I’m not an artist, but I play one on TV…


So here it is. “Obscenity”.

This is the entry that was selected to be in the 2011 Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show, which kicks off in just a few hours at the SoFA Gallery at Indiana University. The exhibit runs May 20-July 30.

On the morning of such a great achievement, prestigious event or whatever you want to call it, I’m forced to sit back and wonder, am I an artist? Why did I do this piece? Was it for adoration? Was it for money? (The answer there is a resounding no) I guess I wanted to do it just to see if it could be done. Certainly it brings into question what it is that I’m trying to accomplish with PopLifePhotography.

Guess my attitude is like that of Don Davis, legendary gun shop owner who famously says, “I don’t want to make money, folks, I just LOVE to sell guns.”

I do love photography. I love creating images, but I as I formally enter the so-called art world, I find it funny just how little I think I would fit into the art world. I mean in my off time, I play video games, not sit in coffee shops. I may subscribe to V magazine, but they sit on my coffee table next to an autographed baseball.

HipstersI suppose that when it comes down to it, an artist can be anyone, do anything. At the end of the day, it’s about what you produce, not the pretentiousness that comes along with it. I don’t suppose you have to dress like a hipster in order to be regarded as an artist.

Having said that, I have to admit that I find myself nervous about going to the reception tonight. I’m entering a world that I’ve ever been out on the periphery of. How does one act? I mean I’ve seen plenty of gallery opening in the pages of Vogue or some other fashion or culture mag. But those were big time to dos replete with rock stars and actors.

Now to be sure, the Kinsey show isn’t small potatoes, but I think it caters to a slightly different crowd.  For those of you unfamiliar with the world-famous Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University, they have worked tirelessly in advancing sexual health and knowledge everywhere. As part of that endeavor, the Institute started the Juried Art Show. From the Web site:

The Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show premiered in 2006 at the Kinsey Institute Gallery. For the first two years, the emphasis was on erotic art, but beginning in 2008, the parameters of the competition were expanded to include artworks addressing gender issues, sexuality, reproduction, sexual politics, romantic relationships, and the human figure.

Ever since the first show, I had talked up sending in a print for competition, and every year I completely Keep Calm and Carry Onspaced out and didn’t go for it. Looking at the galleries for each year, I never thought I had a reasonable chance; thinking back on it, I don’t think I really had anything to offer, much less have something that would be worthy of competing. This year, however, I was determined to make it happen.

Only problem was, I didn’t have anything ready.

Once I decided to actually enter, the biggest obstacle I faced was to actually have something worth showing. I needed to come up with more than just a photo, I needed to do what people in art are always supposed to do, make a statement. What a pretentious way to approach such a thing, but what do I know? I’m just a guy who likes to take pictures of boobs and play video games.

Funny thing was, it was while I was playing a video game that it hit me.  I realized I could just create something from existing photos. I had planned on doing some fresh photo shoot, in the hopes that I could get that special image and then from there, voila! Art.

With a day job and general laziness, I knew that any shoot I would throw together would be haphazard at best, so I went into my archives. What could I use as a blank canvas to design on/over? I realized I had an entire folder of photos of London Andrews that I could use, so why not use some? I began pouring over the folder until I saw something that stuck out to me. And then the final concept hit me: Why not create a pop art image? Maybe something that I’d like to see on a t-shirt or something. And from that, “Obscenity” was born.

The concept for the piece came from the idea that the nude image is natural, but when slapped with a label such as obscene, whether it is or not, the way in which the viewer looks at it changes. Yeah…that’s the ticket. It looked good in my mind, so all I had to do was make it a reality. After a few minutes with Photoshop, I had the image you see above. Being a guy with a background in Marketing, I decided to test the image with friends, co-workers (yeah, I know) and acquaintances. Feedback was pretty positive, and so I decided to run with it.

That’s right, I created a work of art through focus groups and Photoshop. And it was selected by a panel jury for inclusion in an Art Show.

Of course I feel like a bit of a swindler. But am I? I mean it exists, so it has to be art, right? Wow…I’m becoming one of them. Oh well, I’m just honored to be a part of the whole deal. Friends, both long-lost and recent are coming to the SoFA Gallery to see me in my moment, and part of me just wants to see who’ll show up. This convenient con I’ve created has actually paid off, and yes, I know it’s not really a con, but it certainly feels like it.

Which kind of makes it a little exciting.

Upon further thought, I realize that I’m not the first of my kind, not really. No, I’m Mr. Brainwash (well, outside of the fact that none of this was created by Banksy, but you get my point…or at least I hope you do.) or maybe just a good old fashioned anti-artist.

Wish me luck. Pictures and other foolishness from the event next week. Have a great weekend, and again, thanks to everyone whose visits have made the first week on this blog a successful one.


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