I’m all about breaking social norms, within reason—meaning that just because I’m doing something that’s socially considered to be outside the norm, doesn’t mean I’m going to run around being overbearing and/or force-feeding my ideals down other’s throats.
I don’t break norms to make a scene, or to stand out, I do it because that’s what I naturally do for me, myself, and I. I’ve always lived my life this way. It makes things far less mundane, especially creatively. It makes my life fun in a way.
In my apartment, I own a shit ton of books—like art books, most of which are questionable. Eccentrically questionable. I kept these out of plain sight on purpose to avoid conversations I didn’t want to deal with. I do have people in my life where I know where they lie with certain views and I would rather not instigate a “problem”.
I love nude photography of the black-and-white sort, particularly of men. I actually have a decent number of art pieces in my apartment. Seriously, just go to Art.com and search for black and white male nude photography and chances are I own a few of the popular ones.
I have had some people go “Uh, why?” to which I ask “Well, you appreciate the female form, don’t you?” and they normally respond “Yes”, and then I just ask why appreciating the male form is any different.
It’s not. The conversation ends there.
I believe some artists can relate to the problem of going against the grain. We’re already our own worst critics, what more to add about wanting to be accepted—whether it’s our visions, our methods, our subject matters, or even just skill. It’s an ongoing struggle—less for some, more for others. We face these issues with our own head or others who may not support us.
Good riddance to the latter, right?
Fortunately, with the help (or no help) of the internet, anonymity has helped those who are a lot more self-conscious about their creative interests become a little more brazen and outward with it. However, this comes at the price of dealing with jerks who use the same anonymity to be relentlessly mean and judgmental. The same anonymity that is a general privilege.
Jerks, offline or online, are everywhere, sadly. Just like people deal with stress differently, people deal with jerks differently. Humans deal with human problems in human ways.
Not everyone is going to like what you do. All that matters is that you love what you do. If you do, it’ll show through your art and it will resonate with those who take notice. Creativity is an extension of oneself and you should never be ashamed of what you love and what you create—ever.
What fun would creating be if it was no longer because it made you happy? It’s a form of the art of self-care.
So, fudge what other people say and think. Fudge it!