So I was recently asked my opinion on a post discussing using nudity to help sell art. It was a very thoughtful question so I took a few days to really think out response and unfortunately in that time the post got taken down. I am not sure why, but here is my opinion on using one’s body to ‘sell’ art:
Well this is a very interesting question, and being someone who is a figure artist, as well as a nude figure drawing and fine art photography model, I’d love to share my thoughts.
I have been drawing from the live nude figure for almost 20 years now. I have literally seen hundreds of normal every day people naked, so the nude body has become a very regular thing for me. I am personally fascinated by humans. I am a figure artist because I think people are interesting; I love the dynamism of the human body. Skin stretching over muscle, tissue and bone creates the most beautiful of landscapes to me, whether it be drawn, painted or photographed.
I actually think it is a real shame, and quite shortsighted, to look at the nude body is merely a vessel of sexual pleasure. Our bodies are capable of so much more and being naked is the way we came into this world, so how can it be relegated to only one specific humanly act?
The human body is in itself an artform and a means of expression. If we feel that it is “high art” to paint the nude form in realistic ways, then why is it any less “high art” to photograph it in such a way as well? I actually use myself as a model for a number of my works, so to me there really is no difference between having my body painted and having my body photographed. It is all a vessel with which I express my artistic vision to the world.
We should all be so happy to share our visions with the world, whether they be what we create, what we can do, or what we are. As I said before, I am a nude figure model for drawing classes. At no time has this ever felt like a sexual act, even though I am literally standing under a spotlight completely naked for hours in a room full of people with their clothes on for money. I honestly think that part of the reason why so many folks take such issue with their own naked body is because as a society we have called naked bodies “sex” and I think that there are a lot of people who would enjoy being seen for themselves and not as simply a potential object of desire for people to judge.
However, people that decide to use their nude body in a ‘sex sells’ kind of way have my vote of endorsement as well. When we are trying to use everything in our power to further our creative enterprises, we never shame someone for using their brain to the best of their ability, their resources to the best of their ability, or their physical strength to the best of their ability. So why should we shame them for using their visual presence (ie body) to get ahead as well? I believe that everyone has a different level of comfort and we should each spend our time focusing on increasing our own comfort within our own bodies, no matter what level it is, and spend less time focusing on how other people are comfortable using their bodies.
Thank you so much for such a thought-provoking post! I really enjoyed taking a few days to write a thoughtful comment. 💜
The Initial Post:
What’s your opinion on nudity of an artist with their artwork? I’d love to hear it in the comments!