My Interview with Joe Strike part 1

Call it a combo and not being able to think of any good questions right away as most of what I was going to ask was already in his book Furry Nation and a man trying to plug his book. When Joe Strike gets back to me part 2: the conclusion will be posted.

I know it almost sounds like I am taking the coward’s why out by asking a question at a time but after checking the internet only to discover you have had an amazing life. So I have to ask where did it began for you?

If you mean my interest in anthropomorphism, it was a bunch of stuff – I’m a Baby Boomer, so back in the day you could watch Looney Tunes 7 days a week on afterschool or Saturday morning TV; they were a huge influence on me. Also, there were still a lot of “funny animal” comic books still being published – not just WB or Disney characters, but lots of animals who never appeared outside of comic books. For whatever reason I just soaked that stuff up.

So how did your love of anthro animals turn into your work in TV and in newspapers?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid in elementary school (not about anthro animals – yet) and was able to make a living from it most of my working career. I came across – or made – opportunities to write about animation and genre entertainment. (For instance, I sent writing samples to the Sunday entertainment editor of the NY Daily News who liked them enough to start giving me assignments to write about those kind of movies.)

The first serious attempt I made at creating something based on my interest in anthro animals and transformation was my proposal for a kids’ TV series called The Incredible Hare. Because of my writing contacts I was able to run it by several TV and studio executives – none of whom were interested in. A few years went by and I decided to turn my TV show proposal into a kids novel, the character’s origin story – and once again no one was interested. Now I’m hoping that any success Furry Nation might enjoy will help open a few doors for the Hare being published.

Speaking of published how did you get involved in doing Rowrbrazzle? and were you involved in any other furry fanzines?

To answer your question, when I first discovered the fandom I started corresponding with early furs (now fellow graymuzzles, people like Ray Rooney in Philadelphia who sent me that original furry party invite and Kjartan Arnorrson, currently of Tucson AZ. They tipped me off to (long gone) publications like Q and Furversion as well as Rowrbrazzle and lent me their copies.

I can’t recall my art appearing in any other publications. Back in the (pre-internet) days, Rowrbrazzle was the place for a furry artist to be. At its peak there were 50 members and like a 35-person waiting list of people who wanted to join. I gradually moved up until I was among first 10 on the list – which is when membership was expanded to 60 people.

To be continued…

What exactly is the Furry Broadcasting Network?

Frankly I totally understand the confusion of “What exactly is the Furry Broadcasting Network?” Frankly speaking their Twitter and home page really does not say all that much, in fact it was a misunderstanding that lead to this interview with Shadow Le Rawr, one of the people behind Furry Broadcasting Network and more commonly known as FBN, to hopefully answer the many questions the people and community have asked.

Speaking of misunderstanding, I was confused myself, obviously with my very first question.
AW: Let’s get started how did putting together a furry internet radio station start?

Shadow:

Well FBN is not just an internet radio station, from my experience you need a lot of time and dedication to setup and run any type internet radio station. You have to follow a bunch of legal rules in order to do that kind of thing. For example, stream licenses, which are something that you have to have if you play copyrighted songs. You also need servers to host your internet radio station on or use a stream host. We decided to use our own equipment instead of relying on a host, so things are a bit more complicated with the setup than with most. Which is why our site does not have a lot of information on it right now, all our time has been in focus to get our infrastructure ready for launch.

FBN’s goal is to help emerging artist get “out there”, so this could be anything from a new professional website or a streaming setup to showcase their music. It is why I wanted to start FBN, to get a single place where any furry could get help with getting themselves known in the fandoms.
AW: So what are your plans?

Shadow:

For Furry Broadcasting Network (FBN) or Paw Print Radio (PPR)?
AW: Let’s say both.

Shadow:

Plans for Paw Print Radio or PPR are mainly to be an internet radio station that plays the most popular songs within the fandom instead of using external songs. We want to help furry musicians to stand out. For FBN we are going to be making it the central hub, its website will host links to all the stations as well as some other cool features like con coverage and media resources. Since FBN manages PPR of course the links for it will be on the main site as well. We also want to expand our offering to other companies or sponsors so that they can focus on content and not all the technical or legal loopholes that it takes to manage an internet presence in the fandoms.
AW: Would anyone be able to make submission?

Shadow:

Define submission?
AW: Photos for example

Shadow:

They will be able to upload photos to their FBN profile, but to keep people safe from anything harmful it will be put up for review before being available to our public pages. A message will be sent to the user saying why if it was denied, if applicable. We want to keep the bad stuff out and the good stuff in. For clarification politics, hate photos, etc etc.
AW: How many are a part of your staff currently?

Shadow:

We have ten volunteers that run everything. This also includes myself. We are always looking for more people or talent to bring into the group. It is a lot of work to maintain things so there is always plenty to do.
AW: I am asking this because others have asked me paid or volunteer?

Shadow:

We are 100% volunteer, as such we have had several people come and go from the group as their time and responsibilities changes. The only time we pay is if we are looking for art for the network meaning we pay furry artists for commissions and then credit them back so they can get the exposure for the work. We also pay for things like servers and equipment to run the network, but this is not an obligation of anyone or the staff as it is donation based as well.
AW: Copyright is a huge issue.

Shadow:

For example, we give credit to the artists who made our logo, I also linked the art on my Furaffinity or FA account.
AW: But since we both have had bad experiences with the Furry Raiders would you like to make a statement on what really happened?

Shadow:

There have been comments as to our relation to a former partner, FurryRaiders. We were a younger group at the time and were ignorant as to the stance they took. We do not condone the view put forth by the Furry Raiders and immediately upon learning they held these beliefs, we ended our connections. Moving forward, we wish to show that we are a group dedicated to EVERYONE in the furry fandom. Our deepest apologies for any misunderstandings that arose from our former incorrect actions.

