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

Saturday 28 April 2018

The Art of SparkieShock

As you might guess from his name, SparkieShock is an artist with a flair for portraying electro-torture. There are many visual treats in his output for fetish fans .
click to enlarge

One of SparkieShock's marketing titles is 'Basement of Pain' and this complex scene certainly seems to qualify for that title. It appears to be something of a circuit training course for torturers and their victims, with a selection of useful restraint furniture on display. The canted frame forming the focal point of the composition is an electrified grid and it's one of SparkieShock's favourite devices, recurring in other scenes in different guises. One of the strengths of CGI art is that elements can easily be re-used for other pictures without having to recreate them as a conventional artist would have to do and Sparkieshock makes full use of that capability.

I don't think many conventional artists would set out to create a grand scene like this with it's elevated viewpoint and loose scattering of figures, although I suppose the work of Hieronymous Bosch is an apt comparator. The nearest modern, fetish equivalent I can think of is this dungeon scene by Les Farnak but in his example the crowded torture floor simply forms an intimidating background, welcoming a new arrival, portrayed in the foreground. SparkieShock's image is a prelude to giving us a tour and close up inspection of the individual torments.

A tour of the exhibits is exactly what these gentlemen seem to be engaged in. Their level of interest in the spreadeagled captive is very apparent but their casual manner and attire gives the scene a chilling emotional dimension totally absent from the panoramic view above. Notice the realistic quality of their faces, a welcome improvement on the doll-like creations often seen in CGI art. It helps to promote the striking sense of connection between the three main protagonists.

Our viewpoint shows how the hapless, frame victim is not only being treated to electric currents whenever his body lapses back against the netting, but is simultaneously being 'grilled' from behind by a gas fire, a novel, modern upgrade of the camp fire, feet-toasting sometimes seen in Western-themed fetish scenes. The artist has used the power of his software to add suitable warming colours and hot highlights to the captive's erotically-detailed rear.

 The unattended man in the left background, alone and sweatily dancing on an electrified grid, is an odd and slightly distracting element, stylistically different from the rest of the picture. You can see him in the top picture and rotating the viewpoint has automatically brought him into view. It seems to have been a deliberate editing decision to include him in this image. His neglected state, distinctly separate to the main group, amplifies the sense of casual mass cruelty. He probably wouldn't envy all the attention that the smouldering blond is getting.

This character can also be seen in the background of the big view (top picture). He has an audience of one for his squirming responses to the electricity discharging through his metal chair. The pose seems to owe something to the creations of Jotto, another electro-enthusiast whose influence SparkieShock acknowledges. However, the accentuated, stressed position of the captive elevates it's impact to a remarkable degree in comparison to the original inspiration. With a little more detailing to eliminate the 'doll effect' it would become most impressive.

In this and other pictures SparkieShock shows his interest in long hair, which is where he and I part company. It can be used as shorthand for rebellious youth (above?) or traditional masculine strength (below) but non-dangling behaviour here illustrated shows how CGI has cruel traps for the unwary.

This is a more developed version of the electrified frame idea. The introduction of visible sparking (also seen in Jotto's work) greatly adds to the sense of terrible torment being inflicted, graphically reflected also in the captive's face. The presence of uniformed attendants gives this picture a more conventional, interrogation rationale. Once again the artist creates a sense of close communion between tormentors and their victim with a compacted, overlapping composition pulling together the more obvious visual clues - like the delicate dial adjustment and the far guard's fascinated expression. There's a hint in the positioning of his hand that his interest verges on the sexual. We can sense the victim's inner strength in this image but his subjugation and helpless position is cleverly accentuated by positioning him at a lower height than his captors.

Here the guards stand aside to reveal the full extent  of the captive's agony with a baton-like attachment focusing the current on intimate regions. But his firmly braced feet and 'strong arms' pose, not to mention his defiant erotic response tells of continuing resistance. The crotch level shot of the guard is suggestive but once again the artist declines to give explicit confirmation of any inner tensions he may have.

