To my readers......


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

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Message updated 25th June 2023

Monday 28 October 2013

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Syd

Syd Wheels is one of the originals, his spanking images are somewhat similar to those of C of Sweden, surprisingly so given the contrast in styles, Syd is a cartoonist, C more academic in his approach. But they seem to go for similar subject matter for inspiration – notably uniform situations and historical costume drama.
Syd - Scottish Spank
This piece, autographed Wheels instead of the usual Syd, has a marvellous retro feel in the realist style of vintage magazine illustrations. I don't know if Syd was a Scot or a soldier, but the uniform detail looks highly authentic and the soldier on the receiving end conforms to the manly Scottish tradition of wearing nowt beneath his kilt. Despite this, there's a distinctly feminine air about him - details like the kiss curl, the shaped eyebrows and fulsome lips. Syd seems to be borrowing motifs from female glamour to suggest a nancy boy, a concept from a bygone era. Dare I say he might even be mocking the masculine credentials of the kilt?

Syd - Cowboy Law
I particularly like this 'cowboy law' scene, supposedly in the bunkhouse although it's hard to imagine these dudes, with their artfully tied neckerchiefs and swanky shirts, bunking up with the other rough men. It's the posh togs that make this picture work so well, privileged young men brought down to earth with a whack,and how the foreman seems to be enjoying sorting them out!The foreground figure consoling himself is excellent.

Syd - Desert Rat Spanked
In my youth, the 8th Army, 'Desert Rats' in their shorts were a source of manly inspiration for my homoerotic fantasies, but this final picture is one I never dreamed of, a Corporal spanking one of his charges whilst simultaneously jerking him off. I'm not 100% sure this is by Syd, but the face of the spanker has similarity to the first picture and once again there's an authenticity about the uniform that suggests familiarity on the part of the artist. Notice also the trace of feminity in the spanker's eyelashes and the hands of the man being punished. Syd doesn't quite make the spanker's impossible left arm action seem believable, but the hunched up pose as he twists round is beautifully captured.

I haven't found any site for Syd. Try Jockspank (link in sidebar), information welcome.

For earlier articles in this series, click on the A-Z label below
or search by name in the masthead box

Tuesday 22 October 2013

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Swordman

 Swordman - Prisoner 05
Swordman's fantasy story lines and improbably youthful heroes don't exactly set my pulse racing, but I have picked out this one series, which catalogues the interesting ordeals of one particular boy-man. The first image is very simple in concept, but highly effective. The uncluttered style brings out the leanness of the captive's unprotected body, making it seem all the more vulnerable as he tenses, waiting for the punishment to begin. The sun streaming in through the window produces attractive highlights on his naked body, but also seems to be part of the set-up, spotlighting him and fixing him in the gloom of the dungeon, reinforcing his helpless isolation. 
Swordman - Prisoner 02
Another spanking image, once again depicting that moment of anticipation. It makes an interesting contrast to the previous picture. This time the victim is draped with oversized ironmongery which also creates an impression of frailty (notably the clunky waist band). The scary mega-paddle works in the same way and the torturer's flexing of his weapon tweaks up it's scariness. There are a couple of details I really love in this picture, the rust patches on the chains and the convincing way they drape, which is not as easy to draw as it looks, managing to convey a sense of their weight – which should be contributing to the torment. I love the torturer's cod-piece.

 Swordman - Prisoner 04

Compare the treatment of chains here, they are rigid and tensed which implies the body suspended below is far heavier than it really looks – even with the extra attachments in the offing. However, the compensation is an impression that the captive is stretched out and held very securely indeed, despite some evidence of leg movement. There's also a powerful sense that he is way up in the air, which is not just down to simple perspective, but also the clever positioning of the block of light from the window which creates a visual lifting as well implying an expanse of wall below him. The waist band turns out to have a humane purpose here, relieving pressure on the captive's back, just as well since otherwise his lower weight is supported only by his neck and twisted arms, nasty!

Swordman - Prisoner 03

 The series culminates in this splendid contribution to our 'Riding the Wedge' series (see label below for the other artists interpretations). Swordman's economical, cartoon-y style is highly effective in bringing out the technical details of the equipment and (below) the associated restraint gear, it's almost a workshop manual for would-be professional Sadists. Of course, Rule No 1 is to show the victim what's in store for them, unfortunately he doesn't look totally dismayed. Shafts of light in the background seem to suggest a realisation dawning.

Swordman - Prisoner 10

 There's so much going on in this grand finale that it's actually quite confusing trying to work out what the victim is supposed to be feeling. There's too much multi-tasking here for me and I suspect most will forget about the now hidden dildo-peg. Nevertheless the clarity of the restraint arrangements is commendable. A neat series.

