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(Feb 18th 2018)

Sunday, 3 September 2017

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Zaria

Zaria's comic art features fetish themes but like other Japanese artists he flirts with cross-generational, coming of age themes that are highly sensitive these days, making my task of representing his work here a tricky one.

Zaria - Kinbaku, cover

This coloured image comes from 'Kinbaku' (tight binding), a fantasy about the punishment of a run-away slave. The decorative use of white lily flowers seems an oddly romantic embellishment to Westerners in a bondage context, but in Japan they symbolise chastity and purity, thereby loading this image with overtones which I will refrain from commenting on.

Zaria - Kinbaku, page 13
 I'm not totally enamoured of the spiky manga style of drawing, but Zaria's approach is mellower than some and the precision of his rope detail here is admirable. I don't have an uncensored version but that's rather less important in this classic, rear-view, erotic pose which is the stuff to spark the imaginations of voyeurs and artists alike – oh, to recast this with a more adult captive! The preoccupation of Japanese artists with anal egg vibrators is something of a puzzle to me although I can see the appeal of total insertion of the device with remote, external control symbolised by a slender, electric cable. I suppose the prolonged exposure to the egg's vibration suffered by Takaya, the captive in the story, would become extremely trying - eventually.
 
Zaria - Kinbaku, page 14
This frame documenting the humiliating, grudging submission of Takaya, after a lengthy, petulant exchange with his urbane captor is a beauty too. You can almost feel the pressure of those chunky ropes, en-wrapping the young man's flesh Comic images rarely work well when separated from their context but apart from the disjointed dialogue, this one does. Even though these pictures are in English, remember to read them from right to left to get the gist of the scene. The same applies to the next frame.

Zaria - Mob 1 p10 (det)
This picture is taken from Zaria's story 'Mob' and it's a fantasy of exploration and self-discovery that speaks for itself. This image which is just a single frame plucked out of over 100 pages is amazingly detailed and quite different to to the ones I show above and below. It's a miniature masterpiece of story-telling (but you'll have to read the book if you want to know exactly what is going on with these two. Clue: - it's not a burglar). The combination of the crudely functional, leather restraining harness and the elaborate, luxurious, gothic-looking bedroom creates a sense of secret depravity and a surrender to gentle coaxings in a comfortable, safe haven. A surrender which we are able to furtively observe through the sheer draperies. The power play is subtle and insidious, almost feminine and quite different to the in-your-face domination and raw sex of the traditional, dungeon, training technique, but it's arguably more powerful. That contrast is drawn out as the story proceeds.

Zaria - Mob 2 p20 (det)
'Mob' is mainly concerned with the induction of a young man into military service  and as you can see, the gentle attentions of his former life are soon replaced with cruder, brutal encounters as his fellow soldiers discover his leanings. This frame sits between two others that overlap and encroach on it. That creates a great sense of confusion and excitement but I've isolated it here to draw out the simple, erotic beauty Zaria has found in what is otherwise, a commonplace, copulation scene. The gentle detailing of the recruit's exposed torso is marvellously effective. 

Zaria - Mob 2 p25
 The aerial viewpoint in this scene shows the influence of film techniques on Zaria, the fan lazily revolving above the urgent activity below. Don't worry it's all consensual! Once again there's some superb detailing here, notably the spectator in the dark tee shirt whose face is enviably captured.

Zaria - The Pet, page 1
No fetish content here but I like the sinister atmosphere created by this opening page of 'The Pet' and the characterisation of a ordinary-looking young man. It illustrates Zaria's cinematic approach to story-telling which greatly enhances the drama. In this story, the young man (Yuki) wanders 'off-piste' and seeking a way of getting drugs for his sick brother is persuaded by a gang to submit himself to auction as a 'pet'. 
 
Zaria - The Pet, page 14
In this frame the clink of his chain signals the moment where the gang reveal their true intentions of enforced subjugation. I've always liked the collar as a symbol of domination and in this simply-conceived but striking image, Zaria emphasises it by setting it in stark contrast to the captive's total nudity, which is rendered with simple clean lines and tones to create a sense of smooth flesh.

Zaria - The Pet, page 24
In my article on Zane I commented on the difficulty of making cages look erotic visually. I think Zaria passes that test here by having his prisoner, Yuki, pressed up against the cage wall, whose curving, square mesh pattern assumes some of the characteristics of a net, not just imprisoning it's victim but enveloping him. Zaria's precise detailing allows us to see Yuki's succulent body clearly, unhampered by the mesh. I should perhaps explain that the constricting effects of the cock cage, preventing it's wearer from ejaculating, are a major element of the storyline.

Zaria - The Pet, page38
This final picture is another masterpiece of seeming simplicity but anyone who has attempted to depict a complex threesome will understand the artistic challenges involved. There are some miscalculations in the shading here and there, but the visual integrity of the 3 separate participants is superbly realised. I actually chose this picture because at first sight it seemed like an image by Stephen/Etienne had been transplanted into this manga world. The poses and the styling are just like those in his famous comic stories. I don't know if Zaria is a fan of Etienne, it isn't obvious elsewhere in his work, perhaps it's a case of 'great minds think alike'.

I'm not aware that Zaria has a site but his work seems to circulate freely and if you search on his name you will track down further examples.

 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)

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