Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Guns

 Having drawn so many women in a predicament that left them at a disadvantage, I thought this would be a nice role-reversal.
 Fore-shortening, perspective where an object or objects reaches into the foreground and stretches back at almost eye-level, is always a challenge.  The gun, hands and arms, and her body all are fore-shortened to create the illusion that she is above the viewer and pointing the gun right in your face.  I tried to use the black to increase this perspective with three horizontal areas; her shorts being the widest, follower by her armbands, and finally her lipstick and the shadow on her throat.  The distances between these areas is also meant to help re-enforce the illusion, with the distance between her shorts and armbands being greater than the distance between her armbands and lips.
 The black bar in the background is meant to balance out the image, especially with so little black on her head.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

BDSM Art

  How does one get started in BDSM art? Well, for me, it was all tied (get it?) into my first real efforts to become a tattoo artist.  I started out designing tattoo flash... that artwork you see on tattoo walls.  I went from shop-to-shop with my flash set as well as my portfolio (on the off-chance that someone might be looking for an apprentice).  I had some nudes in my portfolio at the time, but nothing too extreme.  At one of the shops, the owner said he loved my style, especially the nudes.  What he said he needed was some bondage-art, women tied-up, wearing leather, that kind of thing.

 Up until that time, I hadn't really given it that much thought.  I mean, I was aware of what bondage was, and had tied a girlfriend or two up, but again, nothing too extreme.  The imagery I had run across I found interesting, especially the unusual power-shifts that seem to go between the model and the observer defined by the gear and the particular predicament.  I did some research and came up with several designs that were not only purchased but actually one a local contest. 
 I was "hooked", though not in the way that I would later draw some women.

 The above image was my favorite for a long time.  Though the expression of this and other women in these designs suggests trepidation, I do not consider this kind of work "objectifying" women.  The women I have known who engage in this kinds of expressions of there sexuality all seem to feel very empowered.  Most people do not realize that in a healthy BDSM relation, it is the sub, not the Dom, who determines the parameters. 

The piece above "Romantic Candlelight", was probably one of my most extreme early pieces, and garnered a great deal of attention on the Internet.  Unfortunately, printing options for such a piece were limited, and only a few prints of this were ever made.  People get a little squeamish around this kind of work, and many printers do not want to be associated with profane artwork.

 Not every expression of bondage needs to be overt.  The piece to the right, "Rose", was very popular, and ended up being sold at auction for charity.  There is a romanticism to this piece of work, and expression of the beauty and joy that one can find in abandoning their taboos and restrictions and indulging in whatever they find pleasurable. 


 As I started to get better at this, I learned to have fun with the designs.  The piece to the left was done as a flier and t-shirt design for a local band in Austin, the Blind Pets.  It is an homage to a Black Flag album cover, one where a pistol is in a cop's mouth and the pistol is saying "suck me off, faggot!"

 Yep, Black Flag had a problem with the cops.

 I came up with the text in this piece, emphasizing the different perspectives and focus of each character.  The guy is all about what is going to be done, the girl is about how she is going to be doing it, and the gun is excited to be utilized in the manner it was designed for.

 I think the lead singer was the only one in the band that really liked this piece.  They went to artsy photography for their next flier.

 I started using this kind of work in my advertising.  The piece to the right had arm-tattoos in the color-version that said "Thanks for the Add" and was used as a response to those who added me to their friend's list on MySpace.  I colored it "Warhol-style", four different pastel combinations, and used a red-one for my avatar in some of the forums I used to engage.

 On this piece, I was complimented on the chain's realism.  My collection of BDSM gear was growing considerably, and like the belt in "Rose", I actually had a model to draw from.  Another popular comment was about the effect of not having the face in the image.  This forces the viewer to focus on the chain and her breasts... not that most of my patrons needed any help in that department.  Still, it insists on its raw sexuality and deviance.  The person is not important in this image, only her kink.


This next piece was done as an add asking for donations, and people went nuts over it.  Either they were in love with it or they hated it, and it was all about the woman being hooked to this device meant to pull on her nipples as the tray was weighted down with change.  One day, I am going to create a flash-animation version of this image allowing the viewer to actually add virtual coins to the tray and increase her obvious discomfort.

