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OVER A QUARTER CENTURY OF DEDICATION TO PROTECTING, PRESERVING AND PROMOTING EROTIC ART.

DISPATCH AUTUMN 2006

parlez vous erotic art?
an interview with benoit prévot
by durk dehner and michael kirwan

Benoit Prévot

Is Benoit Prévot your real name or one you use as an erotic artist?

Benoit Prévot is my real name. I sometime think I should have taken a pseudonym, but this is already hard to have one identity, I keep mine. All I do is a piece of me.

Where were you born and raised?

I am born in the French Ardennes near Belgium. I lived there until I was five year old, after that I lived in the countryside near Paris. So during my childhood I have always been in contact with the nature. I am living now in the town for 18 years.

Do you have other brothers and sisters and what can you tell us about your upbringing? For example, what your parents did, if both worked, or what trade did your father have?

I have one sister and one brother. I am the oldest. My parents are now retired, but my father worked in a bank as a chauffeur and other things of that kind and my mother was a nurse. I was a kind of solitary child also because I have five years difference with my sister. I liked to be in my world alone drawing. I’m still a little bit like that. The solitude doesn’t scare me. I also played accordion. That was not a very fashionable instrument at that time and I was ashamed — even if it was me who choosed this instrument! None of my friends knew that. I’m still playing for my pleasure.

At what age do you first remember picking up a pencil, pen or brush and drawing?

I don’t remember when I started to draw, but my parents say that since I have been two years old, if they wanted some quiet, they just had to give me a pencil and that was it.

Drawing has always been a way for me to go in my fantasy world. It also reminds me that when I was a child I used to draw stories — kind of comic but not so elaborated — and at the same time I was talking, making the dialogue of the characters. I was in the plot.

At that time what I liked was the fairy tales, and I remember that the teachers always said that I had to leave the world of the princesses.

How many years now have you taken your artistic work seriously in that you have been devoting major time to working it?

I’m only starting to take it more seriously! I have the job that makes my livelihood. I draw cartoons for TV series for children and I’m now devoting more time for my personal work. But as far as I remember I always have had projects like comics and illustration. It is just that now I crystallize my fantasies on gay erotic work.

Did you have professional art schooling in your background? Were there specific art classes or academies that you attended and, if so, what ones were they?


I studied in the EMSAT (Municipal School of Art and Technics). It was more orientated for to work as a graphic artist in publicity, like Roughman for example, but with a very strong formation in drawings. It was in Paris.

I especially loved sessions with models. I still remember and try to think of all the advice I have had in this school.

Who have been your inspirations, your mentors, and other artists that you have admired to assist in your own development as an artist?

Well, as my work makes references to the older time, of course I like the old American illustrators like Norman Rockwell, J. C. Leyendecker, Vargas or Earl Moran.

I also love the beautiful drawings of Alex Raymond.When I was younger I also used to study very well how Stan Drake — Juliette Jones — draws those beautiful realistic characters. I learned a lot with his comics. I also love a French drawer of comics, Loisel. He is one of the best for me. I especially like an artist who draws when you can feel the lines.

Your work takes on a feeling of an earlier period in time. Is there a specific era that you have found to be most attractive for you to incorporate into your style?

I know that I always have liked things of the past. Old music, old movies, old architectures, and old fashion. I like it, but I don’t know why — it talks to me.

Perhaps there is something to see with the reincarnation? Anyway I love glamour. American big bands that gives me goose pimples! I think that the mid-1920s to the ’30s is my favorite period: Hurrell and Adrian. Gary Cooper and Marlene Dietrich in “Desire”.

What is your favorite medium? What comes most easily to you: watercolor, graphite pencil, etcetera?

My favorite medium is ink and graphite on paper, because I work a lot in black and white and I like the firm contact of the pencil on the paper.

I’m trying to make oil now. It is a new pleasure, but this is not so easy to work on as a soft surface with a pencil that is soft too.

Do you find that once you begin a drawing that you will stay on it until it is completed, or do you go from one work to another until each is completed?

Most of the time I stay on one drawing only. At the moment of realization, my mind can already think of something else, but I don’t like to disperse myself. I try not to!

What method do you use in creating the concept for your images? Do you combine what you find in magazines with your own ideas? Do you photograph models? Or do you rely entirely on your imagination?

When I want to do a new drawing with something fun in it, in connection with eroticism, I start to find an idea, a situation. I think then I make sketches and after that I start the piece. I used to draw the peoples most of the time with my imagination. I have documentation for the backgrounds, props, etcetera, if it is necessary, and also I have a lot of porn pictures. But I never go from the picture to the drawing, as this is the contrary. If I need to, I try to find a picture that helps me. But since one year I have two models who pose for me sometimes and this is how I really like to work.

How much time do you normally spend doing your work on an average day or week?

It really depends. I can do a drawing in an evening. Sometimes it takes few days, but it is very hard for me to stay too long on the same drawing. I like to have rapidly the image of what I thought in front of me.

What provides you with the drive, inspiration, and motivation to create art? Is it your own personal satisfaction? The admiration of your work? Or the financial rewards?

