Here is the second instalment of contributions to our request to our followers to let us know what sort of erotic art works best for them. Another thoughtful and illuminating set of responses, including two contributors who, as artists themselves, recognise that much inspiration can be gained from seeing other artists’ work.
Thank you again for everyone who responded to the call for input – as we say on the website feedback page, honesterotica is very much a collaborative effort, regularly informed and improved by input from our visitors!
The sort of erotic art and illustration that excites me most is that which reflects my own fantasies, and grants permission for me to have them. This is the delight of erotic art over photography – there are no limitations apart from the skill of the artist. There are no taboos in the imagination.
I used to feel a sort of shame that I seemed to have a ‘male gaze’, but the truth is that I can never get enough of beautifully drawn breasts. Early on I enjoyed the worlds of Luis Royo (On the Southern Beaches II – I still go back to gaze at as my first visual realisation of technophilia). Then Boris Vallejo, and later on the erotica of Peter Geiger, because who wouldn’t?
As a cis bisexual kinky woman who attempts to be an artist, erotic art has offered untold source of reassurance, ideas and instruction. From an artistic point of view I don’t care what medium the picture is in – give me a satyr lapping at the vulva of a nymph in block print, or a delicate watercolour of a maid sitting on the face of the red-faced lord of the manor, or twisted flesh in abstract forms that suggest consuming, penetrating, remoulding of bodies in orgiastic delight. I want to see the vicar, the woman and horse enjoying each other, lovingly etched by a surprising steady hand. From hentai monsters to the erotic line drawings of Gustav Klimt, I take pleasure in them all.
Erotic art reveals us to ourselves, placing our desires and denials firmly outside of our too-rational minds, hopefully to be enjoyed, or to challenge our ideas of sensuality and sexuality. Through it we can bend into any shape, any gender, any role. We can endure any pleasure or pain. Erotic art moves on a spectrum where we can explore our definitions and our limits of the sensual and profane.
Jo (@Heirodule on Twitter)
The sort of erotic art and illustration that excites me most is the kind that tells complex stories. The figures involved are engaged in something for sure, but the artist had a particular reason to put pencil to paper, paint to canvas. It can be a radical act to openly portray sexual energy, and I love artwork that shows a deliberate embrace of kink and other non-traditional ways of living and loving.
To me, erotic means freedom – being authentically, even flagrantly, oneself. Erotic art makes the artist’s inner desires and predilections accessible to the viewer, transforming their deepest secrets into a dialogue with the viewer. Personally, it’s not the naked or semi-nude figures themselves that make a piece truly erotic, but rather the fact that the creator made space in their life and persona to create it. The challenge for erotic creators is finding how best to share their work with an appreciative audience.
One of the most rewarding parts of rejoining Twitter recently has been discovering a community of artists, models, and enthusiastic readers who revel in the process of erotic creation. I have found in my own work that the very nature of creating erotic art – closely examining the muscle tension in a model’s face, sketching a figure’s curves, deliberately adding brushstrokes of ink or paint, smearing oil pastels into a stretched canvas – can be a sensuous experience in its own right. Erotic art represents time devoted to considering sexuality and attraction. Illustrating a collaborator’s fantasy, or commemorating a favourite experience, can make drawing naughty pictures a form of performance art.
My favourite type of erotic art is that which tells a story of embracing and displaying sexuality and passion. No matter what the genre, erotica is a profound challenge to cultural norms that seek to repress the sheer joy available within such an important sphere of human experience. Some of my favourite commissions are the most idiosyncratic, the ones that required research, or whose commissioner made me look at a mundane object quite differently. There’s a subversive joy to making artwork whose very existence proclaims ‘I want to be spanked, naked, on the hood of an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile!’. All of which is to say that for me, erotic art is above all else fun!
Demetrio (@nola2nyc2 on Twitter)
The sort of erotic art and illustration that excites me most is art that combines aesthetic pleasure and sexual pleasure, art through which I find myself in a timeless moment, a space where eroticism can truly flourish. Such art can help to liberate minds and bodies, far from the tyranny of urgency and the superficiality that dominates the contemporary world, far from those obsessed with censorship – censors, especially religious ones, are the first enemies of eroticism, far from those obsessed with pleasure at all costs, and far from pornographic consumerism.
For me the essential source of eroticism in art is the female nude, an inexhaustible source of sexual imagination, often related to the sacred. I love the work of artists and writers who put themselves at the service of a joyful, positive eroticism, promoting awareness of themself and others, freed from the deadly religious notion of sin. I love artists who celebrate shared pleasure through their creations, particularly shared pleasure between men and women.
From my first adolescent awakenings I have mainly been introduced to eroticism through illustration, drawing and painting. I love the curves of the fantasised female nudes of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres; the woman alone, naked, pulling up her stockings, painted from life by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec; the feminine landscape offered by Gustave Courbet’s ‘L’origine du monde’; or a scene of cunnilingus elegantly drawn by Alméry Lobel-Riche for his Arabesques intimes.
Sequences of drawings also please me as long as they are well drawn, combining beauty, imagination and a certain amount of credibility – for example in the work of Milo Manara. When such techniques are mastered they allow for a full development of erotic expression. I strongly believe in the virtue of association between text and image, in eroticism as in other areas, and among the literary works that have inspired many illustrators I very much appreciate that of Pierre Louÿs.
In terms of eroticism, the pleasure is all the stronger when it is shared with someone, in my case with a woman or women, and this has happened to me a few times around the work of Louÿs. Each time it was a source of intense sensations with female partners who shared my tastes, both aesthetic and sexual. I believe that if women felt freer to express both their sexual desires and their erotic tastes, perhaps it would be a little easier to live together in this world.
Benjamin, France (@BenjaminHyarion on Twitter)