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Fred Patten's CaliFur IX con report

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Califur IX intro screenSorry, but my CaliFur report this year is even skimpier than last year’s. That’s just the way it is.

Like every year since CaliFur V, CaliFur IX took place at the Irvine Marriott Hotel in Irvine, California, on May 31–June 2, 2013. This year’s theme was “FURtual Reality”. There were two guests-of-honor: Maxwell Alexander Drake, the Author GoH, author of the Moonbeam Young Adult Fantasy Award-winning novels in 2009 and 2011 (the first two novels in his Genesis of Oblivion Saga), and their publisher, Imagined Interprises, Inc. in Las Vegas; and NecroDrone, the Artist GoH, “BDSM Illustrator and Dominatrix extradiordinaire!” Official attendance was 1,178; an increase of over two hundred. Due to my continuing poor health, I was in a wheelchair, with my sister Sherrill pushing me. We could only attend for Saturday the 2nd.

As like last year, the weather was good and we had a smooth freeway drive from my convalescent hospital, about 55 miles away. We arrived about 11:15 a.m., and went into the hotel’s coffee-shop/restaurant, Elements, for an early lunch. Roz Gibson was our guest for lunch. Roz has written and illustrated one of the stories for my anthology, What Happens Next, that FurPlanet is publishing for Anthrocon in July, so we discussed a lot of shop talk. After lunch, we left the restaurant, turned a corner, and were in the convention area.

I complained last year about CaliFur’s lack of information about its other program speakers besides its guest-of-honor, and was told the info was on several Furry boards and in the CaliFur on-line newsletter. So I looked at the CaliFur IX website, and I Googled on CaliFur IX, and guess what? Lots of gushing about “awesome panels and events”, and, yes, some names like Jasu, Summercat, Frosty, VidWulf, and Dragoneer. Maybe the CaliFur veteran would know who those are, but they are all anonymous to me; and, I suspect, to the attendees of events like this one:

My First Furry Convention: I have had an overwhelming number of furs ask me [who?] to host this panel. So, since we have a high demand for this event, I will be hosting in [sic.] on Friday to give those furs that have never been to a furry convention a chance to meet new friends.

Oops, I am wrong: there is one event that has publicity on all of its participants; the “Fursona Non Grata” live reading on Sunday morning, led by actor/writer Jeff Goode with ten other professional TV actors.

This actually turns out to be an unfair criticism of CaliFur IX. Aside from the one “Fursona Non Grata” live reading, there were no featured participants other than the guests of honor. Maxwell Drake, who likes to be called only ‘Drake’, appeared at most scheduled events involving writing or publishing, as well as his own “meet the GoH” event. When he wasn’t at an event, he was usually at his Imagined Interprises Inc. booth at the entrance to the Dealers’ Den; so he was Very Visible throughout the con. But, for example, the first (and only) event that Sherry & I attended, right after lunch, was the 1:30 p.m. “Upcoming Animation”. There were about a dozen attendees and no featured speakers. This was a “meet-up”, where the fans of a particular topic are supposed to meet and entertain themselves. As it happened, we did. Rod O’Riley, Mark Merlino, Steven McMurray, and I got into a lively conversation about the current and announced theatrical animated features for the next year that filled the hour nicely. But none of us had anything to say that wasn’t in the various studios’ publicity. I imagine that the other programmed meet-ups, usually for some animal special-interest group such as the Wolf & Canine Meet-Up, the Feline Meet-Up, the Reptile Meet-Up, and so forth, were similar.

