The Lost Art Of Lux Interior

A collection of paintings from a pre-Cramps Erick Lee Purkhiser that was sold off in 2009 by his estranged son.

“I don’t know about art but I know what I like.”
Lux Interior

When someone has such a defined and iconic public persona as the late, great Lux Interior, lead singer of The Cramps, it’s hard to remember that he didn’t come out of the womb already attached at the hip to Cramps cohort and life partner, Poison Ivy Rorschach. But Lux did indeed have a life before he became Lux – he was 30 when the band formed and although it has been barely mentioned in any Cramps biographies or his Wikipedia page, he had a previous marriage and a son, both of which were so effectively wiped out of history that people had doubts when Mischa Shane Graef appeared online selling his father’s artwork in 2009. But he was indeed Lux’s son, having taken his stepfather’s surname when his mother Joanne remarried after Lux split when the child was three years old. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he grew up with little affection for his father (and seemingly without any significant contact with him) and so it is perhaps understandable that he chose to sell off four paintings that Lux had created around the age of 19/20 when he was still Erick Lee Purkhiser.

The painting are a fascinating mix of eroticism and nightmare, surreal and vivid in style. They are not especially Crampsian – but then again, they are, if that makes sense. You might not immediately see them as the obvious work of Lux Interior, but when you know that they are, it doesn’t seem all that surprising. Lux’s wife Joanne was the muse for some of these, suggesting that Lux always gravitated towards women who would bring out his inner creativity – with Ivy, of course, he found a soul mate who was as creative as he was and the pair of them built an insular, unique artistic universe together until his death in 2009.

All four of these paintings quickly found new homes with Cramps fans and so your chances of owning a Lux original seem slim, to say the least. But you never know just when any of these might hit the market again.

All photos from the original eBay listing. If you are one of the current owners and want to send us photos of the painting in situ, please do so!

Thanks to Marc Morris.

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