The Government Unknowingly Commissioned Furry Art To Promote The Tokyo Olympics
"The fursonas I was commissioned to draw by the government" truly is an unbelievable sentence.
Woolworths and the federal government have teamed up to release a new sticker collection for kids just in time for the Tokyo Olympics — but they don’t appear to realise that the new mascots are, without a doubt, furries.
Available from Woolies, the anthropomorphic stickers put a new twist on the original Sydney 2000 Olympics mascots, Syd, Ollie, Millie and Lizzie. In the 2021 design, the iconic Lizzie the Lizard and the classic yellow boxing kangaroo are joined by a new red kangaroo.
And while the art is undoubtedly impressive, there’s no denying that Woolworths have created new Olympic and Paralympic mascots that are most definitely furries — and Woolies and the government don’t quite seem to realise that.
If you’ve somehow been able to avoid this part of the internet as it seems the government has, furries are people who have a keen interest in anthropomorphic animals that have human personalities and characteristics.
Furries also often have a fursona, which is their personalised animal identity used when interacting with other members of the furry fandom. A fursona can be represented both online through animal avatars and offline with fursuit costumes and animal-like behaviours.
So, the Olympics are soon, how is your country trying to drum up national pride?
Well here in Australia, supermarket chain Woolworths (Woolies) is having a collectable sticker series for kids to collect of our athletes with 𝙤𝙪𝙩𝙧𝙖𝙜𝙚𝙤𝙪𝙨𝙡𝙮 𝙛𝙪𝙧𝙧𝙮 𝙢𝙖𝙨𝙘𝙤𝙩𝙨?! pic.twitter.com/JLWBdMbGYB
— Bluey (@bluedingo) July 9, 2021
No more info on who actually drew them, but the paralympic mascot is this badass australia shaped lizard. pic.twitter.com/jD8ydtp4v2
— The Prawnisher (@SecretPrawnPage) July 8, 2021
The collectible “fursona” sticker series was actually commissioned by the government and created by Landeg — a 2D artist usually focused on comics — who is based in South Australia.
While Landeg isn’t exactly a “furry artist”, they told Junkee the collection was designed together with the Royal Australian Mint (RAM), which was looking for artists who could draw in “anime style” for their Tokyo Olympics coins.
After hearing that the RAM was interested in replicating art similar to what Tokyo has used to promote the Olympics — iconic anime characters like Sailor Moon, Astro Boy, Naruto and Goku — Landeg submitted their portfolio and, to their surprise, was selected for the project despite not having any furry drawing experience.
Bro these woolies mascots go hard pic.twitter.com/cAdADQ29OJ
— 🍃 Button 🌸 (@ButtonPanduh) July 7, 2021
Once Landeg took on the project, they quickly realised what the RAM were looking to create — even if the RAM didn’t quite understand what they were doing by choosing these anthropomorphic character designs.
“I had no anthropomorphic art in my portfolio, so it was a bit of a surprise when it came out what they were asking for,” Landeg told Junkee. “I had been assuming they were looking for someone to draw humans since that’s all I drew!”
“On some level RAM were aware that anthro characters were ‘a thing’ since there were some anthro pieces in the references they sent me, but I don’t think they had any idea that there was this sort of community/subculture surrounding it,” they continued.
“To be clear, they knew exactly what they wanted — we worked together to make sure they got what they envisioned, I tailored what I made to their examples/feedback — they just didn’t know there was a word for it, basically, or that it was SO popular.”
“I knew immediately what kind of market there was for a campaign like this, though, because I’ve been on the Internet for longer than fifteen minutes.”
G’day! That’s my art and my (re)designs. Had no idea they’d finally gone into use LMAO. Happy to field any questions. Rest assured the people employing me had no idea what furries were.
But I did.
— am i a one piece blogger? (@SailorFailures) July 14, 2021
Despite the Royal Australian Mint not being fully aware of how deep furry culture is, Landeg was still nervous about disappointing the furries who would, and did, find their art.
Luckily, furries were impressed by the sketches and have gone out of their way to ensure Landeg gets the recognition they deserve as the images circulate around the furry community.
“I was actually quite nervous about getting them right because I knew furries would be able to tell if I made them look terrible,” Landeg continued. “The response from the community has been great, though. They really care about giving artists proper recognition and compensation.”
But while furries are happy with the new Olympic characters, jokes about the anthropomorphic creations are expectedly pouring in, too.
“The only part that’s been annoying so far is all the Gen X-ers leaving ‘omg ew is that a furry!?’ comments,” Landeg told Junkee. “But I can’t really blame them because the NBN is only just now loading jokes from 2012.”
The fursonas I was commissioned to draw by the government https://t.co/0EEYPZe2mU
— Jim Malo (@thejimmalo) July 15, 2021
what is a fursona
— Aus Gov Just Googled (@GovGoogles) July 15, 2021
“Are you wearing the-“
“The fursonas I was commissioned to draw by the government? Yeah, I am.” https://t.co/mdnHhLXMn8
— Laurence Barber (@bortlb) July 15, 2021
Even though jokes about the project were expected, Landeg just hopes that the whole furry thing doesn’t deter parents from allowing their kids to enjoy the art for what it is.
“My main concern is that parents and others might see the jokes/response and think that there’s something deviant about this campaign when there absolutely isn’t,” Landeg shared.
“The mascots are just fun, cartoon characters, and if your kids like them, that’s great!” they concluded. “It just so happens that there’s a big group of other people who also like these kinds of characters a whole lot, a bit like My Little Pony.”
“I just hope the kids think the stickers are fun and inspiring and that the furries think I did okay.”
So there you have it folks. Maybe the government-commissioned fursonas are a good thing after all.
You can follow Landeg on Twitter here and you can get your government-commissioned fursona stickers at your local Woolworths.