Furlandia Tosses Writer GOH over AI usage.

Furlandia gives in to Neo Luddite entitled artist.

Furlandia gives in to Neo Luddite entitled artist.

May E Lowd a furry, award-winning writer, and regular fixture at Rainfurest and Furlandia received a rude awaking when she was giving notice she was removed as Writing Guest of Honor. Was her crime, was speaking ill of the LGBTQ in the fandom? Was she a clandestine member of the Furry Raiders, or a MAGA hat touting Trump supporter? No, her only crime was the use of AI for her covers and illustrations. Furlandia act shows the escalation of Cancel Culture.

I posted the transcription of Flayrah post here.

“Dear Furlandia Community,

Earlier this week we made the difficult decision to remove our Writing Guest of Honor for 2024, Mary E. Lowd. This is a decision we do not make lightly and is all the more difficult for us as they have been a longtime supporter of Furlandia. So why have we done this? It comes down to their decision to use AI-generated art as a tool in the creation of things such as book covers, the professional backlash that has accompanied it, and the general attitude towards this topic in the fandom.

Undoubtedly the topic of AI-generated art is incredibly divisive and controversial in our fandom at this time, and a lot of people have very strong opinions about it. We’ve made this decision not to push a particular opinion, but because our goal is to bring people together to celebrate the furry fandom, of which artists are the undeniable backbone. Continuing with Mary as a [Guest of Honor] would have made the people understandably uncomfortable and that’s not something we want. This is not an easy thing for any convention to have to do and we hope anyone who’s disappointed will understand.

Furlandia Executive Staff”1

No Furlandia, I do not understand nor agree what you have done is right and how this fine example of doublespeak that does not builds up the fandom. Furlandia is grievously wrong and harms the idea of openness in the furry fandom and attacks the very core of Furry Fandom, that we are all creators in the Furry Fandom.

Let start with rank hypocrisy “We’ve made this decision not to push a particular opinion, but because our goal is to bring people together to celebrate the furry fandom, of which artists are the undeniable backbone.” By removing Mary as Guest of Honor, Furlandia has pushed a particular opinion, and Furlandia has not bring the fandom together, but Furlandia has set itself as arbiter as those who will have a voice in the fandom, who can express in the way of media and worst who are the creators in the Furry Fandom when the Furry Fandom is we are all creators in the furry fandom.

The second issue is the statement “artists are the undeniable backbone” and similar artist should be held in a higher esteem. While the artists are part of the Furry Fandom, this statement misses the key difference that makes the Furry Fandom unique, as Samuel Conway aka Uncle Kage put it in an interview.

“Whereas all other fandoms are consumers of properties put out by studios, authors, and networks, furries invent their own idols.

Furry fandom is unique among fan cultures in that we are not consumers, but rather creators,” Kage explains. “Star Trek fans are chasing someone else’s dream. Furries create our own fandom. “2

Let this sink, in we are not only consumers or fans of other furries every furry in the fandom are the creators not just the artist; we all are the backbone of the fandom. To say in a way that artis have a special disposition in the fandom is a slap in the face of every furry writer, fursuiter, Musician, DJ, and general fan.

Let me offer my own Fursona, Acton, for example. I have a $100 bet if any furry can give proof of an artist drawing my Fursona before 1 December 2006. Good luck collecting the bet because Actin did not exist to after 25 Dec 2006, when I decided to create Acton and developed my Fursona; I created Acton not the artist. The Artist took my oral description and written account of Acton and drew Acton on paper similar to AI to create a picture from my description.

This is a suitable time to bring the main argument, or should I say straw man fallacy, that AI steals art. Using a style is not stealing. Has any Furry Artist one day put pen to paper or stylus to pad and out popped an Anthro drawing? No, an artist leans from observing the art of others in the same way I did when I took a few drawing classes.  Back then we lean shading, proportion, and perspective by looking at the art of others. AI simply mimic this style.  Perhaps AI is an indictment in the lack of diversity in furry artist style. Ai train on thousands of furry artist images drawing the same badge, YCH, cartoony, twenty something, raver, Furry Art. The sameness and the inability to draw an older Furry Bear is why I turned to AI to reimagine my Fursona.

I would say to the Artist instead of trying to put the AI genie back into the bottle and cancel culture, be better than the AI. AI cannot copy random of the human hand drawing fur with a color pencil or a brush stroke. Close Photoshop, drop the stylus, pick up the color pencil or acrylic paint, take an art class. If the artist is trying to hawk $40.00 commissions that look like mundanely drawn pinups in MS paint, do not blame me if I use AI instead.

  1. Mary E. Lowd defrocked as Furlandia guest of honor for embracing AI art, Posted by Sonious (Tantroo McNally) on Tue 27 Feb 2024 – ↩︎
  2. It’s not about sex, it’s about identity: why furries are unique among fan cultures, The Guardian Thu 4 Feb 2016  ↩︎

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