This image comes from a series recounting the (apparently arbitrary) maltreatment of a kidnapped muscle boy (published as a series at dream boy bondage). Swapping the angled frame for an ordinary bed makes for a less formal, improvisatory atmosphere. But with the absence of bedding and the cold, sanitary tiles on the surrounding walls it's no more comforting. In fact the bed is a more formidable challenge in it's own way, for the captive in this horizontal position, can only gain relief from the earthing effect of the metal frame by lifting his body, which becomes progressively more exhausting. 

This is a very private encounter in a small, intimate cell with the torturer himself the only witness. He sits up close, as though attending a sick bed, carefully tuning the electrical controls and observing the involuntary responses of his 'patient'. He demonstrates his total control over him and his own nudity makes clear that the ultimate purpose is erotic although, once again we cannot see anything explicit. We can only speculate how long the foreplay will last and what form his final satisfaction will take.

In this image pretty much the same scene is being enacted but it's actually from a different series. It's the same cell, which now assumes the role of institutional detention rather than kidnap victim concealment. The ostensible purpose of the torture becomes interrogation or punishment and the tormentor here is properly dressed, in full military uniform. His calmly purposeful, almost disinterested actions are a dramatic contrast to the wet, sweaty, writhing of the naked inmate, whose arched pose momentarily highlights the red wiring terminals of his torment.  

The power of CGI to envisage dramatic perspectives like this is very impressive and the ability to  reproduce details such as these immaculately detailed bed springs is enviable (that receding pattern would be a daunting chore for a conventional artist). There are some odd-looking perspective effects at the top end of the bed here and in other pictures I have presented but I don't know enough about the science to comment on that.

SparkieShock combines the restraining bed with familiar, Bound God's style, suspension zapping in this 'buddy' episode and the bed itself temporarily transitions from an austere torture frame to the more usual role of allowing it's occupant to rest. His relative comfort as he awaits his own special attentions from the guard might add an element of guilt to his emotional pain as he is obliged to watch the suffering of his friend. The military guard's semi-clad state suggests a serious level of commitment to energetically conducting their punishment as much as any sexual purpose.

This final group of pictures is another bed interrogation scene but I've included it because the captive here has a more mature appearance than other of this artist's 'models' and there's a nice introduction sequence, kicked off here as he is manhandled into the torture cell and sees what the future holds for him.

In this image the bed's electrical accessories are revealed to us. The muscular victim, unsurprisingly, is requiring forceful persuasion to take his place on the springs. The right hand assailant is a character I recognise from other artists work but this dreadlocked captive (confusingly named Sparkie) is an interesting, novel creation to me. His appearance probably invokes different associations in the US compared with the UK where this hairstyle has distinct ethnic overtones.

Finally secured and wired up for his interrogation, SparkieShock captures another moment of connection as Sparkie's eyes meet those of his interrogator. 
What are they thinking? A final appeal? A thrill of anticipation?

I have not presented the full breath of SparkieShock's work here which encompasses demonology, sci-fi and cross-generational domination. In his fetish output however he returns to favourite torture devices over and over again making full use of the ability gifted by the 3D CGI medium to view a scene and it's participants from a variety of positions and angles and experiment with it to create more spectacular imagery. At it's best it is spectacularly successful, original, arousing and comparable in quality to the best practitioners of the craft. But ignoring the electronic jiggery-pokery, he shows an instinct for capturing key moments in S&M scenes, both dramatic and emotional where his subjects connect and become more than mere objects.


SparkieShock has many posting sites including Patreon (pay site), Deviant Art and Tumblr

He only publishes tit-bits and teasers on free sites (fair enough) but in exploring his work you may find the recycling of scenes and their settings for multiple story-lines somewhat confusing. The situation is further complicated an apparent aversion to recognisable titles. He sometimes uses character names to label stories (e.g. Ryan in Trouble), sometimes he just uses episode numbers of 'Sparkie Comics' and in general the samples posted are liberally sprinkled with phrases like 'Teen Shock' and 'Basement of Pain' which don't appear to designate any specific scenes or series. Good hunting!

Monday 23 April 2018

First Catch Your Rogue - 11 Then Make Him Sweat

Then make him sweat!
A hapless, black burglar is cuffed to a chair,
oiled up and slowly edge-milked of 6 loads,
repeatedly shooting, hands free.
"Please let me go", he pleads

For more 'rogues' getting their cum-uppance click on the label below

Sunday 15 April 2018

The hidden eroticism of Bill Mac Lane

Bill MacLane was a popular gay artist in the 50's and 60's, with his work appearing often in the fledgling gay magazines of the time, indeed it's largely via this source that his work survives for us.

