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Roadside Art Controversy

By: Lynsley Smith
By: Lynsley Smith

Thousands of drivers pass by Brent Stevens and his paintings every day. He says it's art. Some passersby say it's offensive.

Peddling paintings on the side of Highway 319, he's a roadside artist whose hot boiled art put him in legal hot water.

“I’ve always asked them, you know, if Michelangelo came out and stood on this corner, what would you do to him? And I've had the reply, well he'd be arrested,” says Brent Stevens.

With pop art reminiscent of a romance novel, and then some, he signs his canvas Viper Von. We won't show you the more contested images, but a take-off of Leonardo’s last supper, with naked ladies and a female Jesus, didn't sit well with some passersby.

They called Wakulla County Sheriff's Major, Maurice Langston.

“They just informed us of inappropriateness they felt paintings contained and they asked us to look into it, which we did,” says Maurice Langston, Wakulla County Sheriff’s Department.

Stevens faced a misdemeanor until a five-person jury ruled the work wasn't obscene, but Stevens says deputies are still keeping an eye on him. Even his attorney admits they can.

“If there was another painting police believe to be obscene, they would arrest him and then, again, it's up to a jury,” says Attorney Steven Glazer.

And that means Brent Stevens' next canvas could put him right back in the courtroom.


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