An orchid blooms. Incense rises up from a high spout. Domdeluxury plays with her whip and looks down from the high throne at her new gift. Her maid, Pammy, (the commissioner of the painting) stands before her in traditional maid’s outfit presenting a precious new female slave, tightly bound in ropes. She kneels and gazes up at the beauty of her mistress then adores her new mistress’ high heels. I rarely draw female submissives or conventional rope bondage, but I’m pleased with the bondage depicted here and the dynamics of the composition.
For many years I have been fascinated by the 1837 poem “Tamara” by Russian author Lermontov – my own amateur translation below – and discussing this one day with long time friend and colleague Irv O. Neil (see his recollections of New York) we came up with the idea of a collaboration as in the 90’s – the “old days” when we both worked for Leg Show magazine (to me the 90’s is only yesterday!)
By his own admission Irv became equally entranced by the poem and worked on top form to create his longest novella yet, drawing on his own memories of 70’s New York and weaving the poem into a story of the seemingly innocent librarian who transforms by night into the seductive persona of Tamara in the poem.
Ebooks have allowed individual writers to publish their own creations in epub or pdf form but too often the last-minute choice of stock photography bearing little if any relation to the content together with indifferent typography does nothing to sell the amazing and inventive writing inside. You can’t tell a book by its cover, sure, but you can go a long way to attracting a roving eye to one out of the many thousands of books on offer. Traditionally publishers spend a lot on getting the cover right and it is justified by the increased sales, but for the most part femdom writing is excluded from mainstream publishing and left to the individual ebook. It’s understandable that authors’ budgets would be too stretched to commission an individual cover for their own books but for once, at least, I wanted to give this great story a great cover, in the style of our old collaborations.
The model is imaginary -maybe a southern Russian or central Asian beauty, dressed in figure-hugging leather and carrying a whip, at the dramatic moment when she surprises the principal character -E.Z. Shepherd -who is at his desk looking for a missing page of research.
For this digital portrait of online idol and manipulatrix Princess Miki, I was given a reasonably open brief-to depict her as a cult leader if she were to do it physically.
So the title of Princess suggested a magical kingdom, a leader perhaps with a chariot drawn by her devoted admirers. A Graeco-Roman type scene and maybe – why not? – some strange looking doves flying to either side, accompanying the Goddess of Love itself.
The mixture of the purity of her dress and cool poise, together with black leather gloves, whip and reins creates a powerful look which expresses her online personality.
This watercolour of Ibicella was inspired by a painting of Samson and Delilah by the French symbolist artist Gustave Moreau. Samson lies asleep on the lap of Delilah, who gazes out at the viewer langorously and knowingly, before cutting off his hair.
Ibicella is here shown seated on a throne inspired by the petals of the Ibicella lutea flower, after which she takes her name. Perhaps it is the end of a bacchanal, and she looks out at us with a similar gaze, her hair circled with ivy leaves, and her slave has collapsed over her knee, drunk from wine and her passionate embrace, his chalice fallen to the ground, but still bound to her by long tendrils which run the length of her palace. He wears a mask reminiscent of a fools’ cap, for he is in the best sense a “fool for love”. In the background another slave has been holding a tray of wine for the evening’s debauchery.
Ibicella unveiled the painting during a webcam in which she thanked the commissioner and myself .
Mistress Jade herself was asked how she wished to be depicted in this one.
On a moonlit balcony she stands in a long night-blue dress and holds a whip. Before going out to the garden to whip a slave who is chained to the tree branch, she pauses for a drink presented to her by her favourite slave-girl. Ivy runs round the walls and creeps up a human lamp-holder, totally encased in leather.
The first time I saw the internet was a complete revelation. One summer’s day around ’96 I was at the seaside home of an erotic writer, who also happened to be a pioneer of the web. He had invited me to see his new Apple Mac – “his wonderful machine” and the astonishing ‘Internet’. Through a fug of heavy cigarette smoke I gazed at his magic lantern, at something called a ‘website’! “Surely they can’t show that ??” I gasped as we looked at some dubious page. I was reminded of the famous lines of Keats poem, ‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’ :-
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies When a new planet swims into his ken;
I could see that the rules had all changed. We could now write and depict virtually what we wished. Oh, sure, the webhost was in between but they were usually quite liberal, hippy and unintrusive . And kinky art was liberated, as was a lot more. No longer did I need to worry whether my drawings would be published because I could be the publisher. (Though I still always self-censor I don’t know why …for reasons of ‘taste’?)
Censorship had almost always existed in some shape or form until the internet. My earliest published drawings were all made with a dark cloud hanging over them – “will the publisher accept this?” “Can I get away with this? ” There were in fact no clear guidelines, which would have helped enormously. A lot depended on factors such as which party was in power or whom you were working for and we would all try to make sense of unclear directions. A mainstream magazine had to comply with the news vendor’s policies of what they were comfortable to put on sale. Smaller fetish magazines which allowed greater freedom could only be sold in sex-shops which were regularly raided by the authorities and restocked the next day. The extortionate mark-up on the goods meant they were never seriously out of pocket. So life continued in a haphazard way.
The point of this rambling is that for the past few years we have seen greater regulation coming in as the Internet has taken over our lives and become much more portable, so the content of the web has become a much great concern. This week I was suspended from Twitter for the image above*, one of a series I drew many years ago for OWK. My fault, as I should not have been using such a “violent” image for my public icon, which is required to be squeaky-clean. Make of that what you will. But it has made me reflect on how much we take for granted. At my age I can compare this to what came before and take it philosophically – oh well, just going back to the way it was. I don’t know how it will all play out but I remember clearly how one day pre-internet I tore up some drawings in frustration as I thought I was doomed to only ever get a single page in an obscure magazine that would never reach a wider public or earn me more than a few pennies. It is no exaggeration to say that without this disruptive technology coming along when it did, I might never have continued.
A very classic scene in classic monochrome. I usually try to avoid a dark dungeon location but occasionally it works well, as in this portrait of Mistress Jade of Boston , U.S.A. The commissioner of this portrait kneels before his adored mistress and awaits his punishment at her hands. She will start with a very robust face-slapping and then will take the objects on the table for more intense torments.