Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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04/19/2006: "The naked truth"

I'm re-writing my post today because: A. it was boring and B. I just read something over on Daniel North's blog that touched a nerve. The United States is such a strange mix of the insanely religious and prudish on one side, and rampant commercialism that uses sex to sell absolutely everything on the other.

Last week I sent Rob Roys (owner of the gallery I'll show at in May) a link to the article Postal Clerk Rejects Nude because he's going to use multiple images for the invites and I was worried about using the majority of my images because of the dreaded nipple-factor. Why is it a woman's nipples are so much more offensive than a man's? OH! that gives me an idea for a series...what do you think about this: paintings of gender neutral humans (leaning slightly towards the feminine) topless but wearing jeans...if they are perceived as male, no problem...oh, and shown next to paintings of large men with matronly breasts?

Anyway, this only matters because if you paint nudes there are places that will not show your work; I always make sure to send the "least offensive" of my images to the newspaper, such as from behind and with zero butt crackage or else it won't be published. What I find so frustrating is that partial nudity capitalized in TV and ad campaigns is far more sexually charged than the nudity seen in the vast majority of paintings out there. What gives?

On a different note, and Hollyís post today is about an art history writing assignment she gave her class that involved selecting and critiquing groups of art work as though they were curators, and one of the pieces she used as an example was mine! Apparently I fared better than Picasso (I didnít like his work when I was young either), how cool is that? Almosts makes being a failed artist bearable.

douglas-island-pump-house (26k image)

Replies: 13 Comments

on Wednesday, April 19th, marja-leena said

Yeah, I read Daniel's post earlier and shook my head and reacted just as you did. This from the country that has the biggest porn industry! And do not call yourself a failed artist, Elise! I like the term "struggling" myself.

on Wednesday, April 19th, Elise said

yes, struggling sounds much nicer doesn't it?...and I think all artists must struggle, even those making the big bucks.

on Wednesday, April 19th, Brian said

Elise, enough with the self-deprecation already! Nothing about you, art or otherwise, can be described as a failure.

on Wednesday, April 19th, Elise said

I know where you're coming from Brian, and I'm not really looking at it from the sense of "how much have I grown and developed as an artist" because in that regard I would consider myself incredibly successful...but I was thinking more in economic terms...and if you knew three things that only my tax accountant knows, you would understand where I'm coming from:

1. How much I spent on my art materials and related expenses.

2. The number of hours I actually worked (in the studio and in my art office).

3. How much money I made in sales.

if you looked at it that way you'd see why I sometimes feel the way I do. Of course, the fact that I feel like my work is improving makes me more ok with the fact that I am actually further away from realizing my dream of being a full-time artist than I was two years ago.

on Wednesday, April 19th, Brian said

Okay, I now see what you're saying Elise. I made the comment I did because I don't judge success and happiness monetarily. If I did, I wouldn't be working in state government or living here in Juneau.

So, when I read that you called yourself a failure, it didn't make any sense to me whatsoever because from outward appearances, you have no reason to apply the "f word" to any aspect of your life. Then again, it's tax season, so I can also understand how the role your art plays in your financial situation might be at the forefront of your thoughts.

on Wednesday, April 19th, Onahon said

Of course you're not a loser, but I can relate to the feeling. Today a woman came to the school for a career day thing and talked about how she makes 250,000 a year as a realtor. I felt like a sucker. Oh, did I mention that she is very happy?

on Wednesday, April 19th, Elise said

Oh, btw Brian, that email the other day that you sent me was hilarious, I had a big laugh so thanks! and I also appreciate that you don't think I'm a failure, I just have some very specific financial goals I've been working on and I seem to be losing ground but that is only a small bit of the big picture...oh, and you don't make the big bucks working in state gov?
And Onahon!!!! Hello! just let me say I LOVE YOU (in case I don't say that enough)...what you do is really important and yes, hearing about people with 6 figure incomes can be discouraging but who wants to sell real estate for a living when you can slave away molding the minds of thankless hooligans? JOKING!
but have to admit that's how I feel sometimes too...

on Wednesday, April 19th, holly said

Despite the fact that they loved your painting, I would still like the majority of my students to be eaten by sharks over the summer. :D

on Wednesday, April 19th, Elise said

Now, won't you feel guilty if one of them really does get eaten by sharks?

On second thought... :confused:

on Wednesday, April 19th, holly said

Hey, shark's gotta eat, too!

There was a lawn sculpture place around here (you know the concrete statues of gnomes and turtles and Elvis) a couple years ago that had to remove all of its Venus di Milo statues from public view because the boobs were found to be inappropriate for certain people to see. This is what it's come to here. Concrete boobs matter more than creating real penalties for domestic abusers or helping laid-off factory workers find work. :doze:

on Wednesday, April 19th, Elise said

I know, some laws are so stupid and others that really physically protect people, are barely inforced.

A new law that would recriminalize pot in Alaska failed at the state house level today...they tried to tie it to an anti-meth bill, cuz everyone knows that pot and meth are practically the same thing!

on Sunday, April 23rd, berry bowman connell said

OK, Two things.
#1 Postal clerks are king of only their little islands.
There was a postal "moron" who once told me that I HAD to have the state and city written on the envelope, but, I LIKE only putting the street and zip code (which is the state and city) and for a while I believed him. Then, on a whim and a hunch, I went to a different town, wrote some postcards and sent them out with only name, street address and zip code, and they all got sent and went where they were supposed to go.
Asking later about the incident, another clerk told me that each clerk kinda makes their own rules as to how they interpret them.

#2 Gosh, if ya wantna paint nippleless pictures, I reckon the model'll be cheaper for ya. All ya need is a Barbie doll (which I've thought about using for some time, but, due to the limitations of movement, haven't)

on Sunday, April 23rd, Elise said

Yah Berry, I think there are a bunch of regulations but not everyone follows them. For example, I make postcards a certain size and a few times I've been told they are too small...arrrrgh.

And as for #2, who said I want to paint nippleless pictures? Because I surely don't...and you know what they say about Barbie's proportions, if she was a real person she wouldn't be able to stand up!