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.