I see the prudes, nannies, and children. Where are the adults?

Some of my Flickr content has been moderated as unsafe. The images in question are figure drawings, a classical art form that, yes, draws the figure in the nude. I suppose I should be pleased to be able to so easily shock and offend, but mostly I’m disappointed, again, and not terribly surprised.

Sometimes figurative drawing is erotic, I admit. Although I think even the most erotic drawing is far less overtly so than today’s advertising. The Calvin Klein example is the visual equivalent of spelling “p*nis.” How coy, and silly.

Male model, 3 hour clay sketch

Male model, 3 hour clay sketch

Mostly drawings are an expression of the complex interaction of shapes, shades, musculature overlain with surface. Structure is sometimes overt, as with the clavicle or scapula, sometimes the iliac crest. Sometimes the structure more subtly influences the outward appearance of the form.

I know what the Flickr guidelines are getting at when they say:

Don’t forget the children.
Take the opportunity to filter your content responsibly. If you would hesitate to show your photos or videos to a child, your mum, or Uncle Bob, that means it needs to be filtered. So, ask yourself that question as you upload your content and moderate accordingly. If you don’t, it’s likely that one of two things will happen. Your account will be reviewed then either moderated or terminated by Flickr staff.

But it’s a false representation. It implies I should use my judgement, but clearly, someone else’s judgement takes precedence.  I wouldn’t hesitate to show the drawings to anyone–or I wouldn’t have uploaded them to Flickr. Especially me mum, who has several of my drawings and had the clay piece above until it disintegrated.

Mom took many art classes while I was growing up in the 60’s and 70’s. She didn’t take any measures to hide her many figure drawings from my brother and I. (And, no, she wasn’t a hippy, she voted for Nixon.) They seemed normal to me. Except maybe sometimes the foreshortening wasn’t too successful, but that’s always the hardest part. I grew up so normal I bore even myself. You’d have to ask my brother, but he had the normal teenage boy porn stashed under his bed, and grew up to have a normal life with 3 normal kids and 1 normal wife and 1 normal house in one normal subdivision–so he seemed to be unaffected. Me mum and I have even gone to figure drawing together. Indeed we’ve discussed the rather surprising places one might be pierced.

According to Flickr’s guidelines, Michaelangelo’s David would be moderated as unsafe. And  Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.

Sad. Depressing. Bleak.



  1. stephen939 said

    You said your mom took art classes in the 60s & 70s. Didn’t you do so as well (80s)? Nick Abdalla? Harry Nadler?

    Sorry if I’m mistaken

  2. Nancy said

    Hi, Steve,

    Yes, I did. This isn’t SPD, by any chance?

  3. stephen939 said

    Hi Nancy,

    SPD? That would be the Spokane Police Dept. (where I live).

    No …I was a classmate of yours back at UNM (Advanced Drawing with Nick and two others). I was of fan of your painting (particular those Timothy App inspired pieces) but could never bring myself to break into your studio and steal one.

    I used to occasionally bum a cig from you. <—-poignant memory

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