I just finished 'Hepatic'. and prior to that a closeup of a small 1/4" crack in the pavement in front of my home. After my Facebook ban from Hendersonville NC Happenings, I began the search for another platform to replace it and found Nextdoor. The platform works well as it gives me a concentration of local people that I am looking for to react to my art and revive my naming program. But I am wondering how long is this going to last?
Although there are many people on Nextdoor who are supportive of my work, in the short time I've been there, some truly nasty ones have emerged. It seems like locally, there are quite a few people who just love tagging anything from an individual that has a click to a URL in a post as clickbait to be avoided. At the same time, local beer gardens, large retailers, pet groomers, local farms, banjo players, and just about anyone else who has a brick and mortar, main-stream establishment is welcomed with open arms with URLs to their websites. It appears that the label 'Clickbait', like 'Let's Go Brandon', is some sort of code for 'go away you commie mother-fucker subversive asshole'. Instead of labeling undesired posts as 'clickbait', I wish these people had the sense to object in a way that would start a conversation on a controversial topic instead of trying to dismiss ones they don't like by simply labeling something as 'clickbait'. At least that way there would be an opening for much needed dialog between different points of view. It is what America desperately needs right now.
It seems that some of the people complaining about my work do it just to be heard. For instance, the other day, I made an image of a 1/4" crack in the pavement, and almost immediately was chastised for making light of a dangerous situation in Hendersonville. Some people don't even, or can't even, see the context in which my art is made. Oh well, at least I'm getting a response!
Liker Hendersonville, NC Happenings, it appears that many participants in Nextdoor have a very limited view on what the platform is for. If something is just a little bit out of the ordinary, then it needs to be attacked to make the person contributing the content in question go away so that other users of the platform can feel comfortable in their narrowly contained environment. Pretty much the same as platforms like Newsmax and Truth Social. Hey Nextdoor - there was a suspicious raccoon in my back yard the other night.. Just wanted you to be aware. Or how about... I saw two cars on 64 and one flashed his lights at me....what's going on over there??? Now there is something worthy of extended discussion, for sure.
For those who do not have much of an art history, this is nothing new. When intolerant people gain control over our government, art is one of the first things to be scrutinized right after public aid to any member of a minority group. After all, art just has to be conveying a hidden message to the masses in little minds that want nothing but country music, beer, short haircuts, the American flag, and Jesus on Sunday in their lives.
Historically, countries like Portugal, Iran, North Korea, and Russia have all placed bans on any art deemed not to promote the messages art is supposed to convey in their minds. Don't think that would happen in America? Well think again. In the 1930's an endowment for the arts program was established to help artists through the depression. They produced many works that appeared in public places like the Cincinnati Airport and New York's LaGuardia Airport. Many of these images depicted people hard at work in their trades. By the time the late 50's and the McCarthy congressional hearings rolled around these works were deemed subversive and communist. A lot of the artwork from this era was then destroyed or covered up. Why? Pretty simple...during that era, Russia had a lot of art that promoted the 'worker's party' and a lot of the stuff artists were producing here in the US looked too much like Russian Art. So it had to go in the narrow minds of those who had gained control of the government because it was promoting communism.
Such nonsense was commonplace in America back in the 1950's when it came to art. I fear that people who want to go back to that era are going to target so much of our rich cultural diversity as being subversive that we are going to end up being just like countries such as Russia, Iran, North Korea, and colonial Portugal. A look at history predicts this has a high probability of happening.
I don't have anything against America being a strong country. It is a great place to live. But good grief, lets not give up everything that we have gained in the diverse tapestry of this country just so some people can feel happy and comfortable knowing that artistic posts on platforms like Nextdoor and Hendersonville NC Happenings don't stray past things like butterflies, the mountains, and depictions of the Madonna and Child while at the same time starving some minority child just because his mother is on welfare.
So wake up!!!! It doesn't mean you automatically have to become a woke, trans loving, gay, radical left commie. Just open up your eyes and think about what you are seeing for a change with a little openness and compassion for people, places, and things that are different from your experience.