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Message updated 6th Mar 2021

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

The Art of Bowen

Bowen - Connor and Drew captured in the desert

 If you're a regular reader of this blog this scenario may seem familiar. In essence it's much the same subject as the photo-manip by Chirenon called  A New Life For Our Air Force Boys which I featured here last year. The similarities between the two images suggest they were inspired by a common source but these boys look as though they were snatched from a swimming pool at a holiday resort rather than having been downed in their fighter jet while on active service.

The Air Force boys seemed to have been lucky enough (?) to have been picked up by an ordinary, opportunistic, merchant trader rather than a bloodthirsty renegade. Connor and Drew, however, have been taken captive by a much more villainous-looking and threatening captor, a militaristic one even. In this day and age this might be indicative of a very grim outlook indeed. The good news is that the connected chains that ensnare them look purpose-designed for mass, man-trafficking rather than random hostage taking. The strategically-placed highlights on their swimming trunks may explain their selection but also suggest the adventure is not altogether unexciting for them - so far.

Compare also Tacitus' nice take on this subject: Tarzan captured by Slave Traders

Bowen - Prisoners of War
This image also has a Middle East setting but the captors are white US soldiers which at least balances out the racial stereotyping. I can recall images of Serbian prisoners of war being tied together like this during the Bosnian War, but they weren't stripped naked of course and certainly weren't tied by their cocks! No wonder the trailing prisoner here looks alarmed!

It's erotic fun but Bowen is flirting with sensitive, historical incidents from a different war here. As it is the prisoners seem to be just as Caucasian as their captors so perhaps it's just a training exercise with fellow Americans standing in as prisoners of war. They must be starting to wonder if their colleagues might be planning to take advantage of their temporary bondage to make serious mischief.

Bowen - Tied Up Trio

Bondage is Bowen's bag and much of his work consists of tableaux like this where various captives are brought together for viewing. In this case, it appears that feet action of some sort is in the offing.

Images of captive Soccer players are surprisingly rare and Bowen's made quite a good job of making this Manchester United kit look authentic but sexy.

Supermen in bondage are a more common sight but they don't usually look as slinky and appealing as this or sport such attractive buns. I like the detail of the green 'Kryptonite' rope and gag which renders the hero incapable of using his strength. We can only speculate as to what effect the length of Kryptonite rope nestling between his buttocks will have on the muscles in that area.

There's no obvious narrative to this picture, a failed rescue of kidnap victims perhaps. The composition is just a loose framework for bondage variations, which does however create an interesting impression of abduction on an industrial scale.

Bowen - Kidnapped Jocks
Bowen's men are often quite young but he sometimes adopts the Yaoi style of portraying characters with enlarged eyes and small noses that look disturbingly youthful to Western eyes. Fortunately he's given them well-developed, grown-up bodies here that match their description of being 'jocks'. If you cover their faces you can see the adulthood within, an even more interesting image, I think.

The sporting exertions of these two have given them luscious, plump bottoms that are showcased by snug underwear that fits into every crevice. The kidnapper kneels close by, securing 'red pants' feet using professional, plastic ties. The determined look on his face tells us he has serious plans for them down the road and this gives the scene a nice edge.

Bowen - Window Washer Woes
 You can see the Yaoi influence quite clearly in this image - in the dreamlike 'falling' subject itself and in the spectacular perspectives, the flailing limbs and big boots. It looks like these two are still safely attached to their rig, but getting help may be a bit of a problem as the street below is completely deserted suggesting it's an ungodly time when no-one is around.

Bowen - comic_con_captives
Two film stars who play superhero roles are kidnapped from a comic convention by a 'deranged fan'. I suppose making them hop like this would be very humiliating for the victims' supposed, superhero persona's but the confused kidnapper has made life very hard for himself by hobbling them in this way.

It's the characterisation of the two captives that makes this picture interesting, adult, muscular and quite realistic (even in comic form). A fine catch in short. Like 'Connor and Drew' above, their faces are based on two real actors. I'm not going to give the names here, if you don't recognise them and want to know, follow the link to Bowen's Deviant Art page.

Bowen - Mass Effect Scene 1

 This image has similar, attractive styling and features characters from the 'Mass Effect' video game. Bowen's take on the hero, Shepherd (right) is rather softer than the raunchy, official Shepherd. Arguably more robotic too but he might not thank me for saying that. He takes a cuffs and ropes, comprehensive restraint approach to securing the bad boy whose outfit has an 'erotic window' that must be dangerously distracting for his opponents. Shepherd's colleague stands by with cock-shaped plug gag that surely can't be standard issue. The cute faces and little touches of suggestiveness make for a nice picture.

Bowen - Wrestling Match (detail)
This example of Bowen's style is quite different to the others I have presented. The composition is compact and the framing tight, creating a more immediate dramatic impact. It's a frame taken from a comic strip page and it's possibly the need to squeeze it in alongside 4 others on a single page that has caused Bowen to depart from his usual expansive style. 

The scenario depicted is the come-uppance of a bully (in the yellow suit). Not only has he been beaten by an upstart challenger but his suit has humiliatingly split across the backside during an unpleasant, leg-stretch hold. The victor grips his chin, a technique which is simultaneously painful and patronising without seeming aggressive. The bully probably employed it himself when intimidating others. This physical connection between the protagonists is most convincing and another unusual feature for Bowen's work which tends to distance characters from each other. The chin hold seems to be a prelude to delivering a scolding but the victor's eyes are actually focused on the ruptured suit and exposed ass. There's a discernible excitement in his eyes and bulk between his thighs that suggests he hasn't quite finished yet, even though the spectators think it's all over. 

The little exchange in the background between those onlookers is another delightful element of this picture. The bully's girlfriend reveals very nasty character traits while his cute, muscular crony realises with a shock that he's lost the shield of his buddy, as he is called out and offered his own chance to be humiliated. For me this picture is a little gem.

Bowen - Cloud and Zack Experimented On
This is the first image we've seen that shows what lies in wait for those who get kidnapped.
The laboratory/medical scenario is always flavoured with a sense of unknown substances and invasive procedures and the green drip being administered here to Zack seems to modestly epitomise that with an everyday medical procedure given a sinister edge. There's also a selection of dodgy instruments in the foreground.

His buddy, Cloud (from Final Fantasy) sits sealed in his cage (like any other lab rat). He watches and awaits his turn to be processed. The cage cleverly underlines the isolation of the two friends from each other. There are number of buddy kidnaps featured in this selection there is something about this scenario that seems to add an extra bit of desperation to the predicament depicted.

Bowen - Watery Trap (detail)
As in this example here. This is a segment of a 4 frame page and the captives are superhero types who have met their match. In a kinky touch, their captor seems to have dressed them in sexy swimming trunks to replace of their shredded, super-hero outfits. The artist shows a range of reactions to the threat of the rising water level in the tank - fear, panic, resignation and the teeniest suggestion of excitement. It is the tradition for hero captives to escape grisly fates like this at the 11th hour but Bowen leaves the ending open.
Bowen's cartoon style is a natural medium for exploring traditional 'hero in trouble' danger scenarios but 'Watery Trap' is a surprisingly 'edgy' find in his portfolio. In a way this exploration of the nightmare of drowning (being drowned) is a natural complement to the dream of falling we saw with the window washers earlier. Other images in his work also touch on 'danger' scenarios like this, there are even a couple of examples of gallows art but I didn't think they were right for this blog. Even the kidnap scenes are not without suggestions of threat, so Bowen's art, fluffy on the surface, turns out to be unexpectedly fetishistic.

For more visit Bowen12a @ Deviant Art

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