I talked about the early inspiration I got from comic strips in my post “Origins”.
Plodding through the undergrowth of the internet today following up on the sad news of Steve Ditko’s death (Marvel artist responsible for Spider Man and – more to my taste – Doctor Strange – part, along with Mandrake the Magician, of the inspiration for the Gregg Gilstrom stories) at 90, I found reference to the fact that he shared a studio in the ’60’s with fetish artist Eric Stanton. There have been various claims about how much the two collaborated – denied by Ditko – but it’s not hard to see some influences in both directions.
It’s curious how often a BDSM note creeps in to the most vanilla of works…
I’m currently reading Desmond Morris’s “The Lives of the Surrealists”. It’s a good read with short, pithy profiles of the major players. It covers all the usual suspects Breton, Dali, Magritte, through to Meret Oppenheim, she of the fur cup and saucer -an ultimate fetish object. From their individual stories, a picture of the overall movement emerges very effectively. The group was distinguished by its extraordinary sexual energy and its equally enthusiastic addiction to manifestos and rules.
One curious feature to emerge from the book; Roland Penrose, considered to be the father of British surrealism for his sponsorship of the movement here, if not his actual painting, was an enthusiastic practitioner of sexual bondage who gave his wife a pair of solid gold handcuffs by Cartier which she wore with both cuffs on one wrist as a bracelet (at least in public). Peggy Guggenheim – whose gallery in Venice is one of my all time favorite places – wrote in her memoirs that Penrose was a bad painter who had made love to her while she was tied up with ivory bracelets. Penrose’s reaction was to ask her to remove the comment about his painting, and to say that it wasn’t bracelets, it was handcuffs.
I guess we all have sensitivities.
(PS – there is an exhibition about Lee Miller (Penrose’s wife, Man Ray’s collaborator and the only female photo-journalist to be embedded with fighting troops in World War 2) at the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield until October 7th 2018: Lee Miller and Surrealism in Britain.)
I’m off on holiday for a couple of weeks. Maybe the muse will return.
In the mean time, if you enjoyed “Confronting The Maid“, you might also enjoy some of the art posted by Jenni Andrews at Deviant Art (you’ll need a login). Jenni has posted quite a few sketches on the theme of a husband reduced to the status of his wife’s servant. This is a typical example, posted with acknowledgements. Jenni certainly manages to conjure the powerful sense of pleasure found in submission.