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Message updated 25th June 2023

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!

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