Censorship of art

 I Will Survive, 48”x48”, Oil on Linen,  The Count Ibex Collection

I Will Survive, 48”x48”, Oil on Linen, The Count Ibex Collection

Merriam-Webster defines censorship as “the practice of officially examining books, movies, etc., and removing things that are considered to be offensive, immoral, harmful to society, etc… So who’s examining and removing art from public view and what’s their motivation?

I’d like to know who’s deciding on what should be censored? I found this great timeline on National Coalition Against Censorship that highlights some of the censorship of art today. It seems that everyone is in on the practice: Politicians, educators, museum directors, artists, zealots, Facebook, Instagram, Patreon, Google, Amazon, etc…

So what are some of the motivations behind censorship? A few ideas come to mind: Politicians don’t want to offend anyone because they want to get elected. Educators don’t want to piss off parents. Museum directors are pressured by members and boards. Artists are motivated by outrage and take political stances. Zealots are selfish. Facebook, Instagram, Patreon, Google, Amazon, etc…, the worse offenders, are avoiding lawsuits and just want to make money. Blah, blah, blah! But this doesn’t go deep enough does it? Here’s a wonderful book that does from the NCAC called A Manual for Art Freedom: Text by Svetlana Mintcheva; editing by Joy Garnett.

So what’s my motivation for writing this post? I’m frustrated. I’m an artist. One of my subjects is nude paintings. Online, I get censored and banned all the time and so do many in my tribe. If I want the art world, galleries, and collectors to see my work, I need to promote it online. But I can’t without blurring out the “naughty” parts. Recently, I had a battle with Patreon about having posted nude paintings (not public) and my entire account deemed “Adult content”. The result requires potential patrons to go through a series of steps that makes it almost impossible to find me. I couldn’t see any other way around it other than to acquiesce by deleting the offending posts. And yet, I contacted them again to have the rating removed and they still think my account is inappropriate.

At first, I thought Patreon could be a great solution to my censorship woes and relentless social media advertising. It was also a way to reach out to people who may want to support my art practice with small donations for exclusive content and technique videos. Too good to be true.

As I type, I have some friends who are finishing up an intro video that I thought would help attract new patrons but it’s pointless. I will not acquiesce anymore. I will not be using Patreon. I’ll be blogging here on my site until further notice and I’ll use the video to promote my work and my blog. I hope you’ll stick around.

As always, thanks for your support.

 Davida, 68”x40”, Oil on Linen,  The Count Ibex Collection

Davida, 68”x40”, Oil on Linen, The Count Ibex Collection

#patreonfail #censorshipsucks

 Censored photo

Censored photo

Dear Patreon

I just received a notice that you flagged my page as having adult content. I do not post anything that compromises your guidelines.My paintings some of which are nudes are tastefully done and are only available to much higher tier members of which I have none as of yet. I did this as a precaution of course after having spoken to you before creating my page. Having my page not searchable on your site defeats the entire purpose of having a page and I consider your censorship somewhat hypocritical. I’m an artist and you present yourselves as being supportive of artists.

My work is beautiful. It’s not porn. It’s not sexually explicit.

My bigger concern is how and why you flagged me in the first place. Did someone report me? I have a troll who has been creating havoc on my social media.

I hope you’ll reconsider taking the flag off my account in exchange I’ll increase the tier amount to deter younger eyes for any of my nude paintings and also mention it in the copy.

I repeat. It’s art. It’s a painting. Not porn. It would be more productive to have an age requirement field as part of your sign up process. If someone lies about their age than it’s on them not you.

Feel free to call me to further discuss. If you were to “solve” the adult content concern in a non censored way you would increase your membership twofold. There are thousands of artists who are creating amazing work that cannot show it on social media or have been banned for life on FB.

There has to be a solution and you have an opportunity to be a leader to differentiate yourselves. Even something as simple as a pop up warning for my so called “Adult content” page as opposed to a unsearchable Patreon page would be better.

#patreonfail #censorshipsucks