I have a pretty extensive collection of furry art dating all the way back to the early 90s, including several mirrors of long defunct websites such as Orlando or Furnation and dumps of all the images posted on the Usenet newsgroup fur.artwork.erotica. I'm a bit of a file hoarder when it comes to furry art (and art in general, and animal photos, and lanscape photos...).
I've skimmed though my archives before but now I'd like to do something more systematic. Back in the 90s, when I was browsing newsgroups while discovering this kind of art and beginning to draw myself, I had a feeling that there was something new to it, but I had no art education to help me understand what it was and I wasn't really interested in art analysis. Now that I have a few more critical tools at hand I want to go through some of that old furry art with fresh eyes, trying to deconstruct it and looking for the roots of the most interesting ideas which are still present in furry art today. There might even be good ideas which have been lost to time and may be worth unearthing! The furry fandom is notoriously self deprecating and oblivious of its own history, and while furry art certainly has humble origins - most of the early art is crude fan art or amateurish doodles - I love the art form too much to believe that its modern roots aren't worth some attention.
Two important notes before starting:
- For the purpose of this analysis I define "furry art" as the anthropomorphic art produced by people involved in the furry subculture proper, the one which originated in the early 1980s and adopted the term "furry". For everything else I use other terms such as "anthro art". I consider furry art distinguished from both previous anthro art (such as J.J.Grandville's illustrations or stories like "The Wind in the Willows") and anthro art produced in other environments (such as mainstream cartoons or contemporary fine art featuring anthropomorphism). In fact the whole point of my analysis is arguing that there are specific qualities to art created within the furry subculture that warrant such a distinction.
- I believe posting images for the purpose of art analysis qualifies as fair use. Most of the images I am going to post in this series are low resolution, signed with pseudonyms and/or so old it would be impractical to track the artists anyway. However if you find an image of yours on my blog and want it removed just contact me and I will oblige, providing you can prove that the image is indeed your intellectual property.
And now, onto the first couple images! These are from the old newsgroup fur.artwork.erotica.
Content wise this kind of furry porn has always been common, although style wise this image struck me as clearly inspired by cheap porn comics of the 60s and 70s. The two raised tails have opposite meaning: submission for the bear, dominance and sexual pride for the fox (?). Several details make the fox feel more feral than the bear even though we see very little of her body. The fox's tail is larger, more prominent and more anatomically accurate than the bear's; her claws are well visible, highlighted by the nail polish and echoed by the glove spikes while the bear's hands are tied and covered by dandy gloves. The tattoo nicely echoes the whole scene with simple symbolism (and earns a nerd point for being made on the actual skin of the fox).
The outstanding details though are the wine bottle and wine glass. As a hint that the scene is sexual roleplaying between the characters it adds a layer of meaning to the image - the sexual act we are looking at is a fantasy within a fantasy, just a facet of a more complex imaginary world.
A simple scene illustrating gay sex with a mix of manly power play (the penis size difference, the very visible anal penetration, the restrained position of the rat) and tenderness (the expression of the wolf, his somewhat gentle way of restraining and caressing the rat, his left foot lifted to avoid stepping on the rat's tail). Not much more to say about this one but I liked the contrasting impressions.
Possibly werewolves given their partially feral anatomy. Characters and bed are very well drawn by old school furry art standards. The positions and interactions are quite believable for a group sex scene, a somewhat rare quality in a genre known mostly for the abundance of power fantasy porn. I love the composition too, the feeling of suspension in space and circular flow it creates. Closed eyes and restrained expressions are something I like in sex scenes too as they suggest that the characters are fully engaged in the act and not merely performing for a viewer.
All in all an interesting celebration of lupine features and sexual fun, a precursor to the kind of picture which Blotch would later bring to great success among furries.