To my readers......

Freedom of expression matters - We are Charlie

I have now added an index page listing all the artists featured at mitchmen (links now complete)

Thanks for visiting mitchmen!
(Nov 9th 2015)

Monday, 30 November 2015

Sergey series updated

I have updated my A-Z article on Sergey's captured cowboy series by adding links to all the pictures which were originally omitted from the article for reasons of space. 
You can now view the entire series there.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Cavelo A-Z updated

Cavelo's Wedge

I stumbled across this picture whilst revising and expanding my A-Z article on the artist 'Cavelo'.

You don't expect to see a 'Wedge' turning up in the American Desert. It looks like the normal torments of taking a long ride on the device are to be supplemented here by simultaneous prolonged exposure to the scorching rays of the sun and with a horse whipping thrown in for good measure. This sort of cruel, extended punishment was supposed to have been practised by the French Foreign Legion on disruptive men in the ranks, but I have never heard of the US Cavalry employing such brutality against their own troopers. That's assuming of course that the naked man is 'one of them' and not some civilian miscreant they have decided to make an example of.

This four-legged wedge seems to be sturdy and well-crafted with a slight tilt to the top edge that would create an additional sense of precarious instability for the rider - and potentially painful splinters too if he slips! On the face of it, one would imagine that such an elaborate device would require regular use to justify the effort of constructing it in the first place. But I suppose, the world being what it is, it would only take one devilish mind to devise and put the thing together and anyone in authority who was impressed by it would soon find more opportunities to exploit it.

Following a similar train of thought, it always surprises me how the frontier townsfolk in Western movies, who must have been relatively impoverished communities, nevertheless build the most elaborate of timber gallows for their condemned felons, a task that would have taken them days, if not weeks and required a good deal of timber not readily available in the desert. If we are to believe what we see, they even built multiple gallows for executing whole gangs of men simultaneously, instead of making them queue up to put their necks in the single, municipal noose one by one. One presumes that once the job was done, the town spent more time and money dismantling the whole thing, since they never seem to have had one available when they needed it again.

For more on this artist visit my updated  A-Z article on the artist 'Cavelo'.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Wedge - Pain and Pleasure

From a series I know only as 'Pain and Pleasure'.
The protagonists are a bit young for my taste but there's a fair degree of  conviction in the scene.





Identification info has been provided by a reader (see comment below).
My thanks to him.
The precise link is Boundupboys - Pleasure and Pain Part 4
starring 'Eric' and 'Ian'
Click on the label below for other wedge articles.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Ulf Retrospective - 2005

My file of Ulf images for the year 2005 contains no less than 210 pictures - and I would not make any claim for that to be his complete output for the period. It's an astonishing rate of production, 5 a week. A fair chunk of the folio consists of explorations of artistic techniques and of what fetish fans might regard as fringe genres - Classical times, Sorcery and Fantasy with the artist giving emphasis to the dramatic, the atmospheric or the romantic rather than the erotic (which is the main interest of this blog, of course).

Ulf - This One's fresh

Classical settings were the staple diet of mid-20th century erotica making an acceptable cover for male enslavement and near nudity (think of AMG, Quaintance). Ulf's technique is to transplant his normal escapades and modern men into a stage set made up of assorted ingredients from various bygone eras. Gone is the paraphernalia of dungeons and were it not for the title it would be hard to detect any erotic edge at all in this picture. Others in the group are similar,  invoking antiquity via the familiar iconography of urns, tombs, draped robes etc and producing a result not unlike the constructions of Priapus of Milet - but minus the sex. There's a nice dramatic image of a Roman Centurion in some sort of labyrinth and Ulf makes a good job of dressing him convincingly, but it's a bit off the radar for this blog ( I'm not into fancy dress, sorry!).
Ulf - Fantasy Landscape
The second sizable fringe group might be described as fantasy romance and typically shows soft-focus naked men exploring the lush and unusual landscapes of some imaginary, tropical world dotted with phallic rock formations. There's a certain wistful beauty to these scenes, a sort of back to nature calmness and comforting freedom from the cares of the word and yet paradoxically there's a certain bleakness about it too below the surface, a remoteness and sense of loneliness, of being lost - even where the explorer has a companion with him. You might put that down to the alien nature of the landscape and yet....

