Interview: Zelaphas on her Twitter feed 'Best of Furry'
Isiah Jacobs: Hello there, ma'am! Thank you so much for joining me today! It's a pleasure to have you on the show!
Zelephas: Thanks, glad to be here :D
Isiah Jacobs: So, you currently run a Twitter feed called @BestofFurry. For those that aren't aware, could you please briefly explain what exactly you do with this feed?
Zelephas: Sure! The goal of BestofFurry is to be the one-stop-shop for the very BEST in the furry, fantasy, feral and mythical fandoms. Many sites allow you to see the top artists, but often mask the wonderful work that up-and-comers do, or only showcase digital art and not costumes, crafts, literature, music, dance or other performance. Furries and fantasy fans are an incredibly talented bunch in a variety of mediums, and my hope is to provide an outlet for fans to see the best of all of it.
The Twitter feed is linked up to Facebook, and the Pinterest feed is linked up to Twitter. Ultimately, in whatever way users best prefer to absorb media, I'd like to get out there with the best of everything in the easiest way for fans to absorb it. I have a lot of plans for improvements down the line, including a website, user submissions, guest curators, a regular video episode, etc. There is a lot of potential for this account, but I'll need all the help I can get!
Isiah Jacobs: Well, it's furries, so prepare for disappointment. How long have you been running this feed?
Zelephas: I began the account sometime in early February. It reached 100 followers in under two weeks, and has had steady growth and lots of feedback since then.
Isiah Jacobs: Why do you think it caught on so fast?
Zelephas: I think people are naturally drawn to "best of." There are a lot of articles now about lists and targeted curation being a huge trend on the web. The overload of information and media is sort of a blessing and a curse; There's so many wonderful things to absorb, but most people don't even know where to begin. So, if you know you like furry and fantasy art, but every time you visit the front pages of FA, DA, Inkbunny, etc. you keep seeing poor art or the same artists over and over again, the idea of an account pulling out the best, but new material all the time, is very appealing. Plus, I made it very clear early on that I wanted to feature costumes, crafts, literature, dance and other performance, which is often overshadowed by the art aspect in the fandom.
Isiah Jacobs: Well thank you, because I for one am tired of seeing just art over and over! How do you go about finding new and rising talent? I've tried looking myself and I couldn't find anything!
Zelephas: I've been browsing anthro and fantasy art for yeeeeeeeaaaars now. I have a ton of it saved up, and I've always had a pretty varied interest in what mediums it comes in, so that helps in having variety. As for new content, I do a variety of things: For Valentine's Day, for example, I searched for "love" or "snuggling" or other key words, and then adjusted the URL at the top to go to various places in time where related content was uploaded. A handful of users have tweeted suggestions to me, and I've used and appreciated every one of those! Finally, I'll do a lot of link surfing starting with a 'popular' or high-end artist, and going through their faves, then the faves of artists they've faved, and so on until I get into the lower rungs of the totem pole where artists (or musicians, writers, sculptors, etc.) are less known but still remarkably talented.
I try to keep my eye out for different mediums as I browse, too. I don't really focus on how many faves or comments a piece has; A lot of amazing work gets overlooked on the web regularly. I just focus on the quality put into the piece, if it's something unique or eye-catching, or if there's an interesting or relatable story behind the work. Once in a while, I'll send something out that would never had made its way to FA or any other site, but still find relevant. For example, I tweeted about the account @horse_ebooks; Nothing to do with furry, but hey, it has 'horse' in the name and is pretty damn…uh…noteworthy? Haha.. Yesterday I was looking up info for another project and came across a gallery of photographs taken in the 1940s of a squirrel wearing miniaturized women's clothes. Is it furry? Maybe, maybe not. Furries seem enthralled with the idea of humanizing animals and vice versa, so maybe going back in history and seeing others do the same provides some background on that.
Isiah Jacobs: Squirrels in human clothes is the exact type of thing that terrifies me! The next thing you know, they'll be taking our jobs! Like stuffing as much food down their throats as possible! That's an American thing! Is there a certain medium that you like over others?
Zelephas: I've always loved digital art. I really got into it in the early 2000's when Jennadelle and Schkyzm (sp?) dominated DeviantArt.com with their eerie monsters and glowing, raver effects. No one in traditional media has really done that before, plus in digital it was super easy to do unimaginable things with light. I'm a big fan of science fiction, so the idea of anthropomorphic monsters lighting up their world with glowing appendages and industrial electricity really captivated me. More recently, though, I've really gotten into costuming, especially Don't Hug Cacti, Clockwork Creature and Beetlecat. They each have different styles and different way of bringing imagined creatures to life on a human form. It's really impressive how well they're able to hide the fact that there's a normal, average Joe underneath some of their creations! They really get your mind to take a logic break and think, ok, that thing looks pretty realistic and is moving pretty believably, so I guess it must be real!
Isiah Jacobs: But they're not real! They're horrible people who dress up as animals and then go to Disney World and terrify little children! Why did you have to sneak up on me like that, Goofy?! Why?! So, you mentioned how people can contribute to you feed. Let's say someone actually found something good in the furry community and they wanted to share. How would they go about it?
Isiah Jacobs: How much porn have you received so far?
Zelephas: Hahahaha! Bestoffurry is, for now, a 100% clean account. If anything is slightly risque, I tag it as NSFW, but no porn is ever submitted. Luckily, no one has sent us porn, either. I'd be open to creating a BestoffurryAdult in the future, but I myself would not participate.
Isiah Jacobs: Wow! No furry porn! That is very suprising, given the target audience! Well thank you so much for your time, ma'am! I look forward to having you back on the show in the future!
Zelephas: No problem! Thanks for the interview! Highly appreciated. And it's not so surprising, actually! Furry isn't all about porn, in fact it's not even mostly about porn. But it is 100% about expressing yourself, and it's been pretty easy to find some of the best talent out there. :D