There are few things I hate more than art censorship. And I’m not just talking about covering a statue’s dick with a loincloth or removing a picture of the virgin Mary from an art show because it’s made of feces. No, I’m speaking about something far more sinister. And it happens in some form or another every day. I’m talking about a basic violation of our right to be artists and to make our own corner of the world a deep and vivid reflection of ourselves.
I should probably describe just what I see as art before discussing it’s unwarranted suppression. To me art is any thing that expresses part of a persons soul. Or if the concept of a soul does not resonate, a slice of the meat that makes up a person’s inner self. Anything that takes what a person is or feels on the inside and puts it outside in some form is art. A person passionate about fixing cars for instance, is an artist of mechanics. Their inner desire for structure and mechanical workings plus the beauty of the shapes, colors, and accents of a finished vehicle, is their art. They express it through fixing cars. Same with a cosmetologist and doing hair and makeup. I will cease examples as I’m sure you get the idea.
Now along comes an element that is threatened by this expression. Something rubs an individual the wrong way, conflicts with their concepts and/or personal belief systems and they take it upon themselves to suppress it. It could be the way someone dresses, the way they design their living space, or the more forward removal of actual literature, paintings, or musical lyrics to songs deemed offensive.
This person or people feel like they know what is “right” or the way things or a person “should” be. Who the fuck put these people in charge? No one.
No one that is, except those who would allow it to happen to them or others without a fight.
Now a direct conflict is the first reaction right? Fuck them! I’m gonna make a shit load of noise and try to be worse and more offensive next time! That’ll teach em’! Great plan, and one I myself have eagerly followed. But I’m here to lay on the bad news. It usually, at least in my experience doesn’t take. For two reasons. The first, it starts a war of ideals that each side feels so passionately about, that it only serves to increase the divide and create deeper bitter feelings on both sides. The second, and to me more important one, is that it compromises ones art. To actively try to offend out of anger can become so consuming that the original intent of expressions is lost. At least it has been when I was blinded by anger and desiring some kind of retribution.
The way to beat it, I believe, is to continue to express your art, whatever that is, without regard for the censors. They destroy? Rebuild. Do not be deterred by those who seek to suppress expression. Fashion your life in such a way as to ensure your own freedom. Gallery takes down your piece? Find another gallery. No one will hang it? Start your own. Be as creative as you are in your work to find ways to fight the censorship constructively. You and the world will be better for it. Expression and the freedom of such is so integral to our variety as a human species that the loss of it robs us of our collective reason for being.
Just as we have the inalienable right to expression, we have the responsibility to defend it to our dying breath. That means viewing controversial art and pictures. Listening to banned music. And if that is not your taste? To simply not engage in it without infringing on others right to do so. We all probably have or do something that others do not like. But to become the police of artistic expression in all of its varied forms is to become an agent of destruction of the very things that make us human.
We are all artists of something. May we all have the freedom and respect for each other to go out and create our many splendid canvases with the paint of our inner most souls. Oh and yeah, I guess the final point of all this is stupefyingly simple; FUCK CENSORSHIP! good night cretins.