 Ulf - Prisoner in a Pond (I jest!) - no title

.....this picture is haunted by the same emotions. More often than not the explorers seem to end up like this, ankle or knee deep in water, making a sort of sensual, erotic interaction with the landscape. However, water is an environment that is fundamentally inhospitable to man so it's a sensuality that doesn't really lead anywhere and the token bondage in this image seems to underline that.

This idea of man lost in nature was used by the German artist Caspar David Friedrich to great effect in the 1800's and it related to his perception of God. I don't know where Ulf sits in that department and annoyingly I don't have his usually helpful titles either for these works. I find Ulf's images strangely disturbing in some ways and certainly not representative of a gay Arcadia, but the psychology is interesting.

 Ulf - Now You Know

Two young students in a bedroom, surrounded by their sporting and movie paraphernalia share a moment of life-changing intimacy. The title has probably been uttered to a best friend at some point in their life by nearly everyone reading this piece as they finally unburden themselves of their 'terrible' secret. It probably isn't seen as a 'guilty secret' so much these days, but that won't have lowered the hurdle very much since it seems that (perversely) we are often drawn to young men who bat for the other team.

This fearful gay seems to have hit lucky in as much as his very straight-acting pal is actually aroused by the news. But you can see that he's calculating the repercussions of having a friend who is 'out'. These figures are beautifully observed and it would be a great picture even without the powerful message. Interestingly it's possible to read it the other way round too as the sporting jock comes out to his empathetic friend who he fancies like f..k but can't get him to say he feels the same. Nice work.

 If you've followed Ulf over the years, you'll be aware that his gay sensibilities are not exclusively encompassed by the sensitivity displayed in the previous picture, but also have strong political dimensions. This delightful piece of propaganda is simply stated but surprisingly powerful, shocking even. It succeeds in dis-empowering totally the unfortunate representative of straightdom - at first, but then we notice his physical and spiritual, under-dog beauty and this wins the sympathy of the gay viewer regardless.

There's no revenge for gay men here because Ulf hasn't reversed the physical stereotypes, pointing out that a martyr is a martyr and an oafish gay bigot is no different to an oafish straight bigot. It's quite right but a bit disappointing really and those painted-on un-gay clothes must be the ultimate insult! 

 Ulf - Cop Busted Me
This is one of my favourite 2005 pictures and I suppose it is shocking too in it's own way particularly when juxtapositioned alongside the two preceding pictures rather than presented as a variation of a bog-standard (if you'll pardon the pun) dungeon scene in fancy dress. This view of Cops will be widely understood if not necessarily shared, but we are invited to suppose that this arrestee is most probably of  the oafish race and therefore unlikely to be able to enjoy the experience - even in retrospect. The tension in his cuffed arms (nicely modelled by Ulf) testifies to his efforts to escape this humiliation. The kneeling position he has been forced to adopt is itself well up the scale of indignity for such creatures.

 Ulf - Corporal Punishment

This image also depicts humiliating submission to authority and if you think you recognise the positioning and stances of the two men you'd be right, it's Ulf's version of a very typical image by Franco, the doyen of Spanking Artists. Abuse of power in the Military is a regular Ulf theme but that and technique aside, this picture is not Ulf at all. The spanking corporal appears distinctly awkward, effeminate even, which is an unknown species in Ulfland, even in the role of humiliator-top (think back to the 'God hates Breeders' image above for example). Ulf's abusers dominate through their own physical strength. However, Ulf does capture the essential eroticism of Franco's style whilst placing it in the unmistakable context of his own world.

