Who's Watching Now?

For the fortunate few who make a living from their art and are unconcerned about their "boss" disapproving of their artwork (or anything else they do, for that matter), this blog is not for you. You have other challenges...namely making a living with your art.

For those of us who have another job, especially a public one, a quick glance over the shoulder reveals that censorship is alive and well in America. As a public school teacher, I'm alert to the boundaries between my private life and my school persona. It sounds silly, but I wouldn't go to the grocery store and buy a 24-pack of beer (ok, so I don't really like beer so substitute a bottle of wine there). And forget buying underwear locally!

The dilemma: what do about an upcoming show I'm having or the possibility of my artwork showing up on the web? Will my figure drawings offend? If they do, surely there are other things someone could find fault with. Regardless that I'm extremely particular about appropriateness with my students, including their art projects, all it could take to get tongues wagging is the "perception" of impropriety.

Exaggerating? A recent NEA Today cites numerous teachers being fired when their private and public worlds collided via the Web. Ranging from stupid--posting racy pictures or admitting to drug use--to First Amendment fodder like the Virginia teacher who "posted photos of his 'butt art'..." where he applied paint to certain body parts and applied those parts to canvas.

Despite the disturbing visual that 'butt art' conjures, one still has to wonder where freedom of expression comes in. The irony is that the show I'm working on is, in part, inspired by the very real issues I see on a daily basis: domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, and the disregard society has for people whose voices get drowned out by the din.