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Thread: Nudity: What makes the difference bt porn and art for YOU? (Possible NSFW)

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    Default Nudity: What makes the difference bt porn and art for YOU? (Possible NSFW)

    Eh? I can't just accept that it's an "I know it when I see it" thing. Er, I can, actually... but still think this kind if info is potentially useful to me as an artist, whether I end up flouting it or not :-p

    In working on a collection of fine art nude paintings (some semi-covered, some totally nude), I've become curious about where different people draw that line. So... do tell.

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    Glorious Member mu4's Avatar
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    I know it when I see it.... ^_^;;;;;

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    It would depend on who is making the shots/editing/artwork and their intention in doing so. I define porn as something designed to arouse humans and stimulate their sexual imagination...

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    Check the pick tumblr links or whatever it is called that people post in their sigs. You're going to get artist in no time. Anyway, don't mean to offend my EII duals, who are artists and find it okay.

    By the way, what do you self type as currently - Beta?
    Last edited by Absurd; 04-30-2013 at 10:44 PM.

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    @HandiAce -- Thanks - I like that definition.

    @Absurd -- Are you talking to me? I don't know that I self-type at all these days. I've all but given up, heh.

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    Oh okay. I've been on a 'bash all quadras except of mine roll' lately. Don't mind me.

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    Easy: usually anything depicting an erect penis or something being inserted into a vagina is porn.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scapegrace View Post
    Easy: usually anything depicting an erect penis or something being inserted into a vagina is porn.
    Not really. The difference is the lighting.

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    A lot of my art will tend to have a bit of nudity. I just really appreciate the beauty of the human body. Occasionally, someone will look through my drawings and say something along the lines of " wow, you draw a lot of naked people..." as if to allude to the fact that its weird or that I'm some sort of pervert.

    As far as eroticism in art goes, there's a difference between straight up pornography and erotic art. I guess you'd have to use your own judgement for that one. I personally see a lot of artistic aspects in eroticism of itself, especially if there is a strong sense of emotion behind it. Not that I view pornography as art, as its mostly just intended to aid you in busting a nut.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HandiAce View Post
    I define porn as something designed to arouse humans and stimulate their sexual imagination...
    this.

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    Art seems to use aesthetic considerations in order to create the titillation. Whereas with porn you take the state of arousal and work backwards around that.

    There's a huge cross over - and much art IS meant to be sexually charged. The process is just inverted (usually- depending on concept). Maybe. I'm tired and can't articulate this well.

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    I get paid 15$/hr to sit and pose and not move for a few hours (and nap) for an art class, not to get things inserted inside me, either by myself or anyone else. And I don't spread out my sex organs for all to ogle. There's a difference for you.

    Maybe I should go into porn though; I was described as being very frank about my nudity. But then, I think that if you're in a situation like that, you're either all in or not at all. There isn't really room for shame or embarrassment when you're naked center-stage with a bunch of people drawing you in weird positions.

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    I happen to think of most porn as art.

    I think the major difference is between obscenity and art.

    There are some porn that is obscenity, like snuff/bestiality/pedophilia, but most of these involve abuse, gross abuse and depravity of a individual or animal and various illegal and malicious things.

    This line has some murky areas too generally based in religion, traditions and cultural values.

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    Think of Kate Middleton and Kim Kardashian as two calibrated opposites. If you can easily imagine Kim Kardashian doing it (on purpose) but not Kate Middleton, it's probably porn.
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    It's a difficult line, I agree with hkkmr in the obscenity versus art.

    But to expand further in my own way
    I think the goal or intent of pornography is its explicit and is there solely for sexual gratification of the user
    I think the goal of erotic art however is to express sexuality which can have an impression and is not always explicit

    This of course has overlapping because erotic art may intend to express something about human sexuality but function as an aid for sexual gratification, while pornography may intend to be used as an explicit aid for sexual gratification but actually invoke an impression in the viewer and actually function as a tool towards the expression of human sexuality.

    The real line is drawn as a subjective agreement of the individual and society, certain types of sexual media are considered by the vast majority of society to be obscene and there solely for sexual gratification, while the vast majority of society sees other sexual media as less focused on sexual gratification and more focused on the expression of human sexuality. While certain stuff like a picture of a nude woman sketched is usually considered art on one extreme spectrum and hardcore throat fucking porn dvds considered pornography at the other, inevitably there is always going to be a hazy boundary that has to be crossed where society is fractured. Further there are always going to be individuals as outliers that see the most extreme pornography as art and even the most classy rendition of a nude woman sketched as smutty pornography.

