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Monstery Goodness

Daniel and Dawna Davis, known collectively as Steam Crow, refer to themselves as “a husband and wife team based in Phoenix, Arizona, who make friendly monster-inspired art, prints, books, and other oddities”.  With a weird sense of humor and an extreme graphic-arts style to boot. Their books include Caught Creatures, a book of “monster haiku”. You can find that and much more at the Steam Crow web site, as well as a blog updating the latest of what they’re working on — and what’s the next convention or festival they’ll be appearing at.

image c. 2014 Steam Crow

image c. 2014 Steam Crow

The Straight Poop

Michael Vash is a fine artist,  illustrator, and former Disney employee  with a wicked sense of humor. Mostly (but not exclusively) it’s directed at our canine companions.  His first hardcover book is called Doggy Styles: The Poop and the Scoop — An Irreverent Guide to Man’s Best Friend, and it’s available at Amazon right now. Fair warning: These are not illustrations meant for kids! Also, check out Michael’s personal web site for sample pages from the book, as well as more of his illustrations both silly and not.

Furries at the Art Gallery

Less than a year after the very first Art of Furry Fandom display opened at the Avant Garden Art Gallery in Santa Ana, California, the furries are back with a new exhibit — open now through the month of April. Once again curated by your own humble ed-otter and Mark Merlino, this year’s display features artwork by Steven Martin, Rivercoon, and Sherwood, as well as photography by Changa Lion. The art went up in time for the monthly Santa Ana Art Walk (every first Saturday), one of the biggest in Orange County, and the place was packed. The Avant Garden is located downstairs in the historic Santora Building (Ground Zero for the Santa Ana Artist Colony area) at 207 North Broadway Santa Ana, CA 92701. Call them at (714) 558-8843 or visit their web site for the gallery hours.

Two Decades of Dreamworks

This year Dreamworks is celebrating 20 years of animation on TV and the big screen. Among the signs of the celebration is The Art of Dreamworks Animation, a new hardcover book edited by Ramin Zahed. It’s available later this month from Abrams Publishing. “Brimming with concept art, preproduction designs, and character sketches, DreamWorks Animation marks the studio’s 20th anniversary and offers unprecedented behind-the-scenes access into its archives. An introduction by DreamWorks cofounder Jeffrey Katzenberg provides insider perspective on the studio’s most popular films, as does running commentary from artists and directors on all of DreamWorks’ 30 films to date.”  By which they mean films like Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, and How to Train Your Dragon. Order it now at Amazon.

image c. 2014 Dreamworks Animation

image c. 2014 Dreamworks Animation

Furry Artwork Seeks Your Funding

Anthrology (doncha just love what we do to the language?) is an upcoming hardcover collection of more than 150 full-color non-adult illustrations from 40 artists.  Well, it may be coming up — if they reach their goal. Currently there’s an Indiegogo campaign to finance not only printing the books, but paying each of the artists involved a fair share for their work.  The Indiegogo sight has loads of links to loads of artwork by the various artists.  After the campaign is complete, this collection will not be sold again, according to the editors.

image c. 2014 by Zengel

image c. 2014 by Zengel

Here Come the Birds ['The Art of Rio']

Not content to have the (as should be expected) “art of Rio 2“, Blue Sky Studios instead brings us The Art of Rio: Featuring a Carnival of Art from Rio and Rio 2.  My, now that’s a title! “From 20th Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios, the creators of Ice Age and Horton Hears a Who!, the musical adventure comedy Rio told the story of how rare Blue Macaws Blu and Jewel met and fell in love in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival. In Rio 2, the pair journey with their 3 chicks to the amazon jungle in search of their wild roots. With over 300 pieces of concept art, character sketches, storyboards and digital paintings, along with interviews with the key animation talent, this book reveals the artistry behind the 2 colorful movies.” It’s put together by Tara Bennett (who’s written and edited several movie tie-in books of the sort), with an introduction by Carlos Saldanha (the director of both films). Look for it at Amazon, where it’s available now in hardcover.

image c. Titan Books

image c. Titan Books

Voting begins as 2013 Ursa Major Awards ballot released

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Ursa Major Awards banner by EosFoxx Here is the final ballot for the 2013 Ursa Major Awards. The voting is among the five titles in each category getting the most nominations. In several categories, there are six finalists because of ties for fifth place. In the Best Short Fiction category, only four finalists are listed because of too many ties for fifth place.

