Thursday, 31 July 2014
This is the only picture I have ever seen by this artist but it's something of a classic. The eroticism is beautifully understated and in it's day (1971), when tying men up with rope was just a routine way of inhibiting their heroics, the significance of the captive's dislodged shorts were probably lost on the average viewer - or perhaps seen as a reflection on the low class manners of the attacker.
Much of the impact of the picture comes from the scary suspension, whose threat is considerably amplified by the upward looking viewpoint and the soaring log-built frame on the right. The vulnerability of the captive is magnified by contrasting his near-nakedness with the over-dressed villain whose bizarre designer look gives a decidedly scary tweak to his manic, angry behaviour. In my article on Tagame I said that upside down images were hard for our brains to process but this effort works better than most, possibly because the youth's body isn't full of distracting detail.
This is a very successful picture built around the spectacular use of perspective, so thrilling in fact that you don't even notice that the villain doesn't fit into it technically. While the rest of the picture is looking up, we seem to be looking down on him and yet somehow the discrepancy doesn't jar, how clever is that? It's similar to the 'multi-image within a picture' effect I talked about with Tam, where the brain seems to be able to blend/cut incompatible images together, almost creating an extra dimension.
The only reference I can find for this artist is a citation in Tagame's Gay Erotic Art in Japan Vol 2
For previous articles in this 'mitchmen' series click on the A-Z label below
Monday, 28 July 2014
This artist was one of those blazing stars who flare brightly but briefly and then disappear back to their day jobs having left behind a priceless collection of of classic images which leave you longing for more.
Teddy of Paris 1 Tyrant's Toy
It's the captive's awkward, extended, angular pose that makes this picture so striking. The simple tethering of legs, arms and dick renders him totally helpless. He cannot rise or take up any normal body position and it would be a nasty torture in it's own right over any extended period of time. His anguished expression displays not just the pain of the whip and his bondage but a dog-like deference towards his master, a wariness of how much longer this will continue - and what may be demanded of him next.
You can see the influence of 'the Hun' in Teddy's portrayal of The Tyrant and maybe Tom of Finland in the crazed whip man. They are pretty much stock characters, but the 'Toy', who is a markedly handsome man with a slender body and long muscular legs is entirely Teddy's own creation. He's not stereotypical dungeon fodder but instead looks like a model, a sporting hero, the man who has everything – or used to. His youthful beauty makes the level of violence used against him (implied by the network of whip marks all over his body) seem all the more destructive. The absurdly exaggerated sexual excitement of all concerned lightens the atmosphere and sanitises the scene to a degree. But, unlike Tam's explorations of pain and sexual arousal, there's no suggestion of physical intimacy here.
Teddy's best pictures have a powerful a sense of unrestrained energy, suggesting an emotional commitment to the subject matter, which is also reflected in his use of a sophisticated and time consuming pointillist technique. Sadly the scan has degraded the detail, obscuring the artist's skill.
Teddy of Paris 2 – Hungry for Pain
This image has not the same physical energy, but there's still a powerful intensity about the portrayal of a fearful, cringing prisoner confronted by a sexual beast. Interestingly, there are sketches of bondage positions lying on the floor suggesting the artist is representing himself and expressing some very personal feelings here, including presumably the words of the title incorporated into the floor. Once again, the technique and astonishing level of erotically-focussed detail (the seams of the jeans, the hairy ass) demonstrate a deep personal interest.
Teddy of Paris 3 – Kitchen Scene
(from The Bridegroom's Cherry)
A good deal of Teddy's reputation comes from the illustrations he did for the story of 'The Bridegroom's Cherry'. These pictures feature men with manic eyes, long legs and enormous cocks having wild, rough sex. The bridegroom of the title (seen here tied to the kitchen table) becomes the sexual victim of a gang who raid his flat and stay to play.
This imagery is quite adventurous for it's time (1990's) with fisting and electro-torture and the energy which seethes through this picture gives an intimidating impression of how it feels to experience those two extreme activities. Many artists' pictures looked artificially posed but Teddy's couple are seen in the middle of unstable, tumbling, orifice stretching contortions. When his men get going they do it hard and energetically and knowing this adds a hidden dimension of spice and danger to the less rowdy images, like Hungry for Pain above.