I haven't found any site for Swordman, but I confess I haven't looked very hard! You might try the Yaoi Gallery. Information welcome.
For earlier articles in this series, click on the A-Z label below
or search by name in the masthead box.

Wednesday 16 October 2013

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Swarbrick

 Swarbrick – Subway Encounter

Philip Swarbrick is one of those artists whose work combines erotica with more serious stuff. His subject matter of dangerous-looking, street-wise lads, loitering and having sex in subways and dark alleyways has always been provocative, but it is trickier than ever these days and I've had to leave out some fine pictures, where age appears to be an issue. In his trademark 'back alley' scenes, there's a sense of young men who are hard up, bored by life and lacking purpose. Trying to be older than their years, they don fetish leather and idle away their time in sexual encounters and scamming punters for money out of sight of the 'real' world. Politics aside, the combination of rough-edged unpredictability and youthful bravado also makes for a heady, erotic brew. The urban, concrete jungle settings, cleverly expressed with simple walls and steps are amazingly evocative.

Swarbrick –Spoilt for Choice

Erotic art rarely touches on the issue of prostitution (except as an excuse for police abuse – see my arrest series). In this image, two gangly, rent boys tower intimidatingly above a prospective client as he makes his choice. But big as they are, the power is his, this is a bordello and they are clearly at his disposal. They have stripped and oiled their bodies to present their youthful muscularity attractively for him, but try to appear indifferent and bored by the painstaking selection process. These young adults are by no means innocent nor weak, but they are trapped and their immature gestures, beautifully captured by Swarbrick, suggest a dislike for the job, perversely coupled with a desire to be chosen and paid. The artist's use of clumpy footwear, accentuates this youthful gaucheness.

  Swarbrick – Dog Boys

The dog collar and lead is a favourite domination motif in this artists work and here two young dogboyz are given a lesson in humility and obedience in a public urinal. Swarbrick captures the critical moment of capitulation where the sub hesitates, appealing to his ginger-haired master, like a schoolboy shirking from an unpleasant chore or seeking reassurance. It's a rather beautiful moment and full of erotic power. The gleaming bodies mirror the shiny leather and conjure up a hot, sweaty, summer night.

Swarbrick – Golden Ecstasy

Another urinal scene and two very tough looking men humiliate another by pissing on his naked body. Indeed bodies are the essence of this picture, slender and tightly muscled, gleaming with sweat and urine, the play of light on them is beautifully detailed and highly sensual. The elevated viewpoint, highlights the domination of the sprawling victim and his helpless position trapped between the other two men, he's almost connected to them by their streams. In this key central area, notice how the veins on the hands bring out the masculinity and strength of the attackers. This fetish is rarely expressed in quite this way, usually the 'victim' is eagerly gobbling up the drops that fall, this image is more ambiguous and I rate it highly. Compare it with Roscoe's depiction.
Swarbrick – Deep Cut

In 'Deep Cut', some sort of military dungeon is the setting for a young recruit's horse-whipping. In fact the title refers to a real life Army brutality scandal. The discipline here looks as though it is to be dished out by an older man – almost out of shot and represented by a fabulously captured arm and hand, gripping a riding crop – and his young assistant who you sense is still learning his trade and not quite sure what side he's on as he addresses the offender. The gleaming boots and neatly belted trousers lend an air of soldierly authenticity and nostalgia enthusiasts may recognise a kinship with one of Royale Studio's most famous punishment scenes.

Swarbrick's depiction of the nature of young men and their relationships with peers and elders is fascinating but also challenging to commonly held beliefs, not unlike the subversion of “Lord of The Flies”. It's not my purpose to analyse this, but I do find his imagery highly original and sexy, not just in technical style but in the treatment of it's fetish content, which seems to capture the psychological moment as well as depicting the physical act .

For more work by him have a look at Adonis Art, there's also a good collection here
For earlier articles in this series, click on the A-Z label below
or search by name in the masthead box.

Wednesday 9 October 2013

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Sven

 Sven - Chained Prisoner

Sven of Rennes, as he styles himself, is known for his cute, comic book characters and normally wouldn't qualify as a fetish artist but I didn't want to leave out these samples of more raunchy stuff. The first example of a dungeon captive is quite well known and despite the cartoony style and token representation of the bondage is nevertheless rather effective. The prominent feet detail will have it's fans, but for me it's the face that makes the picture, square jawed and handsome he looks as though he belongs in a cruisy club rather than a serious dungeon. The lightly stubbled jaw and slightly desperate look creates a sense that, however he came to be here, he's out of his depth now.
Sven - Saint Sebastian
St Sebastian is a classic fetish subject, but this isn't the best. It's a pretty enough picture but Sven has pulled back from showing the arrow piercing flesh. This man is also far too young for the part, the original was an officer in the army, but the detail of authentic looking kit, taken from him and placed on one side is quite sexy.

