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 31 May 2013

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Sergey

Sergey is a one hit wonder - at least I'm not aware of any other work by him although the quality of this set suggests there ought to be others (any info on this from my readers?). I have included him because, for me, this little set is a significant fetish work of a fairly extreme type and it's a surprisingly rare example of the 'Cowboy captured by Indians' scenario. The whole series consists of 10 pictures and I have included a selection below with links to the remainder at the appropriate point in the article.

1. Captured

 The opening scene shows the dramatic capture of the Cowboy who appears to be wearing revealing skin tight trousers. His rearing horse is nicely drawn but it seems a bit odd for an Indian to use a lassoo. The style conveys a real flavour of Western Comic Strip action, despite a slightly disjointed composition.

2. Stripped

The cowboy is roughly tied up and simultaneously stripped of his pants. The subjugation of the struggling victim always has an erotic kick for me and I must say, I like background desert landscape!

Visually it's a bit confusing and there's some improbable body contortions here. Foot fetishists can just make out the left-hand Indian's boot planted firmly on the Cowboy's shoulder blades, contributing to his anguished expression. Another is using his foot to grind the exposed ass, while clearly contemplating other possibilities which come to pass in the next picture. This boot action and the faces in some of the pictures are reminiscent of Etienne's early work  

There appears to be an enhanced contrast applied to these pictures (presumably to clarify the image, post scanning). The result is not subtle but it certainly brings out Sergey's sophisticated technique for highlighting musculature. 

The lustful intentions of the trio become clear....

4. Leashed
 Another fine action image, enhanced by the wildly expressive depiction of the horse, which seems to share the Cowboy's yearning to escape. The compact, V-shaped composition subtly underlines this shared bondage. In between the arms of that 'V' sits the almost demonic, brutal captor/master, who is depicted with immense strength and power (note the foot again). The bodies all shimmer with gleaming sweat, although I suspect the originals may have been more delicately shaded. This effect certainly brings out the brutal tugging of the rope (in case you didn't notice).

 Back at camp the cowboy is restrained between posts...

Battered where it hurts most...

Tortured with cactus needles (in a graphic piercing scene)  .....

 and is then used for target practice by the bowmen. St Sebastian in a stetson!
Link to image 8 - 'Take Aim'

As you can see, the scan quality of this sequence is rather poor.  

  9. Lighting Up
The restraining posts with their zig-zag decoration are inspired by Tom of Finland's 'Jack in the Jungle' (below).  Inevitably, the static restraint method drains the drama somewhat and to be fair, Tom's version is no more successful.

Tom of Finland - Post scene from Jack in the Jungle II

5. Flames
It's interesting how themes sometimes recur within individual letters of my A-Z and this series culminates in another fiery scene to set alongside those of Sean and Saj previously reviewed. Sergey's flames are suggested rather than accurately depicted. In traditional comic book fashion he exaggerates his 'hero in danger' moment by creating an amazing inferno from what was the modest pile of wood in the previous picture. No doubt relief  of some sort is at hand.

I've cropped this last image for publication in this blog, however, the full picture is posted here.

Sergey's pictures are littered with wayward perspectives and imprecise anatomy but he's clearly an artist of some accomplishment and his imagery generates plenty of excitement. It's a shame that no other work by him seems to be available to us. 

(Article updated Nov 2015)

For other images of this type visit Pax's 'At The Stake' group

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

Monday 20 May 2013

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Sepp

Sepp of Vienna's work features the rough and sleazy culture of skinheads and bears and yet, paradoxically, his images are highly polished and neat with an air-brushed, shiny-skinned, sensual style that echoes traditional 'glamour' imagery.

Sepp - Waders
Much of Sepp's work (like this group of 'waders') appears to be formally posed portraiture of fetish boys. There's a parallel here to Tom of Finland's later work, but Sepp's boys clearly don't take themselves as seriously as those leather men and closer inspection reveals these three men are being very naughty indeed. Pause to dwell on the liquid swirling around their waders! We are presented with the ingredients here to imagine a filthy scenario for ourselves, which is very much in the traditions of male eroticism.

Sepp - Eat
This picture is more overtly erotic with chunky figures, a hint of rubber fetish and a Marine's hat to set the imagination running. The wristwatch is an intriguing detail but I can't decipher the Gothic tattoo (Siut?). It's a daring subject in a way and captures a certain intensity, but doesn't exactly draw the viewer in. Sadly the proliferation of mainstream porn tends to devalue straightforward images like this but you have to admire the way Sepp executes the tricky perspective with aplomb. 
Sepp - Leaky

Here we have fetish-a-plenty - uniforms, torn vests, sodden jockstraps and forced submission. It's a memorable image and yet the spark of sexiness is somehow rather fleeting. It somehow lacks life but I can't pin down whether it's the relaxed, smiling, self-conscious pose of the 'M' or the neat, crisp finish that's responsible.

