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Sunday 28 February 2010

Mitchell's A-Z of Fetish Artists - Losarro

Losarro is known through his illustrations for printed story books and many of the examples I have of his work are fairly crude scans from bound books but he deserves a better legacy.

Losarro - Ironman 7

Forced submission features strongly in Losarro's work the perpetrators are usually strongly masculine figures with jutting jaws , muscular bodies and attitudes to match. The victim is often a stereotypical innocent - slender and boyish, wide eyed with floppy blond hair. In 'Ironman 7' the contrast between these very different men is captured quite well but I am afraid the subject matter - strong man bullies small, vulnerable youth - leaves me cold.

I find his images where the participants are more equally matched much more interesting, like the Boot Camp Recruits.

Boot Camp Recruits 7

This picture wouldn't win prizes for artistic technique but he makes a decent stab at the elevated viewpoint which must have been quite novel in it's day. What it does show is Losarro's gift for capturing male submission and domination. The soldiers' fearful expressions and their sprawling helpless poses are powerfully erotic and the 'buddies suffer together' ingredient amplifies their plight. I hardly need point out the Tom of Finland influences here but the profile of the far soldier suggests an acquaintance with Etienne too. The face of the soldier on his knees is pure Losarro, it is a version of his 'innocent kid' but somehow the stronger jaw and fleshy muscularity has matured him into a puppy adulthood which is rather sexy.

Losarro - Arab Captives

'Arab Captives' flirts with age and racial taboos to add spice to the suggestion of forced sex. Much has changed in the decades since this was drawn! The sexual action is suggested rather than explicit but it's done so cleverly you have to examine the picture quite carefully to realise that these two are merely wrestling. However, it's a satisfying composition, the sense of vulnerability, compulsion and pain is successfully conveyed. The prisoner's youthful body is particularly erotic.

Losarro's imagery gets close to caricature at times and this undermines his message somewhat but his art is full of original and really effective expressions of male domination. Bondage situations can easily turn into 'stand and deliver' images where the characters are completely separated but Losarro always seems to be trying to make his men interact physically. It's not the easiest path to tread, interlocking bodies are tricky to pull off and his technique doesn't always match his ambition but the results still repay a little study.

I can't ID a working link for this artist but a search of GMBA (see sidebar) should turn up more examples. I'd welcome up to date link info from readers of this blog

For other articles in this series click on the A-Z label below.

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