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

Wednesday 24 February 2016

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Verlato

Verlato - Hell Raiser

Verlato is not really a fetish artist in the conventional sense, nor is his art openly ‘gay’ but his amazing images are peppered with half naked, lean, muscular men in contorted poses that are supremely erotic. His hyper-realistic style is sensuous and draws you in to study the detail of pictures that are sometimes immensely complex. So complex in fact that his works are often carved up into ‘interesting’ segments for internet circulation.

Verlato - David
His art is sometimes described as surrealist but it’s more obviously influenced by the world of ‘Metal’ Pop Music with its self-conscious irony and the modern imagery of Hollywood car crashes and explosions which is now so commonplace that it surely doesn’t qualify as surreal any more. Verlato’s art is very much in your face and visually confusing - a million miles away from the calm and bleakly disturbing constructs of the original Surrealists.

Verlato - 'Enduring Freedom'

There seems to be an ill-defined political message in this picture and the contrast between the positioning of the men and women is intriguing. There’s absolutely no interaction between any of the characters here and yet there’s an obvious homo-eroticism that leaves you wanting more! I often bang on about clothing and it is very much a partner to nudity in Verlato’s art but generally baggy and devoid of suggestive moulding. Still I'm a sucker for a soldier! On the technical level, there’s a fabulous diagonal connection which links all of the characters together and it’s intersected by the gun-barrel of the tank which points the opposite way towards the object of their attention. 

Verlato - The Gardem
 The erotic message here is unambiguous. There’s even a glimpse of cock if you look closely. The invocation of nature and paradise, birds and bees seems to confer romantic respectability on what looks like a dubious, opportunist intervention in a youthful love affair. The glimpse of a second, identical but enlarged elbow through the hole in the wall suggests a double ‘coup’ of some sort. You can judge for yourselves what the significance is of the squirrel’s pose. Well, I said the art was confusing!

Verlato - Hooligans
 Verlato has done a whole series of images depicting ‘Hooligans’ fighting and his interest in physical conflict surfaces elsewhere too. That’s erotic in its own right for some but the diving waistline and suggestive backside of the attacker here (discreetly screened by smoke)  plus the arched, hand behind back vulnerability of his ‘victim’ add up to a statement that does not seem to be addressing  deprivation as a causal agent of social unrest.

Verlato - The Settler
The Martyrdom of St Sebastian is almost an S&M cliché, instantly recognisable, even when transplanted to North America. However, the only concession to such interest here is the placing of the lower arrows and the shadow cast by the one embedded in the settler’s lower abdomen. The glimpse of 'modernity' on a distant hill-top signals another message from the artist but the near nudity of the (barbarian?) attackers seems politically incorrect however you read it.

In this final image, Verlato’s exploration of the extreme is sanitised by transfiguring the victim into a hairy-legged satyr, which is a classical representation of male sexuality. The victim expires in picturesque fashion. The glass display cabinet and fascinated spectators make a statement about the hypocrisy of conventionality but also add a frisson of control,  that is erotic for those who have eyes to see.

I love the ‘feel’ and tantalising subject matter of Verlato’s art but confess that its political dimensions and social relevance usually elude me (which is probably my fault not his). The technical achievement in these large canvasses however is colossal. You will find much of interest on Verlato’s website but his art is easy to find in search engines too.

  For more articles in this series click on the A-Z label below or search for specific artists using the index page or search boxes (top right)

Friday 19 February 2016

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Velvetarms

This artist also goes under the name jojo-kun and produces an eclectic range of imagery featuring both gay and straight subjects much of it in the modern ‘spiky’, fantasy style illustrated in the first example. I prefer more sensuality but I like the clothes-ripping element in this image. We’ll pass over the clichéd, spread-eagled pose.

jojo-kun - He likes It

The second example is more fetishistic, although this situation - of the captive induced to provide penetrative pleasure for his captor - would take some doing to achieve outside of consensual fantasy  play. The mundane title and unlikely top don’t add much but the artist has caught something special in the captive’s slightly crushed pose and confused look. The tinges of yellow in a (nicely balanced) colour palette point to a rather more earthy scene in progress than is first apparent and suggest an ingredient (the overwhelming urge to piss) that would make a sustained, involuntary erection rather more plausible. The gleam of the brass bedstead and blue shadowing of the sheets are nice, artistic touches in a satisfying picture.

 jojo-kun - Avengers Captain America + Gay Iron Man

This last image is stylistically quite different and without fetish overtones (unless you count superhero intercourse) but the artist has created two interesting, sexy characters and captured the intensity and passion of the moment (by allowing them to retain some of their clothes - porn producers note!)

but there's not a wealth of fetish material there.

 For more articles in this series click on the A-Z label below or search for specific artists using the index page or search boxes (top right)

Tuesday 16 February 2016

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Valentine

Most of you will have seen some of the work of the artist 'Valentine'. You almost certainly will have come across his historical reference books 'Beefcake' and 'The Life and Times of Tom of Finland'. Despite this he remains strangely unknown, his art un-discussed and seemingly 'under-appreciated' although it certainly has some very special qualities.