Teddy of Paris 4 – Hospital Scene
(from The Bridegroom's Cherry)
The hapless Bridegroom (this time lying dazed on the Hospital trolley) seems perpetually bewildered as he is by turns forced, drugged ,cajoled and tricked into man-sex with all manner of opportunist predators – in this case the Hospital intern who is supposed to be treating him for injuries received from his attackers (it turns out that the orderly enjoying the scene is actually one of the gang himself).
The portrayal of the Bridegroom in these pictures is like the victim in 'Tyrants Toy'. They are both attractive and pretty normal-looking men (in stark contrast to their assailants). This one is a construction worker who is so butch he wears a jockstrap instead of underwear. Both are made to submit to stronger (or more devious) men. Both are propelled along a rocky road discovering an ability to enjoy man-sex and abusive domination.
Some of the other pictures in this series, geared to the storyline, lack the intensity of these two. Teddy has not used his pointillist technique either, possibly reflecting the fact that it's a commission not a personal project. It looks as if the originals are painted with watercolours or inkwash and available scans of these pictures are poor, suffering from excess of contrast giving them an eerie, misty quality.
The images for this tale circulate without any storyline, but I recently discovered a text for the story at 'Daddy's Here' (link below). It's not great literature (all fetid armpits and globular cheeks, quote:- “the sound of slurpings and slobberings and slaverings bounced off the walls of the room”). Despite this it does provide a narrative that plausibly links most of the images. However this text implies a different picture sequence to those of at least 4 sets circulating on the internet (including Daddies own!) Interestingly, while there is a scene in this text where the groom is tied to the kitchen table, it doesn't feature electro torture or fisting, but shaving and body painting instead. Watered down for publication?
Teddy of Paris 5 – Kiwi at the Stake
The third string to Teddy's bow was his series of cartoons about 'Kiwi', a young man who is unambiguously gay but always manages to get himself into embarrassing and painful scrapes. There must have been many episodes produced but they are not easy to track down. These samples are taken from 'Kiwi hits the Screen' where the young man is hired for an acting job but goes to the wrong studio. He ends up starring in an advert extolling the virtues of 'Securit' restraint ropes in various situations – all of which call for Kiwi to be tied up and abused, but neither he nor the reader knows what is really going on until the final frame. This is one of the more spectacular endorsement scenarios and allows Teddy to show his skill with light and flame effects (it compares well with previous conflagrations from Saj, Sean and Sergey). Kiwi's terrified eyes, comic though they are, make the image rather special for those with sadistic leanings.
Teddy of Paris 6 – Kiwi crated up
It looks as though Teddy designed this tasty dish to be served with or without the added salt of sadism round the edges, to suit the publisher's requirements. Kiwi's caged contortions certainly seem erotic enough to sell the ubiquitous ropes on their own. Teddy maintains the boy's naïve compliance - and his mammoth erection – throughout his multi-faceted ordeal. The jaw distended by the sheer size of the invading cock features in other Teddy images.
Virtually every frame of this comic strip contains a fresh idea and nearly every one is a little gem capable of standing up as a picture on it's own - it's a classic example of the effort and quality Teddy put into his work for us to enjoy, although it leaves you yearning for more developed versions.
Teddy of Paris 7 – Let's Have Fun
Just to show Teddy's romantic side. This is not really a fetish picture but there's a suggestion of dangerous sex and a good deal of erotic tension in this scene of seduction. The handsome and confident-looking (cocky even?) adonis seems to revel in the attention he's getting. Teddy captures the amazing magnetism that well-worn jeans have for men's eyes - and for the hands of the bold
(and who hasn't wanted to do just this to such a man?) .
The handkerchief proclaims the groper to be a bottom or receiver, but he's no wimp and seems to have this situation well in hand. Do the keys indicate he's ready to go, or something more symbolic when combined with that approach from behind? (See here for clarification!) The colour of his preference hanky remains tantalisingly unknown to us, but it's dark (and there appears to be a hidden symbol of some kind). In any event his sly, confident air suggests that our hero may be in for more than he expected.
