To my readers......

Normal posting resumed for now.
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(Oct 12th 2017)

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Zane

Zane - Run Little Leather Boy
 Zane's art is from the era of Drummer magazine and the example above was used for the cover of Larry Townsend's famous book, 'Run Little Leather Boy'. It features dungeon facilities few are likely to encounter in real life.

Zane - Mohican
 This image is more flattering to Zane's ability as an artist, in fact it's barely recognisable as the work of the same hand. Interestingly it features a similar block of stone. The mohican hair cut narrowly qualifies it as fetish art and the treatment of both men's hair is worth comparing to Zamok, my last artist in this series, who creates a similar effect with a slightly more sensitive touch.


The title I have for this image is 'Great State' but I don't know if that is correct, although it sort of links to the subject matter suggesting 'Big Brother' captivity and experimentation. The glass container is a form of cage and has such an obvious metaphorical relevance to the gay condition in the 20th century (i.e. the invisible bars of captivity) that it's surprising that it doesn't crop up more often in the art of the period. It makes an innocuous 'cover' for bondage and kidnap plot lines, but like images of caged men, it's actually quite hard to create a distinct, erotic, visual effect - as you can see here. Nath66 had some success with the idea in one of his sci-fi/alien themed works.
The Bound Gods water tank videos have explored the more sinister possibilities. 

Zane or Zoom?
I have included this image as a bonus. I actually have it catalogued as the work of  'Zoom' but I know of no other work by that artist and there are some similarities to Zane's style, perhaps not the graphic bulge, though. Information from readers would be welcome.

I can't find any website for Zane. Again info welcome.

For more articles in this series click on the A-Z label below or search for specific artists using the index page or search boxes (in the navigation banner and top right)

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Zamok (part 2)


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Zamok moves further into Franco territory with this image which is clearly a milking machine. The soccer player persona provides a suitably virile donor with their reputation of leading the playboy lifestyle providing a pleasing justification for the rather brutal extraction mechanism which does not appear to involve any stimulation of the normal pleasure zones relying instead on a chunky, electro-assisted plug. Blindfolds are featured in a number of Zamok's early pictures and outwardly they give the impression of forced involvement. But the removal of external visual stimuli, forcing the captive to focus on what he physically feels seems to be another expression of the introspective interest I noted earlier.

The slightly vague mechanics of the machine are actually less engrossing than the delicious, lean physique of the soccer player (with his authentic, well-developed, thigh muscles). Observe once again the superb detailing of his clothing and body hair. The spiky hair cut which gives a boyish air to what is clearly a mature man (no Franco college jock he!). His maturity and the realistic depiction of his body makes his nudity more striking and the uncomfortable pose the machine obliges him to adopt for this procedure all the more humiliating.

 
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Zamok has also produced a group of images which he labelled 'Denim', featuring men in tight skinny jeans. It's a fashion style which has enjoyed a recent renaissance in my part of the world, but primarily as 'yoof' garb (as are the sports shoes). As a result this clothing on a mature man seems less than flattering to me, but I don't know if that is Zamok's intention.

There's a predominantly manual, milking process in this fantasy, administered again by an anonymous hand. The machine on which the subject is mounted seems to be little more than a complex restraint device. It's most striking feature appears to be a large wheel with chunky rubber tyre, which presumably spins between his legs. It suggests this man has automotive interests, but it's not clear whether the wheel's purpose is to provide direct friction - or just the intimidating threat of it. If it's the former, a spectacular shredding of those skinny jeans is in prospect. The whole arrangement seems to fantasise a sort of dynamic, motorised 'wedge' (click on 'riding the wedge' in the list of lables below if you don't get this allusion!).

I might be getting carried away with my wedge theory, but at least the customary ball-stretching cord is keeping the poor man's ball-sack out of harms way. However the deliberate narrowing of it's gauge to wire-like dimensions at the ball-loop end is equally capable of sinister interpretation.