 Again, the people who complained about this image as being "abusive" forget that their are all kinds of people with all kinds of kinks, and any woman who finds herself in this kind of predicament had requested it or was getting paid for it, more often the former rather than the latter. People would be shocked at what their fellow human-beings do for fun.
 I stared experimenting with different techniques, as represented by these next two pieces.  I did a number of pieces using stark contrast between the black and white tones.  With these pieces, I also intentionally avoided using line to represent form.  The result is a number of places where there is not distinction between the form and the background.  The mind creates the edges that are not actually represented.  A few of these pieces treated the subject matter from a direct perspective; the whole figure was represented in the center of the image (roughly).  This particular piece also experimented with an extreme-angle up-close to the subject who is also contorted.  The lessons learned from the series of which this piece is a part would be applied to later works.




This next piece was less about the image and more about how it was colored.  I had been seeing a technique where the outer edge of the form was defined by a line that was a darker shade of the interior tone.  The result was meant to soften the image... which, given my particular subject matter, seemed to go against the over-all tone of the work.  The proudest part of this piece for me is the spot-light; created completely on the digital file.  I enjoy my little victories almost as much as my large ones.


 BDSM is its own culture, and has its own symbols, language, and trends.  As such, it is often marketed to.  The piece to the right was inspired by a few BDSM themes I had seen being marketed at the local mall (Keep Austin Weird!).  Of course, the images I saw were somewhat more 'vanilla' (tame) by comparison.  marketing this kind of work means finding a venue that is friendly to it.  Usually, this means head-shops, sex-shops, tattoo-studios, novelty-shops, certain publications, and of course the Internet.  I somehow doubt that the people who originally made these phrases popular had the same idea in mind.
 The next few images bring together some of the concepts and techniques I explored in previous images.  One of the things about my pieces that other artists have appreciated (when they voiced their opinion) or noticed (when they just scowled) is that I "am not afraid of the vag".  Among artists it seems to be an unspoken taboo to blatantly display the female genitalia... even worse to make it the images most prominent feature. 

 This is referred to as "fear of the vag".  Apparently, it is often more acceptable to depict male genitalia (but not erect male genitalia... although that is how we prefer to present ourselves).  I can only guess that this is related to our puritanically-based social morals, although even in Europe there was the same modesty-inspired reaction from my friends there, just not to the same degree.  I might also propose another theory.  It may be that we are instinctively urged to look at genitalia, while we have been taught not to look.  It is a conflict of nature vs. nurture that causes our discomfort.  Our interest in displays of sexuality is perfectly natural, perhaps even healthy, but runs counter to our moral/intellectual complex.  In either case, whatever internal governor that may have been instilled in me when I was young has been burned out long ago.  I am more apt to notice a butterfly than a bottomless woman walking down the street.

 

 Along with the "objectification" argument comes also the "violence" argument.  BDSM images often display scenes that could be construed as violent; people being tied-up, placed in cages, spanked, slapped, pinched, pulled, pierced, roughly penetrated or handled, and "tortured".  What is being missed by those looking from the outside in is that, again, the participants are all willing pursuing these behaviors.  Especially in the case of the sub, who appears to be being hurt and humiliated, the individual's power, sexuality, and liberty from the many hang-ups we have about our sexuality is on display.  This display forms a circuit between the viewer and the person being viewed, by which the "victim" is empowered by the audiences interest, emotional response, even their desire.  The Dom often becomes an after-thought in the over-all scene, facilitating and managing the event, but more a part of the environment than the center of focus.  This is akin to ballroom dancing where the man is meant to be a frame for the woman, who is on display for all watching the dance.  The lead may have the illusion of control, but the woman is empowered.

