get naked or leave: part III

She is a Lighthouse • Mixed media • 12in x 24in • Carly Swenson • 2016

The female form beautiful.  I know the male form has its own beauty, but personally, I’m more drawn to the softer, graceful aesthetic of the female body.

Art and nudity.  It feels impossible to define a concrete distinction between the artistic and the pornographic.  That debate is for some other humans at some other time. I’m not attempting to define that fine line–even on my own terms or regarding my own work.  The line between the artistic and vulgar when depicting the naked human form lies in extensive shades of grey.

If a particular form of art is not pleasing to you (or if you don’t consider it art) then don’t waste your time or energy viewing it.  That feels simple? There is plenty of art I don’t like, and that’s okay.

I won’t waste my time trying to argue the complete absurdity of a conservative belief that all nudity equals pornography. (I have actually met people who believe that?)  I know I won’t change their minds, and they certainly won’t change mine. Because that concept is, well, ridiculous.


Commerce without Morality I, 2010
Commerce without Morality I • Mixed media on canvas • 24in x 24in • Carly Swenson • 2010
There comes a point in every relationship that one has to make a conscious decision if it is worth the effort and act accordingly. • 12.5in x 9.5in • Carly Swenson • 2008

The nude human form has been depicted since the creation of artistic imagery.  I simply don’t understand the need to scandalize nudity based solely on its own existence. Should the Louvre institute an 18 or older section dedicated to all images with nudity—since the naked body in paintings and sculpture is obviously inappropriate for all those aged 17 and younger? What about architecture and public sculpture?  Should we remove the genitals of all nude sculpture within public view? (Like the lovely misleadingly anatomically incorrect Ken doll forms from my childhood, and probably current childhoods?  I think Ken is still a thing.  Barbie is still a thing, so Ken is probably still a thing.)

Beside the Window (detail image) • Mixed media • Carly Swenson • 2016

I suppose my point is, I love the human form.  I love the aesthetic beauty of the naked body.

I’m not going to be ashamed of that appreciation. Humans are beautiful in their perfections and imperfections—it’s incredible how one basic form can be mechanical, strong, sensual, awkward, idyllic, and fragile.

I try to embrace that—its definition, literal and metaphorical, both in my art and my life.

11 Replies to “get naked or leave: part III”

  1. Your little photo of you is awesome. Being part b/w and part colour, part flesh colour, part b/w flesh – and the downward angle. It’s just great.

    As for your blog, I really enjoyed it. And the art is just beautiful. Lovely.


    1. Thank you so much. Andi is a very talented photographer and it was so kind of him to let me digitally play with his images of me. Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I really appreciate it.


  2. Well I’m sure I don’t have to say this but … for the record, I agree, except where getting nude or naked – or anything – is used to harm and exploit the vulnerable. I think that is at the heart of most reasonable objections. So I aint leaving, but I’ll keep my clothes on for the moment on account of the weather!

    I liked your Paris blog by the way and the photo was exquisite.



    1. Of course, you are completely correct. I agree with you 100%. It is tricky when writing posts I have found, though– to sort of account for every possible variable that people may think of/or interpret when they read my blog. If that makes sense? And of course–you are more than welcome to stay, fully clothed–enjoy.:)


  3. As an artist, and as a person viewing art I have to say I too really appreciate the naked human form, there is something strong in the vulnerabillity of the nakedness, if that makes sense? It is something so much more than just being naked, and not just to attract sexually or otherwise. I once read this lovely quote about an artists business: “It is his business to find essences in surfaces, and what more attractive and challenging surface than the skin around a soul?” Richard Corliss. Which is so right, the only thing wrong with it, it presumes the artist is a he!


  4. The human mind and body is the ultimate creation, and some are amazing to look at and admire ( mine not being one of those), but some are to be admired, where others need to just cover up! LOL


    1. Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I do think the ideal human form can certainly be admired–but I think there is also an aesthetic beauty and interest in our imperfections as well.


  5. I am basically a dirty old man, coming here to see your artwork just because of the word naked… But you make me blush as much with pleasure as with shame. There is something deeply poetic about being human and being naked. I like your take on the aesthetics of it. Of course I never went through with the posing nude for $10 dollars thing in college as an art student. If I had done that, and somebody had drawn me accurately, there would have been a lot more blind alumni coming out of Iowa State University in the 1970’s.


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