This post discusses challenges between motherhood, family and keeping privacy as an erotic minded artist. Not easy.
The Art Porn 2016 collection I've been working on ended up in a standstill. It's been frustrating but as soon as I complete the personal art studio section of the art school I took over, I intend to passionately fall back into it.
Painting sexual visuals in my home just isn’t possible now that I’ve got my youngest as an unschooler. When I painted the Art Porn 2015 collection she was in school, as were the other kids, and my husband was at work all day. I was alone from 8:00 a.m. until about 6:30 p.m. Is that an artist’s heaven or what? It was only because of this time gift I was able to finish the collection-- and I think, to produce it in the first place!
I thought I would be able to manage painting regularly after the ART PORN show since my little art studio at home is in a corner of an office where the kids aren’t allowed and so naturally the idea of a 2016 collection seemed reasonable. This room I paint in is our one no kid zone in the house but somehow that rule didn’t stick because kids don’t listen as they always should (just life, I guess) and they often do whatever they want anyway. My childhood past involved domestic violence and punishment for rule following but we don’t implement such in our home so what are you going to do? Their reaction to my art isn’t my problem but the disrespect of my personal space is.
While I tried my best to hide what I was painting, for one reason or another, my kids at different points through the Art Porn creation process made it up into the studio and witnessed my art - unintended but still witness. Each kid saw a painting I really don’t think they should have seen so unexpectedly and extra big in front of their eyes and my youngest was obviously most struck by it, quite confused. I think it nailed for her that I am a strange mother. She’s my hardest judge and critic and this just adds to her content feed of justification.
As a mother through the decade or so of my dealing with the erotic arts, I’ve always worked very hard to keep my work hidden from the children, more so than anyone in my personal circle, and reality has proven such that it often doesn’t work out the way you hope, wish, try or plan. My obsessiveness to keep privacy turned out a fail and as a result I lost trust in multiple ways in multiple people. I was so pained when I learned my kids saw a painting of Art Porn before it was out there to be seen publicly and therefore, at their own discretion, place, time, choice and online. I truly felt that my privacy, my place of authentic creation was essentially disrespected. I do not share my sexual visions with my kids or any other kids and having them see that before I was ready to show it was a huge blow. I moved on. Shit happens.
Then, along with other privacy invasion issues in the past within the family, the leftover 200+ Art Porn condoms from the show's promo were stolen from my home by a supposed "friend" of one of the teens and it just hit me so hard, these personal space violations, that I almost walked out on my marriage and the family I've been sacrificing every bit of myself for. Where can one express a personal true self and have it not be stolen or part of "The Look" until it is willed, invited or allowed? This line is thin since most people don't even think this deep for it to matter to them but I've been drowning in that depth for years and my attempts at making bold what others view as thin is extremely frustrating. If this kind of disrespect of personal space and subsequent trust loss is a natural extension of motherhood and family, a woman needs a room of her own or you can keep the married with children happily ever after illusion in your own house.
These factors of not feeling comfortable painting or creating art - being - in my own home, fully and passionately and uncensored even in what I thought was a kid-safe zone have greatly reduced my painting production and the quality of my emotions. I walked a thin line on my own bold boundaries. It's about trust and letting go. There’s something very encouraging, freeing and creative about knowing that you can engage in the painting (artistic) process - a creation process really - and not have to deal with exposing it until you are ready. It might be different if I painted flowers. I don't know how to explain it but it's a safe zone.
My or others’ children have zero place in this artistic domain of mine and I'm over the demands of censorship, both because of children and because of society. With children around I cannot authentically paint the kind of sexual imagery I feel my inner artist needs to "be itself", to create, to manifest, to make art. Everyone says "Be Yourself" but this is not easily accomplished if you are a sexual and erotic person in a world that is afraid of the variations of those domains despite the fact that they are used to create the very life we call Humanity.
I cannot be myself so easily because myself is erotic, sensual and ultimately sexual and there's too many friggin' problems with that: 1. society shames sexual women 2. children turn off sexual women and 3. one can't be sexual unless one is fucking, love making or masturbating. So, I chose painting because the others are exhausting 8 hours a day. The benefit of this is that I'm left with more than a memory or a sensation: I'm left with art, something tangible. The others, # 1 I ignore # 2 I've just solved.
If I cannot create, I cannot live. It’s quite simple and so I did something about it. I decided to keep the marriage and family because I love them and I got my own art studio outside the home to get away from them. Lock and key. The school portion of this was an unexpected twist. I didn't seek that. It sought me. We will see how that flows.
The past month as been extremely heavy on me but I fared well through the storm. I had new floors installed in the school because it was populated by old, breaking and most possibly asbestos tile. The whole space turned out to be way dirtier than originally noted and more unhealthy than I realized, and after I applied the 4th coat of paint on the 3rd coat of primer watching the dark wood paneling on the wall seep through yet another layer, I just broke down, wondered really if the school purchase as an error, if the “room of one's own” was an attempt of escaping or producing, and if art really mattered to me. Yes, it did but just how much? Was this dive going to be worth it?
Next week I begin moving my personal things, paints, canvases and all that arty stuff into the art studio. With a lock and key on my own space, I hope that I can let go again, finish painting and actually exhibit Art Porn 2016 in the year of 2016. It has to happen.