Teddy of Paris - Barracks Initiation
This picture is something of a tour de force and must have been a labour of love, as the annotation suggests. It's a sort of S&M equivalent of Tom of Finland's giant orgy scenes. There are 4-5 areas of detail within the composition which are beautifully done (I love the man standing on the left margin, cans in hand). Visually, the picture is dominated by the two central figures and the backbone of the composition – a narrowing corridor receding to the top right corner – gets a bit lost in the detail (in this scan at least). However, it's a fascinating scene, with terrified, new recruits being brought down distant steps from the bright world outside, through a corridor of watching, jeering, leering men into a dark, manic arena, there to be subjected to arbitrary punishment and humiliation.
You can tell from the sheer work that has gone into this picture and from the facial expressions and abuses depicted in it that Teddy has expressed some deep, inner feelings here which were important to him and it deserves to be taken seriously by us. Psycho-analysts relate tunnel imagery to the memory of being born and in a sense that is what is happening here, the birth of innocents into a terrifying world of undeserved punishment and brutally enforced conformity. The experience of growing up gay? Perhaps. Significantly it's from light into darkness, the reverse of normal birth.
However you view this image, that single, isolated, fearful face, almost lost in the background, turns it from an atmospheric, spanking romp into a seriously threatening and erotic S&M classic. You might ponder why fear is a recurring theme in Teddy's paintings (see 1,2 and 5 above) and why it is associated with sexual excitement - and why that connects to us so powerfully.
It seems that Teddy was self-taught but his technical skills are of a very high order. His uproarious expressions of energetic sex and devilish punishments mark him apart from other S&M artists. It's a shame it came to an end so quickly.
Teddy was resident at a site called Curious Yellow in the 90's, but it seems to have gone now. His pictures are not hard to find on the net, there's a good selection and a text for 'Bridegroom's Cherry' at Daddy's Here
Note: Since I published this article, Teddy has been in touch with me and provided a link to his flickr page. You can see the correspondence in the comments section below.
Note: Since I published this article, Teddy has been in touch with me and provided a link to his flickr page. You can see the correspondence in the comments section below.
For previous articles in this 'mitchmen' series click on the A-Z label below
Friday, 25 July 2014
I previously published this image in the A-Z under letter 'M' believing it to be
attributed to an artist named 'Madison'. I said about it then:-
"It has been around a long time but surfaces regularly in fetish groups. It's actually a rather good drawing but the manic eyes of the captive grab all the attention and make it appear humorous but also rather trivial. However, on closer examination almost every aspect of this picture shouts class, the depiction of the man's slender physique and the twining ropes is exceedingly erotic and the detailing of his penis and the tattooist's hands and equipment are superb, never mind the fainter tattoo designs on the wall behind. The drawing of the head lacks the same finesse - it actually bears a passing resemblance to Sean's style but that comparison's not meant to be derogatory to either artist!"
I have now acquired a higher resolution image (above) and examination of the rose tattoo in the background immediately reveals Sean's usual signature with E and N combined. It's actually visible in my original post as well, I don't know how I missed it! The subject matter is Sean's bag as well. Anyway, I think I say safely say that this picture 'Tattoo Parlour' is by Sean. I have removed it from the original post.
You can find my A-Z article on Sean here
Saturday, 19 July 2014
There was a flurry of interest in Tatsuya Naoki a couple of years ago when these pencil images showing smooth, chunky men bound in red ropes first appeared. I think this is the best of that group, portraying some serious bondage – you may have seen the single leg position in Bound Gods work, but in those videos the weight of the body is supported by a secondary harness, this guy has to rely on balancing on one leg, which over time becomes increasingly difficult, particularly if you are also forced into energetic sexual activity as appears to have happened here. The dripping fluids are a salacious detail, but also add a time dimension to the captive's predicament, the expression on his face suggests he has now had enough.
There's a slightly self conscious artiness about the juxtaposition of sex bondage with imagery from Nature, but to the Japanese eye these are not mere decoration. This bondage position itself imitates the one legged stance of the crane standing in water, in Japanese culture cranes supposedly reward sacrifices with luck and also represent longevity. The water lily (or lotus) is sometimes associated with cranes and denotes purity (!) and rebirth, so you can see a sort of message, but I imagine it's rather more subtle than that and I won't pretend to know.