 I once read that sex was the manner in which adults played, so it is no surprise that much of what goes on in BDSM involves a kind of power-shift that relates more to that of a parent/child than a husband/wife... though some marriages and relationships I have witnessed have that kind of dynamic without the kink.  Another study I read suggested that those of us who endured corporal punishment (ie spanking) as a child are more likely to have these 'deviant' interests as adults.  This may be why spanking and "punishment" are such prominent aspects of the BDSM culture. The Dom seems to enjoy the power they have over the sub, but also in their ability to fulfill the desires of their partner.  The sub enjoys being ruled, but also the power in being an object of desire inspiring their partner.  The exchange goes far beyond the physical.

 What may be surprising to some is that in my experience, when these kinds of fetishes are embraced by a couple, those people seem to have a stronger bond.  If considered, there is a logic to this.  The couple has to communicate about there desires and inhibitions as a part of their 'play' with one another, and the trust that exists between partners is re-enforced with each session, as well as the connection between them.  BDSM relationships tend to last longer, and the partners in them seem more satisfied with their relationship than what is seen in other couples who's sex-lives are more conventional.

 I am often asked why I do not create more socially acceptable images, as well as why I do not feature males in any of my works.  The answer to both questions is the same... because the subject-matter doesn't engage my interest.  Art is, first and foremost, created for the pleasure of the artist.  It is meant to challenge the artists skills and mind and to create a pleasurable result.  If the artist just mechanically designs something, then the effort is no more stimulating than that of a person working on an assembly-line.  This is what I enjoy, and even if the work was never appreciated by others, I would continue to produce it.

 Thankfully, this kind of work seems to have a sizable audience with which to share my talents and individual deviance.

 Most of these images are available as prints; 11X14" for $14.99 each.  Get yours here


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hooked

 I am going to dig out some of the older "Hooked" pieces and display them on this blog.  The first few are really, really bad, but you will see how this idea has progressed.

  I don't know why I find this concept so engrossing.  I actually drew the first version of this image more than a decade ago when I was the third-shift manager of a 24-hour gas-station.  I intentionally chose that job in what was just the edge of a rough part of town to see what kind of crazy shit goes down around there at night.  I did quite a bit of drawing in the wee hours of the morning, and began exploring BDSM art at that time.

 The first "Hooked" thrilled some of the police officers that would come in early and get some coffee.  They were are young guys like myself (did I mention this was a decade ago?), and we had a lot of common interests.  They knew that I drew some crazy stuff, and were always asking if I had some new work.  What is really funny is that at the same time I made a fair income drawing portraits.  By day, I was drawing people's wives, mothers, and children.  By night, I was putting a hook into a girl's ass (in art) and cavorting with twisted, leather-bound demons.

 Now, keep in mind that this was being done at four in the morning, and I was dating a bitch from hell at the time.  I don't get the scythe, but thought the nipple jewelry was cool as are the tattoos.  "Primal Aesthetic" was an old art-group I organized.  All that discoloration is part of the actual image as it is today... fucking ancient!  Way back then, I thought this was hot shit.  Now, I am almost embarrassed to show it.

 This next piece was done for one of my earliest and most loyal fans... and now a good friend and fellow-artist, TC Downey.  TC enjoyed both my demon girls and my BDSM pieces.  The concept was his idea.  There used to be a color-version of this piece... TC might still have it.  The brand was a design he sent me, probably the toughest element I had to render in this piece.  There are some proportion issues here, just slight issues.  I dig the way the girl seems to be supported by the rig, and the angle is more adventurous than my first use of a hook.

 I re-created the original on bristol board, developing the style a bit and applying a more practiced hand at what I was doing.  At this point, the image lacked the same impact for me artistically that the original had.  It seemed novel to me originally, but the second image just kind of cleaned-up what I had already done in the first.  I was starting to think about other techniques and even different angles than the straight-on images I had created up until then.



 Looking at it now, there are still some proportion issues, but it is much improved over the original.  When I set out to do this one, it was just something I had to do to make up for the first one that I saw as a great idea... only poorly executed.  The beginnings of the Manning leather high-lighting is in this image, though not as fully as my more recent BDSM pieces.

 Despite the explicit nature of the work, I had shied away from being overtly explicit.  Clearly, there is a hook going somewhere in the first two images, but where exactly I left up to the viewer's imagination.  In the third piece, I got over my squeamishness.  This was a few years and several even more racy images later.