Ulf - Dawg House

This is genuine Ulf-style spanking, an altogether more serious affair. This offender has a cropped haircut suggesting that this too might be an unconventional militarypunishment. He is restrained in such a way that he is obliged to keep his backside presented to the paddle. He cannot rise and if he tries to roll aside he will fall off the table and dangle by his collar (compare the pose with the cop picture above). The simple, frustrating elegance of this predicament bondage is one of Ulf's best inventions and it adds a dark flavour of malicious excess to the otherwise conventional spanking scenario, recalling the emotional 'angry' early works. He has got a bit carried away with exaggerating the victim's rump, but you can just imagine him working excitedly over it, lovingly shaping and colouring that rosy, tingling target area. Such intimacy with the subject is one of the perks of being the creator artist.
 Ulf - Can I Keep Him Boss?

This is another of my Ulf favourites. Finding a man tied up in the forest is probably not an unheard of event but this 'Misery'-like, kidnap follow-on is authentic, gay fantasy (take your pick from the two available roles). The title suggests that this tasty specimen has fallen into the hands of a hill-billy group who live according to their own rules. It's Finders-Keepers of course and the child-like red trolley provides an absurdly manic twist that even Stephen King might not have thought of. 

In this year's output Ulf introduces some distinctive characterful faces into his pictures and I think the thoughtful, realistic face of the 'Finder' above adds immensely to the success of the image. The trolley dolly is Ulf's universally attractive male (also well represented in this selection) but in comparison he's something of a clone and rather bland.
Ulf - no title avail

This image indulges the same soft-kidnap fantasy but envisages a more pragmatic means of acquisition  - mail order delivery complete with user manual and one pair of jeans to get you started. You'd think that most of us would simply whizz through the 'Quick Start Instructions' and get stuck in. However, many a flat-pack has defeated it's buyer and I suspect the humorous analogy here where the new owner seems daunted by the sheer maleness (and decidedly non-flat complexity) of his acquisition is probably nearer to the truth than we'd like to admit. If you look on top of the chest of drawers there appears to be a couple of left over pieces. I love the furniture detail in this picture especially the Van Gogh-like chair in the corner.

 Ulf - Smell It
The beauty of this picture is that it is not entirely unbelievable as a military test of obedience and bonding exercise in some high powered, special forces unit. The petrol cans in the background suggest this might be some impromptu punishment rather than a scheduled training exercise but I'm not sure such a distinction is particulalrly meaningful in these organisations. Even the trainer urging on the naked grunt by imposing his physical closeness in a sexually threatening way is almost plausible. He, by the way, seems to be genetically related to the Corporal in the Franco tribute picture above, but turned out better. It's a another nicely understated piece.

 Ulf - I only have two hands

Humour is rarely far away in Ulf's best pictures but it's a universal truth that the bottom can usually call the shots. The dilemma for the top is that when you've got him tied up, all you really want to do is drool over him but he is unlikely to be satisfied with that.
Again, this picture has the virtue of simplicity. Both captives are restrained just by a pair of handcuffs each and there are only two punishment instruments around, the ball press and the baseball bat. The absence of any other complexity allows the viewer to consider and enjoy the sensuously displayed body of the standing captive enduring his painful trial and obliged to watch the forcible subjugation of his companion (in another variation of the pose seen above in the Tunnel Cop and Dawg House pictures).

There's a slight miscalculation of perspective and size in the blending together of these two elements but they make up a harmonious whole with the curve of the bodies fitting together in a satisfying way and the phallic shapes of the bat and cock angling together suggestively at the very centre of the composition.

Ulf 2005 turns out to be a very good year

to be continued
(To read these articles from the beginning start with Ulf Retrospective part 1

Ulf has a blog The Ulfian which is an interesting mix of his art, political comment and selected porn.

