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Get in on the 2018 Best Anthropomorphic Artwork Awards!

Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (30 votes)

Crossing, artwork from 2017 depicting a mammoth by Caraid and Nomax.I found out about the Best Anthropomorphic Artwork Awards only yesterday (Dec. 26th), and I wish I'd known about them sooner!

They're a labor of love to the fandom by Bahu, and I'm not even going to try guessing how many artists he must follow on an annual basis to narrow down 29,000 pieces of art to 875 contenders (3%), then working those numbers down even further. And that's not counting the People's Choice Award, which you can vote on before January 1st if you act quickly!

In Bahu's own words, from the summary of the 2017 winners:

With excellence in any genre should come recognition. As the anthropomorphic arts community blossoms and grows, we've been so fortunate to see an explosion of talent, craft, and discipline explode across our screens.
...
We're so lucky to have this in our lives, and for the last few years I've wanted to do something to recognize that excellence in anthropomorphic artwork and illustration.

And most importantly, I felt that it deserved more than just recognition. So this year, I set aside $100 dollars [Canadian], to award to the creator of the very best artwork that graced my life. No strings attached. Free money. Just my way of saying thanks for being awesome. And then $50 for the audience's popular choice, and $20 more for a piece of art and charity that I felt deserved special recognition.

I hope next year, others who feel the same way will do the same. Recognize greatness, but more importantly, nurture it. Feed it.

Don't wait on others, or a committee, or a hashtag. Be the patron you need to see more of in the world.

And please, share this document and sentiment with friends and fellow fans. Point them here, or anywhere you feel that an artist could use a little more light and help along the way.

Our fandom has tried to promote its artwork several times in the past. Offhand, there was Darrell Benvenuto's American Journal of Anthropomorphics; and there was a gallery art show organized by Mark Merlino and Rod O'Riley.

I think a couple of talented artists might have been approached to contribute to the 2014 book Furries Furever? And I have a hazy memory of someone trying to organize a glossy coffee-table book to showcase our artists, maybe back around 2006-2008(?) - I remember seeing an early-draft PDF, but the project never came to fruition and I can't remember any details.

(Update: Roz Gibson has identified the latter as a 2010 book by Brian Kotulis called Aether d'Animaux, which did in fact get printed by Lulu.com and is rather expensive. There were indeed draft PDFs that were briefly made available, and a short Adobe Flash preview still exists on the Intrinsik Design website. Thanks Roz!)

Anyway, I was very happy to hear about this award, because I love it when artists get recognized for their work! I have a binder of furry art that I've put together to show to non-furries at local cons, which I sadly don't get around to updating as often as I'd like.

So! Is there a piece of furry artwork that really stood out for you in 2018? If so, post about it in a reply to this Twitter post ASAP! Specifically, the Awards are looking for artwork that:

  • Powerfully evokes emotion,
  • Demonstrates aesthetic and technical mastery, and
  • Would make you excited to show people as proof of excellence in anthropomorphic art.

Take a look at the sort of thing they're looking for, and let's hear a cheer for the best artistic talent we have to offer!

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (24 votes)

I like the idea but I don't think I like the current way of selecting art. Based on the 2017 award link on the Twitter account, the artwork was all from artists Bahu was watching on FurAffinity and favourited. The first problem is that it is then exclusive to FurAffinity and discriminates against artists who are not on FurAffinity. The second problem is that it the initial selection is heavily biased by what Bahu likes. Now, the art does look amazing and it is his money but that doesn't really feel like it's a good way to do a fandom award.

If its going to be based on a vote by other furs, then I think it would be better that nominations were open to everyone and included other sites. That would, in principle, make it more fair. It would probably also make sense then to have donations so it's not just Bahu funding it but that's really a minor issue. I certainly don't have an issue with his philanthropy and more of these awards should help showcase good art that might be overlooked otherwise. The Ursa Majors have an overlapping category but this award seems to offer a better selection. I guess that's the positive aspect of being driven by a specific person instead of a committee.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 2.4 (14 votes)

> the artwork was all from artists Bahu was watching on FurAffinity and favourited.

This is reflective of methodology, not inherent bias. Whenever I see a piece of artwork that reflects excellence, I follow the artist and favorite the art, as I'd like to think most users of online art sites do!

People send me links to great art, and if I think it's excellent, I follow and favorite. FurAffinity is -not- the only site in consideration; but with cross-posting being so common I have yet to have a piece of art reach Contender status that was exclusively available on a non-FurAffinity site. If that situation ever arose, it'd be a non-issue; being on FurAffinity is -not- a pre-condition of nomination. :)

> The second problem is that it the initial selection is heavily biased by what Bahu likes.