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(click to enlage images)

The sinister is not entirely absent from this image either. It has a medical flavour, provided essentially by the automated syringe to which the eye is irresistibly drawn but it's subtly supplemented by the man's bandage-like gag. The syringe is poised to inject a sizeable amount of fluid into the athlete's balls which are offered up, deliciously tautened by a clamping ring. This replaces the usual stretching cord, but the stretching action is now provided by the athlete's own weight, brought into play by the (adjustable?) height of the ring. It's also potentially amplified in an angular way by the action of the impressive piston up his rear.

The detailed mechanics of this device probably don't reward closer scrutiny, but the captive's physique certainly does and whilst Zamok's Central European male does not vary very much in appearance, neither does his erotic appeal. This recumbent, gagged position adds an extra frisson of helplessness which is very erotic.

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In this more recent work (after a gap of 7-8 years) the mechanics of entrapment are much simpler. It's essentially an electrified sounding rod which has been crudely weighted to gradually insert itself deeper and deeper into the captives dick. The restraint on him is minimal too, but the use of a much more substantial leather gag (no doubt incorporating a plug) signals a more demanding test than usual for this captive and judging by the arching of his body and the tension in his neck, it is already under way. Notice how the shaping of his buttock suggests the support platform is little more than a round pole adding a balancing problem to his woes.

Once again, Zamok's treatment of the man's chest and pubic hair is exquisite and the naked body line connecting them is a revelation of the possibilities of erotic portrayal. This is a man in command of his artistry.

 
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The artist revisits familiar, previous torments here in another simplified concept showing just ball weighting and a butt support platform, which presumably incorporates an anchoring plug. But there's a sense of new beginnings about this image too. Thus, although the athlete's contemplative expression harks back to earlier pieces, a dribbling emission for once shows evidence of a spontaneous, 'unassisted', unmilked sexual response.

Similarly, while the inclusion of a detailed background is also a return to earlier practice after the long run of starkly focussed 'experiment' images, the choice of a dungeon setting is most unexpected, considering his preoccupation with sporting connections hitherto. It follows the inclusion of a leather, fetish gag in the previous image and this perhaps reflects a growing awareness that there is a part of a real world in which experiencing invasive and painful body fantasies is not a solitary occupation.

In fact this captive seems to be on display, not a public display, but only for those select few who have access to the cell where he is being kept. The tight restraining ropes and straps of previous imagery have become simple, rigid loops which allow movement and are probably not inescapable, so performing a ritualistic role as much as a functional one.

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This is the most recent work I have by Zamok. It's one of his most complex 'entrapments' but the multiple attachments to the athlete's body have the delicacy of a spiders web quite different to the robust urgings of the gym machines. There is still a chunky, butt plug-cum-piston steadying his body and forcing it forward into an erotic display position, a function augmented by the collar pulling backwards on his neck.

The intrusion of the butt plug is balanced by a sounding rod, rigged up to insert itself under the weight of a control device which has replaced the usual cbt, ball attachment. They are both wired as electrodes, creating an axis through the body for the torment itself, which is electrical in nature.

In this image the idea of a watching audience in a dungeon scenario is not just referenced but positively celebrated, the notice at the back conjuring up a fairground atmosphere and giving the impression of being in a tent. However said watching audience are nowhere to be seen. As ever this picture seems to be about the subject's experience and the sign adds exposure and humiliation into the usual physical discomforts. In this context the man's kneeling position and bowed head seems to significant, suggesting penitence and being exacted for erotic misdemeanours.

Those of you more knowledgable in european languages than I may be able to pinpoint Zamok's mother tongue here – somewhere in central Europe maybe or possibly we're in Spain.

The familiar socks and plimsolls are superbly detailed as always. The sheen of the socks almost suggest women's stockings but it does reflect the authentic soccer gear of the period, so we won't go there!
  
