Sexuality and Erotic Art / by Chris Hall

Christopher Hall, Bow Legged Goddess Figure.

Christopher Hall, Bow Legged Goddess Figure.

Gustav Klimt and Pablo Picasso both said “All art is erotic.”  The drive to create and the sexual impulse is remarkably similar; it is defined by passion.  I think eroticism and sexuality are two different things, though they frequently overlap.  Erotic art needn't always be sexually explicit; a line can be sensual and color can be passionate, for example.  Sexuality, however, while frequently erotic, can also veer off into crude pornography, or scientific, medical investigation.

Eroticism can have a real spiritual depth.  There is nothing more erotic, to me, than gazing into the eyes of a lover, peering into the depths of their soul.  But this kind of erotic expression, this kind of love, is almost impossible to render in figurative art.  In my art I reserve this kind of eroticism, this kind of sensuality, for abstract expression, or for more formal qualities (such as line and color).

What follows are some of my drawings depicting or suggesting sexuality, which may or may not be erotic, depending your taste.  It should be noted that I sometimes find expressions of sexuality to be ridiculous and funny, and this attitude is often reflected in my work which has a penchant toward the “inappropriate.”  I do not find much of anything sexual to be inappropriate.  There is nothing wrong with sexuality; it is what makes us adults and human beings.  We should celebrate our sexuality, rather than be ashamed of it.  My erotic/sexual art is, of course, a celebration of sexuality, but also a criticism of puritanical tendencies in our society, and at times, a criticism of sexual exploitation and its vulgar, overuse in advertisement.  

"Why should I be ashamed to describe what nature was not ashamed to create?"   Pietro Aretino

"If you bring your sexual impulses to your creative work... you'll be working from deep in the genetic code, down where life wants to make new life and feel good in the process."  Eric Maisel

"The artist's experience lies so unbelievably close to the sexual, to its pain and its pleasure, that the two phenomena are really just different forms of one and the same longing and bliss."  Rainer Maria Rilke

"I can always be distracted by love, but eventually I get horny for my creativity."  Gilda Radner

"Erotic symbols are part of nature in their aspect of fertility and creativity and, as such, are an inherent part of Man's own needs and drive."  Bela Fidel 

"Aesthetic emotion puts man in a state favorable to the reception of erotic emotion... Art is the accomplice of love. Take love away and there is no longer art."  Remy de Gourmont 

"There is a connection between art and sex, with arousal in one realm speaking to arousal in another."  Laura Jacobs

"Even the most innocent of images can send subliminal messages of an erotic nature."  Julie Rodriguez Jones  

"The difference between pornography and erotica is lighting."  Gloria Leonard 

"Being sexy is kind of funny to me."  Reba McEntire

"It is sexual energy which governs the structure of human feeling and thinking."  Wilhelm Reich

"The difference between eroticism and pornography is one of art."  Andre Salvet 

"I do not deny that I have made drawings and watercolors of an erotic nature. But they are always works of art. Are there no artists who have done erotic pictures?"  Egon Schiele

"I am an abstract artist in the sense that I abstract. I cannot be called non-figurative while I am still interested in the modern magic of space, primitive sex forms, the sensual and erotic, disconcerting contours, the things of life."  William Scott 

"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it."   Oscar Wilde

"To deny sex is to deny life. To reject art is to impoverish yourself, rejecting pleasure and growth. To accept sex and art together is to add to oneself, to be positive instead of negative."  William Rotsler