There's also an Ulfian fan club on Google Groups which you have to join (but it's free). 
The older Fan Club on Yahoo! Groups seems to be inactive now.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Mitchell's A-Z of Fetish Artists - Uzu

Uzu - Locker Room

Not exactly fetish, I suppose but I haven't indulged my fancy for rugby players here recently and it makes a nice post-script to a disappointing world cup for us Brits.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Mitchell's A-Z of Fetish Artists - Underbeit (aka LBN)

 Underbeit - Standing Around

Underbeit's art gingerly explores the attractions of men placed in bondage and it's naive in style and content. This mature man is fondly observed but the title of the piece and his casual pose, comfortably leaning against the wall, scarcely hints at the torment potentially in store for that single supporting leg as his restraint continues.

 Underbeit - Bundle of Joy

This simple image succeeds in capturing the tightness of the captive's ropes and gagging. The upright, almost flaming hair seems to convey not just the subject's rebellious youthfulness, but also seems to underline his alarm at his predicament - and perhaps too, his own aroused response to it. 
The title seems to refer to someone else's view of this state of affairs.

Underbeit colourises many of his images like this, but they don't retain all the detail of the originals and in this example there's elevation effect in the coloured version making it less intimate and more objectified.

 Underbeit - Frustration

Another mature man and another gag. It looks like he is being given an intimidating preview of what's coming his way. Underbeit's title however suggests it's a lustful, size-obsessed gay man being teased by his captor. Or is the captor himself frustrated by the obstacle to contentment he himself has provided? i.e. the gag.

 Underbeit - Morning Strapping

This man's masculine credentials are evident in his hairy body and supplemented by the presence of a punchbag suggesting he's a fighter too, which makes the glow of his spanking and his submissive, inviting pose all the more humiliating. If you look at his left leg you'll see what I mean about the colouring process washing away detail.
 Underbeit - Submission

Although this image is called submission it's actually a rather impressive depiction of aggression and dominance of another sporting male. Showing the attacker actually in the process of wrapping his opponent's face (presumably in a wet towel) has much more impact than simply depicting a man in a mask. It makes the struggle between the two men more immediate and real. But even if this is seen as play, the drawing also brings home quite forcefully the sinister possibility/threat of breath control which underlies those face covering and gagging fetishes.
 Underbeit - Snake's Punishment

I suppose I should know who Snake is but I'm content to understand his punishment here. It does not appear to have reached it's conclusion yet, there's a few inches still to go. His legs appear to be unrestrained which would probably allow him to postpone that outcome until his muscles (in both departments) begin to tire.  His face too is tightly wrapped, in rope this time. It's also secured to the post, uncomfortable as well as restraining.
Underbeit probably wouldn't qualify for this series on technique alone but his work has flashes of true erotic power and is suggestive of that never-to-be-repeated period of youthful exploration and self-examination we all go through as the mysterious and frightening possibilities of forced restraint and fetishistic fantasies unfold before us. Even Tagame and Tom of Finland must have passed this way at one point.

I can't find a website for Underbeit, any information from readers would be welcome.

For other articles in this series click on the A-Z label below 
or search my new Artist Index (tab at top of page)

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Mitchell's A-Z of Fetish Artists - Uli


At first sight Uli of Berlin's work might be mistaken for Tom of Finland's. He populates his pictures with the same cops and leather men and also copies some of Tom's distinctive poster styles and even actual imagery as in the example above (see one of Tom's boot worship images here and notice for example the depiction of the leather boot folds). Despite paying this homage to Tom, however, Uli's drawing style is actually quite different, most obviously in the faces but also the detailing of the body which is less crisply defined than Tom's men.

There's an even more significant difference which is also to be seen in this seemingly innocuous boot worship scene. One of Uli's leather men has his foot raised as though about to stamp on the sub. The overall impression given by Tom's work is of a man enjoying being submissive but Uli's sub is (literally) down-trodden and licking boots the least onerous of his duties. It's altogether more serious and intense.

That intensity is apparent in this image too where the domination takes an unusually invasive form but seems to be actually driving the sexual exchange. Although we are being kept at a distance, we are aware of an earthy intimacy here, a sharing of deeply significant desires that goes beyond mere jerking off. This is quite different to Tom's world where characters sometimes seem to be detached spectators even while they are participating (see example) and only get close in order to effect penetration.