As I’m not someone very sure of myself, I like to be reassured. The fact that I carry on is because of the feedback I have with people who like my erotic drawings. And I can thank the Foundation for that! But I think that I wouldn’t be able to live without drawing and eroticism. It is so vast a world, a lot of unexpected subjects can be erotic.
I hope that perhaps soon I will be able to live with only those drawings. What a life to draw beautiful men all the day long!

What are some of your dreams for your work and your career that you would be willing to share with the readers? What do you hope the future will bring for you?

I’m now proposing a project of an erotic comic to a French publisher. This is in my universe, but it would tell a story. At first I thought that I wouldn’t be able to do a story with porn, I was afraid to be bored. It is a project, so I cross my fingers. My dream is that it works, because I’m already in the mind of the characters and this is a real pleasure. I wouldn’t like to quit them already.

About my work, I wanted to say that I don’t really try to emulate old illustrations. I always have a drawing that has a reference with the past and this is probably because of the things that I like. So it is easier for me to draw a man with brilliantine in the hair than a “bear” or other kind of guy, I just try not to create violence so I go in in my work the way my mood wants to.

Drawing, for me, is first of all pleasure. It can be hard to take the idea and bring it to realization, but I have to find a lot pleasure in the subject. I think I will always draw. I hope so!

— Part 1 of this interview was conducted by Durk Dehner

Is there a vehicle in place, an organization or association, available to European erotic artists that allow you guys to connect with one another? Is there a lot of communication between erotic artists from the different countries of the EU?

There are few possibilities to expose in France We don’t have any organization like the Foundation. There is a man, a photograph Orion Delain who tries to make a connection in between artists. He does each year a book. That is called Triangul’ere in which he promotes the gay culture and also artists. He also organized last year an exhibition in the big fair “Rainbow attitude” that promotes the gay way of life. I don’t really like the idea like to go to see how gay people leave, dress, eat, where do they go for vacations, etcetera. So I didn’t expose in that fair.

We also have the possibilities to exhibit in Gay bars. Orion maked me know some other artist from Paris Like Kinu Sekigushi or Guy Thomas. I met Xavier Gicquel At the Fair and he introduced me to Teddy of Paris. Those last two one are the only one I am in contact with. There is probably some exhibitions in Germany.

What kind of restrictions or censorship does the French government impose on displays of erotic art?

I don’t know, I think this is more a question of who can see erotic art. I mean in the bars they can’t put erotic pictures on the window, but I think there is not so much censorship. We can have porn magazines in some area of the city streets that children can see it is at their level! But I think this is more a way of life that French people are more conservative than we thought. We are not the best lovers anymore I think this is the Italians now. (lol)

Of the reactions you’ve gotten from people who have seen your artwork, what was the most pleasant, the absolute worst, and the most unexpected?

In an exhibition in a bar in Paris the owner put of one of the drawing (when I wasn’t there) because he thought that it was not in the spirit of the exhibition to have a drawing of a guy with an hard on. He told me in fact that he doesn’t like the drawings that are too expressive in terms of sex, that I do it badly, and that there is a lot of other artists that do it much better than me. I never exhibited in his bar again.
The most pleasant is of course when people do appreciate the sense of humor that I try to put in some of my drawings. I like when people watch the drawing for a while and then smile. This is exactly what I like. Like a lot of people I like to be loved, so I like when people tell that they like my work. This is a cliché. It makes more sure of oneself.

The more unexpected reaction... I don’t know. Oh yes. I remember a friend of me, a girl who didn’t like my drawings because she at first thought that the pecs of the guys was breasts. She thought my men were transsexuals. She definitely never saw muscular men. She wasn’t blond!

You have a sizable Arab population in your nation. With the current upheaval in the Middle East do you find a heightened sense of anxiety among the French people? And if so, do you find some of that social tension being incorporated into your artistic expression?

Oh a politic question! Yes, I’m very concerned because I have a lot of Jewish friends here in France and some who are doing their Alya. I also very concerned by the way media in France presents the things only in one way. I don’t really feel now a social tension, but it could happen. I don’t think I can make a relation as directly into my work.

What is sure is that more than ever the drawing is a refuge. I don’t like the way Paris is going, people are very aggressive in this city. A kind of bad energy. There is a lot of reason for that.

Is there any single project that you would really like tackle but are unable to do at this time?

Really I would like to make a film. Do the script, the set, the costumes and direct. This is a dream!

— Part 2 of this interview was conducted by Michael Kirwan

Benoit plans to participate at the Foundation’s Erotic Art Fair Weekend in October. In the mean time, visit his website: manstouch.com/prevot/prevotart.html

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Caberet
Decollette
Juillet
Le dormeur du val
AQTretour de bal
Babies nipples
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Big hat
Stephane
Rim
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MATTERS OF SIZE
“Cock size doesn’t matter to me. I didn’t start doing those gigantic cocks until the censors let the magazines publish full frontal nudity. I had to come up with something you couldn’t get in a photograph. So those big cocks are all for the other guys — I’m an ass man myself.” — Tom of Finland