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I'm sure my admiration for Zamok's work is plain to see. His technical drawing skills are obvious but he has a sense of the erotic that is enormously pleasurable and stylish because it is so subtle, based on realistic, observed anatomy and not over-inflated organs. I have compared him and contrasted him with Franco based on the common use of machine-like restraints, but they really very different. Zamok machines appear to have complex mechanics but are really just restraint frames. Franco's machine's look simple and improbable, but really work their victims hard. Zamok's work tends to the static, while Franco's is often dynamic and full of movement. Zamok's subjects internalise their emotions and experiences, often alone, while Franco's emote wildly, performing for their captors. How lucky we are to have both of them!

Zamok doesn't have a website as far as I know. For a while he seemed to be releasing new work via blog perros but that has stopped now. You can find some more of his art via search engines. I know of only 23 published pieces by him (+ one possible).


 For more articles in this series click on the A-Z label below or search for specific artists using the index page or search boxes (in the navigation banner and top right)

Saturday, 19 August 2017

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Zamok (part 1)

Zamok is one of those artists (like Chris -Musclemaxx) whose contributions to our erotic art are occasional but always special. When I set out on this A-Z survey, I knew Zamok would be the star of the last letter and nothing has changed in the intervening years to change that position.

 
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He burst onto the scene with a group of bondage images featuring soccer players being given ingenious and humiliating, sexual punishments on the pitch. This location left open the possibility that a crowd of spectators was there to witness their downfall although they are not shown. You can see immediately in this example that this artist has drawing skills of a very high order. The mid-European faces are extremely realistic and vividly conjure up the era when Italy seemed to be the home of vain, overpaid, prima donna players. The anatomical detail is impressively accurate and very seductive, successfully showing muscular definition without breaking up the overall body shape. The touches of body hair are restrained but erotically suggestive, distancing the image from the purely academic. Last but not least, the superbly detailed, vestigial clothing gives these images a classy, erotic embellishment.

The disembodied teasing hand coming in from the side seems to be a tribute to the erotic artists of the 50's and 60's who sometimes used this technique (less explicitly) to add witty, sexual innuendo to beefcake poses. It has complex overtones and associations – the anonymity of the hand reflecting the oppression of the times, the forbidden touching of naked bodies and the unattainable nature of those perfect males who were presumed to be straight. Zamok's use of the symbolism in 2001 is intriguing.

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Zamok is probably best known for his 'Alternative Gym' pictures in which athletes are given workouts on complex bondage machines, like this daunting stretching device. It's a vehicle for a spectacular body pose but despite the explicit sexual ingredients Zamok's image is oddly desexualised. He does not indulge in over-sized organs, in fact the normality of his subjects in this respect is slightly disturbing.

Zamok has a knack for convincingly conveying the directional pull of the rope and it's effect on the body part involved, a science which other erotic artists struggle with. The function of the post between the poor athlete's legs is rather more obscure though. Notice the graduated scale under the table suggesting perhaps a tilting mechanism?

A detail of this image which particularly appeals to me is the athlete's vest and shorts which are casually draped over the weight suspension post almost as though this were an interruption to a normal workout. The stretching device with it's table and pulleys seems to combine elements of medical equipment with conventional gym training machines. Even the gag looks like it might be genuine sporting paraphernalia and Zamok leaves you in no doubt that it's tight. The whole image is a study in tension. This is the only Zamok picture I have seen which is coloured, that's possibly the work of a collaborator.

 

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It is highly appropriate that my review of Zamok's work should follow hot on the heels of my recent re-appraisal of Franco's lab rat andmilking machine art. This image is very much in that vein with the 'jock' in the chair being milked by his coach but Zamok reverses the role of machine and man. The captive is forced to work the machine (to alleviate the pull of it's weights) instead of it working him as Franco would have it. Zamok's machinery detail is also more convincing mechanically, although (as in the previous image) the anal ingredient is slightly vague, presumably it's action is linked to that hydraulic leg support. You need to an engineering mindset to to fully comprehend Zamok's wicked genius!