Mac Lane - Bare Chested Man Reclining on a Beach
You can see he had a fair eye for beefcake,
studies like this were usually copies of photographs,
but there's an interesting element of 'aloneness' about this image.

Bill Mac Lane - Loggers
The heroic, working man in art was largely a product of early socialist thinking, Ford Maddox Brown being a notable practitioner. It was turned into a religion almost by communist Russia and perverted into hyper-masculinity by the Nazis, but the more romantic view, reflected by Mac Lane here, is ideally suited to homo-erotic imagery. In the 50's it conferred masculinity on the subject matter as well as reflecting admiration.

 (At this time Tom of Finland was also glorifying loggers and their remote, rough lifestyle of course. This iconography is less powerful in the UK which has no significant logging industry, 
the Monty Python view of lumberjacks is more usual here).
This image makes the point about magazines preserving Mac Lane's work. This is from 'Physique Pictorial' of course. The editorial at the bottom is a period piece in itself, these days gay artists don't feel obliged to emphasise their masculinity in quite this way.

Despite PP's reference to Mac Lane's artistic research, you can see how he uses photographic sources here. The skillful rendering of the foreground figure and background landscape contrasts dramatically with the far less accomplished secondary figures which also don't really seem to fit into the perspective properly or interact with each other (and is that dome really a logging building?). The rope-pulling one on the right distinctly looks like it too originated from a beefcake photo and is lovingly woven into the composition. The disconnect is evident and almost inevitable but still serves an atmospheric purpose in this particular picture.
Mac Lane - Game Over
'Game Over' shows this disconnect effect even more strikingly because Mac Lane is clearly trying to integrate this composition of a Basketball team changing after the match. But the picture is full of men who don't look at each other. Even the smiling pair at the back seem to have closed or averted their eyes. It's an unwittingly powerful portrayal of the strength of the homo-phobic paranoia of its day,
when even meeting eyes is a dead giveaway.

In this context the knowing smile of the foreground figure, towelling himself off, suggests he has secret knowledge, a situation which any gay viewer identifies with. This secret may be simply about his own proclivities or may refer to other members of the team, that's part of the mystery - are they or aren't they? However the fun of this merely masks and underlines his own separateness in this group. Mac Lane's composition technique, building backwards from a foreground 'main' figure, automatically results in that figure seeming to stand apart and underlines this sense of isolation.

Notice the stray foot to the right of the picture, which suggests this is a detail of a larger work.

Mac Lane - Sailors
 I have taken the title of this picture from the source given at the foot of this article but I very much doubt that it's Mac Lane's original. Boat sailing images invoke a sense of freedom and privacy which gays relate to but unfortunately it's also symbolic of wealth and idleness which is rather less appealing to modern tastes.

This image comes down to us from the magazine 'Butch', now defunct. The quality has suffered from primitive copying technology but luckily we do have a better version, shown below.

It's a much better, more integrated composition than Mac Lane's other work with some impressive detail like the wet surfaces in the foreground. It's also notable for the obvious expression of affection between the two young men (neutralised for suspicious straights by their averted eyes, again). However, if you look back at the magazine version you'll see this 'touching' element of the picture had been cropped out, censored, and none too skillfully either.

This may seem clumsy and excessive to modern eyes, but it's trickery, for there's another provocative ingredient you may not have spotted. Take a look at the spindle of the boat's wheel, angled at about 10 o'clock. I probably don't need to point out where it originates from (or appears to). The hand grasping the adjacent spindle at a more erect 11 o'clock  now assumes a quite different significance, as does the peculiar shaping of his friend's right hand (also cropped out by Butch).

Mac Lane is thus revealed as an extremely polished exponent of the art of 'hidden eroticism'. Presumably 'Butch' magazine felt the hand on shoulder was too much of a clue to let it go onto a front cover.
If you look back at the locker room scene now, you may now wonder what that guy in the shower is doing and notice the close proximity of a head and crotch in the middle ground. I'm wondering what might have been cropped out on the right! There's some 'naughty looking' going on in the preceding  'Logger' picture as well.
Mac Lane - Becalmed
The averted eyes in this image now look decidedly suspicious! Well, perhaps it's boredom or just the way the sources were posed, but look at that rope and the way he's holding it. There's a significant bulge as well if you hadn't noticed and Mac Lane has deliberately chosen to seat him erotically, astride a rail rather than neutrally on top of a flat chest or some other nautical seat.

