What is the Powder Room?
What is the Powder Room?
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Artist's Forum, episode 1: Muses, Vulnerability, and Consent

Illustration for article titled Artists Forum, episode 1: Muses, Vulnerability, and Consent

(artist: Amy Guidry)

Hello, all! I'd like to host a regular forum here for all the artists on Groupthink, Powder Room, etc. Right now I'm not sure how often to host it, but I was thinking bi-monthly. Please let me know in the comments if you'd be interested in having it more/less often. In the future you can submit topics/pieces to me at korra.jezebel@google.com and I will post them here. I'm doing this so you can either have me post your real name or your screenname or nothing at all. This way you can brag/ask what you'd like while keeping your e-privacy intact! To be clear: I will NEVER share any identifying information without your consent, and you can create an anonymous email account to contact me if you wish. Now that that's out of the way, let's dive in!


So I met a poet the other day at work. He was doing a very interesting project where you give him a dollar and he writes you a poem, so I gave him a dollar and we chatted and the next week I met with him at a bar. I made it clear at this bar that I was only there for friendship and tried to steer the conversation towards friendlier waters but he kept bringing everything back to sex. Sunday he sent me the poem - about this older artist imagining fucking this younger artist- and I felt embarrassed, exposed, and angry. I FB messaged him that while I'd never want to stifle his work I'd rather he not put my name next to it (he publishes all his poems to his blog) and he said ok but he didn't seem to understand why I was upset.

Of course artists often use real-life situations to inform and inspire them, and I'm sure everyone's seen some or other movie plot about a writer who returns home only to have everyone hate him/her because of what s/he'd written about them. I've been on both sides of the fence (I even art model), but I try to be very considerate of my subjects and it didn't feel like he was being considerate of me at all. I take my clothes off for strangers when I model, but no other piece I've been subject in has ever made me feel so exposed and vulnerable. It made me think a lot about my policy towards my "muses," and of the boundaries between artist and an asshole.


So what do you think, creative Jezzies and Jezzie-muses?

  • Have any of you been the subject of art, and how did that make you feel?
  • What's your policy on informing and/or gaining consent from your subjects? I'll post mine in the comments below, but basically I try to be as respectful, considerate, and accommodating as possible while maintaining artistic integrity.
  • What rights do subjects have when identifying and/or intimate information is going to be published? And do these rights differ from the subjects of journalists and photo-journalists? (journalists, please feel free to weigh in!)

Thanks everyone!

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