    The division itself is a mute point as it is what it is, but the label matters only in the social context of the situation. Pornography is usually regarded as a tool used for a person's entertainment or sexual gratification, its explicit, and obscene, but usually not smutty. Erotic art is usually regarded as something which expresses sexuality and make evoke feelings in the viewer but is not intended for sexual gratification or at least in an explicit sense. Smut is usually regarded as a more gritty form of pornography in which the sexual gratification is derived from something especially taboo, disgusting, forbidden. Not all "smut" may actually involve abuse or malicious intent, as it may be a consensual act in which actors depict something taboo. It can even be argued that smut is in fact a sort of art in order to challenge taboos. Ultimately its a difficult determination as an absolute law with fixed rules.

    Not to further mess with your minds but consent is a shady issue as someone who is especially traumatized or abused may feign consent so as not to upset their abuser, something like stockholm syndrome. Society then may claim they need to determine the correct course of action in place of the individual, but then one could always argue that society itself is just another abuser trying to brainwash the individual towards their own end.

    This is why I say ultimately its a subjective relationship between the individual and society. Not all societys or factions or subfactions or individuals may regard this all the same way, and an individual themselves can be conflicted as to where that hardline is drawn.

    Usually for me I regard something explicit to the point of leaving little to ponderance or the imagination pornography, I regard anything which makes me feel sick as smut, anything which makes me seriously question the welfare of the participants as malicious smut, and anything which leaves a little to the imagination and doesn't explicitly show sex acts as erotic art.

    Generally I deal mostly with what I consider to be at the boundary of erotic art and pornography, I usually avoid things I feel smutty as I don't think its good for me to travel into that realm, and I will sometimes push more into the erotic art side when I feel like I need to use my imagination more and feel desensitized by overly explicit things. Also I tend to be more liberal about sexuality than the typical American Conservative or Christian, but don't feel like my interests in sexuality push the line compared to the typical American Liberal. I generally view erotic art as useful in the process of understanding human sexuality at a deeper level and in helping stoke creativity and libidinal energies, and generally regard any participants with respect. I generally view pornography as a tool to relieve excess sexual tension and don't value it more than actual relationships with people or things which I consider art. When I encounter smut, I usually head in the opposite direction but view the experience as a darker exploration of taboos -- I also look at filming executions as another form of smut, this acting on the death side of the id, rather than the life side of the id.

    That's just me, like I said its mindfuckingly complex and usually I don't like to think about it too much because my head will start to spin out of confusion.

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    A good part of it has to do with the conveyed intentions and motivations of the people portrayed. A lot of times porn actors and models are just that: actors. A majority of the time, bad ones. They over-exaggerate their facial expressions, show themselves off to a large degree, and ultimately are aware that there's an audience watching that they're obligated to impress somehow. I find that more "artistic" depictions of nudity demonstrate little to no awareness of anything towards the artist's perspective, and if they do their expressions and poses don't represent overt sexual allure. Say someone draws a naked figure: if you can imagine the person fully clothed, in the same pose and with the same facial expression, and still infer sexual desire from it, then it'll likely be more pornographic than not. By this metric, I'd be hard pressed to find someone (from this generation) who would Michelangelo's David or Botticelli's Birth of Venus explicitly pornographic, since their nudity is more or less incidental.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Galen View Post
    A good part of it has to do with the conveyed intentions and motivations of the people portrayed.
    I agree in terms of the relationship between the observer and observed.

    What makes the porn industry the porn industry and not an art house is because the actress is fucking in front of the camera for the sole purpose of getting you off and the man behind the scenes is turning out products to get you off in exchange for money and the person watching it is paying out cash to get off.

    However one interesting area of consideration is when the observer and observed don't agree... you can have the person who regards pornography as masterworks of art while the people producing it are just turning it out for profit to get people off, likewise you can have the artist producing what they consider a masterwork of art while the audience is just gobbling it up to get off but regards it will little more respect than something to stimulate themselves.

    I for example regardless of how much of an artist Justin Bieber thinks himself to be, I have troubling seeing his music as anything more than soft pornography that is niche marketed to preteen girls by marketing geniuses. However I'd guess there are some people that will unto their deathbeds regard stuff like that as there personal holy grail -- its just not for me though. In reality social trends fluctuate (justin bieber will be overtaken by the next fad) and its very rare an artist will actually survive the sands of time but it happens, and even then I'm sure there are tons of great works and people lost to time.

