Random Images: Raffael Esquivel

This artist contacted me to express an interest in getting his art presented in an article on this site. Raffael Esquivel is an illustrator living in Costa Rica. According to his Behance account, he is available for hire and told me that he intends to do a series of pieces that are on-topic for Pigtails hopefully warranting more coverage and getting his name out there. Below is the image I believe is most relevant to this site so far. Also interesting is an image called Wolf girls.

Raffael Esquivel – Fairy Child resting (2021)

Random Images: Vadim Vyshinsky

A reader found and shared this delightful artist with us. Vadim Vyshinsky (Вадим Вышинский) (b1967) says he never studied art anywhere and apparently has artistry in his blood. Both his mother and father draw and exhibit and he has traced his family from a long line of artists back to the 16th century. He became an officer in the Russian military and retired at the rank of colonel to pursue his art full time.

Many of his images feature boy and girl children captured in a moment of action or in fantasy themes. The image below is especially delightful. The figure with its exaggerated posture and erect pigtails simply exudes joyful energy.

Vadim Vyshinsky – Счастье (Happiness)  (date unknown)

To see more of his work simply click the link on his name above.


Maiden Voyages: February 2022

My apologies for the late posting, but I have gotten really busy recently. There is not too much to report but there are a couple of items of interest.

Guest Writers: I wish to thank Marlin for his recent submission of an article. I want to remind readers that guest writers are encouraged. I have another submission to look through that was recently submitted and I hope this will motivate others to write. All articles will be edited by me so no worries if you feel you aren’t particularly skilled at English. Images must be submitted as jpeg (compatible with WordPress format) and should be between 150 and 250 kB if possible.

[20200205] It seems I really botched things up. In my haste to get this post up, I did not notice that I presented the item below in a misleading way. It was not my intent to have an innocent man get railroaded nor to engage in hearsay because I was not certain of all the details of the case. I realize now that readers would completely miss the point of this post. I certainly don’t want to be lumped together with those in the criminal justice system or mainstream media who would make rash statements for the purpose of political gain or sensationalism. I intend to revise the paragraph below. Changes will be in italics and, in the interest of transparency, I will leave the offending statement below with a strikethrough. I hope to have the necessary revisions in place by this evening. I think you will agree this gives readers the wrong idea and I sincerely apologize to those who were harmed by this.

Mitigation or Punishment? An associate forwarded a message received from G4S (Public Protection Department, Offender Management Unit) in the UK. He had sent a Christmas card to someone in prison which had the image shown below. It was disclosed that the prisoner is serving a sentence for a crime against minors. The case has more of a peripheral connection with minors which may have justified the prison system to restrict images of children but, in fact, no children were actually harmed and the defendant was not charged with anything of that nature. Convicted prisoners have no expectation of privacy when it comes to communications with the outside world, but I am not sure if the logic for returning this particular card has firm grounds. Is this some kind of protection to rehabilitate the prisoner or really just some veiled form of punishment? Or perhaps we can be generous and conclude that the authorities in charge were not acting competently because they did not trouble themselves to know the specifics of this prisoner’s case. Is it policy for images of children to not be allowed in this particular facility or is the prisoner being singled out? (More details about this case are discussed below the image)

The item was returned with an explanatory note from G4S:

… Due to safeguarding measures, [the prisoner] is not permitted any contact with anyone under the age of 18 including photographs. Please refrain from sending in any images of children.

(Artist Unknown) – Two ballerinas (©2003 courtesy of Rubberball Productions)

The image was licensed from Getty Images and printed by Éditions du Désastre in Paris.

In my zeal to protect the privacy of the prisoner, I was afraid to divulge the necessary information in fear that there would be clues which could be used to identify him (and later harassment by vigilantes). In fact, the man is an open supporter of Graham Ovenden and this website. It is probable that this association is being used by the police to harass him. Being less high-profile and tenacious than Ovenden, he did not think it sensible to fight a drawn-out and expensive battle with the courts to demonstrate his innocence and so he accepted a plea bargain on a lesser petty charge and is serving a short sentence that is slated to end this fall. Essentially, because of UK obscenity laws, he was convicted of possessing materials one can find right here on Pigtails in Paint! I hope things are more clear now and why it is so puzzling that G4S should act in what appears to be a petty manner. -Ron

Maiden Voyages: January 2022

Happy New Year to all our readers!

Passing the Buck: Many if not most readers have noticed that this site has been down a number of times. We do not have the full picture yet, but I wanted to share what we do know and how we are investigating. The problem is that organizations (like the Canadian Centre for Child Protection) or individuals make a complaint and because we are being accused of promoting something heinous, the natural inclination is to err on the side of conservatism and shut us down without investigating. Most people cringe at having to look into this deeper in fear of what they might see or learn. Naturally, there is nothing really to fear in our case but someone in the internet chain is shutting us off without due process. Getting information has been difficult because each actor in this drama is in the uncomfortable position of being accused of either censorship or child abuse. In any event, Pigtails in Paint is switching to a different data center hosted in another country and see if that works better. Meanwhile, we will continue to investigate to work out the weak links in the chain.