Notice that the coach who is administering the 'coup de grace' is only vaguely defined, it looks like Zamok toyed with making him undressed but in the end opted for a less involved, sketchy anonymity. As an authority figure he's distinctly underwhelming, more like a janitor who's wandered in to tidy up (so to speak). This is quite different to Franco's 'supervisors' who are usually characterised in great detail to create a contrasting impression of power, ugliness or malign intent and who revel in their subject's discomfort. Usually, Zamok's athletes are left to deal with the machines entirely on their own, although clearly someone else must have been involved in putting them in that position. Zamok does not tease us with those possibilities inviting us to focus on the man's predicament instead – restrained, under physical stress and sexually exercised.

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This is a great picture, albeit one that is slightly puzzling. Technically skilled, it captures a strange sense of shared purpose between the two protagonists which is fascinating. The eroticism is quite mild and seems to originate from the well-used, slightly sleazy clothing as much as the explicit sexual bondage. 

This is the only Zamok image I know of where the 'tormentor' is present and depicted in equal detail with his victim. It differs from Zamok's usual style in other ways too. There's no machine involved, so there's a direct connection between the two men, literally - it's the cords attached to the weight and the captive's sex organs. But they are not looking at each other, communicating emotion of any sort, but simply looking down presumably contemplating what will happen when the weight is released. The mood seems quite calm and matter of fact, as though this procedure is not particularly out of the ordinary. The victim in his ritual restraints seems to submit dutifully, if not willingly necessarily. 

This scene could easily be an exploration or a trial of strength, but if it is a punishment there's no sense of glee or distress or of the confused emotions that characterise Franco's work. It's perhaps worth bearing this sense of detached observation in mind when viewing Zamok's other, more spectacular images as well.

 
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In an earlier picture, Zamok featured a goalkeeper hanging like this from the goal cross-bar. As is usual for him that picture showed his captive in profile and this variation is an ambitious departure with challenging perspective. It's such a striking image that it's not surprising that Ulf also produced a similar picture - 'Time Out', dated in the following year. It's not exactly the same, but the similarities are so striking that it's obvious they have been inspired by the same source. 
 
 

There's nothing wrong with artists taking inspiration from each other, Tom of Finland's work has inspired numerous images over the years. But it's interesting to compare how the two men have tackled the idea. Zamok seems to have contented himself with depicting the predicament in it's barest form but Ulf has embellished it with colour and sensual tones and a richly detailed background suggesting the corner of a back yard. The plant trailing down the wall seems to imply that this is a neglected area and the prisoners detention might be lengthy, 

If you look at the arms and legs in Zamok's picture you can see the man is stretched out almost straight and there's a tangible tension in the ball stretching cord between his legs. A slight twist in the body suggests his true discomfort. Ulf's man by contrast is flexing both his arms and his legs. It looks as though he is still struggling and this produces an extra opening of the legs that is subtly erotic. You can also see that, at this level of detail, the two images are completely different.

In fact the original inspiration for both images is, I believe, an S&M, dungeon photograph which I thought I had in my archives but sadly have been unable to find for this article. It's the sort of scene that might have come out of a Zeus video. 


As a stop gap, I did manage to turn up this similar item of a western tourist detained for fun in a Middle Eastern carpet emporium which I thought was worth sharing. How times change.

To be continued in part 2.....

 For more articles in this series click on the A-Z label below or search for specific artists using the index page or search boxes (in the navigation banner and top right)

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Zanuf


I'm including this item as a stop gap while I work on a more important article on Zamok. However, it is a picture I have a soft spot for, even though it has many of the characteristics and cliches of the tentacle genre that I have poked fun at in the past.

I particularly like the colours the artist has used, which make a very pretty picture - perhaps a strange admission for what is supposed to be an article about fetish art! I'm also drawn to the cute face of the slightly confused prey of what I take to be a plant. He's entrapped by tentacles which look chunky and strong enough to hold him (the balled fist is a nice detail). Meanwhile the lustful plant drips anticipatory, white drool over his naked body. The stethoscope like secondary tentacles are rather less convincing but make an interesting visual elaboration on the focal point of the image.

