The future is bright

The Future is Bright by Christopher John Ball, Volume III

The Future is Bright, article by Christopher John Ball;

There is no reason—other than a wish to control sexuality and the expression of it—why erotic art cannot be afforded the same status and respect as that which is granted to any other genre. Yet those of us who create erotic art are seen as outsiders and transgressors, cast out into the shadows and kept abject, marginalized and condemned. Our motives as artists are challenged and often baseless accusations are laid at our door to such an extent that, were these applied to any other group, those that made them would be open to charges of bigotry.

Erotic art is judged like no other genre. It is cut no slack; no allowances are made for any transgression. This is unbearable for a genre that by definition must transgress. Erotica finds itself locked away, collected, prized, condemned, loved, loathed and—if we are to believe the religious fundamentalists—blamed for the breakdown of society.

Those that seek to condemn us are also attracted, however. Perhaps there is a sense of guilt or shame, that combined with the realization that the artist has dared to hold up a mirror to the accuser, forces an examination and confrontation with the critic’s own sexuality. As a result, they feel compelled to shut the door upon us. We all bring something of ourselves to the reading of an artwork—as does, of course, the artist. Perhaps there are those who need to question what it is that they bring to the dialogue, and why. The wounds inflicted by the swords of political correctness, prejudice, and intolerance, experienced by so many artists working within the erotic field, often force them to work under a pseudonym. If found out they risk termination from their employment or even a withdrawal of their funding. Just over ten years ago, Paul Woods and I co-founded The Association of Erotic Artists—the aim being to break down many of the prejudices that weigh heavily upon any artist who dares to create work within this particular genre. We can never be too complacent.

Often consumed behind closed doors, whilst hypocritically condemned in the open, the erotic arts can appear to have many more enemies than friends; but they do have a dear friend in Dr. Laura Henkel. As a champion for the erotic arts, Dr. Henkel has, over the years, done much to challenge those who attack the genre. She has also worked hard to promote artists and their work, affording them such opportunities as this annual juried exhibition,

12 Inches of Sin. 12 Inches of Sin is now in the enviable position having unquestionably earned its place within the erotic art world’s calendar. None of this would have been possible but for Dr. Henkel’s drive to innovate and create something unique. With this in mind, I have to say that it was a great honor to be asked, once more, to be both on the Selection Committee for this year’s competition and to write this introduction. It is a role that I take very seriously and one that carries a lot of responsibility, but it is one that is also great fun. I look forward to the next 12 Inches of Sin—by any measure, the future is bright, and the future is erotic!

~ Christopher John Ball, Co-founder of Association of Erotic Artists, London