Naturist Art Double Standard

Let’s say I‘m an amateur painter. I paint a nude, show it in a gallery, and attempt to sell it. Naturists, in general, will support me. 

Let’s say I’m a fairly accomplished sculptor. I sculpt a nude, show it in a gallery, and attempt to sell it. Naturists, in general, will support me. 

It’s the same if I were to produce naturist dance, short film, theater, photography, music – even poetry! All of these would be generally supported by naturists.
One of Julien Wolga’s wonderful, whimsical illustrations for Nude Arts Festivals in France
But woe to us novelists. A couple of naturist establishment gatekeepers have come out complaining that there’s a glut of self-published novels by people calling themselves naturists, that there’s another bad nude beach novel self-published weekly, and that there are so many bad self-published novels claiming to be “naturist” out there that why should anyone take naturist novelists seriously. 

Look, there are bad novels just like there are bad paintings or songs or films, according to the criteria of any individual. I’m not going to defend other writers’ bad nude beach novels (which, frankly, I can’t even find, and I strongly doubt they even exist to the alleged degree of hyperbole). But I do want to point out some generic differences between novels on the one hand, and the other arts I’ve mentioned on the other hand. As a genre, a novel is an art that you have to experience more through time than through space. That means it demands plot development, character development, realistic dialogue, suspense, and recurring motifs, among other elements mostly absent from these other genres. And so I understand that a reader invests in a time commitment to appreciate a novel, a commitment far longer than the time required to appreciate a nude painting, or a series of nudes, or even a short experimental film on naturism. I get it. This is why reviews are important. You can read reviews before you decide to make a commitment. 

But for some of these look-down-your-nose folks out there, it’s a matter of not having been published by a big New York publishing house. Again, do painters or photographers have to do that? I pitched Co-ed Naked Philosophy for a couple of years to agents, during and after development of the novel at a writing workshop. I got a few bites but no offer. The readership for this novel is a niche market, I realized, and so I decided to take advantage of relatively new and legitimate options like CreateSpace to, literally, get the word out. The novel has good reviews and continues to sell in both print and electronic formats. Why are naturist novelists held to a different standard than naturists in the other arts?

Unabated, I am working on a new novel, and I will also be posting new entries in a series I started previously on this blog called Disrobing Suspense – interviews with other writers of naturist fiction, along with samples of their work. The previous series includes Tom Pine, Stephen Crowley, Cor van de Sande, and a wrap-up with yours truly. These profiles include discussion of the craft of writing about nudity, of writing about naturism as an idea, and of successfully developing plot, characters, and setting in order to further a naturist or nude-friendly message all while creating suspense and maintaining the readers’ interest. The new series on Disrobing Suspense will start soon, featuring Nick Alimonos

Please support your naturist artists… in all the arts. Thank you!

2 thoughts on “Naturist Art Double Standard

  1. Well, I can't disagree with this. But I understand publishers and agents apprehension toward nudism/nudity. They are a squeamish bunch, and in the current literary market, philosophy of any kind is looked down upon. Don't forget that in America, the title of the first Harry Potter book was changed to remove the word \”philosopher.\” Sad. But what continues to surprise me is the total indifference of nudists/naturists toward the literary arts. It may just be that they do not wish to invest that much time in reading. But anyone truly interested in promoting the nudist philosophy needs to recognize the importance of representation in other media. Nudist heroes need to appear on TV, in movies and in books if the stigma of nudism and the naked taboo is ever going to go away, just as we now have gay characters (like in Walking Dead) helping represent the LGBT community.


  2. Exactly. Also, I can think of a naturist filmmaker (JP Riley) whose film was not produced by a big Hollywood studio, and a naturist musician (Ton Dou) who does not have a big record label behind him….and they are, and should be, supported by naturists. And my respect to them – there's a lot of work that goes into these very different art forms.


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