To my readers......


Thanks for visiting mitchmen, home of Mitchell's Gay Art

The Caps and Collars/ Flat Cap Gang story at Google Groups has been on a break since January, I hope to resume shortly. (see Group News for link)

Message updated 5th May 2024

Friday 24 June 2011

Mitchell's A-Z of Fetish Artists - Olaf

Olaf was a prominent illustrator for magazines like Drummer in the 80's and his work is much admired for it's technical skill and detail, typified by the Inquisitive Cop picture below.

Olaf - Inquisitive Cop (my title)
There's an element of tribute to Tom of Finland here, in the cop's face for example. The amazing detail in the tweaking hand suggests a photographic reference which is legitimate in my view as long as there is 'added value' by the artist.

Olaf - Slave's Gambit
Many of his pictures hint at fetish subjects without depicting anything very specific, no doubt a consequence of commercial constraints. The enema example here is an exception and it makes a dramatic statement. Technically there's quite a contrast between this picture and the previous example with somewhat muddy detail in the mid-section. It almost looks as though two different poses have been 'married' together. I must say, however, that the treatment of the bound hands is excellent.

Olaf - Devils 3
The final example is completely different, one of a series in which two devils ravish a man in a churchyard. To me this is a glimpse of the real Olaf, full of spontenaity and excitement, and unashamedly glorying in lust and eroticism. The blobby shaped background is a bit odd but in this picture technical correctness simply doesn't matter, it expresses it's subject with great panache and life, qualities which are rather less apparent in his 'better' art.
I don't know of a specific site for Olaf.
There are small exhibitions of his work at Erotic Art Collection and at Gay Erotic Art Links
You can also get a book of his work - just Google 'Olaf Gay Artist'.
For more articles in this series click on the A-Z label below.

Friday 17 June 2011

Mitchell's A-Z of Fetish Artists - Okawa

I cannot talk about Okawa's art without observing that it is unmistakeably Japanese. The delicacy of style and colouring has some kinship to modern day Kimura, but unlike that artist there is absolutely no westernisation of the faces, or the clothing (Okawa often uses traditional loincloths and headbands) or the settings, which feature pine trees and even cherry blossom!

Okawa 031 Snowbound (N.B. all titles are mine)

From a fetish point of view the most interesting manifestation of these influences are the pictures where the captive is left outside exposed to the elements - rain, snow, the sea etc. I can't think of any other artist who has explored this theme so interestingly. Of course depicting water in it's various forms presents technical challenges but Okawa acquits himself well. 

Okawa 04 Shipbound

There is one exception to the 'Westernisation' discussion , at one point in his career Okawa seems to have been influenced by Tom of Finland whose bikers in leather jackets (above) and tight jeans with turn-ups start to appear in the supporting cast. Okawa captives are transplanted into Tom-like settings and even the drawing style echoes Tom. I'm cautious about the authenticity of these drawings but it's an interesting group.

Okawa 51L Treetied

Generally speaking Okawa's captives are not naked, in accordance with the mores of the time, but he usually skillfully fills the boy's loincloths with erotic bulges, sometimes accentuated and enhanced by carefully placed bindings (see other pictures in this article). 
The example of frontal nudity above is almost unique in my collection (a few other images I have appear to have been censored) and the stretched, beautifully depicted genitals show what we have missed out on. The suspended victim and his beating with a stave are typical Okawa themes and leave us wondering if this is austere family discipline, military - or something more sinister. Okawa doesn't shrink from violence and some pictures show the bloody aftermath, but it's not gory.

Many of his young men (as here) are characterised with soft, slightly fleshy, almost feminine faces and while this is absolutely authentic, for me personally it is less erotically appealing than, say, Hasegawa's leaner look or Tagame's brutal looking protagonists, which stand at the other end of the facial spectrum. In this picture the cropped hair helps and I must admit, that I do like fleshiness in the body styling. I shouldn't leave this picture without pointing out the graceful leg lines and well-drawn feet.

Okawa 05b Crucified

The same characteristics can be seen in the 'crucifixion' image. In this picture the skillful use of lighting and perspective stand out, but don't miss the complex rope patterns and securing nuts which are clearly and convincingly captured. I love the hairy legs too. The triangular wedge between the victims legs is perhaps an over-enthusiastic elaboration. It produces a nice division of the testicles but I suspect the victim is too well supported to feel it's full divisive effect.

Okawa 31L - Tied and Beaten

At the end of the day Okawa is a bondage artist and the final image exemplifies this. Even today, in an era awash with male bondage imagery, it is simply stunning in it's quality, beauty and impact. The rope tethering the victim to a nearby tree or post greatly increases the psychological effect.

Okawa is one of the great fetish artists.

There's a decent selection of Okawa's work at Japanese Gay Art (Mar 2018)
I believe there are books available and Google will throw up more examples.
For more articles in this series click on the A-Z label below.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Mitchell's A-Z of Fetish Artists - Oda

Oda Toshimi is one of those artists known for a particular striking image, or in his case a set of images, depicting the punishment of a captured Japanese soldier during the Sino-Japanese war. The captive is subjected to a variety of tortures while onlookers jeer and laugh.

Oda - Captive slung on a pole

I picked this example, partly for the unusual cigarette torture, but also because of the depiction of captive transportation. There is something highly erotic about a tied man being carried off from the scene of his capture to another place where he can expect to be abused. The usual technique is for the hunky captor to sling his acquisition over his shoulder, caveman style. This method, suspended from a pole carried between two men, is favoured for a heavy or struggling victim and is much beloved of Tarzan scenarios, but otherwise quite unusual. It suggests the victim is prized and/or dangerous, (if not necessarily destined for the stewpot!)

The style of the pictures with their soft colours and flattened perspective is distinctive, but I can't see any clear cut link to traditional Oriental art. The characterful faces and explicitly detailed tortures make the images memorable. They are often put forward as example of classic, post war (WW2) Japanese erotic art. However, there are some interesting features.

The naked captive is muscular and handsome, but leaving aside the generous erection which he maintains thoughout his ordeal, the youthful, innocent way he is depicted makes him seem almost like a martyr in the context of the drawing. His tormentors include women and all their faces are caricatured in a Hogarthian way to show their hatred of the captive and amusement over his fate. However, they are all fully dressed in heavy clothes and there is not the slightest hint of sexuality in the way they are depicted, despite being engaged in genital tortures. Their interest in the victim is limited to jeering his erection and punishing it.

It almost lends a flavour of historical realism to the picture with a political jab at the barbarian Chinese thrown in for good measure. Perhaps it's only a sophisticated form of masochism where the victim is not even desired by his torturers. It has to be judged by the standards of it's era, which I am not qualified to do. Certainly the representation doesn't stand in the way of enjoyment for fetish enthusiasts.

I don't have a link but you can find a couple of articles about Oda via Google

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