To fix that issue we have blocked all known alt accounts using AltFurryBlocker. (Shout out to them for the time and effort to rid the fandom of sour furs) We also have changed our policies on sponsor relations, so that all our sponsors have to go through an investigation period where we learn what they are like and what they do. Something that we did not do before with the Furry Raiders. And just to be clear on this, none of the staff or management of FBN are affiliated with any groups such as the Furry Raiders. We are also not run, nor will we ever be ran, by anyone that is an AltFur. I have a zero tolerance policy for that kind of thing and it was a mistake on my part before, but it will not happen again.

Ahmar Wolf speaking …
This was where I ended the interview for frankly 1 reason I could not think of any other questions to ask.

From what I have gathered both from the interview as well as their site FurryBoadcasting.net they should be up and running next year. Speaking of which I had planned to linked this article to their site…which is sadly currently down. So instead I include a link to the article about them on Wikifur

Anthro Northwest Interview

I fully admit I hadn’t heard a word about Anthro Northwest until I saw there ad on FA. But the more I looked into their brand new convention, the more I really wish them good luck. Because and this is on everyone’s mind, the disaster known as Rainfurrest. Frankly I can not give the people behind Anthro Northwest enough praise for not backing down from talking about a con that gives every con (and I am really not joking about this) nightmares. The reality of it, this is what everyone is thinking.

So in my own way I sent them a series of questions after asking them for an interview. Really I hope you like my questions as I thought they be the ones on everybody’s mind.

On a personal note I found the staff super friendly, and really I wish them the best.

Now I have seen all your videos on your YouTube channel and want to say excellent job. I thought the one explaining on how to get to the hotel from the airport was quite unique.

Now for the questions…

According to your video you say it all got started at BLFC, was it like gets get together and do a fur con or was there more to that?
There was actually quite a bit less to it. The seed of Anthro Northwest was planted at the 2016 Rainfurrest Christmas party when they announced there would be no RF 2017. It made the founder sad that such an amazing group of people couldn’t have their convention. Going up the elevator at BLFC on Saturday the founder was so inspired by the beauty, art and community present there, he decided that the community in Seattle deserved a convention, and set out to make one happen.

Does any one of the board of directors have had experience running large gatherings?
The board doesn’t really run Anthro Northwest in terms of day to day operation, we are structured a little differently than some of the more local fur conventions. The very important experience of running other conventions is present with many of the staff members who have worked at the big conventions and have a good feel on how to help things run smoothly. We also receive a lot of help from the well established conventions, the beautiful thing of being a member of the furry community is that we all work together to support each other. Tyco from BLFC, Uncle Kage from Anthrocon and Cheetah from MFF have all provided invaluable support. We would also like to thank several of the former Rainfurrest board members that helped us learn from their experience, and for the community that they helped grow here in the Pacific Northwest.

The board votes on big decisions, approves budgets, handles disciplinary actions, but the day to day business of the organization is mostly handled by the founder and the staff leads. Anthro Northwest is really built around the interests of our panelists, volunteers and community. We try very hard to accomidate the interests of our members and actively grow and change the convention so that they are enabled to share the best of what they have to offer.

Before finally choosing Seattle, weren’t you afraid that the location might have been tainted do to Rainfurrest? Was another city even considered?
Seattle has always been the target location. If it were possible to make it work, we were going to have it here. We had meetings with every suitable hotel in downtown and found two were a good fit. We found both locations extremely welcoming.

Given the disaster that Rainfurrest was, how and I mean all respect how did you convince the Renaissance your convention was good for the hotel? and what steps did you have to take to calm any and all fears?
There is perception that businesses in Seattle are concerned about anything to do with furry, and it is an accurate one. We have found that the business community in large part has lost the bond of trust that once was enjoyed between them and furry. We have been working very hard to help restore that bond of trust by bringing out the best that the community has to offer. For as damaging as the events that occurred at the last RF were to the trust relationship, we also find, that within the community so many exceptional individuals exist who represent the best that humanity has to offer. The businesses that we are working with are able to look into the heart of the community and see the beauty and potential that is present there.

The Marriott Hotel Chain which includes the Renaissance is very much a true supporter of diversity and the arts. They are dedicated to providing hospitality and have gone to great lengths to welcome us to their hotel. We are so thankful to have them as our venue partner. If we bring out our best, just like the 99% of fandom conventions that happen every year, it will help pave the way for more opportunities in the community.

I am curious how did you raise the capital to fund the convention?
The convention is approximately 98% funded privately by someone who loves the community very much.
Was finding a charity difficult?
Not too much difficulty, we put it out there on Twitter and someone suggested Sarvey Wildlife. They were a great fit and we are so delighted to be working with them. The community is so charity focused already, people seem to be in touch with a lot of fantastic organizations, the hard part is choosing just one.

Seriously what plans do you have in place to prevent bad behavior that plagued Rainfurrest? Will the staff be on hand to prevent and or stop any problems as they arise? The same with security?
We have a large, high quality staff and an organization that was built completely new from the ground up. We also have the support of F.L.A.R.E. who is sending around 20 people from California to help things run smoothly. F.L.A.R.E. is an amazing group of people that handle security and operations for well run conventions like BLFC and FC. In their combined experience they have dealt with just about every situation imaginable.

A tremendous amount of planning occurred to ensure that we put on a high quality event that is comfortable for members of the community, the non-attending hotel guests and the business community.

I remember hearing on the news of how some panels were actually serving alcohol to minors. What rules will these panels must follow and will they be double checked to make sure they are followed?