The wistful sailor appears to be trying not to look at a scantily dressed man, who seemingly wants to be looked at, judging by the way he is standing, though not perhaps by our friend in the foreground. It's another essay on gay loneliness to my eyes and if you think I have an over-active imagination I invite you to consider the word on the life buoy at the bottom of the picture. Incidentally note the simple but convincing detailing of the ship and of the sailor hauling rope in the background.

Mac Lane - Sailors (!)
I don't have a date for this picture, but it seems to represent an notable advance from the series of frustrating, repressed images above to an open recognition of gay possibilities.

At first glance it is a fairly bland and dated ‘pin up’ picture with casually assembled figures. Mac Lane gives these sailors extra masculinity by portraying them in poses which echo body building and heroic, Greek statues. There's still a distinct physical and compositional 'disconnect' between them, but looking closer, the details bring the image to life in a quite startling way.

The left hand sailor’s expression is knowing and lustful even, and he's clearly looking at that manly back, not avoiding such sights. As gays we may surmise that it's also his shipmate's shapely bottom that has caught his eye. As well it might. This is the first picture in this article to show that part of a man's anatomy and it's laden with erotic intent. Mac Lane does not stint on the detail, the centre seam is graphically depicted, seemingly bursting under the pressure from all that flesh, which is also pulling down on the waistband above and drawing up between the buttocks underneath. This erotic display is bracketed by radiating side creases and sensual shading.

This man is clearly a sex object. But is he uninterested, distracted, simply gazing out to sea? Or is he, sensing the eyes upon him, stealing a furtive backwards, perhaps encouraging glance?  Hoping for those idly dangling arms to encircle his waist? It's a delicious ambiguity and the understated depiction of the 'hunter's' bulge scarcely seems adequate to the possibilities here, but in that much at least Mac Lane limits his ambition to the norms of his day.

This is a bold image that is suggesting not just gay relationships, but gay sexual intercourse, so blatantly that it seems anyone would have spotted it.

Mac Lane - Mail Call

As we have seen, sailors are well represented in Mac Lane's art, reflecting a fascination with that profession generally in the post-war 1950’s when young men were still being 'called up' to serve in distant parts of the world.
This is an informal visualisation of life on board a navy vessel (dated 1955) depicting bored, young men living together, enjoying a letter from home, a welcome change from the usual routine.

The uniform of the ’postman’ on the right is nicely drawn with good detail which makes me wonder if Mac Lane had 'served' himself. This sailor actually shows a discreet, little bulge too, but the depiction of most of the figures is not particularly erotic in style - apart from the foreground figure whose nudity is heightened by sweaty highlighting and barely visible underwear which is clearly not providing much modesty at the front. The eye is drawn to this hunky young man, who is well drawn as is usual for Mac Lane's foreground figures. He has put his letter aside and is clearly thinking lustful thoughts about his girl back home. It's unnoticed by his companions but we can secretly tap into his heightened sexual state.

In this early picture Mac Lane seems to have limited his hidden gay eroticism, you can find some subtle physical contact and suggestive shorts and hands but I get a sense that this is simply about the life of a sailor, perhaps biographical.

There's a good selection of Mac Lane's art at the Homoerotic Art Museum
have fun spotting the hidden eroticism!

For other examples in this blog click on the 'hidden eroticism' label below

Part of this article is a reworking of one of my posts In Praise of Sailors

Tuesday 10 April 2018

Back for Good

Foot fetish gets a lot of attention round the net
 but this post was inspired by a different part of the body,
shown in this image of Connor Ridge at Broke Straight Boys .

What a sexy back that is, I thought.
and then a few days later.....

.........I stumbled across this image of Alejandro Bueno (by Joan Crisol). 
Oooo! That's another nice back, I thought, and the idea for this post was born.