    I think overtime though if any type of utopia is ever possible and there is any meaning to life at a grand scheme what so ever, then this would look like things approaching more towards a social census by both the observer and observed on things being regarded as art and less on "pornography". Then again maybe its all just lies and everything anyone regards with respect and considers "art" and places on a pedestal as a pillar of culture and expression of something higher is just "pornography". The point though I personally feel is entirely irrelevant as people are both observers and participants so life is what you make it-- I'd personally in my own sphere of control or will rather make art than pornography.
    Last edited by male; 05-01-2013 at 06:15 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FoxOnStilts View Post
    I get paid 15$/hr to sit and pose and not move for a few hours (and nap) for an art class, not to get things inserted inside me, either by myself or anyone else. And I don't spread out my sex organs for all to ogle. There's a difference for you.

    Maybe I should go into porn though; I was described as being very frank about my nudity. But then, I think that if you're in a situation like that, you're either all in or not at all. There isn't really room for shame or embarrassment when you're naked center-stage with a bunch of people drawing you in weird positions.
    I've always wanted to do this (pose for art). Not because I'm an exhibitionist, but just to say that I had the balls to do it. To break that inner sense of self perceived shame.
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    The orgasm as art. It's really great I think!

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    Thank you, everyone, for your responses! It's been really interesting to read through these.
    @FoxOnStilts That is really cool -- I would love to do that sometime. Like @Fireyed, not as an exhibitionist, but just because I think it would be a really interesting experience, and just one more way to be involved with creating art.

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    There's no line between those two. Meditate on pornographic art or artistic porn and the conceptual line between those two.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FoxOnStilts View Post
    I get paid 15$/hr to sit and pose and not move for a few hours (and nap) for an art class, not to get things inserted inside me, either by myself or anyone else. And I don't spread out my sex organs for all to ogle. There's a difference for you.

    Maybe I should go into porn though; I was described as being very frank about my nudity. But then, I think that if you're in a situation like that, you're either all in or not at all. There isn't really room for shame or embarrassment when you're naked center-stage with a bunch of people drawing you in weird positions.
    It's also interesting how it is bound to the context. As soon as there is a break the model usually wraps himself/herself in a coat or something. Kind of like dancing. You can be intensely close to someone when dancing Bachata, but when the dance is over the context changes.

    I think some porn stars are ILE. Tanner Mayes is possibly one.

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    If it's made with the sole purpose of being jerked off to, it's porn.

    Quote Originally Posted by squirreltual View Post
    Art seems to use aesthetic considerations in order to create the titillation. Whereas with porn you take the state of arousal and work backwards around that.

    There's a huge cross over - and much art IS meant to be sexually charged. The process is just inverted (usually- depending on concept). Maybe. I'm tired and can't articulate this well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nowisthetime View Post
    It's also interesting how it is bound to the context. As soon as there is a break the model usually wraps himself/herself in a coat or something. Kind of like dancing. You can be intensely close to someone when dancing Bachata, but when the dance is over the context changes.
    Yes, I have a robe after I start moving around, and they have a changing room where you change into/out of the robe. It is very interesting, though.

    Also, the professor asked if I was avaliable next semester, so I guess my "frankness" was a good thing. It was probably just because they were freshmen who have never worked with a nude model before. Crisis averted! I definitely got a little neurotic trying to decide if it was good or bad. >>

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    Quote Originally Posted by FoxOnStilts View Post
    Yes, I have a robe after I start moving around, and they have a changing room where you change into/out of the robe. It is very interesting, though.

    Also, the professor asked if I was avaliable next semester, so I guess my "frankness" was a good thing. It was probably just because they were freshmen who have never worked with a nude model before. Crisis averted! I definitely got a little neurotic trying to decide if it was good or bad. >>
    I agree also that there isn't much room for embarassement in that situation. I've attended these nude drawing courses sometimes, and the model just becomes an object or shape, because one has to concentrate so much on the task. It doesn't feel sexual, even if the model happens to be good looking. People can also comment on how the model looks, and give compliments to the model, but it's not the sexual kind of compliment, more about the structure/shape of the body, pleasing lines etc. I can imagine though, that these kind of sessions can trigger sexual feelings also, maybe actually because of this precise switching of outlook between shape and real person.