Sven - Ritual

My final entry is the best of the lot, a strikingly handsome young man, with hands tied in front, kneels on a table surrounded by a phalanx of masked men in identical costumes. The eerie, threatening atmosphere is augmented by the candles whose purpose is unclear. The captive's body is depicted in soft focus and sumptuous tones that somehow seem to accentuate his nudity – a rare achievement.

Sven has a website here but you may find it more productive to use an image search

For earlier articles in this series, click on the A-Z label below
or search by name in the masthead box.

Friday 4 October 2013

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Stud

Stud's art dates from around 1980, a time when fetish publishing in the UK was testing the boundaries of new-found 'liberation' from censorship. In a way, though, it seems to look back to the 50's/60's and the traditional, leather biker in this first image illustrates this. This is not the civilised, leather gentry of Tom of Finland's work but a fearsome Hell's Angel, whose unkempt hair, oversized boots and lewd clothing suggest a rough and lascivious character. In startling contrast, the victim awaiting his due seems quite normal, an average guy with an attractive face, coiffured blond hair and trim physique. Only the generously-sized nipple rings give a clue that he's a signed up member, but you sense a chasm of character and lifestyles between them (class if you like) that seems very English. The drawing of the biker is a little stiff (it's the iconography that creates his menace) but for my money the rendering of the bound captive is exceptionally good.

The second drawing of a water-sports scene has a curiously naïve feel, the tough guy arches awkwardly (almost protectively!) over his captive to make a pissy connection. It's as though space has run out at the top of the picture and he's being squeezed in. The whip and other symbols of butchness (tattoo, stubble etc) are somewhat undermined by this boyish awkwardness and also his rather cute face with it's luxuriant eyelashes. The technique is sketchy but the shading technique is actually quite sophisticated. Overall, the picture seems charmingly naïve and if you have seen Thomas Waugh's collections of early gay art you'll probably remember seeing other pictures drawn in this way.

This dungeon scene also has a retro feel, recalling times when pseudo-historical settings were regularly used to provide 'cover' for S&M imagery. The detailed texturing of the background (including disturbing streaks on the walls) greatly enhances the brooding atmosphere. Stud had a fondness for hoods on both prisoners and torturers and he's also gone to town with the chain restraints here. The unadorned prisoner, hanging around in the background, awaiting his turn, makes a nice contrast and reminds us that the leather gear is here is not mere costumery, selected by the wearer, but an intimidating part of the ritual. You have to search a bit to discover the exact nature of the ordeal Stud is portraying, the hot clue is nearly out of the picture. I can't tell if this is artistic discretion or more of the clumsy 3rd party cropping you can see at the top. This picture appears to have been shaded with washes, suggesting the original was coloured but I've yet to see a coloured Stud picture, low circulation magazines at that time were predominantly black and white.

Stud's approach to S&M is pretty uncompromising, so his version of 'riding the wedge' replaces the usual chamfered, wooden beam with a fearsome sharp blade. (click on the label below for more examples). The prisoner, sympathetically portrayed once again as an average, young man, dangles above, clinging on by his fingertips to delay the inevitable ride down the sloping blade. The whole scene is lit by an 'authentic' flaming brand. Meanwhile the torturer and inquisitors look on with emotions concealed behind ceremonial hoods which have all sorts of unpleasant, historical associations. There's a kinship here with the strange dungeon imagery of Les Farnak.

The final picture seems to me to epitomise Stud's art. At first it is mildly shocking. The activities in progress - piercing, waxing, hair burning etc - are really not so terrible as fetish goes, but Stud suggests there is far worse to come. However, it is his characterisation of the bound victim that gives the picture it's edge. With slender body and luxuriant blond hair he seems to epitomise a healthy, carefree, 'normal' youth whose presence here seems quite out of place, although he is clearly aroused by the attention. The torturers suppress his cries and go about their work (corrupting the innocent? punishing the privileged?) with grim, merciless smiles.

Stud's art seems to make a point of placing ordinary men at the mercy of dark and evil captors who revel in their power over the seemingly innocent (or uninitiated perhaps) victim. Despite the limitations of his drawing technique, it's a very powerful, angry message. I have hinted that Stud may have belonged to the 1950's generation, a seriously oppressive time for gays in the UK and these pictures, coming as they do at the dawn of modern liberation may represent something of a primal scream at the injustice of it all. These days he is something of a cult figure and we can just enjoy his pictures for their raw erotic power.
I haven't found any site for Stud, his porny name makes searching pretty hard. He may be represented at gay museum sites but I can only suggest the GMBA archive (current link in sidebar).

For earlier articles in this series, click on the A-Z label below
or search by name in the masthead box.