The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

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Over the weekend I received a rather wonderful email from the Royal Academy of the Arts. It started with, “We are delighted to inform you” My dear friend I think you’ll find that I am more delighted than you..:-))

Earlier this year I entered Syrrus and Lupestripe having a barbecue in Leeds into the annual Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. I had put in two pictures from the series over the past two years and been shortlisted once, so I thought there was a decent chance of getting into the actual exhibition. Especially seeing as the curator is the artist and sculptor, Grayson Perry and its the big one, the 250th year of it running.

Syrrus, a fox and Lupestripe, a wolf having a barbecue in Leeds, 2017
Syrrus, a fox and Lupestripe, a wolf having a barbecue in Leeds, 2017

These things are always a bit of a lottery so having already been shortlisted, I was a bit overwhelmed and blown away to receive the email that said the picture has been selected.  With that of course it means that the furry project is now at the top table of the art world^^ For those that don’t know the exhibition, it’s possibly the biggest and most prestigious open art exhibition in the world. It opens on June 12th and will be on show until August 19th at the Royal Academy on Piccadilly. Here’s some more information about it https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/summer-exhibition-2018

This is obviously fantastic and furtastic news, especially seeing as At Home With The Furries will be published later on this year and on that note..

At the end of April  I visited the illustrator, Dane Marinkovic and we finished off the sketchbook pages. This extensive section at the back of the book consists of handwritten notes, additional photographs and illustrations relating to all the furries I’ve photographed for the project.  Included is a text from Uncle Kage as well as anecdotes, thoughts and stories from the furries featured.

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For the rest of the book, the design and text is nearly there, last week I finalised the design with Roger Fawcett-Tang from Struktur Design. I am so happy with how it all looks, feels and flows.

Roger also made a miniature version of the book, which really is a thing of beauty.

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The book is being published through the imprint, Stay Free Publishing and as such is now available to pre-order through the website. Rob Clayton is a photographer I’ve exhibited with and he self-published his book, Estate in 2015. Check it out here, copies are still available to buy. We decided to make At Home With The Furries the second book that Stay Free will publish. Stay Free is dedicated to publishing the best British photography projects.

The book will be published in September this year.

Pre-order a copy of At Home With The Furries click here

To buy Rob Clayton’s book, Estate click here

The Royal Academy Summer Show click here

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At Home With The Furries Kickstarter

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Today I launch a Kickstarter to self-publish At Home With The Furries as my first book.

At Home With The Furries

The intention with At Home With The Furries has always been to publish a book of the work. I felt back in 2008 when I initially started working with Smirnoff, Lupus, Alfa, Lupestripe, Broccoli, Chill and Zuki that there weren’t really any portrayals of the furries in the media that were balanced or fair and so my approach was to address that with my photography.  My plan was to do something that although quirky, the idea of placing a furry in a domestic setting, the overarching feeling was to laugh with them, not at them. I was more interested in building a relationship with the furries I photographed, and indeed that happened quite naturally. I was a stranger, an outsider to this world and yet I could not have been welcomed more warmly into people’s houses.

At Home With The FurriesThe project over the years has received some wonderful feedback, not least from furries themselves. One confided to me that having seen the feature in The Sunday Times Magazine (March 2013), it gave him the confidence to go to his first furry meet and make friends. For me personally a watershed moment was seeing Smirnoff, the husky wolf, the first picture I took for the project, feature in the book by Paul Lowe, 1001 Photographs You Must See Before You Die. Mainly to see my work alongside work by photographers such as Leonard Freed, Eve Arnold, Susan Meisalas, Simon Norfolk and Sandy Skoglund (photographers I studied at college and university) spurred me on to move ahead with the Kickstarter to self-publish the book.

The key to any successful Kickstarter is to put together a great video and its thanks mostly to two furries who have become close friends and supporters of the project over the years. Pazuzu and Lupestripe. The idea of shooting a short film about the furries had been on my mind for a while and so the thought of bringing the furry project to life on film seemed like a logical next step. You can see the campaign video here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/466109304/at-home-with-the-furries

In 2016 I attended a book making workshop with Aron Morel at Photofusion, it was there that I was challenged to decide what my vision for a photobook would be of the project. Since then, the concept has become more fleshed out and everything about the book reflects the nature of the project. The cover, the paper stock, the materials, the design, the writing, the photography and the rewards for the crowdfunder.

At Home With The Furries

Alexandra Tomlin, a professional animator and illustrator, designed the cover.

The cover will be a flock (felt) material and the plan is for the design to be foil blocked onto the surface.

The designer is Roger Fawcett-Tang of Struktur Design, I’ve worked with Roger for many years on book projects.

The book will also contain an essay by Laura Noble, she has written a wonderful piece about the project.

It will also have a text by Uncle Kage, the chairman of Anthrocon, a Pittsburgh based furry convention. It’s also one of the biggest furry conventions in the world with attendees numbering some 5000 every year.

There will also be additional illustrations inside the book alongside thoughts, words and quotes from the furries themselves.

At Home With The Furries

It is being printed in Turkey by Ufuk Sahin, a leading photobook printer.

The rewards for pledging include postcards, limited edition prints, furry tote bags, furry slipcases and of course the book itself. All book pledgers get their name/chosen name in the back of the book as a supporter.

I will be posting many more updates over the next 30 days as the campaign goes on.

In the meantime, here’s a link to the campaign. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/466109304/at-home-with-the-furries

Thanks for any support you can give the project.

Tom

Links:

At Home With The Furries Kickstarter Campaign

My website

My blog

Twitter

Instagram

 

 

FIXPhoto opens with some very special guests

Last Thursday saw the grand opening of FIXPhoto at the Bargehouse on the Southbank , a huge exhibition of cutting edge photography organised by L A Noble gallery with 22 artists showcasing their work including Emily Allchurch, Lisa Creagh, Einar Sira, Robert Clayton and yours truly.

