|Absolutbleu - Muscle Stadium*|
Birds of a feather flock together. That's certainly true of muscle heads in the real world. These two casually flaunting their bodies in an empty stadium seem to be playing out an elaborate courtship ritual disguised as a serious discussion, probably about methods of muscle development and nutrition regimes, or maybe the most reliable, retaining brand of skimpy thongs. More and more flesh is gradually exposed for comparison purposes and the two men gravitate closer and closer to each other, anticipating the electricity of an actual touch. The white shirts are suggestive of Tennis players but the hint of shoulder pads point to American Footballers.
*indicates my titles not the artist's
|Absolutbleu - Gym Distraction|
While these Muscle Gods love to tantalise lesser mortals on the beach and at other gay haunts, entrance to their exclusive world can only be gained by acquiring a similar physique. The way to do that is by going to the gym. This picture seems to encapsulate that fantasy, the caption seeming to suggest the ease with which a fresh face, seen to be embarking on a training regime, can get immediate access to the box of chocolates. (I don't know for certain if the caption is by Absolutbleu, but it seems to fit the image).
This sketch sums up the fantasy allure of a handsome muscle man, kneeling submissively and baring his generously-proportioned backside in an inviting pose that seems open and genuine.
There's a spanking interest here for some, but I haven't found that activity yet in Absolutbleu's art
This is a good example of how interesting Absolutbleu's faces can be in simple sketches.
Absolutbleu - Gym Undress
This image gives quite a different view of the gym induction procedure as a visitor's shorts are forcibly removed, much to his alarm. I guess the assailant may be his personal trainer but the grin here is not exactly playful or friendly. It's a calculated act, an invasive first step that tests the new boy's inner strength. His lack of resistance confirms that he's suitably submissive for what has been planned
I think that this blond man, with his distinctive dreadlock is one of Absolutbleu's stock characters but I don't know his identity or back-story.
|Absolutbleu - Gym Series, Dumbell Curl|
Any gay man who's been to the gym will have spent time watching the other men train and wistfully fantasising about taking advantage of the sexy sights that present themselves. Absolutbleu's characters play out these fantasies and it makes for a humourous set of images. However, the blond's confused compliance with the demands of his trainer conjure a undercurrent of domination and submissiveness. It's a harder edge that is very different to the fun and games we saw on the beach.
|Absolutbleu - Naked Gym Training*|
This image develops that theme into something more like bullying as two muscle men size up another gym user who clearly doesn't relish their attention. It's a long way from the confident flirt we saw earlier. His discomfort is amplified by the presence of visitors who are amazed and amused by what they see.
|Absolutbleu - Car Wash*|
Compare that image with this street scene. It's another classic, homoerotic situation but one usually given over to cash-needy, student types rather than musclehunks. Nevertheless it provides a great vehicle(!) for the artist's usual themes including some great skimpy shorts. At one level it's a scene of playfulness over a shared chore, however, there's a subtle touch of intimidation in the spraying of water and forced undressing of the central, larger character which gives this image something an edge, particularly in the light of the gym ones we've just seen. Is there a hint of discomfort, of vulnerability, in the big man's smile?
The context here isn't entirely clear. Is he the rich owner of the car? Or just one of the cleaning gang? The slant of the picture itself gives a sense of instability, a slide into an unexpected outcome. Even the car itself has an eerie, erotic presence thrusting forward like a gaping mouth. Fascinating.
|Absolutbleu - Lollipop*|
This view of a muscle head contentedly sucking on an ice lollipop is deliciously romanticised and sensual. This powerfully built man has carefully crafted his image to maximise his attractiveness, not just his physique, but his clothes and hair too. But here he shows an inner quality, a softer, sensitive side.
It's a great image and a great advert for the world of muscledom.
But notice that he can't help supplementing the moment with a bicep flex, a touch of muscle-vanity which I suspect motivates Absolutbleu's other view of these men.
|Absolutbleu - Muscle Service*|
His other extreme is a world in which muscular men are submissive and desperately needy, at the beck and call of ordinary guys who see the gym as a hunting ground. The cultivation of physical strength and bulk has earned him admiration and attention but no respect ultimately and that reality seems to be dawning on him here.
It's possible that this humiliation is driven by his need for money to buy training 'supplements' to maintain his hard-earned build. Absolutblue heaps on the indignity here by showing the powerful man grovelling at the feet of multiple users and hastily gathering up his money. There may be a smiley on his placard but his face shows humiliation, resentment and perhaps relief that it's all over - for now.
|Absolutbleu - Bursting Out|
There's a more humourous come-uppance for this muscle fan as his polo shirt finally gives up the challenge of containing those giant pecs, allowing them to burst out and send his lunch flying in the middle of the cafeteria. I'm surprised there seem to be no spectators to witness this humiliating moment, there usually are in this art! Perhaps they are off-shot, but he's obviously dismayed anyway. His trousers are about to do the same, so maybe it's just as well that he hasn't sat down! Having said that, retrieving his frugal meal of apple and drink (or is it yoghurt?) from the floor may be tricky.This sort of humour connects directly to the very beginnings of (mass) gay erotica in the 1950's with artists like Art Bob.
Continued in Part 4
Read this mitchmen series about Absolutbleu from Part 1 (links also there)