What reason was given for your ban?

I wasn’t given a reason, except that I should be cautious of sharing nudity via art. They’re referring to the Playboy women I paint. This was difficult because I didn’t feel like it was necessary to censor my work! Fortunately, this gave me a kick up the ass to contact Playboy directly and request that they share my works to help me boost my page again – which they did. I then signed to them for a Centerfold spot as their first painter on the platform. So, the silver lining to every bad experience!

Why do you think your post(s) was censored?

I honestly have no idea. I appreciate that there is an audience that needs to be protected online, but my artwork isn’t realistic. It’s not offensive. It’s supposed to be liberating! I have almost 60,000 followers and about 30 people max were seeing my story, and I am still receiving 50-200 max likes on my posts, My sales went down and I had to leave my art studio for a little while. I’ve spent the last few months using so much energy to try to get my Instagram back up again to get my studio back. It’s my main sales platform. Thankfully the connection with Playboy helped me raise my socials up again. But honestly, I spend more time on Twitter now. It’s particularly good if you’re into NFTs like me.

Were you able to appeal and what was the response?

Yes – no response.

What effect has your experience of censorship had on you?

I sank into a very bad place with real financial problems because Instagram is the space I use to sell my artworks as an independent creative. I was receiving no sales suddenly, and people were being warned about following me. A warning popped up to everyone who found me online saying ‘Are you sure you want to follow this person, they’ve gone against community rules various times’  – when I hadn’t. I just share my artwork online. I’m not overly opinionated online, I don’t talk about covid. It’s been really hard for my small business.

What’s one thing you want people to know about this topic?

That we can forget that reality is still here, and hugely important. It’s easy to get lost in the digital world. It’s a reminder to seek outside the box. Reach out to new gallery spaces if you’re an artist – find new channels. Fine new communities and ways to link your work to people. It forces you to scramble for new ideas, so all is not lost. Social media being your only avenue is a little dangerous for small businesses as it can be taken from us at any time. So, gently nudge friends to share your work. To save it. Our creations can sometimes feel like they’re in other people’s hands so the sharing feels highly important, but just remember that there are so many opportunities to be seen out there. So grab them!