Califur IX con badge, by NecrodroneI complained that last year’s registration badges had the attendee’s name on the back of the badge. This year’s plastic badge, by Artist GoH NecroDrone, had the name prominently on the front. No complaints about that. But I will complain about the disappearance of the conbook. CaliFur IX had only the program book, a.k.a. the “pocket program” although it did not fit into a pocket. “This is NOT a conbook. No es un libro de convenciones. Ce n’est pas un livret de convention. ghobe’paq vaD tlhIngan.” [Repeated in Japanese, Chinese, and Hebrew.] The 16-page plus covers booklet presented the three-day program grid, the hotel map, brief program descriptions (“How to Get Published (Sat, 6:00 pm): There’s more than writing when it comes to putting out a book or graphic novel. Find out what from a publisher.” Without knowing, I will guess that the publisher was Imagined Interprises.), and the advertising that usually goes in the conbook. The conbook, impressively thick and colorful at most Furry conventions, has been a tradition at ConFurences and their followup CaliFurs since 1989. I miss it.

Califur IX Fursuit Parade group shot, by Warphammer“Upcoming Animation” in the Marina del Ray [sic.] Room was right across the hall from the Den of Dealers & Art Show, so we went in there next. I had a nice conversation with Glen Wooten, who was running the room, briefly interrupted by the 2:30 p.m. Fur-Suit [sic.] Parade marching through the Den of Dealers earlier than we had expected them. (Rod O’Riley said, “The fursuit parade was a total mess-up this year. It started (too early) and stopped in fits and spurts as the fursuiters discovered how hot it was outside in the staging area. [It was not quite 100º F.] Many suits that showed up 'late' (as in, on time) never got a chance to march at all. It's going to be difficult (at best) to figure out numbers, but I'll let you know if I can.”) I did not count the “Fur-Suits” that came through the Den of Dealers, but there were an impressive number of them. [Ed.: At least 180, counted passing the den; others arrived for the group photo.] An innovation that I do not recall seeing before was that a number of them had electronic enhancements such as glowing eyes and lit-up bushy tails. The suits with electronic enhancements were almost always what might be called the fantasy animal suits, such as foxes with bright blue fur and multicolored animals. The “realistic” suits of animals in their natural colors did not have lighted-up body parts. [Rare exceptions exist.]

Califur IX glowy red panda, by OniSince this is written for historical purposes, I am adding this from Roz Gibson's LiveJournal:

One really annoying phenom that's become common are the use of 'squeakers' in fursuits. All it takes is a handful of people wandering around the dealer's room squeaking at everything and everyone to make things miserable for everybody. Eventually people complained to the dealer's room lead, and he banned the use of squeakers in the dealer's room. Applause broke out when that happened. I guess everyone found them annoying except the people using them.

After the parade, we cruised the Den of Dealers. In fact, we spent practically all of our time at CaliFur IX in the Den of Dealers and the Art Show. I chatted with Steve Martin and with Megan Giles, both of whom were selling prints of their art. One of the dealers (sorry I don’t remember which) had free red vine licorice. Sherry bought me a book at the Rabbit Valley Comics table, the only dealer of books at the convention; but it was selling the books of all the Furry specialty publishers plus some self-published through CreateSpace that I had not heard of. Rabbit Valley may have been the only book dealer at CaliFur IX, but it seemed to have everything that Anthro Dreams, Bad Dog Books, FurPlanet, Sofawolf, and Rabbit Valley itself has in print. Its table was one of the more attractively laid-out at the convention, too.

The Art Show was easy to see because it was almost deserted all the time that we were there. It seemed slightly larger this year than last. But, like last year, almost everything was a Not For Sale original painting, an art print (probably a duplicate of a print that the artist was selling at her dealer’s table), or an original just like all the artist’s other originals for the past two decades. The days when you could find and bid on a really standout original painting in the con’s Art Show are at least a decade in the past; and as a result, there is very little in the Art Shows of today to get excited about.
Fuchston the fox and Mochi in the Dealers Den, by Omi
It seemed ridiculous to come to CaliFur IX just to cruise around the Den of Dealers, but the program guide showed only meet-ups that I was not interested in, the Video Program showing current Furry TV fare like Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness and TMNT that I was not interested in, and the Tabletop and Electronic Gaming tracks that I was not interested in. Saturday evening’s main event was the “Cabaret Fur le Dance” which neither Sherry nor I were interested in. The Con Suite was on the second floor, and there was always a crowd around the elevators, apparently of fans coming to & from their rooms to the pool deck. In my pre-stroke days, I might have just wandered about for hours enjoying the Furry ambience, but Sherry is not a Furry fan and I did not want to keep her pushing my wheelchair around for no real purpose. Also, Sherry preferred to drive back to my hospital while it was still light out.