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    I would say, "if it turns you on, it's porn", but, then a girl walking around in shorts might be porn to some people. According to definition, it does seem to do with intent. So, if a girl walks around naked with no intention of causing sexual excitement, that's not porn. Art that is created without intent to cause sexual excitement would not be porn. However, who's to say the artist is telling the truth. "Oh, it's just art!"

    So, in the instance of trying to determine "what is porn and what is art?", there really is no way to obtain a 100% true answer, unless you are the one creating the art or porn.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vois View Post
    It's all art, but stereotypical "mainstream" porn is especially shitty art.
    I think this is a position I can also take. Just because it's art doesn't mean it's artistically valuable. In the end, art is a communication between the artist and the viewer, and the effectiveness of that communication is how I rate artistic merit. Therefore, if you feel that the creator of this pornography was trying to tell you something and you understand it, then it is art.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fireyed View Post
    I've always wanted to do this (pose for art). Not because I'm an exhibitionist, but just to say that I had the balls to do it. To break that inner sense of self perceived shame.
    Do it, don't you have a lot of pictures of models and stuff? Maybe you should get into that if you enjoy that sort of thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vois View Post
    It's all art, but stereotypical "mainstream" porn is especially shitty art.
    Yea this is what I think as well, at certain level art becomes so shitty that it's essentially just porn. I guess though since "shitty" is subjective everyone will have there own criteria though so its still a little annoying. But as for me I'm not going to consider MILFS Like it Big No. 25 as anything on the same level as a Kubrick Film, but some people may *shrug*.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jet city woman View Post
    I would say, "if it turns you on, it's porn", but, then a girl walking around in shorts might be porn to some people. According to definition, it does seem to do with intent. So, if a girl walks around naked with no intention of causing sexual excitement, that's not porn. Art that is created without intent to cause sexual excitement would not be porn. However, who's to say the artist is telling the truth. "Oh, it's just art!"
    I've found lots of art to be intentionally sexually exciting without it being classified as porn. When people ask whether, say, Game of Thrones is art or porn, I'm inclined to say that the question shouldn't have an "or" since they are not mutually exclusive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Man From Nantucket View Post
    Yea this is what I think as well, at certain level art becomes so shitty that it's essentially just porn. I guess though since "shitty" is subjective everyone will have there own criteria though so its still a little annoying. But as for me I'm not going to consider MILFS Like it Big No. 25 as anything on the same level as a Kubrick Film, but some people may *shrug*.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquagraph View Post
    I've found lots of art to be intentionally sexually exciting without it being classified as porn. When people ask whether, say, Game of Thrones is art or porn, I'm inclined to say that the question shouldn't have an "or" since they are not mutually exclusive.
    You could certainly use a different definition for porn (some of the more obscure definitions might fit your ideas, in the case that you aren't taking into account intent). In this instance, I used the mirriam-webster definition, which includes intent. In the case of your first sentence, art doesn't have to be classified as porn to include pornography, or for me to label it "porn" or "possible porn". In this case, I would label it "possible porn" or assume "porn", depending, not to say that would classify it as "porn", or not.

    I prefer to see it on a technical basis, as much as possible. "Is it created with intent, or is it not?" This defines porn for me. The quality of the work does not define pornography for me, any more than the quality of the work defines "horror film". If it was created with intent to cause sexual excitement, then it's porn. With some porn being created using artistic methods and obviously created to be appealing to the senses and aesthetically attractive, it could be a form of art. So, a work can be both art and porn, from a more subjective outlook. In fact, according to definition, porn could also be art most or all of the time, if that's the way a person wanted to see it. There are blurry lines.

    In the case of art being created with intent to be sexually exciting, if I know for a fact that it was created with the intention of causing sexual excitement, then I would label it as porn (and maybe art, depending). (In some cases, a flick could be created mostly with other intent, but with a few porn scenes included which I would consider "light porn". This isn't really classified as a porn flick to me.)

