Taking Shame Out of Porn

                                                                       photo by michael s troop

                                                                       photo by michael s troop

There is no intrinsic shame in the four letter word of porn. The shame of and on porn comes directly from the subjective mind placing a value judgment on four letters with human backed meaning.   Specifically in the American South, some of that meaning comes from faith-backed meaning and hence, we’ve stumped our toe.


It’s important, though, to remember that porn isn’t shameful. Being ashamed of porn is shameful – if shame is to be placed anywhere. It means you can’t look at the most basic act of creation…but you can DO it?  Really think about this.  If you can’t face what you ultimately do to create life and pleasure, is the problem really pornography?

Certainly we can dive deeper into the complexity of porn’s variations such as fetish porn, hardcore, kink and violent porn and so forth but most mainstream porn isn’t too far off the radar of my paintings: reality with a little dose of fantasy. The ART PORN paintings represent the basic sex life of the average heterosexual erotic relationship with a minor, quite average deviance thrown in.  I wasn’t out to push fetishism, homosexuality or shocking imagery to my audience.  This is what everyone else does to their  audience.

I brought the natural to a conservative locale and let the audience decide their own shock factor.

I was surprised at some reactions to my paintings of what is essentially, pretty normal pornography.  When I say normal, I mean mainstream for the masses. I know I’m in the Bible Belt. I know. I know. I know.  But the Bible Belt has a libido too. While I had a good visitor turnout, my GA stats went through the roof once I made the paintings available for view online after the show. Through the roof.  Clearly many were interested but unable to make it in person and I’m confident shame or not wanting to be seen going in was part of it. So, if you’re one of those, and you’d like an invitation to privately view the 2016 art work online once it’s complete, sign up here and I’ll give you a backstage pass.

As an artist I’m disturbed that the Bible Belt would be generally offended by my work on the topic of pornography or my choice of the term in my title when I didn’t really offer anything truly offensive in the first place since the term “porn” has gone mainstream anyway and since most of the paintings depict sexual acts people have most likely participated in at one point or another, aside maaaaybe from the couple threesomes.

However, according to Naomi Harris, author and photographer of “America Swings: the secret life of America’s Bible Belt” – a rather eye-opening limited edition Tashen photo essay book-  the various states that make up the Bible Belt have a lot more behind closed doors than you might know about. The sex facade is big.

Interestingly, I feel like both, the Bible Belt community as much as myself, feel muted in specific yet different ways by living in conservative land.  

This photo to the left should represent a sexual fantasy play. Instead, I think it represents the silence of not only pornography in a conservative world, but of women in a patriarchal society.

Pornography isn’t shameful. Our idea of it has been shamed.  Pornography is your mirror. The discovery is that you are an animal.  

Besides, in sexuality we do nothing but call “Oh my God!” anyway.  What exactly is the missing link here?

What better way to get closer to “God” or to the concept of creation than a good orgasm and the wonderful exchange that comes from an intimate, physical and emotional connection with another Human Being? The fantasies, they’re all for that ultimate purpose, even if the fantasies are standard or unusual.  What they are is unfamiliar and/or erotic but truly, they are the “clothes on the flesh and bones” so that we can expand our sexual consciousness and human understanding.  Otherwise we have nothing but our animal nature to battle with. Pornography can help show and teach us this.

I believe that we all have to understand and cope with our dark side before we can decide to return to the light transformed. For some, pornography is their dark side.  They have to see its beauty before pornography’s existence is accepted as a potential positive rather than a fear or a blatant full-out negative as anti-porn propaganda has us believe.

I really don’t know how to express all this in words anymore, which is why I paint now. I try to paint that beauty of porn and sexuality, and the erotic elements of femininity and masculinity within it.

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