 I really like the contortion on this one, but a part of me prefers the idea that the girl is actually hanging on the hook rather than supporting her weight with her legs.  Also, the head on this one looks a little too large to me, and despite the difference in angle it does have the same visual impact as "Worm's Eye View" or "For Nooserman" which use some extreme angles.

  Looking at it again here tonight, it might be something I return to in the future, working the contortion into an image that is more proportionately satisfying and visually extreme.  That might be some time to come, however, because I am fairly satisfied with the latest "Hooked" piece.

This new piece incorporates some of the corrections I wanted to make in the last piece.  I think that the angle is satisfying and that the proportions are correct.  It lacks the dynamic contortion in the last piece, but you can't always have it all.

 This piece is more suggestive of actually hanging, although if and when I do my next "Hooked" image, I will probably exaggerate how her weight is being supported by the hook rather than the rest of the rig she is in.  I also used the leather high-lighting I picked up from the work of Michael Manning to add some additional visual interest.  I am still not completely satisfied with this piece, but it seems to be coming along.

 Many of these pieces, along with other erotic works, are available as prints for $14.99.  If you'd like to check out the prints, click here.

Tattooed Freaks

 I did my first "Tattooed Freaks" image a few years ago.  It didn't quite have the impact that I wanted... a girl with blue-skin, four-eyes, and a tattoo.  Topless of course, but not much else going for it.  The banner, a common theme in tattoo art, doesn't have very much 'zing' to it.  I super-imposed one of my old tattoo designs on her shoulder.  I thought that was a cool use of my mad photoshop skills. 

 By the way, this image is BEFORE I started doing my own "die-cut" to my stickers.  Yep, you used to be able to get this on my Cafe Press shop, a 3X5" sticker just like that right there... rectangular.  Now, when you buy a sticker from Creative Oddities Studios directly, the sticker is cut to shape.  

 Almost like we're professionals and shit.




 Then I had the idea of this little honey... I am certain inspired by that mutant from "Total Recall", a flick I haven't seen in years.  Even though that third breast was obviously fake, as a young teen seeing that movie on the big-screen the idea of THREE boobies was burned in to my psyche.  Mutants are HOT!

 I have long associated tattoo-art with the carnival and the carney life-style... though I am certain I romanticize that life a bit.  Tattoos and the weird, edgy, alien carney-concept... a little scarey, raw, and exhilarating... just seem to go together.  There is a sense of the strange and unusual... or at least that was the case before just about everyone decided that they wanted a tattoo.  

 Thank you all for wanting and getting tattoos.  I love my customers!

 I have considered doing more "tattooed freaks", but I am not certain what deformities I want to use.  I would want them to continue to be alien, like this girl above.  We'll see what I come up with.

 This image is available as a sticker and on a skateboard deck at the main site: http://www.creativeodditiesstudios.com

Something New

 This is currently my fourth blog.  Must be the masochist in me.

 Everyday, we here at Creative Oddities Studios get email from "fans" (sometimes very angry "fans" who suggest we place things painfully into inappropriate orifices) suggesting ideas, making requests, or otherwise telling us what they would like to see from us in the future. Not tens, not hundreds, but often ones of emails everyday!

 We love our fan... I mean, fans.

 Anyhoo, when we get these requests, we usually ignore them.  Oh, sometimes I will send them out to the crew here because we all like a good chuckle now and then, but usually... SPFFT!.. nothing.

 But this one idea rolled in, suggesting that we do a blog featuring our artwork as well as our thoughts on the pieces and providing a way for our fans to comment as well.  I thought this was a brilliant ideas.

 In fact, ignore that last paragraph.  It IS a brilliant idea, and I came up with it.  Its mine, all mine.  I am a FREAKIN' GENIUS!

 So, follow, subscribe, or basically frequent this blog.  I will be posting the artwork of TC Downey, Vanessa Lei, and myself, and telling you a little about the piece.  I will be making announcements about new merchandise and events.  

 And best of all, YOU get to share your comments with not only us, but all our other fans as well.  The three of you have a lot in common.  It is about time that you got to know one another.

 Thanks for watching.
-J