Anthro Northwest is a PG rated family event. We don’t have a liquor license and don’t serve alcohol. Liquor is available for responsible consumption in the hotel bar from licensed hotel staff.

What are your future plans for Anthro Northwest, what will you like to see happen?
It really depends where the community takes us. We are prepared to accomidate traditional growth patterns for 2018, and exceptional growth starting in 2019 if that is where things are headed. For 2018 we are adding on another floor to the hotel and would like to have an art gallery, artists’ alley and perhaps an interactive gaming room or some more interactive activities. We would like to continue to offer unusual panels and events that aren’t found elsewhere. We would also like to see more anthropomorphic fine art classes – painting, sculpting, those sorts of things.

In 2019 things will change a lot….but we can’t talk about that just yet.

Our measure of success is the answer to this question:
“Have our attendees experience the beauty and love found in the community?”

If yes, then then we have achieved success . We believe that when we focus on our core goals, the necessary ingredients like funding, good behavior, attendance and so fourth will happen as a byproduct of the expression of those goals.

How many guests do you expect to get? What will they actually get to see?
It’s so hard to predict attendance for a first year con. We are guessing anywhere from 500 to 950. We should have pretty good visibility in 3 weeks. Our full program is posted online at http://www.anthronw.com – just click the program link. You’ll see the normal things you are used to seeing at a fandom convention like this, with an expanded focus on art and humanities.

My Interview with Grrrwolf

Grrrwolf in case you didn’t know has been around the fandom for an incredible amount of time, longer than most of you been furries. An artist of extraordinary talents, which is sadly a lot of his earlier works these days have been forgotten.

Q: How did you come to find the Furry Fandom?
A: You know how in Scooby-Doo when they would stumble along a revolving hidden door that whirled them into another secret room? I’d like to think of it kinda like that!
During my college years I was taking art classes and watching a lot of anime…and I was addicted to a certain game in the arcades called “Darkstalkers”. Sometime later in 1997 I had my first taste of the internet, and I found myself stumbling through websites looking up art archives on anime, Darkstalkers, “H” (or hentai), what have you. One site I found in particular, http://www.side7.com, was split into two separate sections – one was titled “Anime”, and the other…”Furry”. I was befuddled as to what “Furry” meant, so I clicked myself in.
Suddenly, it was like something fell into place. It was like, “So THIS is what I’ve been all my life!” I soon discovered that there was a whole underground fandom to this, and that it was like a separate society almost entirely. At the same time I met my first Furry by happenstance, in my figure drawing class…
I had walked by a student who was drawing in a sketchbook, back to the wall, and I sooorta looked over to see what he was drawing. I knew I was invading his space, but I saw a male anthro Doberman chained up to a wall. He saw that I was looking, and reflexively snapped the sketchbook to his chest. I asked in amazement, “Are….you?….” and he asked back, “Are…you?” and I was like, “Yeah!” and he said “Me too!” and it was history form that moment on.
I began to meet others who felt a kindred to this fandom. So much comes to mind, but one Furry convention later (Confurence 10), things just begin to avalanche. I went to convention after convention, met a lot of wonderful people and made some amazing friends both online and face to face.

Q: How has it changed your life or outlook?
A: Absolutely it has, and for the better! I’ve always felt that the furry fandom is so beautifully creative and expressive, and our bonds and emotions go deep with one another. We’re not afraid to hug each other and be affectionate, which is something that has been so essential in my life to begin with. Being accepting, outgoing, and active in our community, as well as giving back to others, are aspects that make me proud to be furry.
Honestly there is no other fandom out there as amazing as ours. The love, the support, the appreciation, and the feedback I’ve experienced are all wonderful and magical. We have something truly unique that other fandoms don’t, and it’s not just because of our fursonas!

Q: Is Furry a Hobby or a Lifestyle for you?
A: Definitely a lifestyle! I feel that 95% of my friends and social activities are based in and around the fandom. In January 2016 through the support of my amazing wife, I left my job of 10 years to become a full time furry artist. I feel so fortunate and grateful to be able to work for the fandom I love, doing the art that I feel so passionate about!
In the past I’ve tried to be a part of other fandoms and communities, and though I will not name anything specific, no community has ever come close. I never felt any of the brotherhood, encouragement, support and belonging that I do to the furry fandom. The only other group of people that has come close is the Puppy Play community – which is pretty much a blood relative to the fandom at this point – and I consider them my pack.

Q: Do you have a fursona or two or more? If so, how often do you draw yourself?
A: I’ve had a few alts, but Grrrwolf is absolutely who I am, through and through. The character was based off of Darkstalkers and my years of drawing Tiny Toons. He dyes his fur blue because he’s basically a wannabe Talbain. X3
The name came to be from my then-girlfriend and I trying to come up with aliases for our first furry convention, Confurence 10 in 1999. We had an Irish dictionary, and she wanted the name MuirCait (translation: Sea Cat/s), which sounded phonetically like “Mrrrcat”. I then followed suit and became “Grrrwolf” …with 3 R’s.
Any Grrrwolf with 2 R’s is an imposter! (Just kidding, but it’s a common misspelling that I accept. Three R’s just looks better!)
Drawing Grrrwolf is more of a thing I do to “be” with someone else, be it in a humorous situation or something meaningful; while drawing myself solo is more spur of the moment or by request.

Q: How old were you when you started drawing?
A: I’ve taken art classes throughout all my school years and into college, but I’ve been doing art since I was a sperm! HAH! I’m sure my mother’s womb had drawings all about it.
I grew up reading Garfield comics, and watching Scooby-Doo and He-Man. I watched movies from Disney like “The Fox and the Hound”, and “Robin Hood” with loving interest. Cartoons like Looney Toons, and later, Tiny Toons and Animaniacs, held something very close to my heart – even if it was conveyed by an anvil! From grade school to high school I would spend my free time with the VCR on pause, sketching the subject frozen on the screen.

