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Daydream: Porn*Pops
Hard Boys



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Entries for February 2008:
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Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Blog review
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.

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Daydream: Porn*Pops

Category: erotica, illustration.
Author(s): P239.
Year of publication: 2007.

The mysterious P239 is the author of this one-man show, a collection of his illustration work since 1999, published by Bruno Gmünder. The book boasts an original structure: instead of a random series of images, it is said to be a rêverie during a subway trip, where a man tells himself stories and imagines situations. It's a fun way of giving a little bit more to the reader than just hot pictures, and actually dovetails nicely with the style used by the author, which has a dream-like quality thanks to its highly stylised representation of bodies and settings.
One of the text/image combinationsThe juxtaposition of text (mostly ramblings detailing sexual encounters) and art (usually not illustrating the text) creates an interesting effect, especially with the design effects used on the text, highlighting or crossing it out in various colors. In fact, there's a strong sense of design throughout the book, which isn't surprising considering P239 works in advertising. I must admit I wasn't really convinced by the porn texts, which are pretty much run-of-the-mill, but the way they're presented on the page gives them a shine which makes up for that.
The most surprising section of the book shows quotations from Shakespeare (after a text where Oberon and Puck have wild sex), with some highly decorated art which could have come from an Aubrey Beardsley who'd decided to simplify a bit and draw with vector art, if that makes sense. I'd have liked to see more of that kind of art, but then, I like weird combinations.
You can see for yourself examples of P239's art on his website, and you can find the book at Amazon.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008
Blog review
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.

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Hard Boys

Category: erotica, illustration.
Author(s): Harry Bush.
Year of publication: 2007.

A cover for the Physique Pictorial magazineFrom Green Candy Press comes a most welcome collection of art by a gay artist who's unfortunately far less recognized than he deserves to be. I'd seen and admired Harry Bush's art for years, on the web and in various books on '60s gay art, but I knew almost nothing about him. In this beautifully printed, large-sized 190-page book (available from Amazon), we discover a man whose life might not have been as happy as we could have wished for such a talented artist.
Bush, born in the '20s, worked all his life in the military, and so was deeply closeted. Publication of his art began in the '60s only after he'd retired, and it seems he wasn't satisfied with what gay life had to offer at the time, nor with his relations with publishers and editors. Which, of course, make his happy, smiling young men and the silly, easy humor often present in his work that much more surprising. He did a lot of work for the Physique Pictorial magazine (which introduced Tom of Finland's work to the USA, among other accomplishments), and later for other gay magazines until the '80s, depicting scenes and people in a more and more explicit way, as did most artists of his times when censorship loosened little by little. He died in 1994, and fortunately at least part of his art went to a friend of his, who writes an introduction to this book.
Cupid has missed...or has he? A nerd and his friendWith about 230 pieces lovingly reproduced, this book covers the whole of Bush's career, and gives us stand-alone illustrations as well as a number of series, which seem to work as short narratives, or maybe storybooks for adults: Cupids reappear throughout the book, nerds with big cocks find themselves in compromising (but entertaining) positions, a model of a super-tiny bikini barely covers the goods, and mock teen magazines articles uncover the steamy undersides of their male idols. A very large selection from the artist's sketchbook reveal how lively his studies were, the majority of the images giving us the impression of someone who tended to see the humorous side of even the most hackneyed sexual fantasy, which is something I definitely enjoy. Bush's art focused mainly on older teenagers/younger men, whose physique is manly and tender at the same time. The attraction of the man-boy is pretty timeless, as Greek Kouroi can attest.
I'd been hoping for a book dedicated to Harry Bush's work for a long time, and we can only thank Green Candy Press for finally doing it, and doing it so well. Now, if only someone could publish an Oliver Frey retrospective, I'd be even happier.

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