    In the case of my previous post, that more had to do with "what do I label porn, and what don't I (art instead, or neither). What is porn? Where is the line between art and porn and what is the difference between them, which is the question the OP referred to. Some directors label their possible-porn "art" in order to appeal to a certain segment, while saying that their movies aren't porn.... and I seriously doubt it. When the definition has to do with obtaining a true answer from the artist or director, there is no 100% trustworthy answer as to whether it's porn or not in some cases, and they are denying intent and/or using different definitions, and that was my original point. So, "is it "art", or is it porn (or neither, or both)?" in that case...... I don't know for sure, but if I had to guess, it would be porn and possibly art, depending on the subjective view of the on-looker. (In my case, I would say it's probably- porn in these instances, and it's not artistic to me... I wouldn't actually label cookie-cutters as "art", nor would I label biting into an apple "art". This paragraph describes why I used the "or", within context, from my previous post). And, I think many times that people are assuming it was created to be intentionally sexually exciting (with reason).

    I really don't have a strong opinion on the matter, but I do find it irritating when these directors disclaim "porn" and claim "art", when it seems that "porn" is true, and this seems to be a theme in the adult industry. (And, my point also was that you could and can get away with calling it art and not porn, when your true intention is to cause sexual excitement.)
    Last edited by jet city woman; 05-06-2013 at 06:36 AM. Reason: I usually edit multiple times, so get used to it.

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    There is a much better, more practical definition for porn:

    Anything that if hospitalized, you'd be concerned of anyone discovering in your computer's history is porn.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vois View Post
    That's not what I meant. Art doesn't become porn when it's shitty. It's just that the average porno happens to be shitty art (which I think explains why people imagine a gap between that particular medium and art in general), just like the average piece of any other visual art is usually pretty shitty. There's lots of porn out there that is and should be considered good, as an art form.
    Well I don't see the difference in what I said and you said, but ok.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JWC3 View Post
    Whoa whoa whoa, let's not bring MILFS Like it Big No. 25 into this.
    My new persona is "The Man from Nantucket", I can't exactly do justice to that being polite and proper now can I?

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    Beauty is in the eye the beholder, so is art it seems.
    Last edited by Absurd; 05-05-2013 at 09:33 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vois View Post
    what you said: "at certain level art becomes so shitty that it's essentially just porn"
    is not the same as
    what I insinuated: "porn is a kind of art"

    The only reason I mentioned shitty porn was to explain why it comes off to some as not being art. What you said is quite different.
    Yea I understand that but I don't think what I said is logically incompatible. If you consider porn is a kind of art, and most porn is shitty art, then by analogy someone could say that really shitty art in another sphere of reference is essentially just "porn". And whatever line exists that distinguishes the "shitty art porn" from the "fine art porn" may exist for other types of art.

    I think it fits because porn is usually erotic and entertains people but at some deeper and subtler level (imo) its very hallow and empty. It's shallow. I think you could extend the lessons from this debate to other areas of art in general. Certain things are simply entertainment and gets people excited, but its shallow and empty on a deeper level. While other stuff may be subtler and impact people on a deeper level. Unfortunately this line is probably subjective.

    Anyways yes I know this is not exactly what you said, but I don't see how its incompatible logically with what you said. If porn is a kind of art, and it can be shitty or good, then other stuff that is art may also share this property of being shitty or good, in fact its easy to observe this with say music, people argue all the time over pop music being shallow versus fine art music or which modern musician is intelligent or soulful or what is actually art and what is just crap turned out by marketing executive to make profit on clueless consumers with bad taste.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Man From Nantucket View Post
    I think it fits because porn is usually erotic and entertains people but at some deeper and subtler level (imo) its very hallow and empty. It's shallow. I think you could extend the lessons from this debate to other areas of art in general. Certain things are simply entertainment and gets people excited, but its shallow and empty on a deeper level. While other stuff may be subtler and impact people on a deeper level. Unfortunately this line is probably subjective.
    Everything you said is subjective, you're talking about art in the first place and offering your(?) fine judgment on matters art. Porn is autoeroticism and the intent of a pornographic film is to show sex, most of it being camera work of course.

    There is a film, a torture porn film, and the director of it received numerous death threats after its screening, and well some people from some organisation actually killed him.

    Thing is, art gets political like most things (it represents your beliefs and so on) and it all depends on which side you're on and how far are you willing to go. People take sides, this forum is no different, even by not choosing a side you choose one.

    As for the aesthetics art comes with, like I said before, beauty is the eye of the beholder and I have always found it hilarious seeing people who produce art to flip and defend it tooth and claw, leveling the infidels with rhetoric whilst the infidels do the same to one true believers (infidels).
    Last edited by Absurd; 05-05-2013 at 10:23 PM.

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