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

Introduction from Patreon

I've been told my paintings are funny, defiant, and real and I think those are perfect adjectives to describe my art but my feelings about my work are evolving. As a result of an exceptionally difficult year, I have learned that instead of my focus being on defiance based on my past, my new work is moving into an emotional space that sets my mind at ease for my future. Now don't get me wrong, the balance of getting older and finding peace with my past is ongoing and I'm sure some intense work is in my future. But right now my art is about my capacity of letting go and looking on the brighter side of things as a way to handle a world I'm much too sensitive for. My art is giving me energy these days and not weighing me down.

I created my Patreon page to share my work privately but also to ask for financial support. Artists like myself have recognition but that doesn't equate to financial independence. I want to continue to create meaningful art without thinking about money all the time. I feel that money can complicate and distort the creative process. With your help, I can paint what I want to paint and you can enjoy the process exclusively.

So what is Patreon? Patreon in an online platform where patrons can pay a small monthly fee to see my posts. It's not like Kickstarter. It's more like Netflix. 

What can you expect for your generosity? Posts and videos about everything that goes on in my studio and my career. You'll learn and see my process and read the stories behind the paintings. I've created several financial tiers from $2 to $30 a month, each of which will grant you access to more and more content and offers of free archival prints, discounts on paintings, etc...

My Patreon page is constantly evolving just like my work. I hope you'll join me for the ride and help support my creative goals.