Q: When do you feel it grew into art?
A: College. Definitely college. I did a lot of artwork that I’m proud of during my high school years, but taking figure drawing was like discovering The Matrix (Whoah!). I cannot stress enough to other artists how important, crucial, and essential it is to take figure drawing. What you take away from classes like that is immeasurable!
I wish I could say I feel I was doing “art” in high school, and though I was, my art teacher of four years really tore me down my Senior year, saying I wasn’t going anywhere, all I drew were cartoons, and that if art was a highway “you’re in the slow lane and even the freshmen are passing you by in the carpool lane.” I’ll never forget that, coming back into the classroom in tears. One of the students questioned out loud, “What did you say to him?!”

Q: What media is your go-to form of self-expression?
A: My mediums range from a simple disposable Bic pencil and digital art, to a little bit of charcoal, oil paint, oil pastel, and colored pencil. In 2015 I finally started learning how to paint with watercolors after 15 years of longing. It’s a lot of fun and also challenging because I have to think and do things in a different order than I’m used to. But my love will always be graphite. ❤
I just recently started using grey and toned paper, as well as graphite powder, blending sticks, shammy cloths, white chalk pencils, and eraser-core pencils – and that’s been A LOT of fun!

Q: Where do you get your ideas from?
A: Anywhere and everywhere! Music and movies, classical art and mythology, sexuality and pornography, fashion and photography, friends and models, other furry artists and artwork – and my personal desires and experiences…to name a few places.
I love submerging myself into the subject of the art I am working on. I will have friends model for me, and on my computer I create folders of reference material and images from the net, plus I’ll put together a soundtrack that reflects the mood and ambience of the project.

Q: Do they start out Furry or do you tweak them?
A: Unless there is a specific commission that calls for something else, my art will always start as furry; the models will always be anthros. I do that in the figure drawing classes I am currently taking, or when I am inspired to draw in public as well.
This is the first year, however, where I have had support and encouragement from the instructor. In previous classes from high school to college, my art teachers would either berate me, ignore me, and/or grade me down because I drew “those cartoon animal people”. The students liked it though, and the models were always amused. I can’t put into words how good it feels to finally have positive reactions from all three for the first time.

Q: Do you have a favourite species to draw?
A: Wolves of course, though I got my start with felines. Pretty much northwestern mammals, but I’m trying to expand out of my comfort zone. I’ve always had difficulty with horses, dragons, reptiles, avians,… and wings. Wings have ALWAYS been tough on me!
I can’t wrap my head around the facial construction of horses either. It’s like a loaf of bread with extra muffins stuck to it! And dragon faces are like drawing pizza wedges with teeth. X3
No offense to any of those species out there! I just have a hard time calculating the geometry of your faces! #^_^#;;

Q: Do you create art outside of the fandom?
A: I do! A few things here or there like portraits, logos, illustration and design work. I’ve painted a lot of miniatures for D&D and Warhammer campaigns, which was very zen to me. I used to draw Star Wars and World of Warcraft art as well, but I definitely prefer drawing anthropomorphic art.
Long story short, I had distanced myself from the furry fandom in 2008, and was searching for other communities to belong to. Though I didn’t know it at the time, I was suffering from extreme depression. I changed who I was and pretended to be someone I was not – a straight, masculine, anti-social male. I was absolutely miserable, but I tried to find a community to feel a part of during that time of my life. I drew art, but I didn’t always feel a connection to it. Though the other fandoms were good in their own ways and I have nothing against any of them, I just didn’t experience the brotherhood and family closeness, or the support and love and encouragement I felt with the furry fandom. =C
It wasn’t until 2014, when the gentle tapping on my shoulder from an old furry friend brought the armor I encased myself in crashing down around me, and I came racing back, arms outstretched to the furry fandom. I was simply astounded at what the fandom had grown into in six years! I honestly felt like I had just staggered out of a cryogenic sleep chamber or something.
I had also found out about James Hardiman’s passing, and that hit me HARD. I looked up to him as a mentor. Meeting him the first and only time face to face at Confurence 10 in 1999 made such an impact on me.

James Hardiman treated everyone with the same amount of kindness and respect, and it was through him that I truly felt that this is how you treat your fans, interact with everyone at the Dealer's Table, and how you conduct yourself as an artist and businessperson. His art had an amazing blend of both realistic and toony. He wasn't afraid to be in your face, quite literally, and he had a sense of humor that worked perfectly with his variety of characters. My artwork was always influenced by his, but now my work is dedicated to his memory. We all still miss you, Jim.
As a tangent, depression doesn’t fight fair. It sneaks up on you, gradually getting a stranglehold around you, but you have to fight with everything you got to break free of it! You can’t fight back fair either. This is your life you are fighting for! When you are being attacked in real life, you can’t just curl up into a ball and go meek, hoping they’ll leave you alone. You have to strike for the eyes, the throat, the groin! You have to scream and howl! This is your life, not theirs!
The exact same situation goes for depression. You can’t let it have you! I know it’s not easy, but I lost six years of my life to it, and I’m not giving it another day.

