Adam's drawing style is quite sensual and his characters have handsome, youthful faces and chunky bodies which I find quite pleasing. I’d hesitate to describe him as a fetish artist but S&M scenes occur quite regularly in his work. As you can see in the example above, it’s not exactly tame stuff and there’s no ambiguity about the sexual component either. However, the attackers’ boyish smiles suggest it’s intended as boisterous fun and experimentation, an initiation rather than intense sadism.
This drawing has a similar theme, the young novice eager to learn the ropes from a more experienced and older man. It’s a common desire during early manhood and a subject much in vogue of late in porn circles but they don’t capture anything like the sense of a young man’s awkwardness, excitement and inexperience that you can see in Adam’s picture. Notice how the youth gazes longingly (and seductively) into the eyes of his (seriously sexy) instructor, leaning back towards him, seeming to resist the pull of invisible ties around his wrists, as though seeking an encouraging final embrace before his test begins. The two figures seem to be physically very close to each, creating a sense of intimacy and sexual desire that is surprisingly powerful. I imagine Adam got very hot drawing this!
This drawing has a simplicity and cleanness which is quite different to the rough sketching of the first example. It’s less dramatic on that account, but it suits the subject, where the focus is the excitement and anticipation inside the head of the youth. I tend to think of this simpler, elegant style as being earlier, but there’s nothing immature about the technique, the outstretched pointing arm for example is beautifully drawn although there does seem to be some miscalculation on limb sizes.
The unsubtle placing of the nightstick is an example of hidden eroticism which is an unexpected element in an obvious portrayal of sexual fetish. Jack Bozzi is normally placed in the 70’s, when gay liberation began to take hold. These pictures are a glimpse into a bizarre, transitional world of heterosexual censorship where portraying erotic, leather fetish and domination is acceptable, but sexual display or interaction is not.
This muscular two on one is rather more intimidating and aggressive than the usual spanking scene and also has its ambiguities. Is this a hand spanking or a belting – or both? The foreground figure is beautiful creation and as well as brandishing a belt, he is also positioned to take advantage of that enticing ass, although this composition doesn’t have the same sense of intimacy as other Adam pictures here. The artist has settled instead for placing his right hand in a place which is so unsubtle and unhidden that you can only conclude that the publishing restrictions were tumbling down at this stage.
Another cross-generational image that is exceptionally well drawn with bodies, clothing and faces, that are not only lifelike but erotically appealing. I think this is a beautiful picture, particularly in the portrayal of the awkward younger man. The lines of his limbs are an artistic lesson in erotic muscle contours. The flailing pose is extremely contrived but erotic in its own right and successfully conveys a (disguised) humiliating and probably painful position in another man’s grip. The hidden erotic subterfuge in this picture is not confined to this ingredient. At first sight he seems to be naked but closer inspection it seems he is wearing swimming trunks or underwear. The glare of poor reproduction is partly responsible but the waistline of his trunks clearly disappears as it crosses his buttocks suggesting a deliberately ambiguous intention. Notice the positioning of the young man’s right knee too.
In this picture the characters lean into each other, suggesting an intimate proximity and appear to be almost embracing just as in my second example. It’s a surprisingly erotic effect.
There’s a fair degree of contrivance in this cowboy bondage picture too with the familiar ingredients of mentor and young apprentice working out with limbs subtly entwined to suggest something slightly more connected than just sex. A tree placed between open legs is a basic Freudian device (see also Tom of Finland’s pictures) but ball rubbing on rough bark seems a highly inventive twist. With erections like these and bound up genitalia, the need to disguise the strategically-placed phallic stump cum stalagmite is another puzzle.
My last example returns to Adam’s more familiar, sketchy style with a kidnapping/punishment subject. Although unpolished, these pictures are no less interesting as erotica, substituting drama and movement for visual sensuality.
In a general male art survey Adam would be in my top echelon. However, this selection shows that his fetish credentials are not to be sniffed at either. His handsome, boyish faces and jovial participants don’t quite ring true but were a necessary cloak in less tolerant times. The compensation is the glorious inventiveness of ideas spawned to circumvent the restrictions.
Article Revised Feb 2015
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