The definition of art is an elaborate task. Yet, arguably, when a product of the human imagination triggers an emotional response, it can be defined as art. While most art is defined, subjectively so, only because the reaction it elicits is deemed pleasurable and guided by a superior sense of aesthetic, what to do when a vivid imagination has put together a universe of gruesome, graphic drawings with a warped yet fascinating sense of humor? You get Eric Le Flexible, an idiosyncratic maverick who ventures mostly into the grotesque and macabre, drawing with ghoulish irony and detached ease. He has that matchless skill to play with our minds (and his own) like a child does: unabashedly, lucidly, flusteringly, enabling him to pull out multifarious tricks from his hat, whether it be disproportioned genitalia, gory cartoons, or more innocent sketches. Eric Le Flexible is a brazen artist, with a flair for constantly exploring his creative power and pushing its boundaries, smacking us with his unembarrassed, bold choices. It stings, but it surely does not hurt.
Graziella Buontempo: Who is Eric le Flexible?
Eric Le Flexible: Another person inhabiting a major city in a western country. I also draw stuff.
GB: Do you consider yourself unconventional artistically?
ELF: I guess you could say that. I have always had a hard time placing my work into a category yet I know that, in and out of itself, it is not for everyone. Now, calling it unconventional may be a bit simple since I feel as though, over time, we are being used to greater exposure to sex and violence. They are part of our lives whether we choose to get involved or not. I just like to portrait the interaction differently than most cartoonists.
GB: Where does most of your inspiration come from?
ELF: The most mundane yet harsh reality that hits me everyday in socially acceptable interactions with fellow humans. My interpretation of those moments in life may have been fostered by the brilliant vision of cartoon prodigies such as Marcel Gotlieb, Franquin, Gary Larson and Nicholas Gurwitch.
GB: Given the nature of your illustrations, most people would describe you as a perverted and mentally deranged individual at the borderline of transgression and deviance. How would you defend yourself against such comments?
ELF: I wouldn’t. I can’t draw these things and expect not to be called a mentally disturbed pervert from time to time. I feel as though we are shaped by societal ideas based on categorization and hierarchy. If people want to analyze my work in such a simple manner and put me into a conveniently labeled basket, so be it. I just like to think we all have different interpretations of reality but some people comfort themselves into thinking there is only one. That being said, I am well aware of the content of my work; it’s up to the viewers to call me “wrong” or not.
GB: Is there a line you trace in your drawings between acceptable and not? Do you think your work is/ can be/should be perceived as art?
ELF: I would like to think it is art but I understand most people see it as childish and hurtful classroom doodling, which it kind of is. When it comes to my drawings, I don’t think anything is unacceptable. I draw the line where my imagination and ability to express it stop.