The majority of Uli's work takes the form of simple and uncluttered imagery, one man tormenting another, usually with no background at all although there may be a chair or box (as in the previous example) for the sub to perch on. 

What we see here tells us nothing about the character of these men, where they are or how they came to be together. There does seem to be an age difference and the older one has assumed a leather-man persona, but it has an unusually militaristic flavour making him seem more serious, more dangerous, his limits unknown. It's not even clear that his motive is sexual. 

The other man is totally naked, bound and gagged, he's ended up completely helpless and isolated. There is nothing even to suggest that he is part of a leather fraternity with conventions that might confer a degree of protection. In fact he might have been plucked off the street. Although he is excited by his rough treatment we sense that he's become apprehensive, trying to wriggle away from that wicked riding crop. His dominator coolly holds him in position with his foot - and carries on.

At one time 'leather' was exclusive, secret, the unknown, inextricably linked with dangerous sex and unpredictability. Decades of commercially driven fetish clubs (and Tom of Finland fantasies to be fair!) have reduced it's image to near-teddy bear status. In pictures like this, Uli gives a glimpse of the darker world of old

That hint of pent-up violence finds full expression in works like the one above, which though shocking is profoundly well observed and unashamedly erotic in intent. Elsewhere, Uli shows kicking, stamping, punching and throttling sometimes drawing blood (below). The violence is unmitigated by any suggestion of playfulness and not simply extreme but very direct and personal in nature, employing fists, which seems much more shocking than that administered from a distance using a whip or a paddle. If S&M is a genuine form of love-making, Uli tests that theory to the limit. These are areas Tom never ventured into (at least not in his published works) and images like this might discomfort the most ardent fetish fan.

Uli has a good eye for depth which is evident both in this picture and the last one. It lifts his best images beyond Tom's work, even if his figure drawing is less sensuous and precise than that master. The juxtapositions and acute perspective reinforce the sense of domination, envelopment and being trapped. But at the same time he creates a connection between the participants, even though there is no physical contact between them, by using eye lines. This is subtly supplemented by the careful positioning of bulging crotch and ballooning leather trouser, which stirs the lust in the best traditions of 'hidden eroticism' (see label below). At this point I wonder whether men sitting on chairs have a special erotic significance for Uli which I cannot see.

As we saw above, in some of Uli's imagery the borrowed 'Tom's Cop' character transforms into (or cynics might say, reverts to being) a Nazi-style trooper. You can't fault the effectiveness of the composition above at an artistic level but it's hard to ignore the antecedents and associations with a world that is neither pleasant or praiseworthy. In fact the styling seems to deliberately reference the art and propaganda of that era.


This image is quite different in content and technique and unusual in that it features a detailed background. I prefer this style and particularly the shorts, but the depiction of a sleazy urinal only serves to underline the fact that most of Uli's work does not seem sleazy at all ......

Usually captors and captives alike are immaculately dressed in leather, rubber or conventional clothing whose tightness is the only concession to lust. (I'm not a fan of masks but this smooth, clinging example is fascinating and hugely symbolic of domination). Uli's naked bodies are trim, clean and unblemished by tattoos and they are set against a background which is clinically white with no evidence of corrections or smut from the drawing process. Perhaps it's unfortunate but the word 'purity' springs to mind. On the face of it, this seems to be completely at odds with the intense sexuality and (necessarily messy) sadism he portrays. 

I can't explain this paradox, but at the end of the day Uli has produced some work which is truly original despite the superficial proliferation of Tom-like clones. It's nature is sometimes disturbing measured by modern day yardsticks, but that's arguably an artistic achievement, perhaps one that is more significant to us than animals in formaldehyde.

 I can't find a site or biography for Uli and would welcome information on him from readers. Selections of his work are posted at Sarge'sLocker and MeninTallLeatherBoots
For more articles in this series click on the A-Z label below