We went back to Elements about 5:00 p.m. for a last cold drink (and Sherry bought me a big dish of strawberry ice cream, which my nurses at the convalescent hospital really chewed me out about the next day; it sent my blood sugar to a dangerous height) on the restaurant’s patio overlooking the pool, where we could watch swimmers (doubtlessly fans, but in the pool nobody is wearing Fursuits) batting about a huge beachball advertising Blue Sky Studio’s Rio birds. After that, we returned to my hospital.

Other old fan friends that I saw at CaliFur IX included Kay Shapero, Ken Pick, and Jay Criqui whom I remember from anime fandom. I had not known that he was interested in Furry fandom, too. GreenReaper, from the Dallas area, was at the con, but I never saw him.
Califur IX ice-cream social
I should compliment the Video Program. Even though there was nothing on it that I cared to see while I was there, all five of the Ursa Major finalists were on Friday’s program. Other recent features & TV fare like Life of Pi (arguably non-anthropomorphic but all CGI), Dragons: Riders of Berk, The Penguins of Madagascar, Hotel Transylvania, A Cat in Paris, and Monster in Paris were included. I felt a twinge of nostalgia for the lack of old classics like Robin Hood, Watership Down, and Animalympics, but how many fans today would have come to see them?

So that is my report of CaliFur IX. There was an announcement that CaliFur X’s theme next year will be “Hollywood”. That is more-or-less a repeat of the theme of ConFurence 12 in 2001, “At the Movies”. I suppose that after almost twenty-five years of Furry conventions, themes have to be recycled.


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I was there Friday-Sunday, so I can contribute my perspective on some of the events you missed.

The Cabaret Fur Le Dance appeared to have been toned down slightly, possibly because some acts were stopped halfway through last year. There were a good number of acts and people seemed to be entertained. They said they'd have alternative entertainment next year, though, and I think I might see what that's like and let someone else have my ticket.

The dinner was almost exactly the same as last year: reasonable, but I suspect I'd have had more fun arranging something with friends. The chief benefit is its convenience - you can drop in, grab a good amount of food, and the convention is just seconds away. There's not all that much choice within walking distance. The ice-cream social was, well, ice-cream. It's not a bad deal if you go for seconds. I also had breakfast at the hotel restaurant; tasty, if pricey. The buffet was overpriced, so don't get it unless you intend to fill two plates.

There were some interesting panels on various kinds of piercing. Not particularly furry, but still worthwhile and well-attended. The video game industry panel was good. Missed the BDSM panel, but it was well-attended. I'm also not convinced of the benefit of species panels, but there may be insufficient programming to justify bumping them off the schedule. "First furry con" was fine, if inadvertently held in two locations.

The pet auction was of variable quality. Some clearly know how to act in suit; others don't. The dances were a lot of fun, for their size. I covered Fursona Non Grata separately.

You didn't miss all that much up at the con suite. It contained a curious assortment of items, and there were few takers when I was up there (I'm not sure how many knew it existed, or what it was). Don't get me wrong; I was happy it was there, but we're not talking MFF's canteen.

As I mentioned last year, CaliFur's timing is unfortunate with respect to competing with Anthrocon for artists' attention (though better this year than last). I don't see this changing, unless perhaps artists get the option to mail in their work and this option is advertised. I'd suggest planning for a smaller art show area next year - say, half the size - and using the space saved for something else. They could also consider copying a page out of AC's book and holding an evening reception for artists/dealers and patrons within the art show to encourage bids.