Journeys of Gender Identity: Pip brought to my attention a graphic novel meant to help young people in the LGBT community to feel less alone. However, conservative communities have raised an uproar about the fact that this material is openly available to young people in a public school. You can read more here.

Tongue in Cheek: A reader brought to my attention a song featured in the film Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983). Like all films of this ilk, everything in it is meant to be a parody. But I had forgotten about this one song called “Every Sperm is Sacred”. In it, there are some fairly young performers singing the lyrics to this facetious work. It seemed hardly worth mentioning but I can’t help but wonder what the auditioning process was for getting young people to appear in this kind of scene.

Merry Christmas: A Gift from Graham Ovenden

One of my contentions—which I perhaps do not mention often enough—is that the reason true artists produce their art is something akin to compulsion. There is something in their psychology that drives them to do it. To my mind, it is a valuable form of exorcising one’s demons and, by extension, that of society. I was quite distressed to learn that health concerns in the past year have made Graham quite frail (not connected to the extant coronavirus). For a time, his shoulder was too stiff for him to work and I became quite concerned that he would go mad (balmy to you Brits out there) if he were forced to stop painting permanently. Fortunately, things got a little better and one of his most ambitious projects is a triptych recently completed and given as a gift to his younger sister.

Graham Ovenden – The Wind (2021) (left panel)

Graham Ovenden – My Sister’s Ghost Arising (2021) (center panel)

This center panel is meant to depict Graham’s sister in her youth kicking a ball to another younger sister who passed away when she was young (figure on the right).

Graham Ovenden – Moon Jumping (2021) (right panel)

Not only can cows jump over the moon; girls can too which I’m sure many readers will agree is a more delightful metaphor.

Graham Ovenden – Triptych (2021)

The works were produced in oil on prepared paper laid down onto board or plywood. Graham says,” The three panels are very much a depiction of childhood freedoms and wonder.”

Happy Christmas to all! -Ron

Random Images: Waltham Watches

This item has been on my radar for a while and I keep hoping that a better-resolution image will appear on the internet. So perhaps someone out there has a good scan of this because I have seen this ad many times on the secondary market.

There is a long tradition of using the images of children to sell things and when the children are naked, it helps emphasize something specifically. In this case, the idea is that the watch will last a long time and this sweet little girl will still be using this reliable device even when she is grown up.

Waltham “Bare Facts” campaign ad (1968)

[20211231] A couple of readers have located a slightly-better version of the image which I have replaced above. Thank you, -Ron

Random Images: Charles Wilp

Here’s another contribution by Moko. Below is a photo taken for a political campaign of Rudolf Werner in 1972. This stark composition appears to be a popular motif in postwar Germany. The contrast between the innocent and vulnerable children against the ominous gas masks representative of industrial war-craft is compelling. I recall a similar image in the film Peppermint-Frieden (1983). This photo originally appeared in the German publication Spiegel.

Charles Wilp – Kandidaten-Foto für den Bundestagswahlkampf (1972)

Random Images: Chinese Ethnography

This is a contribution from Moko (cleaned up by Pip) of a postcard being sold on Ebay. It not only illustrates how tribal people in remote areas may have less inhibitions about nudity but how photographers from so-called civilized areas might exploit this for monetary gain or fame in the name of scientific ethnography. After all, this did not appear in some text in an academic tome, but put on a postcard that could be disseminated publicly. Nothing is really known about the provenance of this image but the seller claims it is over 100 years old.

Antique photo postcard of Chinese girls

To my eye (correct me if I am wrong) these girls are not Han Chinese—the dominant population in China—so the photographer was most likely English but there is a remote chance that he/she was Chinese.

Maiden Voyages: December 2021

This month, we had two related items.

The Trouble with Bots: Regarding the complaint that resulted in our site being shut down for a while, the offending image is a big surprise. It is the color image labeled: Brasil Indias Kamaiuras del Alto Xingu (c1965). Apparently, real humans don’t do the browsing, but an algorithm that uses pattern recognition that does. Perhaps the mere presence of a naked adult and child in the same photo set off the red flags! Needless to say, this algorithm needs to be improved. Also, The Canadian Centre for Child Protection has submitted complaints to us for comment before passing off the lead to the authorities. It is clear that none of the staff have even looked at it.

The Business of Child Protection: Protecting children from undue exploitation and abuse had been a hot topic in the political arena the past couple of decades. Conceptually, this is a noble pursuit, but any philanthropic organization that becomes too important or powerful has a tendency for corruption. Prostasia Foundation has done a little digging into the Canadian Centre for Child Protection expressing concerns over its lack of transparency and checks and balances.