The Furry Fandom Makes Professional Artists Viable
Over 250,000 new art pieces are commissioned each month, paid for by discerning and eager patrons of a very particular style. No, this isn’t happening in a stuffy Soho gallery or on the Venice boardwalk; It’s furry art, a fandom that has turned into an iceberg in the arts industry. Those in the fandom spend an average of $1900 a year on content and conventions. This niche community provides livelihoods to artists, from freelancers to salaried staff artists at the largest animation studios.
Art for the furry fandom is unique, non-fungible, and highly specific.
Unlike most online content, furry fandom fantasy art is immune to degradation by mass-produced, profit-focused practices. This art is highly personal, with the value coming from the patron and their particular interests and vision. This bespoke, non-replaceable nature makes the art truly unique, precious to patrons, and in a category all its own.
Most furries commission more than 6 art pieces while they are in the fandom, and nearly 15% commission 21–50. These commissions vary in price, but the average high-end is $150 per commission. This price point and frequency indicate that artists create a deep value for patrons, and they appreciate this value with repeat business. This value comes in part from allowing furries to embody their ‘ideal selves’. Even more prominent is the power of this art to provide a novel experience. The core of this fandom is creating your specific fantasy, after all.
The collaboration between artist and patron to craft these experiences is what creates such inherent value. Only in concert, only together, can patron and artist generate this meaningful art. Several issues can complicate this creative relationship.
Most artists use multiple services to display work, connect with patrons, and process payments. Many set up a carrd.co mini-website with a long list of links so patrons can navigate this constellation of services. Full-service platforms like Fiverr or Etsy may help with tracking bookings and payment processing and typically take a 20% commission before fees. FurAffinity remains the most used platform for commissions, but it lacks management tools and a payment processor for users.
Artists for the furry fandom are consistently booked at reasonable prices. The demand is extremely high, yet current services perform poorly at best. Artists deserve better. So do patrons.
We can start by looking at what artists, patrons, and the community want, need, and can reasonably create. Stay tuned for our next post as we continue to share our thoughts on this fantastic community.