Hello, and welcome to another edition of Pour it Out! Today, we’re going to talk about a hot topic that’s popped up in the group multiple times: what’s considered “inappropriate” when it comes to art?
A Little Background
Recently, a group member posted an embellished pour that featured the top half of a nude woman. It was a beautiful painting, clearly created by someone with a multitude of artistic talents. The composition, color, and movement of the piece were harmonious and bold. Altogether, I thought it was a great piece, as did many of the other group members.
However, the painting kept getting reported to us as a violation of the group rules. Having written these rules, I’m pretty familiar with them—and I want to clarify, nowhere in the group rules do we say that nudity and swearing aren’t permitted (swearing is another hot topic). We do specify that hate speech and bullying are not tolerated, and we do not display paintings depicting sexual acts #1, because Facebook doesn’t allow that, and #2, there is a line of what can be shown in the group and it’s drawn at pornographic images and excessive violence, or pictures depicting abuse or torture. Just not the vibe we’re going for here.
I was surprised to see the painting reported so many times, since it didn’t fit into the category of pornography, torture, or violence. There really wasn’t anything obscene about the painting. So, why was it reported?
The comments told the story. “I’ve invited my friends to this group, and didn’t know this kind of art would be displayed”, “this is obscene, where are the admins?”.
Here’s the thing: art is extremely subjective, right? What looks like art to me, may not look like art to you. However, no matter your perspective on what art actually is, the definition is quite clear.
Art (noun): the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
By this definition, the “offending” piece was indeed art. It certainly elicited strong emotions within the group! That’s what art is—provocative, beautiful, sometimes a little hard to understand but it’s always a peek into the mind of the artist.
What does this all mean?
Folks, the internet (and the world) is a big, vibrant place. There are lots of things you’ll be exposed to every day that you won’t like, alongside the things you love to see. Fortunately, unlike in real life, you have the power to just scroll by things you don’t want to look at on Facebook.
To be very clear, our stance on nudity or otherwise inappropriate artwork is this: artwork containing nudity is permitted, as long as it’s still an acrylic pour. The following items are exempt and will be deleted immediately:
- Abuse of humans or animals
- Graphic violence and torture
- Sexual acts of any kind
- Offensive works that specifically and harmfully target a group of people based on their religion, race, sexuality, nationality, etc.
Art is expressive and that doesn’t always mean it’s beautiful or PG. Capturing human emotions and experiences is the most unique gift that an artist can give. Let’s agree to disagree if you don’t like these works, but please do scroll by instead of negatively commenting. Let’s celebrate the skills of our talented community and help build each other up!
Sara Wagner is an author and artist from Upstate New York. She is the owner of Studio Blackwater and can typically be found covered in paint, cats, or her two young daughters. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram as @studioblackwater.
21 thoughts on “Pour it Out: When is Art “Inappropriate?””
Very clear, good an brave????
Very well addressed! Love your response.
Thank you for describing what art may be. I wholeheartedly agree with you. I am a member of two groups of artist who regularly do life drawing.
Please also ban nudity of children. Too many pedophiles out there in the world. Otherwise I totally agree.
Nudity of children would be considered abuse, and would be deleted.
Thank you!!!! We were all taught as children to cover up and never let our naked bodies be seen. Unfortunately, this conditioning has made it’s way into the art sector and when some see a naked human body, it will automatically, in their mind’s eye, be considered offensive due to this conditioning. The human body is a beautiful piece of art in itself and is extremely hard to replicate in painting. I have extreme respect for an artist who can paint an aesthetic human form. On the other hand, I agree there are times it is obvious the artists’ sole intention is to paint the nude in a pornographic style. I will still look at this artist’s talent, give them the benefit of the doubt, but then move on from that painting. I won’t dismiss the artist altogether because they painted one picture I did not like, but look at the artist as a whole. If I find I still do not like their work, I’ll just move on…………
There will always be a small group of people looking for reasons to be offended. The problem is that too often the small group is taken as representing the majority. We need more positive opinions to out weigh the haters.
I agree a lot of people out here today whether here, Facebook, Twitter etc thier daily goal is to hate on others. And there is a difference between voicing your opinion and hating..
Thank you, thoughtfully addressed.
Thank you for your grown up response. Please don’t ever acquiesce to less mature minds.
Most excellent article! Well stated, clear and concise. I wholeheartedly agree with the terms set. No one is forcing anyone to view this art, although I pity the small, closed minds that find simple nudity offensive.
The human body whether it be a “super model” or your average person who has seen life, is beautiful and a work of art. In fact I think the more interesting paintings are of aged people with stories to tell by their wrinkles. Naked curvy women make the best models for life art in my opinion. Anyone who objects to adult nudity created in a non gratuitous style needs to look at some of the most famous paintings and artists throughout history. They are not famous for their nudity but for their skill and the story they tell. One of my favourite artists is Peter Paul Rubens who is famous for his naked curvy women and gorgeous little cherubs. My husband once made the mistake of saying I looked very Rubenesque when I was carrying too much weight….he only said it once, lol.
Peter Paul Rubens is an absolutely genius, I agree. Love that you’ve stated this – all bodies qualify as art!
Very well said – well done – only wish I had the talent to depict the humsn body well – more power to those who do!
Great article. Art comes in many forms.
If a tasteful nude is considered obscene, then we had better trash the majority of classic art. People really need to chill.