Q: Does your family know you create Furry Art? If so, how do they feel about it? If not, why not?
A: Oh boy…I’ll tell you, when I saw this question coming, I braced myself. This is a hard one, but I’m not ashamed to answer this…so here we go.
No…No they don’t. And they never will, at least not through me. Here’s why…
I was raised Christian, but I knew from age three I was different. I was very sexual, very curious, and very expressive. My family loves me so very much, and though they were a bit over-protective, I’m so grateful for them and the childhood I had.
During college, however, I made the decision to stop going to church. I didn’t feel like I belonged. I felt used, abandoned, and taken for granted, but most of all – I felt like a total hypocrite because of my bisexuality and the lust I had for intimacy.
There have been some close calls with my parents finding out what I draw, and I don’t really wish to go into details about them, but I do my best to keep my two lives separate. I’ve always wanted to be an animator, and my dad worked as hard as he could to get my foot in the door. I’ve even been interviewed at Disney Television Animation (which was one of the most horrible ten minutes of my life). I know this is not the direction he’d want me to go in my career, or in my life.
I’ve learned the hard way to keep my art close and protected. I’ve been harassed physically, sexually, and verbally at jobs when I revealed what I drew. “Whaaat the hell is THAT?! That’s got to be the UGLIEST thing I’ve seen in my LIFE!”, coming from the owner of the silkscreen business I once worked for. I’ve even been blackmailed, “If you don’t want your co-workers to find out what you draw, then you’re going to do this for me.” I had no idea about my rights back then either. I’ve had some rough times in the past.
However, drawing Furry art and being a part of the Fandom what makes me happy. This is who I am.
I feel complete and a part of this community, but it’s been really hard on me to not share my moments of joy and achievements with my parents and family. I was never able to reveal my excitement when I sold at my first con, or my surprise and overwhelming joy when I was Guest of Honor at Conifur Northwest. I can’t tell them about how proud I was when I lead a panel at Further Confusion on anatomy and had four models on stage, or when I had the honor to illustrate the cover for Furnation Magazine. I can’t talk about how I’m inspired by my friend who poses for me, or how much fun the latest art group was. It’s torture.
I remember in High School trying to come out to my sister, around 1993. Back then there was this huge debate over whether or not you were born gay or if you chose to be gay. She said “I don’t see why this is a debate at all. Of course you’re born gay!” I was surprised by this, and started mustering up the courage to talk to her about my conflicted feelings, “Oh wow, really? You think so? Because I…” She cut me off, “Yeah because, I mean, who would actually CHOOSE to be gay?!” I was crushed… “Oh….”
In 2004, it took me three days to come out to my parents over the phone. I was absolutely terrified. One of my friends had come out to his family, and his Christian sister forbade him from ever seeing her children because of it. I was so scared the same thing would happen to me. (Thankfully it didn’t.)
My parents didn’t understand what bisexual meant, so I gave up and told them I was gay. You never forget the sound of your mother sobbing, but she said “Somehow, I always knew…and I felt so bad because you were all alone, but how does a Mother tell her Son something she knows before he does?” My father said “We’ll pray and get through this together”, and then they had their pastor come over. They were supportive and accepting in different ways, however I felt and still feel that my intimate life is private, and there’s just a lot of crossover between my art, my fandom, and myself.
Growing up, friends would say, “come to this party”, “do this thing with us”, or “wanna come over and play Dungeons and Dragons?” Things I knew I wasn’t allowed to do. When I told them I couldn’t, they would say, “Screw your parents! Who cares if they get pissed off!” But that’s not what I was afraid of. I wasn’t afraid of making them mad. I was afraid of hearing, “We’re disappointed in you.”
It’s still something I’m fear to this day, even at 39.
Again, don’t get me wrong, my family loves me and I love them so very much. I just don’t want to make them feel sad or give them something else that is difficult to deal with in the list of problems they already have.

Q: Do you take commissions? If so, how often and what are your usual terms?
A: Absolutely I do take commissions! This is how I make ends meet and earn a living, so I am always open. Speed has been my weak point, but I’m working through my “get in shape” montage and I’m always improving!
All my commission info is here and here:
http://www.grrrwolf.net/2016/02/commission-prices-and-examples.html
http://www.grrrwolf.net/2016/02/commission-information-and-tos.html

Q: Do you sell and create physical pieces of art? Prints? Folios? Bookcovers? Comics? etc
A: All artwork that I do starts out on paper or in a sketchbook. I love using physical media. I will usually color digitally, but I try to avoid working in pure digital. I acknowledge the advantages to working start to finish in digital art, but I feel there is something that is lost in the process. It’s like watching a movie made with physical effects versus a movie that is so dense with CGI.
I do have my art available as prints, posters, and more at https://inkedfur.com/creator/grrrwolf plus I am working to have a book of ALL of my art in 2017!
I tried to do a comic that seemed to languish in purgatory for years and years for many reasons, but ultimately I thought I wasn’t good enough to do comic book art. If I could travel back in time, I would slap myself for thinking that way! However, I have plans on beginning different comics in 2017 as well.

Q: I became first aware of you through Furnation magazine. I was wondering would you mind talking about on the project, and your involvement with it.
A: Sure thing, I’m flattered! Mark Fuzzwolf had just started producing the magazine, and he had asked me if he could do a new feature for issue #8 in 2007 that would showcase a gallery of my art. I was more than tickled to oblige.
Later he asked if I could do the cover for issue #9, and to have artwork from the featured story, “Dreamkeepers” by David Little, incorporated into it. After a little bit of planning, I got a local fur friend to pose as a certain cross-dressing fortune teller from a certain animated movie. I guess it’s very subtle to who it is because not that many have identified the character, but I consider that cover to be my masterpiece. =)

