Petite Luxures is an anonymous erotic artist bringing sexual subtlety to the masses through his sensual, simplistic line drawings. We spoke to the mystery man about how he went from being a commercial graphic designer to being an full-time erotic artist with 1.3 million followers.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Reims, a city in the east of France (where Champagne is made). I moved to Paris at 19 to study but now I live in an old house in the countryside, about 50 kilometres from Paris. This is also where my studio is. I need to be calm and quiet to create, and it’s a good break from all the excitement of the art shows in the U.S., the book signings and the busy meetings in Paris.
How would you describe your art style?
My art is erotic, of course, minimal, humorous and also, I hope, poetic. That’s the drawing, but I try not to limit Petites Luxures to drawing only. I try to make sure all of my experiments are driven by this same romantic, erotic, humorous, poetic spirit.
How did you develop Petite Luxures?
Initially I was, and still am, a graphic designer. I never considered graphic design as art though. Petite Luxures was my first step into the art world. I started it back in 2014 in addition to my full-time job in art direction. At first it was just for fun, but when I found the online drawing community, I knew I wanted to build something strong within it. I knew I wanted to push Petite Luxures in a very artistic way.
What’s your favourite thing to draw?
I would say a butt, because it’s an important part in my drawings and because it’s very simple though very subtle to draw. Only three curves and you have a full volume in front of you. You slightly change one of these curves and you change the whole orientation, the volume, the feeling of the body. All butts
are different, but all are beautiful. You can never draw the same butt twice. I can draw a thousand butts and never get bored of it.
What materials do you use?
Mainly ink and paper. I used to be a very digital guy, using Photoshop every day for my work, but for Petites Luxures I needed to feel the drawing. For me, using a graphic tablet to make the final drawing would be cheating. I use a lot of pencils, pens, thin markers, fountain pens, Indian ink, brushes and acrylic paint. I know that I would be way more productive with a tablet, but I need my drawing to be an object that I can hold in my hands, not just a file on my hard drive. The stroke texture and the imperfect curves are really important for me.
My drawings would look terrible if made with perfect vector lines in Illustrator! I also use my light table a lot to remake the same drawing several times from the first sketch until I find the right one. I also use a Thesaurus when I need to find a good caption!
What inspires you to make art?
Well, a lot of things, but basically everything that is not erotic at first. A big part of my creative process is to find a way to eroticise something that is not erotic. Only representing something erotic would be very boring for me to do, and a lot of technically better artists would do it way better than me. I’m always writing down small things of my everyday life, it can be anything; a song, a place, something I ate, something I heard in the street. When I’m sitting at my desk, I read all these notes and try to find how to turn these in small funny erotic scenes.
Do you ever face censorship on social media?
Yes. Dozens of my drawings were removed by Instagram after people reported them. That’s why I don’t use any hashtags now, so the people who come to my page know what they are searching for.
When I decided to take a year off to run this project full time, Instagram even disabled my whole account. I had the scare of my life as I’d been running the account for three years and had more than 500,000 followers. But I appealed the decision, and happily, I recovered my account few hours later. I’m still afraid of censorship. Even more today because I do this for a living. I know that after the heated discussion about censorship of the artists Delacroix and Courbet, Facebook and Instagram are more permissive with handmade artworks like paintings and drawings.
That is also one of the main reasons that I try to build a strong work in real life with art galleries, books, collaborations with brands, to make Petites Luxures live outside Instagram too.
What have you got coming up that you're excited about?
This year, I have several cool upcoming projects! I’m currently working on a collaboration with a great French fashion brand that will be launched in a few months. My first book has now been translated into English, Italian, Spanish and Flemish, and will soon be out in quite a lot of new countries, which is very exciting. And I’m working with my publisher on my next book, which won’t be a sequel of the first one, but rather, something totally different. I’ve also got a few events, fairs, conventions and TV shows on the horizon too.
Follow Petite Luxures on Instagram.
Grab a copy of the latest Penthouse here.