This picture couldn't be more different with a sleeping(?) young man under tickling attack from a collection of Disney-esq playing cards, all armed with paint brushes. I think it's the first time I've featured tickling fetish in this series and I confess the hand-gagging and suggestion of wrist bondage appeal to me more. There's something slightly sinister about the faceless playing cards (even in Disney's film) and here the pointed brushes, look like - and are wielded like – spears, angled towards erotically sensitive zones. The dreamer's legs are held wide open and the playing card between them, clinging to his thigh, obscuring his organs but doing who knows what to them seems the height of erotic suggestiveness to me. The Japanese, wave-like styling of the sploshing white paint is a delightful detail.
In the previous picture I was tempted to point out parallels with the art of Hasegawa (e.g. the skin toning and symbolism), but the depiction of the youth in this image seems even more reminiscent of that much missed artist.
'Beard Attack' is much more down to earth, featuring more rugby-style chunkies indulging in a teasing torture/fetish that many of us will have experienced in some form but is rarely the subject of any artist – the stubble scratch. This young man seems to be appreciating it, judging by his splendid, moist erection, but his grimace suggests a more plausible emotion. Being Japanese, his nudity in a public place adds a significant modesty/embarrassment ingredient to the ordeal, underlined by the fact that everyone else is clothed and clearly not intending join him in with his nakedness. In fact they are well wrapped up and the trees are almost bare suggesting it's a cold, autumn day. Not ideal for exposing yourself.
This attack seems to be mischievous rather than nasty, perhaps a group of boisterous rugby players, lubricated in the club bar have stumbled across this young man up to no good in the bushes and are tutoring him in their version of what constitutes manhood. The ultimate straight boy tease, but there's always the hope that it's going to turn into a Baked Alaska moment (cold cock -> hot mouth) Whatever the case, it seems that the limits in this scene are not going to be set by the naked victim.
The facial expression of the man doing the scratching (with a touch of determined wickedness in his eyes) and the thoughtful on-looker, twiddling his own beard inscrutably are both nice little studies, well observed from life. The background itself is styled in a neat and tidy way that is very attractive and it is also nice to see that Tatsuya's men are uncompromisingly Japanese and modern.
This image connects back to the ball-busting images of Tam, but it's much less violent, more squash than smash, a manly test of endurance rather than an attempt to injure. This is 'rough play' like 'Beard Attack' but there seems to be no malice at all here. However there's a lot of eroticism bubbling under those highly revealing leotards. The pose of the central figure, arching back with his feet bent back underneath him is very sexy, this viewpoint doesn't really do it full justice but the crossed arms detail looks so right. Even better is the background figure administering the foot pressure. The dangling arm and the slightly leaning body posture completely capture this tricky balancing act and for me there's also something unmistakeably masculine about it, I look at it and think, yes, that's exactly how a man looks. It's a delight and an artist that can capture this 'essential manliness' is to be admired.
You want fetish? This image is less convincing than the others but the artist captures the discomfort of the gag as the captive averts his face from the improbable shower of spunk raining down on his body. The hedgehog haircut seems slightly incongruous, more clubland than dungeon, which perhaps explains his slightly pained expression, as though he's dismayed by the coarseness of it all. There's another, similar picture by this artist featuring a mask and unconventional use of a screwdriver (see links below).
My final example is a quirky one, from a larger group about a rugby player being ritually humiliated. In this scene he is forced to piss in his own shorts and I've included it because it's a scenario that interested me at one time and I don't think I have featured it here before. However it's fiendishly difficult to make into an erotically exciting image since all the main action is hidden, leaving the artist to depict wet fabric/skin and dribbling liquid – not very easy. I suppose this attempt proves the point.
Tatsuya's work does not explore the dark realms of fetish, but there's often a touch of the sinister - even in good humoured pieces, the non-fetish work is a little bland for me. His best art is sensual and stimulating and he has a knack for pleasing detail. There's a selection of his work at the Japanese Gay Art site and (censored) at his blog Absinthe (there are more pictures in the older posts)
For other articles in this series click on the A-Z label below
or seach by name.
Sunday, 13 July 2014
09 Tam – The Bull (Trooper Delgado Punished)
There's a sinister, militaristic flavour in this image of a Latin American soldier demoted to the ranks and disciplined after failing to capture a rebel leader. An audience of troopers has gathered to witness their former Sergeant's fall from grace and gloat over his previously unsuspected masochism, revealed by the whipping. Tam shows a balding patch on the disgraced NCO's head indicating his maturity - which makes his humiliation in front of the younger soldiers all the worse.