I would admit, if pressed, that my response to these images was coloured in both cases by an adjacent part of the body, the model's neck. That's another part of the male anatomy that has always attracted me. Oft have I been tempted in the street to follow a stout, sporty neck emerging from a tight white collar or drooled over a slender one sprouting swan-like from an open neck polo shirt.
And don't get me started on sticky-out ears!
But I digress. These are subjects for another day.

I've got form in the back department.
 Mark Nixon's back by WPP was a stand-out image in my series on vintage beefcake photography.
I'm not alone in this interest either, Angelo Diabolo's back is one of the most visited posts at my gateway blog.

Yesterday it was this sight of Andrew Morrill's back, first thing in the morning (not in the flesh regrettably)
that finally tipped me into action.This pose is not particularly flattering to the musculature of his back but emphasises nicely it's vase-like, tapering shape and gives the teeniest glimpse of cleavage inside his trousers, that are clearly opened at the front.
That's a stroke of erotic genius on the part of the photographer (Owen James Vincent).

Tyler McPeak's contorted pose doesn't show any overall body shape at all, but brings out his bumps,
 nicely emphasised by the layer of oil applied to his body.
His fleshy, waist level creases will appeal to some as well. 

'Man wrestling with his underwear' usually involves feet going into the wrong hole
but in this image the garment does seem to really have a mind of it's own.
Where will it all end? A gay, porn sequel to little shop of horrors featuring man-eating undies?  
Photo by Bell Soto

Another oily torso (I want that job!)
It's beautifully shaped with deliciously masculine, broad shoulders, which scarcely need the emphasis of a tattoo. It seems astonishingly smooth considering the amount of work that this model has clearly put into developing his physique. His pose here, when you untangle the various hands is actually a modest 'self-hug' and that creates the 'ironed-out' look and draws our attention to the other standout feature of his back, the central, 'canyon of desire' curving downwards between twin highlights.

An intruding hand, complete with vulgar jewellery prevents us from following that line to it's final punctuation mark. The switch from white underwear (in the previous picture) to sparkly thong here completes the rather seedy air, but this garment's sagging waist creates none of the mysterious allure seen in Andrew Morrill's trousers (two pictures back).
This is a slightly discomforting perspective on backs.

In contrast this image is refreshingly natural,
the curving shapeliness of a man's back being it's focus too.

 This picture shows the underarm muscles that create the sense of breadth across the back,
 and demonstrated in the previous image.
There's a nice visual complement in the similarly chunky, leg muscle.

This back pose draws attention to the model's modestly proportioned bottom,
and it's relationship with the seat of the chair he is straddling.
(but you can also feast on his hairy pecs, mounded abs and invisible appendages if you prefer)

Men eh? What would we do without them?
I have a feeling I may return to this subject!

Friday 6 April 2018

Phausto's - Alley Cat

The majority of Phausto's art seems to be preoccupied with fairytales, fantasy lands and is drawn in a disneyesque, comic style which I confess leaves me unstirred. This remarkable exception is a solitary one as far as I can discover (if I find more I'll add them later).

I'm much taken with the craggy, stubbled, blond he's portayed here. I suppose it's a typical, fantasy hero look but translates well to a real life scenario. The glimpse of flesh beneath his shirt is true eroticism, whereas the glimpse (?) of flesh between his legs is pure porn..

The 'splattering of a captive' is a subject which is quite mundane these days, but the choice of a handsome office worker to be humiliated in this way (and it is a special humiliation when you're still in your working clothes) gives the picture a nice twist and triggers imaginings about how this situation came about. 

Did he fall foul of a villainous predator or two in an unfamiliar alley? 
Did his office colleaugues decide he needed taking down a peg or two?
Did a cop spare him a ticket in exchange for a speedy discharge?

Whoever the perpetrator was, he lingered to enjoy the victim's foot,
but the victim himself seems to have been turned on by the experience. 

His worst humiliation may be yet to come of course, 
when a rescuer arrives and he has to explain.

Tuesday 3 April 2018

Another Milking Factory (no 2)

Nowid50 - Big Production Required
My original Milking Factory collection had quasi-medical and laboratory settings.
Nowid50's milking parlour seems more earthy and agricultural in concept, 
with lashings of fetish to encourage superior production.

see also Milking Factory No3