Putting this year’s Erotic Art Show together, I have received a number of complaints, eyebrow raisings, and yes, a few congratulations on keeping the art scene in Kelowna interesting and on edge. Never has the response toward an art show been on each side of the spectrum. I am still musing over why this is, and I have come to a few conclusions – you’d like me to share? Oh, how nice, I thought you’d never ask.
I think it has to do with the complacency of the Okanagan. The majority of artists are complacent here. We live in a nice spot, we have nice weather, the people are nice, not that much crime, you get the idea? Some are in danger of becoming so complacent that they have become unconscious – similar to the people of Spectre in Big Fish.
Well, people, wake up!
I hear: “My work can only be shown in this type of venue, this sort of place, in this manner, by these people, by this organization, with this organization, as long as my other half approves” ….
Have you heard the song “Little Boxes”, the theme song for “Weeds”?
Let’s start with something specific: the venue. The biggest complaint has to do with the venue not being “valid”. Valid for what? Where is your free spirit and your imagination and your vision? I think I have already explained the vision in terms of making the show a success by placing it in a venue that is subject related, and where the attendance will be focused. What exactly do you think goes on at the “Seattle Erotic Art Show”, or the Calgary “Taboo Naughty but Nice” show, which are attended by THOUSANDS of people? The people who are going to the Fantasy Show are actually interested in that subject matter! It is the ideal place for brides to have a shower, it is the ideal place for couples looking to push the envelope for their relationship, or maybe regain some of that magic. Lovely art that gives the bedroom that “special” feeling of warmth and invitingness. Sheets that are sublime, candles and scents that make the bathroom a new sensual place, and too short, lacy lingerie to take off ever so slowly with a caress that kindles that inner fire.
Some have said they don’t want their art next to “porn” stuff. Excuse me? What is porn stuff? “oh, you know, like toys and movies and such”. Exactly what do you think is going to happen? That Linda from Deep Throat is going to come along and swallow the gallery whole? The difference between porn and erotica is subjective yes, to varying degrees, and however, if you are one of these people who can’t handle looking at nude bodies in art, please do not visit the Sistine Chapel or any other churches in Europe. You might be in for a shock. Most artists, though, recognize and accept the validity of the erotic in art, and know the difference. If you don’t know, then overall, porn is external – without positive supportive emotion – wham bam thank you ma’am, or masterbating as performance to an audience who really doesn’t give two shits and a holler about you (did you not question why masterbation is not an acceptable form of “expression” for the erotic show?) … and erotica involves the conscious decisions, the relationship, the sincerity, the interaction between two people, a supportive environment, an invitation to a dance.
This Xtream Fantasy Sex Show will be a sincere, safe and fun environment. It is your invitation to dance – you can decide yourself if you want to do the jitterbug, the waltz, or a jive (okay, showing my age.) It is up to you. The Fantasy Show will be providing you with a buffet, you can choose what to have yourself, and how daring you wish to be in the tastings. The question is, will you be brave? Or maybe your sex life is over. Maybe you have shut that part of you off – if so, not surprising you are somewhat unconscious – but wouldn’t it be amazing to grab hold of it again, or is that too much effort? The art will be in its own Art Gallery area as it is its own identity. By saying the gallery will be swallowed up by the items next to it is just a little absurd, don’t you think?
Natasha has said “Your relationship isn’t sleazy and neither is this show.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Next, let’s address the place of “your” art amongst other erotica items – such as lingerie, sweet smelling stuff, and yes, sex toys. The overall goal of the Fantasy Show is to have all aspects of the human sexual personality represented, whether it be shoe fetishes, costume fetishes, tantra yoga or BDSM. Each of these are valid and sincere representations and manifestations of someone’s sexual experience, and to deny these is no different than to deny gay/lesbianism. To deny that other facets of our human erotic psyche and physical being exists is to stick your head in the ground and suffocate. In my opinion. And since I really do like you, I’d like it if you came up for air once in a while.
Now realize I am not asking you to participate in any of these events, but they do exist and they are valid.
To deny these sexual expressions, is the same principle as denying that landscapes can be art, or that fruit can be interesting. By drawing a line saying one is, and one is not, is exclusionism, … If you catch yourself saying “I’m not going to show my work in that venue” maybe ask yourself “why” and give yourself an honest answer. If you are okay with being exclusionary, well, sorry I can’t help you there, but I would question whether your art is conscious… or not.