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Wednesday 6 November 2013

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Sylvia Baker (aka 'Silverkitty')

Silverkitty - You Look Good Like That
Sylvia Baker's art inhabits fantastical worlds and contains mostly non-fetish themes, but she has produced some interesting captivity images worth mentioning here. This first example is beautifully simple, but as you explore, it begins to swirl with erotic charge. You realise the handsome, muscular captive is sweating with fear (and shame?) as his juice is extracted from him. He passively offers up his lips to his captor, whom he cannot see. You can almost see this hero slipping down the slope of submission. 

I often comment on the use of clothing in imagery and it plays a dual role here. It emphasises the captor's controlling position and his captive's vulnerability but paradoxically the removal of the victim's clothing has exposed his manly strength and beauty, attributes which make his plight all the more thrilling. The captor's sinister character is expressed with visual signals like the calculating, narrowed eyes and black gloves. It's classic, melodrama stuff really, but the artist has succeeded in reviving it's magic in a modern erotic context.

Silverkitty - Why They Call Him Master Miller
A good deal of fetish art and photography depicts bound men simply as isolated objects of sexual desire, available to feed the viewers imagination. Sometimes they are shown being used and abused, but nearly always avoiding any expression of tender intimacy. Thus the hovering kiss in the first picture is a rare phenomenon, but this monochrome image goes further in expressing the irresistible erotic appeal of the helpless captive, showing that it's an opportunity to touch and taste (a fate which some victims might find equally as unpleasant as outright torture). The captor's embrace restrains his captive, enabling him to apply his tests at close quarters and feel his subject squirming in response, feel his heart pounding.

Sylvia Baker's men often have Yaoi-like, chiselled, aesthetic faces and luxuriant hair (à la Playgirl) which makes quite a contrast to the traditional, butch, male stereotype of much fetish art. The Shibari style of bondage employed here is a further reflection of a man of thoughtful, unhurried tastes, with a desire to create beauty while reinforcing on his subject his complete helpless captivity.

Silverkitty - We Don't Give Up
The last two images, which come from the 'Ravenwood' comic, reflect a more traditional male ideal. The evidence of physical abuse of this chained captive gives context to the angry, defiant expression. The sense of lurking, 'real' violence gives this, and other pictures by the artist, a distinctive edge. However, the idealised muscularity and willowy body pose, topped off with tumbling hair and carefully judged chin and body stubble, conveys to us a sexual power, undimmed by torture.

Silverkitty - 'Ravenwood 3' Cover Art
In this final image the iron collar, chains and retracted arm position create a marvellous sense of helplessness and for some reason I find the glimpse of buttock cleavage rather pleasant! 

The face
is not quite so well drawn but full of pent-up emotion to match the immobilisation of his body. If you study the back of the head and the angle of the ears, it looks as if the face was originally drawn looking straight ahead, and then adjusted to show the angry profile. It makes a more interesting picture but the 'surgery' is not quite seamless, which gives us an interesting insight into the creative process.

I admit to having some discomfort about including art created by women in this series but I have introduced several in 'the letter S' based entirely on their merits as fetish artists. In Sylvia Baker's case there seem to be distinctive qualities, which I have pointed out above, seeming to reflect a slightly different viewpoint from my male representatives, but it's not an uncongenial one.

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

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