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.
A beautiful spring day and a gentle breeze. Daffodils bloom, sheltered by the endless extent of Hadrian’s wall, a short journey from the chambers of Mistress Celeste in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Her expensive thigh-high boots crush the grass underfoot as she takes aim with her single-tail whip. Her muscular slave, bound by taut ropes, tenses in anticipation and waits for the first lashing.
A surreal setting for this drawing of Miss Kelle Martina. (See previous portraits) I was given a free rein to pursue an imaginative line drawing provided the art included leather, gloves, boots and bondage. So here she sits on a throne in her palace. A miniature toy beside her, wrapped tightly in bonds and attached by a leash, symbolically portrays her dominance. Through the window we can see a high tower with a high heel pinnacle, and perhaps through the window of that tower a similar scene is happening?
It has been a strange summer locked-down at home, with remarkably little happening, except in my imagination ( which is actually where I live most) but my sabbatical continues nevertheless and I have the opportunity to explore new ways of depicting the femdom experience.
One day in early summer I imagined the seaside – which I should have visited at least once this year – and the idea of a couple together enjoying the sea view came to me.
I quickly sketched out the idea on the iPad and tweeted it. It proved popular and the beautiful and remarkable Mistress Ezada Sinn, whom I have drawn on numerous occasions, loved the idea and praised the sketch.
As she expressed interest in it, we arranged that she would fund me to develop the rough further and produce a more finished picture (although digitally – not in conventional paints) I send this through as a file to her and printing it off, she framed and hung it on her wall.
She even made a Youtube video about it, where she reads out my thoughts about the artwork.
Was this once a man, now destined to wait for Mistress Sakura Strike to come upstairs to play with him?
She gazes up to the moon above, ignoring the groans beneath her and muses on her next adventure.
In the corner of the room, a gentleman puppet in top-hat and tails, who fell for her charms. He danced and dined with her once but now lies discarded in the corner, waiting like the rocking-horse for her occasional visits.
New York based Mistress Chloe in classic corset, see-through skirt and stockings straddles the commissioner of the painting in an elegant spacious lounge, and looks round at us knowingly.
His role is perhaps a delivery boy (in chastity) who has to deliver roses to her house. The number is significant as the number of years that the commissioner has served her.
On the coffee table by the sofa, a copy of the contact magazine “Dominant Mystique ” of the type used before the Internet.
The number of artists who could be classified as a “femdom artist” is quite small, so when one of us passes it is fitting to mark it in some way. Namio Harukawa died last month as I reported in the previous post . So I wished to draw something in memory of him and, much as a composer might take a theme of another late composer, and write his own set of variations on it, I took a representative drawing of his and without copying it, redrew it in my own style. It is important to emphasise that I was not trying to make it look like his art or pretend to make it one of his artworks.
It was simply taking the theme, and re-interpreting it in my own way.
For the model I asked permission to include the likeness of
Ms Ryoko Kitagawa 北川繚子女王様, founder of Kitagawa-pro films, who was for many years associated with him.
Well, the result was rather strange-quite different from my usual work, but I was pleased with the experiment.
I hope he would be too.
Namio Harukawa, who has recently passed away, was always one of my reference points for femdom illustration. In my younger years I was drawn to his art as he was one of the few artists almost totally dedicated to the femdom theme, so I tried to find as much of it as I could. By then his style had developed a distinctive look and in the sex shops of the 80‘s you could occasionally find collections of his art, shabby bindings of photocopies from legitimate Japanese magazines (yes, it happened even then!)
I once found his art published in a more reputable collection of Japanese erotica and wrote to him via the editor to introduce myself. A short friendly correspondence by letter ensued but we then lost touch for many years.
Astonishingly, especially to younger people, I don’t think Namio ever came on the Internet – unless he lurked incognito – so if he knew of his developing fame it must have been only indirectly. I tried to connect with him again a few times in the 90’s but I only really heard about him through the Japanese blogger Homer, who knew him directly, organised an exhibition and produced a DVD devoted to his work. As a tribute to him he asked me to draw my own face-sitting art for the cover.
Harukawa’s range was somewhat limited, it has to be said, but magnificently obsessive. Facesitting was his universe and he rarely strayed from that. If he drew whipping or shoe worship, for example, it would seem forced as if he had little interest. Moreover his women were very much of a bulkier type, unusual amongst Japanese, and maybe for that very reason so attractive to him. It is interesting to track his development of this. When he started drawing for the SM magazines of Japan in the 1970’s – either by choice or because it was requested – his women were normally proportioned. The line drawings were proficient and charming but unremarkable. As the years progressed the Namio Goddess developed. The buttocks became larger and larger, the settings more confined and claustrophobic, the light and shadow more haunting and the dreamy atmosphere more intense.
They are still recognisably Japanese for all that; this was before the anime cartoon style ruled that every female character had to have huge Western eyes and childish faces.
By contrast the men in his pictures remained largely homogenous and uniform, pathetic and passive in their adoration at their “altar”. Rather than work under commission for portraiture as I have done, he seemed to be in the enviable position of supplying like-minded patrons with his vision and selling to SM magazines in Japan, a vibrant market which eagerly promoted bizarre artwork and amazing photography (so different to Britain!)
In latter days he supplied Megami-no-ai with previously published works but I understand he was too ill to produce anything new.
Namio stands remembered for his unique vision. I know he would have liked to pass from this earth suffocated underneath one of his goddesses but of course that never happened. He lived to a good age though taken by cancer, and leaves behind a substantial legacy which will remain one of the pinnacles of excellence in femdom art .