Petites Luxures is the mysterious French artist putting the subtlety back into erotic art.
If you search Petites Luxures on Instagram, you’ll find an account followed by almost 750K people, with no clues as to who’s behind the tastefully erotic pictures. The dainty but detailed line drawings are clearly not drawn by a one track mind, however—there’s a mixture of girls, guys, girls and guys, never in the same position or using the same… accessories. As raunchy as it sounds, the most erotic part of Petites Luxuries is actually in what you don’t see—the artist cleverly uses blank space to let you fill in the naughty blanks. I interviewed the mysterious Petites Luxures over email and realised that despite my burning desire to put a face to the drawings, not knowing whether it was a man or a woman behind the pen was one of the best parts about it. Come and get steamy with the erotic artist who’s bringing sexuality to the masses.
Firstly, why do you remain anonymous?
At the beginning I just wanted to disappear behind the drawings, to help people to identify themselves inside the pictures—to make the scenes theirs and be neutral. But if you search well, I’m not remaining totally anonymous today. I wanted to put a face on this project because a few usurpers used this anonymity to pretend they were the drawer behind Petites Luxures.
Have you always been an artist?
I don’t know, I don’t even pretend to be an artist today because it is quite hard to define. The thing I know is that I always drew since childhood, and always knew that I wanted art and drawing to be a big part of my life. That’s why I studied applied arts and became a graphic designer.
What materials do you work with?
Paper, pen and brain—nothing very complicated. I’m used to drawing in small sketchbooks, light sketches with a pencil first, then inking the final drawing with Indian ink and pen, or thin markers. Now I am testing new mediums, like wire sculptures, linoleum prints, cutout, shadows… Whatever I can have fun with! But it has to stay in ‘real life’, computer is only used to clean pictures before posting, never for creating them.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Everything in my daily life: a colour, a song, a word, a moment… I always write down inspiring things during the day, then when I’m back home in the evening I try to find ideas of erotic scenes from these ideas. The fun part of the work is to make an erotic a non-erotic thing, so my inspiration never comes from something already erotic.
I try not to look to other erotic artists because I want my work to stay spontaneous and intimate, even if it is naive. I try to get some visual culture about artists who explored love, but in different mediums: photographers, writers, romantic sculptors from the 19th century.
What’s the importance of white space in your work?
It’s very important, it’s a kind of “signature” for me. My pictures would not be very interesting if every element was detailed. The most important parts of my pictures are the ones that are not drawn, where the viewer’s imagination has to work to be a part of the picture.
What about your work do you think resonates with people so much?
I don’t really know why people like it! Of course sex, love and eroticism are universally attractive subjects, but why this project more than another? Maybe the minimalist style helps to make crude scenes not so crude, to stay elegant even in explicit scenes (at least that is what I am trying to do), so people can look at pictures and even share them with their lovers or friends without being ashamed. It’s not porn, it does not look like porn, but sometimes it can show dirty things 🙂
Have you alway been drawn to erotic art?
Not at all! As a child I was more into heroic-fantasy, Tolkien and stuff (although you can easily cross erotic art with heroic-fantasy, take a look at Frazetta for example). Then I got into Rock n Roll stuff, punk aesthetics and tattoo. I found this graphic style by accident, on a day when I was stuck in bed because of flu.
You’re French—how do you think the French perceive sexuality differently to everyone else?
I like to think we inherited something from the romantic artists and writers, but I don’t think we perceive sexuality differently to other cultures. Apart from very different cultures or religious precepts, of course, I think TV and the internet has allowed new generations to have quite the same outlook on love and sex. But maybe we kept a little bit of romanticism in France…
Finish this sentence: Sex is…
A simple natural pleasure of life, like eating, drinking and sleeping.