There's a sense of depth in this picture and a convincing interaction between the main protagonists although I think Tam's missed a trick by not curling the tip of the whip back into the picture somewhere. This punishment is most severe, judging by the weals on the victim's back but Tam's depictions are rather less graphic than Tagame's.
10 Tam – Policeman's Woodland Whipping
There's something quite poignant about the tattered remnants of clothing and wincing expression of the Policeman in this simple image which is focussed entirely on the recipient of the punishment. I have always found the British Police Uniform pretty un-erotic (unlike their US counterparts) so I have to admire the way Tam extracts erotic value here. The woodland setting looks a bit like one of Tom's logger's camps.
11 Tam – Sex Slaver (MP Wrenched)
Whilst standard whippings (above) and fist beatings are a mainstay in Tam's pictures he invents a particularly nasty torture for the kidnapped MP in 'Sex Slavers' where two heavy, adjustable wrenches are clamped to his nipples
- to promote their enlargement(!)
In a rare moment of humour the kidnapper's discover to their delight that this process can also be used to force the production of 'bull milk' for their breakfast cereal. I would imagine early morning must be a particularly favourable time for extraction! The open space in this picture suggests another illustration has been removed by the artist.
12 Tam Sex Slavers (Gold)
As the 'Sex Slavers' story develops, the focus of the kidnapper's brutality switches back and forth between the MP and his fellow captive, the policeman. This device has the effect of constantly rekindling the reader's anticipation and interest in what will happen next. It's much harder to sustain interest in a procession of tortures against the same victim.
This picture shows both captives as the Cop is secured for ringing (see 08, Part 1) the MP being left to deal with his wrenches alone. The two men in this story, complete strangers before their abductions, develop a rather manly, comradeship in their shared cell and are eventually forced into sex together. However, the romance comes to an abrupt end when they are unceremoniously sedated and packed into separate crates for onward shipment to their purchasers. Nice.
This picture is not really integrated as a single scene in the conventional sense but made with separate images placed together – it's a bit like cut-aways in a film brought together on the page. Switching between these two parallel elements of the picture creates an unexpected sense of space and time around the scene. The 'tit-ringing' picture (08 in the previous post) can be read in the same way, showing the tension between the struggling pair and the disapproving on-looker. It's the absence of a unifying background that makes this effect possible. Is it intentional on the artist's part or an interesting accident? See next picture.
13 Tam – Cop Lesson (Endurance)
'Cop Lesson' features a policeman who hires a body builder offering lessons in Advanced S&M. The tit-weight test is the highlight of his session, at the cop's own request and it's clearly a favourite with Tam too. He paints the policeman in this story as a meek man completely lacking in the ultra masculine bravado of other Tam authority figures (that's despite his intimidating physique, but it's by no means an implausible characterisation). He humbly submits to the instructions and the brutality of the 'Dom' who for his own part is pretty disinterested, as is evident in the picture I have chosen, where he's watching TV. There's a companion picture in which the Policeman's pecs are even more stretched by the weight but his anguish is ignored by the Dom who is now casually working his way through the racing results and several cans of beer.
This is a more recent work and the drawing of the two characters is nicely done. Tam uses the same technique we discussed before:- two images (barely connected) plus a blank background (which you can see he has taken pains to create, if you look closely). The effect is even more marked in the other picture but it's not as pretty as this one. However, it's obvious in this example that Tam is deliberately trying to create a sense of time passing and of the characters existing separately within their shared story. It brings out the idea of the torture being a personal trial for the Policeman, proceeding independently of the torturer, but still under his control.
It's difficult to express this in words but you can see something similar in the imagery by 'Roped Studs' of the model Cam.
Cam is tied to a table with a row of pegs across his chest which produce a particularly spectacular effect when he aches his head backwards. In the clip he simply strains against the ropes or changes position to ease the discomfort, occasionally grunting or expelling his breath in frustration and pain. It's quite different to the usual manic struggling and creates a powerful sense of bondage restraint being a slow-burning torture with the prisoner left to face it alone.
That, I think, is what Tam is trying to do.
