Eric Stanton must stand as one of the most influential fetish artists of the last century. If you’ve never seen his work the admirable blogger “Richard” provides a very good archive and intro . He really was the first purely fetish artist I’d ever encountered though I remember not being too keen on his bondage art at the time. I was then – unlike now 😉 – a little squeamish about seeing women suffering, so while I liked the artwork and the sense of the bizarre it conveyed, it didn’t quite hit the spot for me. But as there were few enough artists working in the field I initiated a short correspondence with him in the eighties, sending some of my art by post and asking his advice on directions within the fetish art world. My letters to him came back marked up with his friendly comments – I guessed he was a busy man and he told me he was suffering from eye problems at the time. In those days he was a respected artist within his field but by no means as well known as he is now. I cannot recall much of the content of our letters but I do remember he just told me to wait until the world came round to see things as we did and joked bitterly, as many an artist does, he’d be famous after his death. And now he is.
I really preferred -and still admire -his earlier art. “Bound in Leather”, for example, conjures up such a magically perverse world, though only portrayed with a simple black & white watercolour. It is obvious how much love he had poured into the series. There are no submissive men in these compared to the later “Stantoons” series, but I was not such a fan of the latter as I felt they were sketchy and produced under duress. As a commercial artist working in a narrow field the quality of Stanton’s artwork was probably affected by external circumstances – lack of time to complete, dissatisfaction with payment, family issues, etc. so that he may not always have given his utmost attention. He may also have been fulfilling requests to draw in that way. I perfectly understand that pressure myself.
Or maybe I was never into physically powerful women -or wrestling.
Without his influence though and the advice he gave then, I doubt I’d be persisting in this field of artwork. Even if you know it, take time to look at Stanton’s artwork again – even in an age of overwhelmingly abundant imagery it still inspires.