Micole Khemarrica (khromat) wrote,
Micole Khemarrica
khromat

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Time for a little rant on artist/fan relationships

I've recently had to listen to my coug'r as he dealt with an upset fan. Now, Ken Sample is a household name in furry fandom, and so dealing with the occassionally cluelessly-irate fan is one of the costs to that fame. The frustration comes in what these people are irate about.

There is some mistaken belief that Ken *owes* fandom anything, that he should be happy that a person is willing to spend money on his work, that he should be glad for any free advertising comes out of (illegally) posting his art on various sites, etc. This attitude is both confusing and unjustified, but nevertheless it keeps appearing, especially among the newer members of the furry community. As if, because a person wanted the art badly enough to rearrange their schedule, it's on the artists' head. As if we were telepathic and are obligated to serve the loudest thought in the room. As if we should cringe at the thought of anyone withdrawing their patronage from us, and that we should be art-slaves chained to the fickle desires of money-baring egocentrics.

Folks, the bottom line about all this: Ken (or any furry artist) doesn't owe furry fandom ANYTHING. Just because Ken and I were among the folks that helped create the fandom in the beginning doesn't mean we are beholden to the fandom in any way, nor does it mean the fandom owes us anything. After all, we are fans too! There is no membership fee required to be a member of furrydom, just the concept of bringing something into the community that we are a part of.

Unlike other fandom communities, furrydom is comprised of amateurs and hobbiests with a common interest -- "professional furs" don't exist yet. That means that we're pretty much all at the same level: artists, writers, costumers, crafters, and the people who don't do any of the above but appreciate any and/or all of them. Sure, there are some people more 'famous' than others; people who have some status for being published or a professional animator or even just being a "greymuzzle" and being involved in this young fandom from the beginning. The only thing that really separates the 'pro-fan' and 'fan' from the 'fanboy' seems to be respect. As in, fanboys demand it but never get it, while pro-fans have it without question and seem happy to give it as well. The average fan is somewhere in the middle, respecting some people and showing no respect for other people.

Returning to the current issue: In general, most artists (furry or otherwise) draw for themselves, not for any monetary gain -- receiving money for what I enjoy doing is a nice gesture of appreciation, but it's not the be-all and end-all of being an artist. Like many of my artistic friends, I will draw whether or not anyone sees it. It's a means to get out ideas, emotions, beliefs, work out internal or expressing political issues. And, in general, artists tend to gravitate towards other artists, social circles that often express friendship to each other by art. It's not a clique, as some non-artists would call it, it's just a natural behavioral pattern of associating with others who have similar interests or think in similar ways (and the artistic mind is definitely different!) Ken and I enjoy drawing for and "tweeking" our friends, and perhaps that seems to be what irks these fanboys most. They see new art on his site and assume that it's all commission work, work done by someone's request with a paycheck attached. So, when they don't get the same kind of 'consideration' -- be it that they missed out on the limited window of opportunity or that they didn't have any funds at the time -- they attack with stupid allegations and outright lies to bully their way into getting what they believe they 'deserve'. Wrong attitude, wrong way to approach an artist.

Now, because of this one particular being doing exactly that to Ken, my coug'r has withdrawn a bit from furry fandom. For the first time in years, he was doing commission requests at a con, and this idiot has now ruined it for anyone in the future who wanted a sketch from the "famous" Ken Sample. Heck, Ken was trying out a new item to sell by having his laminator and laptop at the con so he could make professional-quality badges, and that was the big reason this person missed out on the window he was "told" to show up so he could get a commission, berating Ken for reneging on a non-existant promise. Ken may well decide the badges were too much stress (because of this after-con frustration) and won't offer them at a con, as well.

People need to understand that even for the most mercenary merchant out there, if an event isn't fun for them they'll just move on to another venue. For those of us who aren't particularly mercenary and have so much going on at a convention with all the various pulls for our attention, if it stops being fun for us we'll just stop doing anything that isn't fun. And if that means not accepting any sketchbooks during the con, so be it. I know it will upset a lot of good people, but they will respect our decision and not harass us in email in a futile attempt to guilt us into changing our minds.

Yes, a few people can ruin it for everyone. *sigh*
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  • Still Alive

    Just a brief message -- I'm still alive, and been busy with school and my health, as usual. Currently visiting friends I haven't seen in…

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    Just up for a little air... Finished my second quarter of school and the toughest accounting class of the cycle of three I need for my Business…

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