14 Stokes Punishment (Slapped in the Face)
'Stoke's Punishment' is one of Tam's longest stories and in the course of 200 odd pictures the Navy Officer is pretty much continuously beaten by a disaffected member of his crew and his henchmen. Having first been softened up with fists and kicking, he is stripped down to his underwear (augmented with sexy uniform bits in Tam's usual fashion) before being confronted with this viciously wielded strap. Targeting the face when the rest of the body is so invitingly available is very unexpected. This is a highly original image, a sort of masculine equivalent of the bitch slap and invokes much the same reaction of surprised shock - in both the character on the page
- and the viewer if you are anything like me.
15 Stokes Punishment (Topped and Tailed)
Stoke's torment continues on a Tagame-esque course with a concrete block strung between his nipples and a large dildo simultaneously inserted into his ass. The dildo is held in place by straps embellished with evil spikes that pierce the buttocks when drawn tight. Stoke's manly fortitude in the face of this barrage of pain is conveyed by a stiffly erect posture and Tam's succinct and earthy dialogue. His tell-tale dripping cock however goes unremarked. Tam doesn't usually indulge in multiple simultaneous tortures and I must say I normally prefer the simple approach, but it makes for a spectacular image.
Stoke's character – and his tenderised buttocks - are about to be tested further by the appearance on the scene of his fuck-buddy from the ship, a junior rating who will cane his spiked ass in an attempt to convince the kidnapper that he too has a grudge against Stoke. The Lieutenant's angry dismay at this apparent betrayal is a nice twist to the story.
16 Stokes Punishment (The Climax)
Sadly (or happily for us perhaps!), the would-be rescuer's deception is spotted by the kidnappers, Stoke's cane pain is all in vain and the boyfriend himself ends up gagged with Stoke's dildo, presumably spikes and all – uumm. He looks on in amazement as Stokes's flogging continues to a spectacular spouting climax. Much to my chagrin, Tam shows the crucial vinegar lash (above) in a separate picture to the resulting fountain, but nevertheless this marriage of sex and pain is memorable and I'm sure you can imagine it!
Tam is a great reviser of his own work. I have several versions of this story collected over the years and not all of them include this picture or it's spurting companion. Collecting Tam's work is not without it's challenges! Variants are proliferated by his practice of cleaning up pictures and splitting up multi-sketch pages (which also affects numbering of course). He also revises pictures with patches of electronic shading sometimes and the dialogue, which is handwritten in originals, appears typed in other versions, sometimes with altered wording to clarify or enhance the story.
For nerds like me it's a fascinating world to explore.
17 Got Yah! (Kneed in the Groin)
It's back to basics for my last two examples. I don't know which story this comes from, it seems to show a routine Driving Licence check going slightly awry. It seems to sum up much of Tam's work, a violent revolt against authority and power, which I'm sure many if not all of my readers will totally 'get'. (Interestingly my word processor suggested completing this as “get-em-off” – but I leave that up to you!) In his uniform, the moustached policeman does seem to have acquired an air of pomposity and arrogance while the assailant manages to be both tough looking and cute, although not so cute that he doesn't know the basics of street fighting.
While clothing usually plays a key part in Tam's story-telling, he sometimes seems undecided about whether his characters are dressed or not and this is quite a nice example. Fabric becomes ethereal, clinging to the body and necklines fade away (and trouser waistbands in other pictures, like 09 above).
Is this a representation of multiple points in time? I jest!
18 Stoke's Punishment (On your feet lieutenant!)
My final image is another expression of contempt for authority. It's from Stoke's Punishment but could equally have come from almost any one of Tam's stories. Unlike modern day porn stars, Lt Stoke doesn't eagerly gobble up the urine but turns his head away in distaste. The beauty of Tam's work is that victims show realistic reactions to their abuse, they wince when struck (14), they concentrate and tense when enduring pain (13), they become tearful when it all gets too much and too unfair (10). It often is unfair, but as we all know only too well, life is unfair. And it's nice to dump it back on someone else sometimes. And as the characters themselves come to realise, there's always an orgasm to compensate.
I would happily have produced several more articles on Tam, I haven't even mentioned his Fantasy/Sci-Fi themes which notably feature a transparent 'milking globe' enclosing the male organs and impaling the tip with a delivery tube. I should also have praised his championing of the erotic attractions of the older man, his ability to make age-lined faces and receding hairlines look good. Perhaps another time.
