Friday, May 26, 2017
Miscellaneous finds #1
This one is not from the newsgroups, not sure where it came from, it might be more recent than the other images I'm going through. It does have a distinctive old guard furry feeling to it though, not only for the crude photomorph style but also for the concept.
There was a time up until the early 1980s in which a lot of overlapping happened between ideas which are now partitioned into different genres like science fiction, fantasy and furry - at least in the mind on the nerdy fans. The artwork found in fanzines from that period often features seamless mixes of starships, sword-wielding warriors and sentient “funny animals” as they were called before the modern furry fandom emerged. Furry fiction stemmed from that unified speculative fiction. What if humans and animals exchanged places and sentient animals treated less-than-sentient humans like we treat animals? It may sound like a gimmicky question, but that’s the kind of question which fired up the imagination of early furry fans (and still does the same to many current fans).
Depending on who you ask an image like this one may feel either humorous, uncanny, downright offensive, or a mix of all these things. Or it may feel too weird to have any opinion about it. I suspect most people would pick uncanny or maybe surrealistic (i.e. not making any logical sense).
For me it is all these things at the same time, but also something more when put in context: it was, at the onset of modern furry art, uncharted territory. A kind of image which touches upon fantasies, questions and fears which are usually left behind with childhood. This is how that small child might see our very world as his developing brain is trying to process what he sees and wondering whether to put concepts such as "dog" and "human" in separate mental boxes.
Unlike other instances such as Grandville’s delightful artwork I see no satire nor ordinary humor going on here. There’s not much intentional shock value either when you think about it since it shows an impossible scene. It is instead a very matter-of-fact picture of an everyday situation, which is what makes it uncanny of course, but uncanny (as well as slightly humorous) in a way which is very specific of naive furry art. Seems to me that the most distinctive furry art is seldom about grand things like space wars or epic quests. It is usually about pretty mundane stuff, such as chilling out, enjoying hobbies, lovemaking... or waiting in a queue with a “pet” on the leash. These are the situations in which the furry imagination plays its tricks and brings on the unexpected in its own original way.
The 90s truly had to be innocent times if you could feel comfortable writing your phone number on a sexy drawing asking for vocal feedback! I wonder if the artist actually got some calls.
Not a bad picture if you like the odd mix of styles. The body and overall composition come straight from pinups of the 60s and 70s, the head comes straight from Disney’s “Bambi”, but the hair and tail have a thickness to them which is more typical of classic Warner Bros style. The fur pattern too feels like something WB would design rather than Disney. I like the white extending to the armpits, it’s a pretty sensual detail.