Picture: Neil Massey

The turnout was spectacular and one or two furries made an appearance which went down well. Zuki the gargoyle, Sticks the Fox, Edward Fuzzypaws, Bhavvels Bunny, Quartermane and Kreek put on a performance which people are still talking about. Yes I might have said, ‘explore the four floors of art and photography and have some fun’

Picture: Neil Massey

Outside the gallery. Picture: Neil Massey

 

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Looks familiar! Bhavvels Bunny with well…himself. Picture: Neil Massey

 

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Sticks, Zuki and Bhavvels in the gallery with Ed Thompson’s The Unseen project behind them

 

Here are all the details for the exhibition, which usefully has a coffee shop and bar on the premises.

http://www.lauraannnoble.com/fixphoto/

The writer David Secombe wrote about the exhibition on the London Column here. Here’s an excerpt: “A nod to Lewis Carroll isn’t inappropriate, given that the furry domain shares some of the dreamy charm, transformative power and moral complexity that he represents. That seems obvious enough. But the image of the stag invokes the iconography of the pre-civilized mind and a time when woods were feared and venerated. This stag is a forest god; one that might be worshipped as part of the sacred, time-honoured rituals of Summerisle

The exhibition closes on Sunday, the 22nd at 8.30pm.

The work is on sale as editioned signed prints, framed and unframed.

Thanks to Zuki, Bhavvels, Albrecht, Pickle, Edward and Sticks for the wonderful support.

 

 

 

 

The Furries, Fix Photo and L A Noble Gallery

So bit of a big update for the furry project on here.

Firstly Laura Noble, the photography gallery owner and curator has taken me on as one of her represented photographers, have a look at L A Noble Gallery. This is wonderful news for the furry project. As readers of this blog may have picked up on, it’s very important to me that the work is used and appropriated on the best and most suitable platforms whether that is print, online and now within the context of a gallery; essentially to reciprocate the trust the furries have given me over the years. Laura Noble has been following the project, since I started it and this gallery representation is a boost to the work and also the overall plan of making a book of At Home With The Furries.

At Home With The Furries

Secondly the project will be exhibited in central London from May 13th to the 22nd at the Oxo Bargehouse, part of the Oxo Tower on the Southbank. It’s being showcased alongside 17 other collections of work by some very talented photographers as part of a new photo festival called FIXphoto. It’s an honour to be showcasing At Home With The Furries alongside work by photographers such as Emily Allchurch, Lottie Davies, Marta Kochanek, Robert Clayton, Einar Sina and Chris Steele-Perkins to name a few.

At Home With The Furries

I’m very pleased to be working with Richard Wills at Photofusion who will be making all the prints for the exhibition. I started working with Photofusion about two years ago and their professionalism is second to none.

Fangorn, a Jedi tiger sits in his living room, Swansea From the series" At Home With The Furries" Throughout the year furries dress up in costume or fur-suit inspired by anthropomorphic characters from cartoons, comic strips, myths and videogames. The people inside the suits are by day computer programmers, engineers, mortgage brokers, lecturers even fursuit makers. Most furries have an affinity with animals but some also like to role-play or fursuit for fun. Over the course of a few years, I gained the trust of the furries in the UK and some of their members allowed me to visit them at home, these photographs were taken all over the country. Contact tom@tombroadbent.com for licensing rights

Who are the furries though? Read more here

At Home With The Furries gallery

Fix Photo is on show from the 13-22nd May, there will be a bar, a coffee shop and workshops running throughout the exhibition. See you there.

FIX Photo Festival

L A Noble Gallery

 

 

 

Fundraiser for Stuart Pilkington

I came across this fundraising page for the photographer, curator and all-round good guy, Stuart Pilkington to aid him in his recovery from a severe stroke in September. Those who know Stuart well have set it up, I can’t claim to be one of them although we have tweeted a few times. Essentially photographers are putting up prints of their work for sale in an auction format with the highest bid being paid by the buyer direct to the fundraising page.

The photographer or print owner pays for the production of the print and shipping, so Stuart receives the entire bid, whether it’s £50 or £500.

I put up Fangorn, the Jedi tiger and it sold for £50 to the gallery owner, Laura Noble. Not bad for a limited edition, signed print with a certificate of authenticity.

Fangorn, a Jedi tiger sits in his living room, Swansea From the series" At Home With The Furries" Throughout the year furries dress up in costume or fur-suit inspired by anthropomorphic characters from cartoons, comic strips, myths and videogames. The people inside the suits are by day computer programmers, engineers, mortgage brokers, lecturers even fursuit makers. Most furries have an affinity with animals but some also like to role-play or fursuit for fun. Over the course of a few years, I gained the trust of the furries in the UK and some of their members allowed me to visit them at home, these photographs were taken all over the country. Contact tom@tombroadbent.com for licensing rights

Other work up for sale includes a quite beautiful image by Jock Sturges, which is receiving bids of around $1000 at the moment.

Laura Noble herself has put up a photogravure by the acclaimed photographer, Erwin Blumenthal, starting bids of £75 for that.

Naomi Harris has donated a print from her series, Oh Canada of a Sikh motorcycle gang from Vancouver. Highest bid is £75 currently.20NH2012Sikh Motorcycle Club Vancouver BC

 

The auction is on a public Facebook page here, so have a look and make some bids for some Christmas presents or if you’re a photographer donate a print and get involved.

For me, it’s wonderful to see the photo community rally round and help out one of their members who is slowly getting back on the road to recovery.

Links:

The Just Giving Page: https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/stuartpilkington

The Facebook Print Auction: https://www.facebook.com/groups/stuartpilkingtonfundraising/