The name I have ascribed to this artist is Zanuf but I am not sure that it isn't the title of a game character or some thing else. The title appears to be Raden vs Nano plant. I don't have a link for him either. I'd welcome clarification from my readers via the comments facility.  

For more articles in this series click on the A-Z label below or search for specific artists using the index page or search boxes (in the navigation banner and top right)

Sunday, 6 August 2017

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Zagato

Zagato - Fisherman's Tale
 Mark Zagato is not really a fetish artist and his chocolate box art and curly-headed youths are not my usual cup of tea either, but he has made some contributions to the fetish theme which are not without interest. These waders are a good place to start and he's got the young man in deep enough to feel the pressure of the water against them and almost in deep enough to risk an overflow filling his boots!

Zagato - Rebellious Slave
 The tethered slave is normally consigned to the dungeons for punishment so these elegant terrace surroundings suggest the owner is taking a personal interest in the proceedings and perhaps entertaining his guests with them. The slave seems defiant and struggles provocatively for them, perhaps hoping to escape his fate. The threatening clouds seem to suggest otherwise, although 'rain stopped play' is always a possibility for a Brit sensibility.

Zagato - Machine Sublime
 I've no idea what this title means but this more mature-looking captive appeals to me more. His gleaming (freshly forged?) chains are a more serious restraint and suggest a greater degree of permanence to the arrangement which is daunting for him. The mounting point is low and forces him to kneel which is a neat way of providing an entertaining outlet for inebriated house guests (note the marble floor, easily cleaned). At least he seems to be under cover, but a night spent out here might be uncomfortable
Zagato - Wishing Love
The two halves of this diptych do not seem to mesh together visually and that disjunction is echoed in the attitude of the master who seems to radiate vanity and complete indifference to his obviously yearning slave. I suppose there's something quite deep in the underlying sentiment here.

Zagato - St Sebastian
Mark Zagato is not the first artist to place St Sebastian's execution in the glamourous surroundings of a villa rather than the bleak desert chosen for the famous film. His youthful 'Captain' is interesting but the sites he has chosen for the arrows are disappointingly neutral and the bondage is less than convincing, seeming to lack any point of anchorage. It's enough to spark the imagination though and the flimsy veil the captive is wearing is an interesting detail that highlights the artist's technical skill.

Mark Zagato used to have a blog but I can't find it now (info welcome). 

For more articles in this series click on the A-Z label below or search for specific artists using the index page or search boxes (in the navigation banner and top right)

Thursday, 3 August 2017

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Zach

Zach - The Grip of The Vice
 We commence our survey of the letter 'Z' with a mild mystery. This startling image is labelled Zach but is unquestionably the work of Rex, in fact it heads up my A-Z article on that superb artist. I need not elaborate on what I said about this image there, save to add that it's actually a reworking of a photograph from the 'Drummer' era, so we can't credit Rex with the imaginative, underlying idea. I have the photo somewhere and I'll add it here if I can find it.
Zach - Save Water
This picture is also labelled Zach and although it's the same logo, it's not obviously by the same hand, although the level of technical skill is comparable and it's an equally striking composition. The treatment of the belt is very pleasing to the eye. A significant part of the allure of denim jeans is the 'worn and washed' look of the seams which highlight the shaping of the body inside them, but it's extremely hard to recreate it on paper. Nigel Kent is quite successful at it, Zach gets a 'good effort'.

It's quite possible that Zach is a pseudonym for Rex's work, both images were published in Drummer and he may have adopted the name for that portfolio. But I've not seen any other images by him in the style of the second picture. Is this the work of a naive pirate? I say naive because no-one could pass off the clamp image as anything other than Rex!

Answers on a postcard please - or via my comments feature below.

For more articles in this series click on the A-Z label below or search for specific artists using the index page or search boxes (in the navigation banner and top right)