Naked and Nude

Be warned… this is one of those art things that people use to post naughty pictures on the internet.  Some of my conservative Christian friends will tell you that the local art museum is one of the most atrocious sources of pornography and images of naked people you can find.  It is a terrible thing.  People being exposed to what people look like if they take their clothes off!  How could I do such a dastardly thing as to draw people… naked?

Beauty and Beast

It is difficult to rationalize my terrible crimes.  I mean, the “Beauty and the Beast” picture is clearly the depiction of mental depravity and sex addiction from the mind of a fiend.  There could be no other explanation of it, right?  I mean, Beauty’s stark nakedness can’t possibly represent fearless innocence in the face of ugliness… or a compounding of meanings that have to do with the notion that true beauty exists also under the outward ugliness of the Beast.    After all, I am a cartoonist.  How dare I think that I have the same right to draw naked people as some great painter or long-dead artist?


It doesn’t count for anything that I had art training in college and sat through at least two courses in anatomy drawing where I not only drew skeletons and body parts and clothed people, but also sat down in front of live nude models (mostly fellow art students, but all were paid for modeling… I think I posted elsewhere about what happened when it was my turn to model… but I also think you have to search my posts yourself if you want to know more about that embarrassing episode).

I must also confess that I have had some experiences with naturists.  Here we are talking about those crazy hippie-inspired folks who go camping in the wilderness with their kids, take off all their clothes, and go hiking and biking and playing volleyball in front of real bears.  It was there that the artist in me first noticed there was a difference in anatomy, shape, color, and form between bare kids and bare adults.  There are distinct differences between my pictures of Eve and Artemis here, based solely on the fact that one is an adult and the other a child.


I am not trying to depict something evil and horrible that will strike you in the eyes and corrupt your very soul.  I am not a pornographer or a pervert when I create these drawings and share them with you.  They really represent only about one per cent of all the drawings in my portfolio.  They represent mainly my need to get the form and lighting right on the most fundamental level.  They are an attempt to share something about what is like to be human.  Being naked is a part of the life of everyone except the most monumental of prudes who don’t ever get naked and probably wear long underwear in the bathtub even in the summer.  Let me end with the first paragraph of Kenneth Clark’s 1956 book, The Nude; a study in ideal form.  

“The English language, with it’s elaborate generosity, distinguishes between the naked and the nude.  To be naked is to be deprived of our clothes, and the word implies some of the embarrassment most of us feel in that condition.  The word “nude” on the other hand, carries, in educated usage, no uncomfortable overtone.  The vague image it projects into the mind is not of a huddled and defenseless body, but of a balanced, prosperous, and confident body: the body re-formed.  In fact, the word was forced into our vocabulary by critics of the eighteenth century to persuade the artless islanders that, in countries where painting and sculpture were practiced and valued as they should be, the naked human body was the central object of art.”

So, you see?  I am not merely making excuses for posting naughty pictures on my blog.  At least, not unless all artists are making the same excuses and there is a vast world-wide conspiracy to put pornography in every art museum…  Conspiracy?  Wait a minute… let me think about that some more.

1 Comment

Filed under humor, nudes, Paffooney

One response to “Naked and Nude

  1. Pingback: Butts and Nolts | Catch a Falling Star

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