Voting is now open. Due to a technical issue, nominators will need to acquire a new key. The deadline is April 30.

As is not unusual, there were so many nominations for the fourth, fifth, and sixth place nominees in most categories that one more nomination could have made the difference between a title’s getting on the final ballot or not. Please nominate next year.

The 2013 Ursa Major Awards will be announced and presented at a ceremony at the CaliFur X convention, May 30-June 1, 2014, at the Irvine Marriott Hotel, 18000 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine, CA 92612.

2013 Ursa Major Awards nominations about to close

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Ursa Major Awards Nominations for the 2013 Ursa Major Awards, for the best anthropomorphic movies, novels, comic strips, games, etc., will close on February 28. Voting for the winner will begin on March 15th and will close on April 30. The awards will be presented at CaliFur X on May 30 to June 1, at the Irvine Marriott Hotel, Irvine, California.

If you have not nominated yet, you have only a few more days to do so. All titles first published or released during the 2013 calendar year are eligible. The awards are given in eleven categories: Motion Picture, Dramatic Short Work or Series, Novel, Short Fiction, Other Literary Work, Graphic Novel, Comic Strip, Magazine, Published Illustration, Website, and Game. The final ballot includes the top five titles nominated in each category.

To nominate (by February 28), and to vote (March 15–April 30), go to ursamajorawards.org. The 2014 Recommended Anthropomorphics List will be posted after March 1.

2013 Ursa Major Awards nominations open

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Ursa Major Awards Nominations for the 2013 Ursa Major Awards are now open. The awards, voted upon in 2014, celebrate the best anthropomorphic literature and art first published during the previous calendar year.

The awards are selected by a two-stage process of nominating and voting. Members of the public send in up to five nominations in each of the eleven categories. The top five nominees in each category (more in case of a tie) are then presented on a final ballot for a public vote.

The eleven categories are: Motion Picture, Dramatic Short Work or Series, Novel, Short Fiction, Other Literary Work, Graphic Novel, Comic Strip, Magazine, Published Illustration, Website, and Game.

Many nominations are likely to come from the 2013 Recommended Anthropomorphic Reading List, which has been built up through prior recommendations. However, inclusion on the List is not necessary for nomination if a work is otherwise eligible.

Marvel comics to feature furry collectible covers in All-New Marvel NOW!

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X-Men Cats Because superheroes and reboots go together like peanut butter and jelly, Marvel is featuring an All-New Marvel NOW! throughout the early half of 2014, in which many of the publisher’s superhero books are gaining new writers and artists, while others are beginning with new #1 issues — never mind that the All-Old Marvel NOW! is barely a little over a year old itself.

Captain Marvel as a fox This would be a big “so what?” for furry fans, if weren’t for the alternative collectible covers that will be featured as incentives for collectors. They feature the Marvel superheroes as furries! [tip: Fred via Newsbyte]

Photographer Carmen Dobre seeks insights into furries via 360° home panoramas

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If you were waiting for a coffee-table book mixing fursuiting and cultural research, Furries: Enacting Animal Anthropomorphism might be it. It was created by Romanian Carmen Dobre, a Master in both cultural studies (Univ. of Bucharest) and photographic studies (Leiden), who is pursuing a PhD at the Bucharest National University of Arts. [tip: Dr. Kathy Gerbasi]
'Furries', by CarmenDobre
The 152 page hardback contains 49 photographs, 13 of which can be previewed online (scroll in for a full view). Produced by the University of Plymouth, it's also available from eBay UK or Australia, Amazon U.S. or Canada, Albris, and Fishpond.