Lastly, did anyone use that warrant/jail thing? It seems like kind of a waste of a room. Just hold them in con ops; there's space.

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[comment removed on request]

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I don't think it's fair to call the level of programming "shameful". The schedule is in fact quite busy, although the fact that there is only one "main stage" and two workshop areas may have something to do with it. However, if you attend for five hours, and spend a couple of them touring the dealers den and art gallery, there's a high chance of hitting a time when there is nothing on that you want to see. Looking at the 3-6PM period, I get the impression that Fred has little interest in video games; yet this panel was very interesting for those inclined towards it. Similarly, as he is not a Brony, a canine, or a mythical beast (nor does he have a fursona that I am aware of), then he was unlikely to be interested in those panels. This would normally be a good time to chat with friends or grab some food.

It's true that many of the panels were more like roundtable discussions, without a clear leader or sense of purpose, and perhaps that could be improved. But if you are not at all interested in a topic, only the most enthralling of speakers will be able to overcome that.

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I don't know if I could call this a review or not. It seems a lot more like complaining of how the fandom or how a furry con is now as compared to the past. Events were not attended so they could not be reviewed.
This seems to be needed to be in a personal blog on LJ or FA rather then listed as being a review.

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That's probably why it isn't tagged or titled as a review. Like other con reports, it covers only those events which the reporter attended and feels qualified to speak of.

The problem with everyone posting such material only to their own journals is that it becomes very hard to find it as a source; on FA, it is almost impossible. WikiFur's list of convention resources is spottily updated; there are currently zero reports of Anthrocon 2012, an event five times the size of Califur, while What The Fur 2012 (attendance: 282) has six.

I'd encourage those with their own perspectives of Califur 9 to contribute them as a story or in the comments and/or link them on WikiFur.

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As much as I admire Patten for what he has done for the furry community, I don't think this con report was helpful. I found my experience this year to be quite positive, which is why I disagree with Patten's fly by judgements. I have to agree with some of the past comments that this more so sounds likes a posting about, " How I do not like the way furry is now, furry was better in (insert year)."

That being said, I did attend the convention all three days and was a dealer. My point of view is a bit different because of this factor, but I did manage to attend a few panels as well.

The art show was a lot better than the previous year, more art and organized a lot better. I think GreenReaper's idea of having a meet and greet in the room for artist and patrons is brilliant. I have seen this done at other conventions, and it would be nice to give patrons at Califur this perk.

The species panels do have to go. I keep hearing people complain they are not ran by anyone and are a waste of space. I'm hoping that this changes or they are removed. I happened to walk into one, and was a bit put off by the awkward vibe they put off.

I did manage to get to the BDSM panel that was new this year and boy was it packed! I think it was very well done, and many questions were answered. What I really liked was that this panel was addressed in a formal professional way. NecroDrone did an art panel that was very fun to watch, and I got some good writing and publishing tips from Rabbit Valley and Drake the other guest of honor. Over all, I liked the panels I attended and I really give it to Califur for trying panels that no other fur cons would dare try with a 10 ft pole.

As a dealer, I loved Califur! Not only do you get breakfast for free for two mornings, but the dealer den lead Glen was amazing. One of the other dealers told me that he is also staff for Comic Con San Diego, which explains his professional attitude.

I had ordered some food via the Pony Express table at the back of the dealer Den, and everything came as I wanted it. Great service to have! Cheap food brought right to my dealer den table.

I'm looking forward to the Hollywood theme as I live in LA, and it would be fun to see how furries from our region will portray something that people have a different view of nationally.

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I'm very surprised by the description of the Art Show, especially reading that most pieces were not for sale. So far I've only seen Eurofurence art shows, which indeed might be different from the art shows of US cons, but they looked quite healthy with most art being for sale and just the right proportion of smaller and larger art including large original paintings.

