Friday, June 9, 2017

Fur.artwork.erotica finds #3

When I first ventured into furry art I didn't really understand gay male power fantasies, so I couldn't read an image like this at all and I'd just dismiss it as "bad" and "random". Now I can read it quite clearly for what it is though.

The character is a fighter, as shown by the muscular body and reinforced by the scar and bandage which are common symbols of hardiness in fighting anime. Along with the fundoshi this suggest that he is Japanese. The fundoshi is a common element of homoerotic fantasies when Japanese style is involved as it is an exotic piece of clothing which can highlight very well the penis volumes and the male buttocks. The character's species is not clear but he might be a tiger-rat hybrid given the tiger head, the rat tail, the ears textured like a rat's but shaped like a tiger's and the fact his stripes don't extend to the whole body.

The way the character is dressed, half with martial arts implements and half with an exotic bathing outfit, looks nonsensical if evaluated with the same criteria one would apply to a general comic book or cartoon character, but as a juxtaposition of erotic symbols appealing to a male gay audience it makes perfect sense. That kind of evaluation error is common even in the furry fandom itself: evaluation criteria which only make sense for characters and scenes meant for narrative purposes are applied all the time to characters and scenes meant for non-narrative purposes (such as arousal, but also plain self expression). It’s easy to be deceived by the cartoonish style of furry art and therefore take mainstream media such as comics and cartoons as the paragon by which all furry art should be evaluated, not realizing that mainstream art usually follows a different set of conventions for wholly different purposes.

Sometimes the viewer utterly rejects the specific purposes or furry art and thus denies its validity as a form of expression. In such instances there's no room for intellectual discussion. Whatever the final opinion about a piece may be it is dutiful to thoroughly understand its purpose before forming an opinion about it. Anybody willing to criticize furry erotica should be aware of these pitfalls and make sure to understand and accept its premises and goals before making quick comparisons to other types of art.

Photomorphs have always ranked pretty low on the virtual hierarchy of furry art, possibly because they feel too much anchored to reality by the very nature of the photographic medium. Yet I've explored the fine arts world enough to think that a portfolio of a few dozen animal photomorphs like this one could conceivably be presented as a “real” art project and that it wouldn't be too hard to find an art gallery dedicated to lowbrow/bizarre stuff willing to host an exhibit of similar works.

Whether or not it would be liked by the audience is another issue, but I suspect that early furry artists hadn’t even tried to take their work to venues other than the fandom itself or the entertainment industry. (There are some notable exceptions of course.)

A classy humorous drawing with excellent composition and style. The sense of composition along with the head design and the way the hands are drawn suggest that this is the work of a trained artist, probably a cartoonist or animator posting furry art under a pseudonym.

If I had a passion for penises I'd be quite happy to frame this and display it somewhere in the house along with any kind of black and white modernist prints. In fact I suspect that if the author had a famous name this one would stand the test of time better than most modernist drawings.

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