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Friday 20 January 2012

Mitchell's A-Z of Fetish Artists - Prevot

Prevot - Angelface (cover)
Benoit Prevot has carved a unique niche in gay art. His images look back with nostalgia to the decadent, early 20th Century. Wealthy young toffs sporting waved hair, top hats and morning suits mingle with obsequious but obliging servants and rough, cloth-capped workers. His technical style also draws inspiration from the illustrative art of that period. He is perhaps best known for erotic flavoured narratives like 'Angelface' for Class Comics above.

Prevot - Slick it Up
Prevot's fetish credentials are incidental to his main work, but the confident light touch in this image for Slick It Up, suggests he knows what he is talking about. The dramatic background shadow rounding out the scene is typical of his style

Prevot - Tulips
Many of his pictures have two layers of meaning with devices like shadows and mirrors giving a wry twist to the surface image. Tulips (my title) is a simple, not very subtle, example. A young man poses for an 'arty' picture unaware that the shadow on the wall behind shows him in a different light. There's an element of class manipulation in this picture, the pugnacious face and the belted trousers suggest he's an ordinary working guy, he looks uninterested and would probably be unwilling to bare any more, even for ready money. But the scheming artist still manages to compromise him. This visual trickery in erotic art (and there's a nice pun on the flower's name too) has pretty much died out now, but was commonplace (in more subtle form of course) in the days of censorship and more oppressive attitudes. I discussed other examples by Tom of Finland and by Royale Studios in a recent posts here. It's nice to see someone carrying on an erotic tradition.

Prevot - Cleavage
There are similar undercurrents of class and manipulation in 'Cleavage' (my title). A workman in a fashion house is commandeered to help the model a new garment for the catalogue illustration. In this marvellous image, Prevot creates a power and humiliation scenario full of unexpected twists and contrasts.
The smooth, young, stylists are distinctly upper crust and full of confidence and this enables them to exercise complete power over the stereotypical, humble workman who is so straight and conventional he could almost be your dad. They casually humiliate him by persuading him to expose his ass (quite a feat in that era) and must have been thrilled to find such peachy cheeks beneath such an unpromising exterior. And if this exposure were not embarrassing enough for the poor workman, his backside is now compared to a woman's bosom and matched up with a frilly dress, a fetish overtone in it's own right which I've not covered much in this series of articles. We're not quite sure if the illustrator looking on is seriously assessing neckline options or lasciviously enjoying the male 'd├ęcolletage' - or perhaps he's noticed the even more embarrassing reflection in the mirror.
This sort of comic scenario (bar the mirror image) could easily have featured in the famous saucy postcards of the pre-WW2 period by Donald McGill, but by taking it a little more seriously and sensuously, Prevot gives it a real erotic kick.

Prevot has a blog and you'll find lots about him very easily via Google
For earlier posts in this series click on the A-Z label below or use the search box in the title bar to find your favourite artist.


K-Nova said...

Great analysis and interesting insight (esp. the class stuff!) into some wonderfully creative artworks from a great artist.

speedoric said...

Top hats and evening dress more like.Prevot has published 2 further parts of Angleface:can we have an update therefore on this 2012 write up?

Mitchell said...

Can't promise! Thanks for the comment