I wish conventions in general would make more data available about art shows, like anonymized statistics on the size of art pieces, average and top prices, etc. It would be very helpful for artists who haven't visited many different conventions yet, because the way things are now it's very hard to figure out what to bring to an art show unless you have entered it many times already or you already know artists who are regulars at many different conventions. The information is there at the end of each convention and making it available would probably help the art shows themselves since artists could make better plans for each con.

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I did not say that most pieces in the Art Show were not for sale. I said that, of the original pieces in the Art Show, most were either not for sale or were very similar to what the artist has been painting for the last decade or more, showing little originality. There were also many art prints; in fact, there were some original paintings marked NFS with prints of the same painting for sale right next to them. I admit that I may be jaded; a neofan who has not been to as many Art Shows over the years would have probably considered the original pieces highly original. Also, the fans who don't mind art prints instead of original works would have found much to buy.

Fred Patten

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Fred, I just hope you and Green had a good time. You both work very hard for the fandom and deserve it. Plus, in your case especially, I know how difficult it is for you to get out.

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I did have a good time, and I am already looking forward to next year's CaliFur.

I pretty much know what to expect. The CaliFurs are run very much like the ConFurences that they replaced, and I have always criticized them for their con-running philosophy of getting all of the fans of something into a room together to entertain themselves, instead of having Real Panels and programs with moderators and speakers like the s-f conventions do -- and the Further Confusions, the ConiFur Northwests, and the one Anthrocon that I attended. If the ConFurences/CaliFurs haven't changed in 25 years, they aren't likely to change now.

Fan conventions are always for the younger fans more than for the older fans, Furry or s-f or probably anything else. That is why there is an emphasis on "so this is your first convention" events and the "how to become a published writer/artist" panels, and the "how to become a cosplayer/Fursuiter" . As a s-f/anime/comics/Furry convention attendee for over fifty years, who has no interest in costuming/wearing a Fursuit, and has long given up trying to become a fiction author, I enjoy the cons for what I can get out of them and not what they aren't. I will criticize the things that I see badly done, or the omissions of what the other conventions have that the fans seem to enjoy; like the lack of Real Panels in favor of leaderless Special Interest Groups or Meet-Ups.

Fred Patten

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"Fan conventions are always for the younger fans more than for the older fans, Furry or s-f or probably anything else."

Sadly, I'm beginning to agree with you in this regard. The best "fix" I can see for it would be for one con somewhere to decide to cater specifically to us wrinkly types somehow, but in truth I don't know if it'd be worth their while or would even be possible. It seems to be a self-perpetuating mechanism-- the older we grow the more all cons seem the same, and the fewer of us attend. Marriages and jobs and health issues and stuff keep us away more and more, as well. Then the rest of us look around, see that our friends are all gone, and so we quit going too.


I reckon I've still a few more cons left in me, but the sparkle is definitely fading.

Thanks! I may write a column on this phenomenon.

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To me, this sounds like what I have heard every Grey Muzzle ever say. This is why I have stopped attending Grey Muzzle events. Now don't think I am busting on you there Rabbit. I don't want that. But as someone who puts cons together. I work with several and all of them ask for input on what you want and nearly all the time we just do not hear anyone step forward and say. I want this.

There are things I like about the older cons. I try to keep a wide range of programming at a con also so there is something for everyone to do.

If you could plan for the best con ever. What would you have in it?

Long time ago someone said to me after I made my remarks, If you can do a better job then do it. So I stepped up and make cons happen now. I try to do things other cons do not do. I go out and find programming that is different. Sometimes it is stuff I think is cool, sometimes it is stuff others find. But we try it out at least.

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Please don't take me wrong either, Draconis. I'm exactly 66 weeks away from retiring, and have been musing about all the fun plans I once had and why they don't look so fun anymore. I'm not blaming furrycons in any way-- I've been on con staffs in at least minor roles for roughly as long as you have, and if I had a solution to offer I certainly would. Rather, I suspect it's a natural and regrettable part of the human aging process. All those greymuzzles -- and I don't go to the panels either largely for the same reasons as you-- aren't complaining over nothing; the phenomenon is real and I can attest to its existence. On the other hand, as I earlier said I know of no solutions to suggest. My main purpose in posting was to let Fred know I sympathized and understood his viewpoint.