This cowboy image from the Drummer era is probably one of his most widely recognisable pictures. It's a terrible reproduction but still infused with sexuality and fetish and you get an immediate sense of artistic ambition. The cowboy (a notably mature man) is actually holding up his captive's right leg thereby drawing the two of them together visually, physically and erotically. The washed out scan is only partly responsible for this not being immediately obvious, the shaping of the captive's ass also misleads the eye. 

His toes wriggle suggestively in the vicinity of the cowboy's peeping ass cheeks but somehow these two erotic elements which would normally be arousing, seem to be almost 'un-activated'. They don't seem to contribute to the thrust of the picture - which is of an impending thrust of course! There's a strange mixture of iconography too with a jumble of cowboy hats, antique naval pulleys and modern work boots (which are rather nicely detailed). All in all this image is quite representative of Valentine's interests.

You can sense the awkwardness and apprehension of this young man entering into a strange new world of adult, sexual domination but his excitement at the prospect is equally apparent. There's a strange, traditional formality about this ritual, he's naked and collared but his older mentors still drape him with a sheet to collect the trimmings from his haircut. 

There's tenderness and concern in their treatment and they clearly want him to look his best for whatever they have planned for him. As cross-generational images go this is remarkably sensitive, compare it with Axel's approach in 'Dogboy' which has quite different overtones of domination and 'pet-ship' and of course Fellows who usually takes an even less caring slant.

There's an element of photo-realism about this picture that is very attractive and reminiscent of the style of Lord Iron and in fact both artists regularly featured in Handjobs Magazine (which is now defunct).

This more conventional scenario rendered in the same style treads the same path as many a porn shoot, a mildly fetishistic spanking being an adjunct and catalyst to raunchy sex and domination rather than humiliation by authority. Whilst there's a cross-generational flavour to this piece the characterisations have more to do with conceptions of masculinity than age. The rough, hairy, tough guy is the very embodiment of conventional masculinity, the fantasy 'catch' of many a young man taking his first groping, steps into adulthood and needing to be desired.

This image is from the series 'Shanghaied' (1996). It shows two naked butt-buddies who have just been kidnapped by a press-gang. They are being tied together for simultaneous transfer to the Royal Navy ship. Valentine suggests a moment of romantic 'connection' between the younger captive and the sailor tasked with binding them together. This little cameo recreates every young man's fantasy (surely!) of being and seduced by a kind, handsome, clean but worldly sailor. Valentine's depiction of the naval rating is beautifully observed and conveys the same gentleness and concern we observed in picture 2. There's absolutely no sense that this bondage is connected with pain or punishment, it's more like the packaging and protection of a precious gift.

Valentine's technical style is quite adventurous here, combining a romantic, stylised setting sun with just a hint of sail and yardarm to set the scene in a way not unlike modern theatrical staging. It contributes a touch of class to an image that is insightful and sensitive, but nevertheless the eroticism is absolutely electric, a notable achievement.

But there's another thread to the narrative of this picture - the hairy shipmate who ends up helplessly playing gooseberry while his lover is seduced in front of him. There is an array of visual signals suggesting he is being pushed out, most obviously the sailor's fist seemingly knocking his head away. There's a further distancing effect created by moving him to one side to show more of his hairy, bound body. The technique of 'cutting off' legs was widely used at one time for artistic effect and style. It simplifies and focuses the image and can be used to exaggerate the bulk of thighs and upper arms for erotic purposes. Here, however, Valentine has cut off the two captive's legs in different places creating a false perspective which visually moves them further apart. Cover up the lower part of the picture and you'll see they suddenly seem much closer together.

This separation effect fits the psychology of the scenario but does not quite gel with the idea of tying the two men together in the first place. Mick's hairy body contributes significantly to the sexual 'temperature' of the piece but the erotic potential of a three-way scene goes largely unfulfilled, in fact it's actually not that obvious at first that the two lovers are tied together. One wonders if this picture has evolved in the making and ended up in a different place to the original destination. If so the diversion has still been worthwhile, but like the cowboy image above there's a nagging lack of cohesion.

This is from a different, Pirate Abduction story but it shows the same powerful sense of drama and simmering sexuality. These men climbing aboard their target vessel look rough and scary but excitingly masculine at the same time. The character leading them on the right is something of a 'tour de force' in the portrayal of eroticism through partial-clothing. His elegant nudity is absurd yet irresistibly alluring and the balletic pose is another sign of Valentine's familiarity with the cultivated Arts. The impish, third pirate pushing between the bollards is also imagery borrowed from classical theatre, it's used in crowd scenes (like Falstaff tormented by the fairies in Mid-Summer Night's Dream or the Baron's adultery exposed and ridiculed in Rosencavalier). However, Valentine doffs his hat to the more down-to-earth traditions of hidden homo-eroticism if you note where the point of the leader's sword is heading.