Q: Also on a personal note how do you feel about how there is an interest in furry fanzines like Furnation magazine and them being so hard to find even online. I was only able to find 9 of the 10 issues on various sites
A: It’s hard to say. I went to the cons up until Anthrocon ’05, and then dropped off the map in ’08. Waking back up in 2014 and going to BLFC in 2015 was a MAJOR shock. Things had evolved and changed, but it was an amazing, astounding metamorphosis! The quality of work and the use of technology blew me away. Dealer’s tables definitely got more epic, and the fursuits are just jaw-dropping now! It’s wonderful to see the range of talent, and that there’s more of a spread of recognition to other creators and fursonalities outside of just artists who draw. There was a definite, awkward learning curve I had to learn, but I’d like to think I’ve adjusted well.
Going back to furry fanzines…I think that with technology getting to the point where artists can show their work in so many different ways, and websites evolving to accommodate a variety of needs and niches, the dependency on established publishing companies has definitely shifted. In-house printing, Patreon, and on-demand services have really changed the nature of things. It’s quicker and easier to get news and stay informed, and I’ve even noticed that the way communication works and how we interact online is different than it was 10 years ago now that we’re all “mobile”. There is a noticeable difference between ICQ to Telegram on how conversations flow, for example.
From what I’ve read, Furnation Magazine was the possibly the highest selling publication within the Furry Fandom, but there are a lot of reasons why it seems hard to find. Nostalgia, collectability, time, and the huge influx of a new generation of Furries all seem like understandable reasons to me. Coincidentally, I sold off my remaining stock of issues #8 and #9 at BLFC ’15 and Furlandia ’15, but it took a little while.
I’m curious to see what will happen in the next 10 years. The one thing for certain is that there will always be a fandom, and it will just keep getting more diverse and creative! I’m grateful for all the times I had all these past years, but 2016 has been absolutely the greatest year of my life. I look at life in this way…Life will always be challenging and difficult. But I have my arms and my legs. I can see, hear, taste, touch, and feel. I’m eating three meals a day and there’s a roof over my head. I’m doing pretty damn good! Today is the last (insert current date) there will ever be. Make it count!
Thank you so much for this opportunity, Ahmar Wolf. I really enjoyed this interview! All the best!

Gratefully,
Grrrwolf
Here is a list of my websites if you wish to publish those…

Websites
http://www.grrrwolf.net
http://www.furaffinity.net/user/grrrwolf
My no-paywall https://www.patreon.com/grrrwolf
https://beta.furrynetwork.com/grrrwolf
https://grrrwolf.sofurry.com
https://www.weasyl.com/~grrrwolf
https://inkbunny.net/Grrrwolf
Buy prints and more at http://inkedfur.com/creator/grrrwolf

Email
grrrwolf6d9 [at] yahoo.com

Social Media

https://www.facebook.com/grrrwolf
http://grrrwolf.tumblr.com
https://www.youtube.com/user/GrrrwolfTWherewolf
https://plus.google.com/+GrrrwolfWherewolf

Messengers
Telegram (most preferred) : Grrrwolf
Skype: Grrrwolf6d9

Furries You Should Know: Cethlenn

Cethlenn is a Admin on the Furry RP Haven Forum

1. Your background?

I’m an administrative assistant and web developer. I’m located in California.

2. When did you become a furry?

I’ve always admired anthropomorphic art and cartoon characters, but wasn’t aware that there was a term for the furry fandom until the mid-late ’90’s, when I met some therians and furs at the university I was attending. I have friends in both the therian/were and furry communities.

3. Is being a Furry a Hobby or a Lifestyle for you? Do you have a fursona or two or more?

Both? I do have a couple of fursonas. I need to draw them :). It’s on my to-do list. My main fursona is a coyote. My other fursona is avian.

4. Do You Own a Fursuit, and have you ever fursuited outside of fur cons?

I do not own a fursuit.

5. Do you have a favorite furry convention?

I have never been to a furry convention. I was almost able to go to CaliFur this year but work schedules prevented that. I’ve attended howls and an anime convention, as well as SCA events and Renaissance Faire. I attend SCA and the Renaissance Faires in garb.

6. When did you join Furry 2 Furry?

I joined in ’09 or ’10 at the urging of some RL and Second Life friends. I took an extended break and came back in ’12/’13.

7. While at Furry 2 Furry, did you get your start as a helper/moderator?

While at Furry 2 Furry, I was a member. I’ve been a helper/moderator on other forums.

8. Why did Furry 2 Furry shut down?

From what I understand, the person who was paying the hosting bill for the forum decided to stop paying the bill. I also understand that no one could reach them for the information needed in order to take over payment.

9. Is it true that Amok, the former owner of Furry 2 Furry locked all the admins and Mods out?

This is a question best directed at Studley Destiny, Essence, Earz Bunny, Draconicon, or Tanara, because they were mods and admin at the time that F2F shut down. They may also be able to shed more light on question 8. 🙂

10. Why were there so many different versions of the forum between when Furry 2 Furry closed it’s doors to this forum as it stands now?

There was a scramble to find a new place for the community. Having my own web domain enabled me to provide space that would not be shut down at the whim of an unknown owner.

11. Is it a tough job running the forum?

It can be, especially when the software updates cause issues and conflicts between the addons we use.
I am currently working to rebuild the user gallery from such a collision.

Social groups were also in place but waiting to be restored until the gallery is sorted and the software conflict can be resolved.

12. Any future plans?

We’d like to add more features, upgrade the themes and artwork, and hire a PHP programmer to help with some of the code. I’d like to host blogs for members and add other features as funds allow.

Furries You Should Know: Kiba Wolf

Kiba Wolf hit the both the fur scene and the sights of YouTube with their fantastic videos starting in 2013. Thier first videos posted may just of been of the fursuit dance competition at MFF 2013. But that was also the time they posted their 1st Furry Music Video. That and later videos posted on YouTube have averaged between 15,000 to over 75,000 views. Kiba Wolf is without a doubt one of the main producers of some of the best furry videos you will find anywhere. I encourage everyone who even is considering making any video to check out Kiba Wolf’s work as it always one of the best you will find anywhere. I consider it a great honor that they consented to do an interview.