Please forgive my typos-- sent from a phone

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By the way, counting Furry conventions as having started with ConFurence 0 in 1989, next year is the 25th anniversary of Furry conventions. Isn't that worth some furcon's theme?

Fred Patten

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[comment removed on request]

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2015 will be the 26th anniversary of Furry conventions, and I don't think that many 26th anniversaries are celebrated.

Fred Patten

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[comment removed on request]

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How does one dress for that theme anyway...?

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Ray-Bans, Doc Martens, tracksuits, parachute pants and a Swatch (or two) on each arm.

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Speaking as someone who's put art in furry art shows for some years, the decline in sales is not just at CaliFur, but across the board, even at the biggest conventions. I can speculate on the reasons:

The rise of the internet, which makes people reluctant to spend large sums on images they can get for free online.

The bad economy.

The younger fans who have little interest ( or available money) for art collecting beyond badges and sketches at conventions.

A glut of extremely good artists all competing for scarce art show dollars.

The absence of the 'big spenders' who traditionally drove prices up.

Yeah, it sucks for the artists, who long for the days when even a mediocre talent could count on some sales, but what can you do? Time marches on.

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My speculation is on other factors:

The internet has had some impact on spending sure, but people tend to be willing to spend despite all this. Especially if what they see is not something on the web. However, it has made it so that people can directly contact the artist and bid on things without the necessity of a physical art show providing direct competition to them. Also on internet auctions: they may get more higher bids as to be at a convention a prospective bidder would have to pay money to go in, most often spend money on a hotel, travel, an expenditure which when covering it alone can run you 500 dollars easily, that's not including food. These expenditures naturally cause lower bids at con art shows then ones where the person is bidding on the web. You should see how crazy expensive those Your Character Here's get...

I hope the bad economy can be blamed, because then that's an outside for we wouldn't have to worry about, however looking at the results of the recent Mario Marathon Charity makes me question that aspect as this year they only got 60% of what they did in the prior 2 years (2013 60K, 2012 112K, 2011 112K) this is despite the fact the media likes to say we're [America's] improving. For the Americans, Payroll taxes increased, which though I got a .25 cent per hour raise this year, I'm making the same as I did last year because of the tax increase. Those who weren't fortunate to receive a raise are working with less. While I feel the rich may be equally charitable to the poor, there are more poor. That's the same with this fandom. Big spenders are still around spending as much as they used to. It's the poorer of us I feel having to cut back all the more as they spent themselves out and can't recover as fast as those with more.

Age certainly can have an impact when they're in college and so forth. I certainly stayed out of going to conventions while I was in school and didn't have job stability. To say they aren't interested I think is a falsity, if they won the lottery I'm sure they'd hop on it. However on that we do live in an age where people collect digital libraries instead of physical ones which could have some impact. If the student loan interest goes up, then you're going to see this problem get a lot worse.

The imaginative nature of furry fans can also be an impact. I can imagine worlds, character, and entertain myself in a room with blank walls. Not saying I could survive solitary confinement, but I'd be better off then most and probably last a bit longer. "Things" and grabbing things of stature are typically for cultural individuals. This fandom does have a few. However, more and more I'm seeing people in this "to heck with the Jone's" mentality... where the game library you have is not a measure of your nerd peen. Where someone can like something without being the biggest, or first. "Being the first" is still a heavy driver of the gaming industry, however it died for me long ago as no matter how skilled I was someone will have experienced what I did already, so why not wait til it comes down in price?