I suppose Tam's work primarily appeals to men of a certain age and with British backgrounds, but his underlying messages, often speaking the unspeakable, are universal and bravely delivered (somewhat un-Britishly) in uncompromising and direct terms – much like his men fight – but without resorting to shockingly repulsive extremes. His technique is not seductive but quirky and interesting and if it doesn't totally scale the artistic heights it certainly reaches erotic regions other artists can only dream of. In any case, like Tagame it's designed to tell a story, not hang on a wall to be admired, but I find plenty to admire in his work.
Several Tam sites have come and gone over the years, both on Yahoo and Google Groups and his latest base seems to be at Tams Art blog
For other articles in this series click on the A-Z label below
Tuesday, 8 July 2014
01 Tam - Sex Slavers (MP abducted)
Tam is a British artist who usually depicts uniformed, authority figures being abducted, beaten up, humiliated and worse. A typical victim is the MP (Military Police) Sergeant with a moustache and wearing British army battledress from the 1950-60s. My first sample from the story 'Sex Slavers' shows one such NCO* being carried off after being stunned and tied up by professional kidnappers.
(*NCO = non-commissioned officer i.e. Sergeants and Corporals promoted from the ranks.)
02 Tam - Breaking Corporal North (The Set Up)
This uniform had some attractive, erotic styling which Tam captures nicely in this sketch which sets the scene for the Corporal North story. The top is a short jacket with patch pockets on the chest, shoulder epaulettes and the usual badges and signifiers of rank all of which enhance the upper body shape. The jacket is paired with high waisted trousers worn with a chunky, distinctive belt which pulls in the waist and accentuates both the upper body and most notably, the shape of the backside – soldiers used to alter them to get a snugger fit. The trouser bottoms are tucked into gaiters which makes the legs look chunky.
03 Tam – Cock Inn Encounter (MP is Stripped)
A casual pick-up in a bar leads to an unexpected confrontation in this picture. Tam's targeted NCO's are always forced to strip to their under-shorts (which can scarcely contain their excited man-bits) and made to wear with them key elements of the uniform - the cap, the belt and in this case the MP armbands, which in the normal world transform them from ordinary soldiers into policemen. The under-shorts are a genuine design which looked just as sexy on the right man as Tam's pictures suggest (I speak from experience)!
These images have a strong link with the post-war (WW2) era of National Service* in Britain when the abundance of off-duty, military personnel on the streets gave rise to a golden age of casual sexual encounters - probably not like this though! It also spawned the photographic imagery of Royale studio which like Tam featured models wearing 'erotically reconstructed' uniforms (click on GIU/Royale label at foot of this post for more examples). Royale photos usually showed regular soldiers being bullied and punished by their NCO superiors but Tam's stories and pictures show the squaddies taking their revenge for all the harsh discipline, unfair punishments, missed promotions and other petty jealousies.
When I first saw images like these it pressed all the buttons for me, a memorable crystallisation of my own fantasies, so Tam's work has always had a special place in my affections. The combination of normally unseen underwear with the outward symbols of macho job roles plus the idea of grown men forced to dress up like dolls, to become tempting sex objects still seems so sexy to me. I suppose Luger's cowboys and Etienne's 'Cadets' plough a similar furrow, but Tam's more mature physiques, their immobilisation by bondage, and the element of compulsion raises the erotic temperature considerably. Much as I enjoy the sexual appeal of American sailors, Cops and Cowboys, being able to fantasise over a British Soldier is something special. I have explored such imagery myself with Squaddie Steve
(*National Service = 2 years of compulsory military service for all men on reaching 18 years of age. Many men found the discipline hard to handle and learned to hate their NCO's, bullying did occur but wasn't commonplace)
04 Tam - Breaking Corp North (Beaten Up)
Corporal North here is the object of one such vendetta (see image 2 for the lead-in). The physical beating up of restrained captives with fists and feet is a significant part of Tam's work and it marks him apart from most other fetish artists who gravitate to more ritualised, less intimate forms of punishment. Jotto and Kalabro spring to mind as exceptions.
The NCO's in these tales are characterised as arrogant, nasty, physically powerful, very manly and mentally strong in a way that's a little hard to understand these days. In short, eminently worthy of being beaten up and broken. They nearly always wear neat, full moustaches which were symbolic of adult manliness in the 1950's. In the British Army they were the preserve of officers and senior NCO's, ordinary soldiers were expected to be clean-shaven. Tam obviously likes them as an expression of masculinity, but here they also signify rank, power and privilege. (Tagame's preference for moustaches, by comparison, probably derives from the 1980's 'clone' era, he is too young b.1964 to remember the post war years, when Japan was demilitarised in any case).