Q: Your background?
A: I am a software engineer developing software used in the TV/broadcasting industry

Q: How did you come to find the Furry Fandom? How has it changed your life or outlook?
A: Back in June 2013, I came across an article which discussed amazing cosplay costumes. They had some pictures posted up in the article as well and they were very realistic looking wolf heads. I was extremely fascinated by this because they looked incredibly cool. I did a little big of digging into who the maker was and learned that some of the featured heads were made by Clockwork Creatures – a fursuit making company specializing in realistic costumes. I began to do even more research into this and it eventually led me to discover the Furry Fandom starting with Youtube videos.

Discovering the Furry Fandom has been a blessing for me. Before this, I led a relatively normal life with minimal social life. Having just moved to NJ at the time, I really didn’t know many people at all, so often, I kept to myself. Now, the Fandom has given me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people from around the world and make new friends, both from across the other side of the world, and as well as my local surroundings.

Q: Is Furry a Hobby or a Lifestyle for you? Do you have a fursona or two or more?
A: I think of it as a little bit of both, but moreso a hobby. It’s not a lifestyle where I let the Fandom control what I do with my life. Instead, it complements my lifestyle, bringing something enjoyable for me to look forward to every day. While I have a main fursona as myself, I do have 2 others which are portrayed in my other 2 characters: Atreus and Taika. Atreus is a warrior, archer wolf fighting to defend the good, and Taika is a peaceful samurai wolf.

Q: When was your first fur con?
A: My first fur con was Midwest Furfest 2013

Q: Do you fursuit, if you do own one have you ever fursuited outside of fur cons?
A: Yes I do fursuit and have fursuited outside of fur cons. I have worn Atreus to ren faires and I have suited Taika in Japan at some of the temples. In addition I have also taken both suits to local fur meets/fur bowls

Q: How did you get your start in photography?
A: My first digital camera was the first generation Canon DSLR (EOS Rebel). At that time, I had very little knowledge about cameras and pretty much shot pictures in Auto mode. There were very few DSLRs back then, and what the camera outputted looked amazing in comparison to the heavily popular point-and-shoot cameras. I guess I really didn’t get into photography until my cousin’s wedding about 5-6 years later. I didn’t shoot much with my DSLR, but it was because of the wedding that I felt inclined to learn how to properly take photos. That was when I then decided to purchase 2 new lenses to finally upgrade from my stock lens.

Taking photos during my cousin’s wedding was a real eye opener. I learned about how much my camera had already begun to become obsolete! Despite having 2 new lenses to cope with the wedding environment, it was not enough and I could see that my camera struggled severely. From that day on, I began to take more interest in photography.

Q: Would you call your skills as both a photographer and a videograopher your profession?
A: Definitely not. While I have used these skills for the occasional professional work, they are not my main profession.

Q: When you made your very first video at a fur con, was it just for fun or did someone hire you?
A: oh it was for fun. At the time, Revit’s fur con videos were quite an inspiration and I wanted to make videos similar to that. Professionally-made con videos were hard to come by – Youtube had lots of shaky footage or just really horrible edited/filmed material. I wanted to get that chance to make some good quality works for the Fandom.

Q: How are you able to go to so many fur cons in an average year, and do you go to them just to have fun?
A: My workplace is flexible when it comes to requesting vacation days. I will also try to save money by sharing rooms and driving to cons which are in reasonable proximity to me. Definitely, I go to them to have fun — but sometimes I will also help volunteer my time to help out the con.

Q: What is the process of creating a video at a fur con?
A: I think that really depends on what kind of video you want to create. I will first ask myself if this is a video that I want to have a story, or will it just be a con video, or maybe a music video? Depending on the type, I usually plan what type of shots I would like to take. In the case of something involving a story, I will even storyboard my idea on paper first – list out all locations, shots, camera angles, etc… for each proposed section of the video. Con videos are the easiest as generally I will just look for anything interesting that happens spontaneously and is interesting to film.

Q: Do you do your own editing?
A: Yes, I do all the editing myself

Q: Are you ever surprised by the number of views your videos get on YouTube?
A: Sometimes it can be surprising to see how well received some videos are compared to others. But I am certainly happy to get more views as I have found that it helps to bring more people into Fandom. To that note, I have received feedback from people thanking me for making videos as some of what I filmed helped introduce them to the Fandom and/or alleviate their family’s worry about what the Fandom is about.

Q: Would you ever consider doing a panel on photography at a fur con?
A: I could but prefer not to do it alone 🙂

Q: What are your future plans?
A: More fursuiting!! As much as I like to carry a camera around with me, once you have the fursuiting bug, you just don’t want to stop!

Furries You Should Know: Kevin Hile

Today I interviewed Kevin Hile, he is better known for as being the Admin in charge of the Greymuzzle group on Facebook as well as his own site Ask Papa Bear which as far as I know is the only furry advice site out there. Over the years I became aware of him, I found his logic sound and that he is quite compassionate. He is also one Furry You Should Know.

Q: Your background?
A: Well, as quickly as I can summarize it: I am a 50-year-old, widowed, gay furry. I have a B.A. in English literature and German and am a professional editor and author. I have been a furry all my life, before I even knew what a furry was. When I was in grade school in the early 1970s, I pretended I was a wolf or dragon. I loved getting away inside my imagination. I was inspired by everything from Disney animated features to Kipling’s The Jungle Book (which I reread many times as a cub). I grew up rather sheltered, and for this reason didn’t understand much about the LGBT community. It was only when I was 40 and had been married for 20 years (I have no children) that I stumbled upon the subculture of the bear community, which turned my world upside down. I eventually told my wife I was gay. This was extremely difficult, but she remains my friend, happily. I met Jim (Yogi) and fell in love and we started a business in Michigan that failed (backstabbing partners), and then we decided to move to Palm Springs, California. Jim worked as a freelance journalist and I as a freelance editor. I really thought my life was going to be wonderful and then Jim died suddenly last year from a pulmonary embolism. I have been alone since then.