Of those that have the culture to want stuff, it's even trickier to market with the diversity of desires. Some just want pictures of their own selves (which odds are won't be in an art auction), some just want pictures of their favorite characters (MLP, Sonic, Pokemon, etc), some just want pictures of a particular species (dragons, foxes, kangaroos, etc)... it's rare you have one that wants just good art for good art's sake.

Is it a better time to be a furry consumer then a furry artist? Certainly.

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"Big spenders are still around spending as much as they used to."

No, they're not. There's no one out there willing to drop 10K on a Goldenwolf piece any more, or get into bidding wars. One of the former big spenders doesn't even attend cons at all.

One of the other reasons for the decline in sales may be that furry art devalues hugely. If you paid $700 back in the day for some moderately well-known artist, you'd be lucky to get $25-50 for the same piece now. Now people only shell out the big bucks for custom pieces of their own characters or scenarios.

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Spending big bucks on custom made fursuits, that makes sense to me... I think they're a bargain for what you get.

Then compare investing in art, with investing in furry art. How could it hold value, apart from fan appeal? It sounds like a topic worth an article about the market for furry fandom.

I don't know art as a market, but books give some example. Like, look at this list of first edition prices for Watership Down. Here's a list of May's most pricey sales in the general rare book market, at least on one prominent site.

Is there any way sales and values and market could be judged for Furry fandom? Not without tons of work I assume, but it makes me curious. Imagine some place collecting prices of internet auctions, and people from cons reporting in. Then there's the issue of what's visible, vs. private sales of adult goods... :P

Who knows anything about this topic? I'd love to ask them more, and maybe post something about it, maybe... :)

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I could be wrong then, however one must use caution when pointing to an exception and making it a rule. If it was common for people to drop down 10K on a picture consistantly and that is no longer the case that is one thing. However, if the 10K drop was an unusually exceptional circumstance and not a pattern then it's not reflective of a trend of furries that have more money.

It very well could be that people will only shell out large money for custom pieces rather then art that was made by an artist on there own. I actually wouldn't doubt that. Even in that though, there are segments. Probably some formula which contain the following variables: artist famousness, demand (kind of linked with fame), skill, willingness to draw particular elements in works, feeling of self worth, etc. I know a lot of commissioners that still only get 25 - 50 bucks a piece outside of auctions for custom stuff... and their stuff is pretty darn good.

If people knew the exact formula that drives up people's willingness to pay more, they'd probably do it. Well... maybe... some know that drawing penis does help in that regard, but aren't willing to do it.

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Eyes of the Night stands out, but Blotch made half that from a piece of Skyrim fan-art at FC2012. (My apologies to Blotch, who'd probably prefer to be remembered for entirely original works.) Clearly some are feeling rich again.

As a commissioner, I'm more likely to spend money on characters and scenarios with which I feel a personal connection. This doesn't necessarily mean my own characters, but it does mean commissions are a more steady income stream. With today's instant visual communication and online money transfers, there are fewer barriers than ever to such transactions.

The same level of furry art that cost you $700 a decade ago might also cost a lot less nowadays. The quality bar has been raised, and there are artists in less-expensive areas of the world who are able and willing to price their work at very affordable levels.

People are also earning money in different ways. I have seen today's popular artists sponsor comics per-page, and pay by the hour for streamed sketching, which also works as a great way of engaging potential customers. The traditional process of creating and selling individual pieces of artwork is not going away, but those not participating in such new revenue streams may lose out.

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What sort of content would you like to see?

CaliFur Programming Lead

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Compared to other, larger, cons I attend, CaliFur was always a party con for me — one where I get together with friends, run around, do crazy things and let myself be myself to the fullest extent.

It is a DIY con that is 80% about finding (or hosting) the best room parties.

A con where you can set up a bong on the hotel's front lawn and enjoy the California sunshine… or throw an impromptu beer-pong party with live DJs at the hotel pool 'til 2am.

A con with an almost Thompsonian daily schedule: Chivas, Dunhills, coke.

After all, this is LA we're talking about…

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