05 Tam - Cops Colour Book (Captured Cop Tortured)
Tam tells stories in pictures and this example is from Cops Colour Book, an early work with a deceptive title that matches the naïve style. This example shows some more of the brutal street-style punishments that flow from Tam's pencil and this time the victim is a British Policeman who has tried to detain two ruffians up to no good. The apparently simple drawing style is actually quite successful at depicting some fairly complex body action and despite the absence of spectacular angled viewpoints, the venomous nature of this attack jumps out at you. This cartoony story is understandably popular with Tam enthusiasts, there's some interesting psychology going on here and the subversive ideas expressed speak louder than the artistry.
Tam doesn't use the sophisticated, comic design style of Tagame, Fillion and other modern day artists (who use multiple interlocking frames per page), but something more like the 'Kake' format of Tom of Finland with a single picture per page. You will find examples of Tam's work with several sketches on a page (like the one above in fact) but they are not formally framed and integrated into one design and he often breaks them up into separate images for the final book, presumably to make them easier to read. Tam's stories are usually longer than the Kake series running to hundreds of pictures in some epic cases.
06 Tam - Cops Colour Book (The Villains Fall Out)
There are also links to Tom of a stylistic nature in Tam's early work and some elements of Cops Colour Book are actually redrawn versions of Tom images, including the fight scene above which you may recognise (above right). With a couple of minor alterations, Tam's rather less polished version manages to create a sense of immediacy and serious combat which isn't there in Tom's original.
07 Tam – Whipping of a Captured Paratrooper
This picture of a captured British Paratrooper stripped and whipped down South America way is a marvellous example of Tam's very personal take on erotic styling, his kitbag of sexy ingredients. The texture of those flimsy under-shorts comes out particularly well in this image. The power plays are typically Tam too. The Paratrooper badge incorporated into the belt buckle tells us that this is a crack soldier from an elite Regiment and therefore especially prized as a captive – by the same token, he is doubly humiliated - by capture itself and with the degrading mockery of his uniform forming part of his punishment. The background tree detail is a rare luxury with Tam, who in his eagerness to tell the story and focus on the erotic appeal of the suffering captive, usually leaves out backgrounds (or else they are lost during the cleaning up process).
In this later picture Tam has developed his own more angular style, his faces sometimes look a bit like Matt's – see also for example the second image in this article. His shading technique here with fuzzy, parallel lines is very confident and rather classy, but you can still see Tom's heritage in the sensuality of the skin toning and those mammoth pecs with their gleaming nipple discs - which must outshine the para's boots!
08 Tam – Sex Slavers (Ringing the Cop's Tits)
The sensual style of the paratrooper whipping above is a conventional way of expressing the erotic element in S&M pictures, but Tam goes further here as a kidnapper in 'Sex Slavers' inserts rings through the captive cop's nipples. Despite his muffled grunts of pain it hardly seems like a punishment since the two men's groins are pushing together and the cop is leaking profusely over his tormentor's trousers. In Tam's stories the captives usual end up wanting the abuse, which is just as well, but this piercing and ringing of the restrained policeman's nipples is not just about inflicting pain, but the symbolic exercise of control over his body, going beyond mere humiliation. The cop's erotic response registers his susceptibility to this sort of control and his suitability for enslavement. His captor is enjoying this discovery and the sexual moment – perhaps a little too much for his colleague's liking.
I particularly like the drawing of the two henchmen here, their treatment is quite different to the idealised, cop 'hero' figure, being slightly scuffy, more earthy and real. Something similar happens in Tom's later work where the highly stylised Kake character is juxtaposed with more normal-looking men and I will return to this in my article on Tom.
This image has no background detail at all and the high level of contrast creates an austere, flat look. Much of Tam's work looks like this. It looks like the subtleties of the original drawing have been lost which means that multi-figure compositions have to work harder to retain their coherence and avoid the appearance of being assembled poses (the third man's eyes are working miracles here pulling things together). This unusual technique has it's advantages though, once you get used to the look, and I will expand on this in Part 2 of this article.
More on Tam in Part 2 here
Meanwhile check out his work at Tams Art blog