<em>Pill Baby</em>, 53 x 65cm, oil on canvas, 2001

Pill Baby, 53 x 65cm, oil on canvas, 2001

Asked his views on a wide range of sexual behavior, Brown makes it clear that he stands for the principle of consent and the autonomy of the individual.

“Homosexuality and SM practices are variously legal or illegal depending on where you are carrying out such acts on the globe. I think most would accept them as healthy fair-play if consensual for all involved parties. Outside parties dictating what you can and cannot do in the privacy of your own home should just not be involved at all. Bestiality and necrophilia are fair game for art, but in the real world probably cross the taboo line because of the issue of consent.”

Brown’s belief that the individual should decide what he or she likes artistically, does sexually, or simply thinks, rather than having it prescribed by interfering busybodies, swims against the tide of the times. In the West, increasing social diversity is leading to less and less tolerance for anything that might be regarded as offensive by any one particular group. Those in authority are also increasingly prone to respond to groundless rumors and anonymous accusations, as Brown has found out to his detriment.

“I’ve been banned, for life, by Paypal because some person complained to them about my work,” he says. “They immediately without warning closed my account and pocketed my sizable funds for six months. They deemed my work to be pornography involving minors. When I tried to dispute this libelous accusation, they snapped back: ‘This matter is considered closed. Any further correspondence about this issue will go unanswered.’ How nice of them! Judge, jury and executioner!”


In the face of such opposition, it’s very much to Brown’s credit that he has stuck to his guns, painting what he feels inspired to, rather than bowing to convention.

“I’m no art martyr,” he says with a note of stoic self-deprecation. “I’m not even sure if I’m an outcast by choice. I do what I do. And, despite my negativity, I do happen to have a belief in myself and [the] strength of conviction to follow my own artistic ideas against popular opinion. So while the weather is fine, I’ll continue to skate on thin ice for your delight or derision.”

Two of Trevor Brown’s latest works can be seen at the “Neo Japan Aestheticism Declaration” exhibit at Span Art Gallery, through October 31.

Span Art Gallery
Neo Japan Aestheticism Declaration. Various media. Until Oct 31, free. 2-2-18 Ginza, Chuo-ku. Tel: 03-5524-3060. Open Mon-Sat 11am-7pm, closed Sun. Nearest stn: Yurakucho. Map. Directions. www.span-art.co.jp

The artist is also preparing an exhibition of paintings based on the theme of “Alice in Wonderland” for display next year. Brown’s website is http://pileup.com/babyart.