Look on the back of any painting by Eric and you are likely to find his trademark angel faces staring serenely at you. He draws his inspiration from nature and his surroundings, often painting mountains, flowers, churches and smiling faces in a bright color palette.
Although born in Illinois, he grew up primarily in Valdosta, Georgia. In college he studied anthropology and worked at a center for mentally and physically handicapped people. He gained an appreciation for his own good fortune and views art as a gift for him to express that sentiment.
In a 2004 interview with Gary Carden of the Smoky Mountain News, Eric describes the genesis of his inspiration. “Well, it starts in the heart,” he says. “The mind perceives it and the hand gives it shape. I think of it as a trinity, you know – Heart, Mind and Hand.”
He enjoyed a close relationship with his father, Joe Legge, who was an accomplished wood carver. Father and son shared side by side studios while living in the rural mountain valley of Dillard, Georgia. Joe suffered a heart attack and died in January of 2009. In a nod to his father, Eric sometimes carves into the surface of his paintings that are done on salvaged wood or discarded cabinet doors.
During the Atlanta Olympics, Eric was one of just a few Georgia folk artists that were allowed to sell their artwork in the public venues. He has developed a following from there and his work can be found in galleries across the country.