I spend most of my day on social media working for a group of figurative artists who are constantly being banned because, many times, the nude comes into play into their paintings. Some of the artwork is so realistic that the bots can't tell the difference between a painting and a photograph. Figurative artwork varies from hyperrealism to abstracts. I don't blame the robots for thinking a painting by Anne-Christine Roda of a full frontal nude is not a photograph or a hyperrealism painting by Eloy Morales is not a real floating baby.
According to Wikipedia, shadowbanning (also called stealth banning, ghost banning, or comment ghosting) is the act of blocking or partially blocking a user or their content from an online community such that it will not be readily apparent to the user that they have been banned.
When an artwork is banned, it doesn't show up when searching for the image, which many times is hashtagged, and the artist does not show up when searching for their account. It doesn't matter how many followers an account may have.
One such artist is Daniel Maidman. He currently has over 100k followers. His drawings will show up on your feed sporadically even though he posts almost everyday. When his drawings don't, it probably means he has been shadowbanned. He is like the Where's Waldo of Instagram. Even when you search for his name, you may see just a handful of images tagged with #danielmaidman. It is a cruel punishment for someone who is giving so much back to the art community.
In some other cases, the account is deleted by Instagram without any warning. This happened last year to Rose Freymuth-Frazier. She had over 10,000 followers when her account disappeared without warning.
Most of the artwork banned are paintings of females whose breast are bare. According to Business Insider, Facebook bans most photos with female nipples in for "safety reasons."
Several campaigns have taken place to protest Facebook's stance including FREE THE NIPPLE, which is now a movement.
Furthermore, when trying to place an ad on Facebook or Instagram for an exhibition, publication, or online venue to try to sell the artwork, the ad is usually denied.
It doesn't matter if the ad contained a flower or full frontal nudity. The reason why the ad is banned is because the link placed to a website may contain nudity. It is an endless battle. I have resorted to going old school and placing ads in print magazines such as American Art Collector and Fine Art Connoisseur. Print ads are much more expensive than web ads, so Facebook is missing a great opportunity here; and as a publisher and curator, I need to do what I need to do to get the artwork out and seen.
While you are considering everything above, here are over 100 artists whose primary work is figurative. These artists use Instagram to connect with galleries and collectors.
Instagram now offers the option to sell by tapping the images and following the links to a commerce website. The Instagram shop is connected to Facebook Business pages where the problem stems from.
It doesn't matter how realistic the work is to be shadowbanned. I tried to not to include nudes whenever possible when selecting the images to feature below.
This list could have easily reached 1,000, but I feel highlighting these 100+ is a good indication of the quality of figurative artwork being posted on Instagram. This list will also give Facebook a good idea of the potential business they are neglecting. Selling art online is big business and the best way to reach new collectors.
Websites like Saatchi Online, Artsy, First Dibs, Paddle8 as well as many art galleries are successfully selling art online. If Facebook wants some of this action, they need to stop censoring art.
For further information on how to set-up an Instagram shop, check out Shopping On Instagram. The shop on Instagram only works when using the app. Check out these other resources about the difference between Artsy, Artnet, and Saatchi Online.
Some of the galleries, museums, and institutions which specialize in figurative art include RJD Gallery, Abend Gallery, Gallery 1261, Zhou B Art Center, Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art, Principle Gallery, Arcadia Gallery, Art Renewal Center, and many others.
Use these hashtags to find figurative artists: #contemporaryfigurativeart, #artcollector, #oilpainting, #acrylicpainting, #womenpaintingwomen, #poetsartists, #figurativerealism, and also follow the tag names of the artists you are interested in. For example #patrickearlhammie or #alyssamonks, etc.