Sometime in the summer of 2009, I created my first piece of erotic art. Around the beginning of autumn that year, I came across an infamous 1964 statement by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart. On the subject of pornography, Justice Stewart had written: "I'll know it when I see it." This, plus a cursory knowledge of the history of First Amendment protections for adult content, gave me a strong point of inspiration to explore with my artwork (though I did not begin exploring nudity and erotica in a serious way until 2013/2014).
Where exactly does the boundary lie between art and smut? Can fine art elevate sexual imagery en mass into bedrooms? What about onto walls in sun parlors or living rooms?
More importantly, will the ability to explore and create art/and or pornography be disrupted by the subtle discrimination currently being imposed by some financial institutions and online payment processors? Though the First Amendment protects against *government* control of expression, freedom of speech is under a serious threat from a cabal of corporations controlling the majority of telecommunications and financial channels.
Maybe limitations of speech could be considered in regards to hate rhetoric. Nudity and sexuality are not hateful. Maybe credit card processors and banks shouldn't have to process payments from entities engaged in risky behavior. Nudity and sexuality, as ruled by U.S. Federal Courts. are not "risky behavior." Yet if tomorrow I was told that multinational banking/telecom conglomerates had assembled a 21st century Meese Commission, I wouldn't blink an eye.
My work is generally viewed as "art" by the censors on most media platforms, and therefore I am not hassled. However, payment processors, credit card companies, and banks have been quietly stifling the speech, and by extension livelihood, of erotic content producers. When a guaranteed right is undermined even a small amount, the damage cannot be undone, and further erosion only becomes easier. I am doubly committed to showcasing the art of sexuality in my drawings and paintings; now more than ever, each piece is a justification of its own existence. Free speech is an American right, and whether elites in your country or mine acknowledge the fact, freedom of speech is a human right.