Carmen's furry photography began in Holland as a university project, and spread to France, Romania, Germany, and the UK (assisted by Fotonow CIC). Her work was exhibited September-October 2011 (video) at the Rue de l'Exposition gallery. One photo was a finalist for the 2013 Celeste Prize. She has also created a brief study of furry fandom (PDF).

Putting the ART in Furry Art

Lisa Hanawalt is a New York-based artist whose illustrations feature humans and anthropomorphic animals in a variety of artistic styles, all in the service of the creator’s wry observations of pop culture and human foibles. Her works have been seen in a variety of publications and on a variety of web sites, as you can see if you visit her home page or her shop on Tumblr. Well now, her works have been gathered together on dead trees in a new hardcover collection, My Dirty Dumb Eyes from Drawn & Quarterly. Check it out at Amazon. It’s also available as a trade paperback.


image c. 2013 by Lisa Hanawalt

Fursuiting and copyright: an important issue for fandom

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New powers to patent animals (including unrealized hybrids that populate furry fiction) burst into the news on 11/13/13, when activist organization Wikileaks revealed a draft of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Analysts have called it "a major power grab for large patent and copyright industries," with powerful implications for the future of intellectual property.

With a lead like that, I have to apologize for faking you out. I couldn't resist. Now let's do a 180, and turn back to the furry level of life, where copyright concerns are much more personal. Consider this scenario that happened to fursuiters Sakura Fox and Mercury on their trip to New York City:

You're walking through Central Park, and see some panhandlers begging for change. They're wearing badly made, unsightly costumes of Sesame Street characters. You shouldn't hang around them in fursuit, because a pimp Elmo might come smack you off his corner!

Elmo waving a gun and knife It's an unauthorized misuse of trademark for profit. It could make the copyright owners look bad, and they wouldn't like it. It's probably too trivial for them to hear about, or hire lawyers to stop it- but you never know. In a famous 1989 action, Disney forced the removal of murals featuring their characters from three Florida day care centers. It helped earn their "reputation as an extreme copyright hawk -- there's a reason 'Disney lawyer' is a term all its own". (On the more friendly side, consider Hasbro's relationship with Bronies.)

The Hippo From Hell

Not many independent animation studios have a large staffs; fewer still are a one-person operation. But such is the case with Zandoria Studios — also known as animator William Sutton, working out of his home in Tennessee. While still working a day job, Mr. Sutton has found time to create CGI sequences for various independent films. Meanwhile, he’s been working on his own personal project: TAR of Zandoria, created using the popular Animation Master software. TAR, you see, is a barbarian hippopotamus, who spends his time wandering the wasteland in search of adventure, dancing girls, and fruit punch — but who must instead busy himself dispatching armies of hyenas and other evil-doers. A Kickstarter campaign to  finance the first episode of TAR was unfortunately not successful, and so Mr. Sutton is seeking out other ways to bring his idea to life — and the screen. Check out the official TAR web site to find out the latest and see lots of background sketches — both computer-generated and traditional art.


image c. 2013 by William Sutton

Fur Affinity bans 'Spam to Win' journals, reposted promos

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Furries are pretty creative. Where conventional companies will pay advertising companies, we find new way to promote our products and selves to others. Independent artists in the fandom have to use less conventional means of promotion. Two such staples that have become popular in the fandom over the past year are "Your Character Here" auctions and "Repost a Link" schemes. However, with their increased popularity, users began to criticize abuse of these methods and expressed annoyance at their side effects.

On November 21, after a link-reposting "giveaway" promising the winner $1,111 had saturated the site, Fur Affinity staff decided that what once started as a small advertising scheme had entered the realm of the intolerable, calling the methodology "Spam to Win". They also re-addressed an issue where artists would repost YCH auction template pictures, annoying watches and browsers alike.

In this Flayrah exclusive we will focus on the new journal rules, explain their implications to average furs and furry organizations, and how these type of prize giveaways could evolve under these new regulations and maintain a level of effectiveness.

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