At the end of the day, erotic art is all about sex and Valentine is no slouch in that department. This image positively oozes with arousal and lust as 'hairy Mick', who we saw cast as wallflower in image 4, becomes every man's desire. The chains and arm-lock on him provide just a suggestion of fetishistic compulsion on the part of his most eager admirer who is edging up behind. I'm not normally excited by men in historical costume but the thick hairy legs of this character on the right, disappearing into his chunky boots make me waver in that view (although thinking about it waver is probably not the right word for the effect they induce!). There's some interesting hand work in this picture, try working out whose goes where.

If I have cast aspersions on the coherence of some of Valentine's work, this final example certainly doesn't seem have that flaw. The yin-yang composition is impeccably balanced with a distinctive frame breaking detail more typical of 80's art. 

The image makes a powerful argument for the innocence of inter-generational friendship. The man-made chains of oppression are recast as the unbreakable bonds of love. The autumnal, fallen oak leaves and acorns (and other seeds) scattered around the fugitive lovers on the forest floor are poetically suggestive of strength derived from the natural order of beginnings and endings. Here we have age and youth, inseparably related in the cycle of life. However, while this botanical analogy is consistent with the view that our sexuality is innate and preordained in some way, it doesn't really encompass love, sexual relationships or even mentoring which are the preserve of animals able to make choices.

Valentine produces great erotic art which is raunchy and full of originality and intelligent detail. If I have been unkind in pointing out (what I see as) flaws it's not because I lack in admiration for his work, far from it. Valentine is a marvellous artist who deserves to be much better known and appreciated. In some ways his work reminds me of Etienne-Stephen's art. The feet and slightly awkward depiction of the arm-lock in image 6 for example could easily have flowed from that man's pen. Likewise the artsy, balletic poses and the interest in historical and costume settings. Etienne too seems unjustly neglected these days.

There's a good selection of Valentine's work at daddyzhere

 For more articles in this series click on the A-Z label below or search for specific artists using the index page or search boxes (top right)

Thursday 4 February 2016

Taking a break

RW Richards - At The Pool 
Mitchmen is taking a break, 
back in a couple of weeks

Tuesday 2 February 2016

Tell me if you enjoyed "A Christmas Criminal"

Mitchell - Sketch for 'Homeguard' series No 7

I hope you enjoyed "A Christmas Criminal" which is my first full-length story published here 
(there are others at my mitchmen Club).

There are 7 images that form the kernel of this story and I drew them many years ago and named it 'Homeguard' then. I only used 6 of the 7 for "A Christmas Criminal", these are:

Homeguard-A - HG12,
Homeguard-B  - HG15,
Homeguard-C - HG16,
Homeguard-D - HG19
Homeguard-E - HG27,
Homeguard-G - HG29

Homeguard-F which I didn't use is reproduced above. 

I couldn't see a way to fit this last image into the new story where the Security Men undress but don't indulge in explicit sexual action (which is much to their credit as professionals!). The vintage caps and shades are a minor problem too! I did toy with the idea of adapting it for the "Chestnuts Roasting" scene (HG30) by replacing the right hand Security Man with a roaring fire. However these bondage arrangements didn't seem to fit in with the refined, living room setting and in the end I decided to go for the more dramatic option you see in the story and maybe finish this original sketch as a free-standing dungeon(?) picture.

(If there's any interest in seeing the other original pencil sketches which I adapted for this story please let me know via 'comments').

I also sneaked another picture into the final episode (HG40 - M304). It wasn't part of the original series and seems to have a US flavour rather than a UK one, but it very obviously sprang from the same inspiration at the same time and I thought it worthwhile grouping them together. 


Monday 1 February 2016

"A Christmas Criminal" - Part 40

Just as Tom's mask is about to be raised
The Queen's Speech demands Tarquin's presence below
So Tom's left alone but his limbs are reviving
so he stirs from the love bed and tiptoes downstairs.
Avoiding dead wrappings and prickles of holly
He reaches the front door where falling snow greets him
A frostier welcome awaits him at home
No comforting cuddle to thaw out his bones
'Til his wife spots his cock rings are real carat gold
and the money will see them through Winter if sold
The butt plug she takes as a gift that will serve
for her personal pleasure and chastising her man.

So there's no lasting harm caused by Tom's misadventure
He soon gets a job and makes it up to his son.
and none of the men who entrapped him that night
saw enough of his face to describe him quite right.

Mitchell HG40 - Strange Justice*
But sometimes thereafter he dreamt of strange things
of naked encounters with uniformed men,
 being forced to submit to their punishing stings
and locked in dark places for days without end.

And slowly developed a terrible thirst
To find out the end - had he not escaped first
To give up his body and suffer the shame
of being demeaned in that devilish game.

And so one year later as Christmas drew near
He found himself back at that mansion of fear
Looking for signs that the time might be right
To enter and relive that harrowing night.

The Spirits of Christmas had warned him to cease
But a spring coiled inside him demanded release
A lid pressing down on him blocked out the light
For even Jack in the Box 
must sometimes take flight.

The End

 *this image was previously published as part of my 'Neighbourhood Police" story.

Read this series from Part 1