It's interesting that Sepp and Sean should come up next to each other in my A-Z, since they represent opposite extremes in artistic terms. Sepp's images are sensual, immaculately drawn and technically correct and the men he depicts are believable and attractive. Sean's work is much more erratic in quality with lapses into cartoonery and hit and miss perspectives. Sean relies on his subject matter for the erotic impact more than the style. However there's a life and excitement in his work, a spontaneity, that is missing, or perhaps masked in Sepp's. I would happily hang Sepp's drawings on my wall but I would prefer to commune with Sean's pictures in a more private place!

Sepp protects his copyright and his work is scarce on the web. He has a website, Sepp of Vienna, which has a large gallery but the images are very small. 

For previous articles in this series, click on the A-Z label below 

Sunday 12 May 2013

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Sean

For many years I only knew Sean's work through his gang-bang, comic strips which appeared in the Meatmen collections of the 90's. These youthful sexual romps didn't hit many of my buttons and they wouldn't qualify for this survey either, despite the occasional bondage references. Then I discovered his specialist fetish work (particularly for Bound and Gagged Magazine) and this completely changed my opinion of him as an artist. 

I have a great liking for straight forward, simple, bondage imagery and this is an excellent example. Technically, I think it's one of Sean's best pictures, with no obvious flaws in the anatomy or the perspective (which is typically ambitious). This hairy man and his buddy tied up and sweating make a great, sexy subject. Sean has a great feel for the apprehension, fear and excitement which characterise the authentic bondage experience. Sean's detailing is meticulous. The long hair and unshaven, muscular bodies of these characters suggest they are real men, rough and tough. Untamed bikers perhaps, but about to be challenged by a far different, equally uncompromising, approach to manhood. Note the curious, ghostly appearance of the biker's cock. I love too the incongruous, classy flourishes of the scrunched up sheet, which they are sitting on. This picture is full of confident style.
This image is quite well known and in a modern context perhaps looks a little tired, maybe too staged, but Sean has worked hard here on the atmospherics and story-telling. Notice how he has shifted the captive to one side, partly out of the frame, so he does not obscure the shiny motorcycle, which is so lovingly detailed you can almost smell the leather and the engine oil. This gives the picture a strange, off-balance appearance but the dual focus suggests the biker is equally interested in both his machine and men's asses. 
The man tied over the motorcycle is as well built as the bike, judging by his powerfully-shaped, muscular legs. His shaved undercarriage suggests he is not a novice. Just as well. This unnatural position would probably be described in the manner of the shipping forecast as being 'moderately uncomfortable, becoming increasingly painful'. However, he may not have to wait that long for pain.

The placing of the biker on the far side of the picture is another oddity, it does not immediately suggest dominance, in fact he doesn't look that intimidating but we and the captive can both watch, excited, as slowly and deliberately, he draws his thick belt out through the loops of his jeans, preparatory to addressing those hairless, totally unmarked, virgin-white buttocks and thighs. The wheel-marks in the dirt floor provide a wry commentary on the narrative.

This spectacular image is not a 'snuff' picture, but an initiation in which the 'victim' suffers nothing much worse than a severe fright and singed pubes (see footnote*). The arching, agonised body pose of the captive is a great image in it's own right, but the addition of the roaring flames make it truly memorable. You might like to compare this image with Saj's Human Torch . There's a notable similarity in the 'erotic pose', but the treatment of the fire is quite different. Sean emphasises flames rather than burning. The on-lookers in this picture are similar characters to those who populate his sex romps and for me, they seem ill at ease and out of place in this more serious and sinister tale. The text calls for thrilled delight rather than shock and astonishment, but perhaps Sean thought that might create too cruel an image.

*This is an illustration for the story CT Hospitality by 'Rob'. In the story this unwitting initiate, having witnessed some (apparently) cruel punishments is tied up himself and smeared with a 'fire' ointment which, on ignition, flares spectacularly, but briefly. Unknown to him it also forms a protective barrier preventing burning of the skin, but I wouldn't advise anyone to try it at home!

This scene looks like an initiation too. The morning after the night before finds a nice-looking, buffed-up cowboy, lassoed and detained for further examination by his mature hook-up. Who'd have thought that this cuddly, bearded gent would have such designs? The image strikes a nice balance between incongruous humour and a nastier edge for those who want to see it (there's a lot more wax left in his assortment of candles)! The curious, industrial-like setting is a world away from bikers and dungeons, but still suitably rough-edged and isolated. Sean's detailing is a delight, even down to the iron brackets on the bed end and the discarded top sheet lying crumpled on the floor.

