Beantown Baggers

Creative or Crass

Recently, we at Beantown Baggers posted a picture of a paint job featuring explicit art work (click here to see). All sheet metal was covered with women in seductive poses. The attire was minimal and if had been passengers on the bike, we only hope they applied sufficient sunblock – otherwise their UV exposure would be unimaginable. Of course, as upstanding pillars of the motorcycle community we censored some of the photos and warned users that the content may not be suitable for all viewers.

While historically we have not received any negative feedback, this week several readers were vehemently opposed to the subjects the photos. And though they did not castigate our most reputable publication, there is no doubt we may have fallen out of favor from a few of our loyalists.

This is not the first time we have presented scantily clad women to our readers. In fact, over the past year we have shared several bikes that have pushed the limit including one inspired by artist Joe Fenton’s Lullaby graphite piece (click here to view).  Separately we have shared a beautiful Triumph sitting outside the Knuckle Saloon at Sturgis this year (can be found at the bottom of this article) as well as many more. {MORE BELOW PICS}

Triumph from Sturgis

Triumph from Sturgis

Joe Fenton's Lullaby that inspired the Old Is New Paint Job

Joe Fenton’s Lullaby that inspired the Old Is New Paint Job

Old is New on "An Honorable Retirement for Distinguished Service" Road King

Old is New on “An Honorable Retirement for Distinguished Service” Road King

The most interesting element of the controversial posts was not related to the thousands of people clicking on the image to “read the article” (see uncensored photos). Nor was it the thousands who shared the link with their circles. The most notable aspect of that story was the philosophical debate that arose from the comments section.

We pose this question – In the motorcycle culture, where does the line of expressive meet offensive?

We have chosen to be a part of a community based on self-expression and a constantly enduring counter-culture. One man’s expression may be another’s breaking point. When does art become smut? Similarly, when is copying another’s creativity interpreted as plagiarism and when in turn does that piracy become status quo?

Like beauty, affront is in the eye of the beholder. Our culture leans liberal on the topic of self-expression but tends to govern itself when a broadly identifiable line of decency has been crossed.

Risks to our humanity live on both sides of this divide. On one side sits the deepest of sensitivities that left unchecked will stifle all creativity. While on the other lives completely unfettered freedom in its purest form void of checks or balances devised by a rules-based society. Individually we decide which side of the fence affords us the greatest happiness while minimizing conflict from the greatest number of people.

Beantown Baggers’ mission is to build a broader but yet more inclusive community of motorcycle enthusiasts. We enable contests, schedule rides, document experiences and share our interpretations of art with the New England riding community. At times our articles will raise controversy and disagreement. Though these debates will undoubtedly upset some people, they most assuredly will further solidify our aggregate commitment to this culture’s survival for generations to come.

4 comments

  1. Excellent article. As a high school history teacher, it is permissible to show and discuss ancient Roman statuary in all of its beauty with fifteen year olds. This includes, of course, nudity. Is Michelangelo’s “David” obscene or offensive? I think not. Are we to destroy all of the Renaissance masterpieces that celebrate the beauty of humanity in all of its forms? Please! I have not seen all of the artwork you have shown here, but what I have seen is truly art. If I should stumble across something that I find truly offensive to my own sensibilities, I will quickly move on. Freedom of expression is an American tradition, and is protected by our Bill of Rights. If your subject matter becomes one of pornography, I will probably move on. But that is my choice. I would not impose my personnel choices on anyone.

    • Road Captain

      Doug,
      Thank you for reading this article and for your very well articulated point of view. It is an interesting thread to compare our contemporary canvas with those of prior centuries. The interpretations and subjects have changed but the general premise is, in many ways consistent.

      We would like to share this on our FB page as it will likely fuel the philosophical debate started a few days ago. If you have a moment, please copy the comment there or we will quote you later today.

  2. Pingback: Airbrusher Cory SaintClair | Beantown Baggers

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