Goddess 39, 2008

James believes that the erotic element in his vulva drawings comes from what the viewer brings with them – their intentions, their desires, their thoughts and beliefs. The carefulness in how he depicts his subject is his hope that his audience will see the vulva’s beauty as he sees it. He considers his process often to be more erotic than the work itself. As he explains, ‘The act of peering at a subject to understand its three-dimensional composition can be very intimate. It’s like knowing your lover’s body, with all its beauty and uniqueness.’

James worked with models and from photographs in the creation of his drawings, which were made between 2006 and 2010. Each drawing is made on sandy brown paper with pencil and white gouache.

It’s interesting to compare James’s vulva drawings with those of Betty Dodson, which you can see here. Both portfolios have an honesty and integrity, seen through the eyes of two very different artists. And both also have an important educational function, helping the viewer understand the exquisite detail and enormous variety of women’s sexual landscape.