Yep. Art isn't objective, it's subjective. It's my money, and it's my selection of artworks. That being said, long before artwork reaches the Contender stage, I run the pieces by my other judges. Nothing has made it to Contender stage without unanimous consensus that the piece was excellent and worthy of consideration and promotion. Also, the other Judges forward me images they think are worth consideration.

Likewise, none of the winners are chosen without input from fellow judges. We spend a lot of time on those conversations; I think 4 hours is the -shortest- conversation we ever had regarding a Finalist, and the decision, for example, between Hriscia's "Lio" and Simul's "Into Ashes" back in 2017 really was a *months* long conversation between me and three other judges, all of us waffling back and forth, coming back to the pieces weeks or months later, talking about how our love and perception of the images changed over time, etc.

> but that doesn't really feel like it's a good way to do a fandom award.

This isn't a fandom award, it's an art award. It's not the Best Furry Artwork Award, it's the Best Anthropomorphic Artwork Award. This means that consideration extends beyond just furry artists and fans, but extends to include professional illustrators and their works from beyond the furry fandom, including commercial artists and products.

Our goal here is to recognize excellence, not just popularity. As such, general public nominations were never considered for this award (though, really, we'll probably still sit up and take notice if y'all send us a link to something great).

As technical excellence is one of the three main criteria of the award, that's going to rule out some commonly-popular-within-furry aesthetics and styles. Pop appeal *is* considered (and is, in fact, why we have an Audience Choice award at all, which originally was a last-minute for-fun addition that we decided should stay). But pop-appeal alone is not nearly a strong enough criteria for our award.

> If its going to be based on a vote by other furs

It won't, beyond the Audience Choice award. There's no formal nomination procedure; if you see something you think is exceptional and outstanding, send a link our way. If we agree, maybe it becomes a Contender!

> It would probably also make sense then to have donations

This is something we are tentatively looking into; I would really, really like to offer a larger and more prestigious cash prize for this, but at this time I'm limited to what I can afford to pay out of pocket.

But the instant the money starts flowing in any other direction than out from my own pocket, things get a LOT hairier financially, legally, and ethically.

> and more of these awards should help showcase good art that might be overlooked otherwise.

I would be overjoyed to see a dozen similar prizes arise. I hope we'll see people rise to the occasion soon, and recognize excellence not only with exposure, but with financial reward befitting the talent.

Your rating: None Average: 4.8 (12 votes)

Kinda silly. He criticizes your methodology ("current way of selecting art"), and your response is to affirm that it's methodology he's criticizing? And then say it's not inherently biased, but then immediately go on to admitting that it's inherently biased? Yes, it's your money, your selection of artwork. That's what he said.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (11 votes)

I've kind of been of the opinion that Ursa should have a 6th nominee that is selected purely by an expert in the field.

Like for instance, for 2017 non-fiction I would have nominated Boozy Badger's Sovereign Citizen article, which was not nominated. I'm sure those that didn't are now palming their face. It was one of the most talked about articles from a non-furry (at the time) of the year:

1) It was what introduced the furry fandom to Boozy Barrister, and furry's response to said article was Boozy's entrance into the fandom. Which was kind of the strangest way we gained a member.

2) It provided an outsider's (at the time) perspective on the Rocky Mountain Fur Con situation and educated that there are those in the fandom that were part of a group and that this group was well known outside the fandom (Sovereign Citizens).

3) It was an entertaining read.

There is just too much content being made for everyone to be an expert on everything, so giving everyone the option to vote on everything or nominate everything will cause some big items to be missed that to others would be dead obvious. Assigning a curator for each section to inject a 6th nomination among the 5 selected would both highlight what the people found popular and what the expert curator in the area thinks was the most significant.

The curator would obviously not be able to nominate their own content.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (11 votes)

The Oscars have a "selection committee" in the Foreign Language category; I can't remember the exact method, but voting for the category is open to every member in some branch or other, but their is also a small, select group that actually makes sure they see every submission. Ideally, every voter would see everything, and there is nothing stopping members not on the "select" committee from seeing everything submitted (other than the actual logistics of watching the 70+ submissions), but this small group can help get nominees that, for whatever reason, aren't as likely to be seen "saved".

I believe this is the only category with this "committee"; I would not be surprised if, say, Animated gets one eventually, but they're doing alright getting smaller, but worthier, nominees already. And of course, the Foreign Language Film category is already a complicated affair.

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