Most of these drawings were produced to accompany stories written by other people and without the text it's sometimes hard to be sure of their real meaning or to tell how much they reflect Sean's own personality. I haven't uncovered the real story behind this image, but it looks like a group of hunky, young workmen have stumbled over an S&M operating theatre complete with patient, ready to go. The leader's opportunist, tit-tweaking shocks his companions, (another 'innocents abroad' scenario) but the array of nasty instruments on hand and the contorted expression on the patient's face reveal the missing 'medics' to be engaged in a far blacker operation.

The cold, hygienic, metal surface of the trolley is all part of the 'scene', as intimidating to the captive as the dankest, darkest dungeon. Sean embellishes the idea by showing the victim's reflection in the shiny metal surface. It's an example of his interest in materials and textures and can be seen seen also in the clothing here and the sheets and flames in previous pictures.

Sean's not the first artist to show a captive with medical face mask (see my A-Z entry on 'Rex' for example) but by using this unusual angle he creates a uniquely powerful impression of the face being trapped within the plastic cup and despite the comic-style rendering it implies a desperately dangerous experiment. Sean's drawing style often veers between cartoonery and semi-realism in these extreme-fetish pictures so you are not sure just how serious it's meant to be. I cannot say whether this apparent 'pulling of punches' reflects publishing codes or Sean's own sensibilities.

Time and again in Sean's fetishistic work he doesn't simply portray sexual activity, but there also seems to be an attempt to capture something more - a sense of sex as something dark and mysterious, reeking of danger. He sometimes suggests it indirectly, by showing shocked bystanders or wide eyed captives, clearly out of their depth but unable to escape from the painful intentions of knowing, calculating partners. In this image the threatened cruelty reaches out to shock us directly. Again, I don't know the underlying story - is it real threat or just a test? - but we can draw conclusions from the intimidating way Sean chose to portray it. Even the cartoon-y rendering of the struggling victim's face (again) doesn't quite dehumanise him enough to totally defuse the horror. The sadistic 'M' wielding the hot iron runs counter to stereotype, he would be a hot ticket in most gay venues while the youth of his assistant is equally surprising and hard to reconcile with the action. It's a stark and surprising contrast to the romping orgies and fun sex that characterise Sean's Meatmen comic strips and a world away from Tom of Finland's work, for example. 

I could not leave Sean without a spanking picture, it's a subject that he has visited often and this picture is a good example, It comes from the comic story 'Biff' and the drawing style is typical of the slightly disappointing,'commercial' side of Sean. Somehow the figures and the faces are not quite right, there's a slight skewing effect (which is often a result of drawing with the paper angled away from the line of vision). The whole thing has a casual, cartoon-y feel. Even so, there is a tremendous sense of energy in the picture, this is one hell of a whupping and you don't need the hand marks to know it! Sean's spanking images often depict positions where landing a telling blow is physically impossible and this is no exception, but they are always energetic and fierce, so much so that you can't help thinking that the artist himself is emotionally involved in the scene. Look at the faces and you will see malice and anger and suffering pouring out of the picture. You can enjoy the erotic pleasure of revenge or pity as you will, but you might also ponder: whose anger and whose suffering is really captured here? And why does it speak to us so powerfully?

Sean's work is so extensive that making a truly representative selection would require more time than I am able to give it, so I have made a selection of interesting, quality pieces with some that are perhaps less well known. Despite technical limitations he has a distinctive, characteristic style and in the best pictures there's a dramatic tension and erotic charge that is quite astonishing. At times, his challenging imagery puts him alongside the likes of Martin of Holland as tormentor of our consciences and darkest desires. Occasionally there's even a sense of glimpsing the artist's innermost self.

Although Sean is no longer with us, his friends have set up a website 'Sean – The Artist' and placed an archive of his work there. The sketches and annotations on familiar drawings give an interesting insight into the creative and publishing process. They also tell you a great deal about the man himself, his life and attitudes. Sean had catholic tastes (when it came to selecting subjects for images anyway) and if you are interested in the more challenging outposts of fetish and sex you will find examples here. However, I strongly advise anyone downloading the archive to check it's contents carefully and make sure that you really want to keep all the 'oddments' on your computer.

For earlier posts in this series, click on the A-Z label below

Saturday 11 May 2013

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Sawara

Sawara - Master and Slave

A notable contribution to the letter 'S' by Sawara. The leather jacket suggests some photo trickery here but it helps define the status of the 'M' rather nicely. I'm not sure about that bulge though!

I don't have any other information on the artist or a link I'm afraid, but a reader has kindly corrected the name for me and given a little information in the comments below.

For earlier posts in this series, click on the A-Z label below