Harry Carmean first began making overtly erotic drawings around 1986. He called them his ‘coffee drawings’, because he made them most mornings while having his coffee. Harry and Miriam were just married at the time, and many of the drawings are signed ‘Love you M’; he was clearly both in love and in passionate lust, a profuse outpouring of which any lover of a talented artist would be justly envious.
The two artists regularly drew together, with the result, as Miriam explains, ‘that we would get very involved in our drawings and turn out some real doozies’. In these sessions a wide range of related themes was explored – acrobats and harlequins, surrealism, sexy lettering, amazing poses and orgies.
Carmean’s erotic drawings show a side of his imagination that had only been hinted at in previous work, and as well as letting his erotic imagination roam wild, his great sense of humour is also clearly evident. He also plays loose and free with the relationship between artist and model which would raise many a consent-aware eyebrow if we did not know that about his personal and artistic infatuation with Miriam.
His drawing style demonstrates an artist steeped in drawing, with the ability to depict explicit dynamic sensuality with the minimum of line – many of these drawings were completed in just a few minutes, resulting in an immediacy absent in many more careful artists’ work.
In the late 1990s Carmean experimented with etching, and produced a series of detailed erotic prints. A few proofs were printed by Carmean on his own etching press; later he worked with master printer John Greco, the owner of the Josephine Press in Los Angeles. We have included several of the etchings at the end of this selection.