubbing the wrong way against a certain fandom identity.)

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How furries resist a commercialized fandom (Part 2)

by Patch O'Furr

Furry fandom often has DIY ethics (intentional or not). That can mean nonprofit volunteer-led events, and directly supporting each other’s art instead of just consuming corporate products. A Daily Beast reporter asked about it and I shared lots of info that didn’t all make the news — so here’s a followup in 3 parts.

Fandom is big business in the mainstream – but furries have their own place apart. Why does this fandom grow independently? Let’s look at unique expression at the heart of it. Of course furries do a lot more things than this story can look at, but one aspect brings insight about decentralized structure.

Some subcultures rise and fall with media they consume. But the influences seen in Part 1 didn’t make one property in common for every furry. They didn’t rise with a movie like Zootopia. Instead, this fandom is fans of each other.

Part 1 looked at the roots and growth of their conventions. Furry cons make a platform for the specialized craft of fursuiting, with bespoke, full-body mascot costumes that cost thousands. They’re uniquely original expressions of identity. They’re tangible, huggable products of imagination. They put the fur in furry.

A lot of the fandom’s rock stars are fursuiters, who give it a photogenic face. Unlike stars of other fandoms, their original characters usually aren’t promoting something else — and fursuits can’t be downloaded or easily pirated — they’re for live experiences. It matters because online community can be temporary, but live events glue it together. They can show why this fandom is independent, here to stay, and not tied to certain media.

Rather than naming great works tied to their activity, you could say that the group is its own greatest creation. And if writing, art, or other creativity in the fandom didn’t rise out of a certain type of event, fursuiting did.

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How furries resist a commercialized fandom (Part 1)

by Patch O'Furr

Furry fandom often has DIY ethics (intentional or not). That can mean nonprofit volunteer-led events, and directly supporting each other’s art instead of just consuming corporate products. A Daily Beast reporter asked about it and I shared lots of info that didn’t all make the news — so here’s a followup in 3 parts.

Why is commercialism a topic for an often disparaged subculture? Compare furry fandom today to its roots. Times change, and hindsight can help to see why. Let’s look at how industry and media influenced the American roots in the 1970’s, how it grew, and changes that come with bigger scale than ever.

The 1970’s could be a hungry time for fans with a taste for comics and animation of the 1940’s-50’s Golden Age. As it faded, funny-animal comics died off while the business suffered under the Comics Code. In movies, the fall of the studio system contributed to a dark age of animation. Hanna-Barbera reigned on TV with cheap formulaic product. Disney’s feature studio almost went bankrupt with barely any new artists hired for a generation. Robin Hood (1973) spread the furry virus before it had a name, but the movie wasn’t well loved by the studio. Then a new wave of artists (such as Tim Burton and Don Bluth) came out of Disney while it had a rebirth, peaking with The Lion King (1994), which launched a thousand furry projects. But by the early 90’s the furry fandom was already fully fledged to take off on its own. It happened under the influence of the ups and downs of industry, but also in spite of it.

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Forget designer fursuits… it’s time for more bonkers concept fursuits.

by Patch O'Furr

Following yesterday’s article about Zweitesich, here’s a round table chat.

(Vandell:) Saw the Zweiteisch backlash and wow some people are being way, way too harsh.

(Chip:) It is impressive that they have 50k Youtube followers and didn’t run into this sort of issue sooner.

(Changa:) Yeah. It was misguided attempt pushed on by youthful foolishness but not something I would flog them over.

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When furries attack: Zweitesich criticized for marketing fursuits as expensive luxuries.

by Patch O'Furr

“Being mean and shitty to people doesn’t make you interesting” – Kaiser Neko

Everyone knows furries are silly. Many of them even claim a tongue-in-cheek Furry Trash label that sells truckloads of t-shirts. So what kind of oxymoron is “Designer Fursuiting”?

The launch of fursuit maker Zweitesich (Second Self) presented the trappings of an upscale luxury brand, complete with slo-mo fashion modeling, and dismaying logo placement right on the faces of the products. (Cool logo design, though.) It emulated the most pretentious of mainstream hype, including eye-popping prices and one of the most overanalyzed sentences ever written to sell things to furries: “created by a designer, not ordered from a tailor.”

Flayrah’s Sonious summarized how the marketing flopped: Fursuit entrepreneur learns rocky lessons about advertising.

Sometimes hype is just hype. Image is part of selling anything. Of course, if you know furry drama, it predictably didn’t stop with a failure to connect. Not when there’s a fandom complex about image that’s way out of proportion to how much the mainstream cares. With this complex, it’s like The Normies are always lurking outside the door, and they’ll break in here if there isn’t constant gatekeeping against fictional entertainment (like the 2003 CSI episode. If it’s been stale since last decade, insecurity keeps the resentment going.)

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Taxes, travels and getting weird with Big Nazo Lab

by Patch O'Furr

Whee, it’s tax season! You know what they say about death and taxes. Even dogs can’t avoid ’em. As you may (not) know, I run a business and have an awfully big job to sort a few million bones worth of transactions. (This update is getting written in a bank lobby while waiting to pull records, multitasking fur the win). Shortly after that I’m leaving on vacation. It’s been a while… furry news may be weird and irregular for a bit.

It leads me to mention the fun of dealing with the IRS. Speaking in canine, if we rank government employees, these ones are tastier than those super-chaseable mail carriers (those are too spicy with their pepper spray). It’s fun to talk to the IRS about furry business, like about how deducting the cost of a service dog includes yourself, or just about writing off con expenses. And if you pass an audit, they may even call you a good boy and find extra refunds for you. These civil servants aren’t as monstrous as pop culture says.

Speaking of monsters… I can’t wait to travel to the same town as this amazing lab I just discovered, Big Nazo. They grow mutant creatures. Hopefully they’ll let a stray dog in to sniff around and maybe write about it.

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