Q: How did you come to find the Furry Fandom? How has it changed your life or outlook?
A: Like many people, I stumbled upon it while browsing the Internet. I’ve always loved anthro characters, and one day while searching for art and cartoons I stumbled upon FurNation (now defunct, sadly). At first, I thought it was an anomaly—a place where a tiny number of artists who drew anthro animals posted their drawings. Then I learned about furries and that there were many people like me.

How did it change my outlook and life? Well, before finding FurNation, I thought I was a freak an no one out there was like me (including the physical attraction to anthros). I found out I was not alone, which made me feel considerably less lonely and less like there was something wrong with me.

I didn’t discover the furry community until the 1990s. By then, I was already in my 30s, which is considered greymuzzle (or elderfur, if you prefur). So, I’ve had a harder time relating to the younger furs, especially those who obsess about video games, anime, and some of the music I don’t relate to. I’ve made a few younger friends, but most of my furiends are greymuzzles like myself.

Being a furry does not change my outlook on life, however. I’m the same person, just furrier.

Q: Is Furry a Hobby or a Lifestyle for you? Do you have a fursona or two or more?
A: Yes, I have a fursona: Grubbs Grizzly. I have no need for another fursona because Grubbs is most definitely my alter ego, another expression of myself and who I am. I don’t really know where I fall when it comes to hobby v. lifestyle. I think, like many things, there is a spectrum. While I do feel that Grubbs is a part of who I am, I don’t live as a furry every day. Indeed, most days I’m just Kevin. Furry is more than a hobby to me (like playing piano is a hobby), but neither is it a devoted lifestyle.

Q: Have you ever been to a furcon? If so, which ones?
A: Oh, yes, indeed I have. I’ve been to MFF, FurtherConfusion, Furry Convention North (now Motor City Furry Con in Novi, Michigan), Arizona Furcon, and Califur. I’d like to go to AC one day, and I’d really like to go on the Furry Cruise from Florida.

Q: Do you fursuit, if you do own one have you ever fursuited outside of fur cons?
A: Yes, and yes. I have a wonderful fursuit that was sewn by Beastcub. I have fursuited several times outside of furcons.

Q: Do you paint or write stories?
A: I have tried art (taken art classes), preferring colored pencils, charcoal, and conte crayon, but have never drawn a furry (yet). I am a professional editor and an author. I have written mostly nonfiction, but I also published a fantasy novel, The Steel of Enadia, that won a competition judged by Piers Anthony. One of the main characters in that book is an anthro, but most of the characters are human.

Q: Which came first, the Greymuzzle group on Facebook or “Ask Papabear”?
A: “Ask Papabear” has been around for four years; I think the Greymuzzle group is around 2. I also started a Bear Furries group that began in Yahoo Groups and is now on Facebook. That group is actually older than the column.

Q: What if any problems you faced while running the Greymuzzle group, have you ever had to slam your foot down and say no?
A: I’m pleased to say that the vast majority of our 1,000+ members are totally cool. We have only had to block 5 people since the group began. Some people, really, are just a bit emotionally unstable and should not be on Facebook at all.

Q: What made you start “Ask Papa Bear”?
A: Somehow, younger furs (mostly) began asking me questions and started seeing me as a papa in the fandom. After a while, this happened so frequently that I felt it would be a good idea to start an advice column directed at furries. The main benefit of this to the furry community, I feel, is that they can come to me and know that I am not going to judge them harshly (I’m very open minded about things), and hopefully I point them in the right direction to help them resolve their problems.

Q: Regarding “Ask Papa Bear”: Did you start out slow, and what problems if any you had back in those early days?
A: Because no one had ever written a column for furries like this before, I had people criticize me a couple times. They believed I was trying to be a popufur, take advantage of people, make money off of them. Actually, I am in the red on this one. Paying for the Web address and the site space costs money. I don’t make a dime off of this, and that was never my intention. You might notice I have an “Ask Papabear” store. I put it up in hopes it would pay for my expenses, but after 3 years I have yet to sell a single mug or shirt. Ah, well….

Q: I remember seeing you mention in the Greymuzzle group of your longtime partner passing on, how did this affect your life?
A: I’m not really sure how this relates to my furry life, but okay, I’ll respond. Losing Jim 9 months ago has been devastating. I am still in deep mourning. It has made it very difficult for me to work, and, sadly, I’m not writing my column as much as I used to. To lose someone so suddenly and unexpectedly whom you loved with all your heart and with whom you thought you would spend the rest of your life is an agonizing mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical pain that cannot be accurately described to anyone who has not experienced a similar loss.

Q: Has it become easier to run “Ask Papa Bear”, and the Greymuzzle group?
A: As noted above, “Ask Papa Bear” has been more difficult lately, but I hope that will eventually change. The Greymuzzle group is easy to run, mostly running itself, really, except that I have to approve member applications.

Q: What’s next for you?
A: I am very behind on my next personal project, The Furry Book: The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of the Furry Fandom, because of what has happened in my personal life, but I am working on it. In October, my book The Handy California Answer Book will be published by Visible Ink Press. This book is close to my heart because it is the book Jim started writing when he died. I was allowed to finish it for him.

The “Ask Papabear” column will continue as best I can. I will continue to be an admin for the Greymuzzle and Bear Furries groups. As for my personal life, I really don’t know. I am trusting in my Spirit Bear to help guide me in that respect….