We ask fetish illustrator James Newland – SpacePupSilver on Recon – a few questions about his work and his fetish. Here's what he had to say:
How did you get into illustration? As a young gay back in high school I was always in the higher sets, but academic studies just never interested me in any way, nor did being a hot jock on the football field so the only thing really left for me to be was to be an art nerd haha. I've always been interested in drawing since I was a much smaller person, but it was only in the past three years that I actually got involved in the wacky world of gear-based fetish. I was actually on an entirely different career path until 2015, when I became aware of fetish. I was heading in the direction of doing children's animation, but after being exposed to the colourful world of gay kink, I just knew I wanted to change the direction I was going in altogether.
What is it that interested you in fetish illustration? The colour, the costumes, the kink! The kind of fetish illustration I like is bursting with colour and story, the whole point of dressing up to me personally has always been to put on that sexy persona you just don't have as 'Kevin the mailroom guy'. Fetish is such an escapist activity and the things I draw are very much about being plucked out of your everyday life and being transformed into something much more fun and shiny. My whole interest in fetish illustration can be pinned down to the work of two illustrators that I came across online long before I even knew about the fetish community. The obvious one would of course be Tom of Finland, whether you like his work or not you cannot deny how much of an impact his world has had on the visual of the Leather Scene and a huge dollop of how the world sees the gay fetish scene. The second artist is Rob Clarke (adogandponyshow) a guy who illustrates stuff that is far more in line with the kind of themes I work with. His work features a whole stable of animal boys - from donkey men to a very beefy dog called Scoot. If you've never heard of him, I implore everyone to look him up, because it is delicious stuff. The lack of fetish illustrators I actually saw active online was always really strange to me. There is obviously a massively vibrant furry scene for smut, but the human art scene seemed fairly barren in comparison.
What response have you had to your work? A shockingly positive one! I never expected people to ever want to pay me to draw them in their gear, especially as my work is fairly innocent when you look at it. I've been doing this for over two years now and I'm embarrassed looking back at the stuff I was drawing at the start, because of how much I've grown thanks to all the support I've had over this time. It almost feels like I'm a celebrity in certain groups now because of how people know my name! Just this year I came out with a line of products with Invincible Rubber and that was such a checkpoint in my career - to work with such a world-renowned company.
What does fetish mean to you? Erotic expression. For me, I see fetish as a way to express your sexual tastes blatantly and without shame of what it is you are into, whilst also looking drool worthy whilst you do it. I adore going to an event with friends, getting dressed in some rubber and feeling like a sexualised character.
When did you first get a taste for fetish and kink? I mentioned 2015 earlier in the interview, in the summer of this year I went to London to stay with a friend from the internet called Diesel, who I knew was involved in pup play and they had offered to give me a taste of it. This experience involved no gear, it didn't even involve sex, it was literally just them forcing house rules of being a dog onto me. These rules being: no dogs on the furniture, wear what I say, do what I say. Extremely simple but for a young guy who had no experience at all in the world of fetish, this was enough to hook me into it and became a turning point in my life, really. After this experience I realised how much I had never really interacted with a gay community at all. The urge to be around other gay people led me into the rabbit hole of fetish and I have no plans of leaving anytime soon.
What are you attracted to in a fetish man? Style, Glamour and the ability to smile. I love a guy who loves to smile and that is sometimes very hard to come across in a dungeon. I fall head over heels for guys who are aware of how stupidly weird fetish is and can laugh about it. I really cannot stand being around an atmosphere of people wanting everything to be serious. There is certainly a time for being serious, but I'm more into guys who can laugh at how inappropriately dressed for the weather they are, when wearing a pair of chaps, stood outside a club in winter.
What's your favourite gear? Oh my, I really have to think about that one, I am a total magpie for buying gear that I don't need. I spot it in a store or online and scream with delight and throw my money at it. I would probably have to say my favourite piece of gear is this pair of rubber leggings I had custom made, that have an inflatable dog tail attached to it. I got them made because I really wanted a tail, but I don't actually like butt stuff and show tails just don't interest me very much, so I came up with a solution that suited me. I love inflatable rubber, it makes such stand out silhouettes that make me go gaga when I see them, and it's such a rare thing to come across at events. It really does feel like some couture latex fashion when you wear it.
How did you find out about Recon and how long have you been a member? It's just a household name in every gay household is it not? I think I've been a member since 2015/2016. For me it's very much the Facebook of fetish. It's fabulous to be going to an event, switch on the app and you find out which of your friends are in the area that you didn't realise were coming.
Do you like to travel with your fetish? What are some of your favourite fetish destinations and why? I'm still a super young rubber boy so I've not seen a whole lot of events yet, but I am trying to get myself out to as many as I can with what my bank balance will allow, being a fetish tourist is by no means a cheap hobby. Just in the past year I went to Folsom Europe in September 2017 and Darklands in February 2018; both really fun times, seeing friends and experiencing two really different types of events. I'm really hyped up about this month particularly as I will finally be attending the Manchester Rubber Weekend properly. I went for one day last year, to attend their fetish market, which ended hilariously with me - an asexual kinkster - winning the jackpot in their bingo and going home with a very heavy prize sack of fisting gear!
Are you working on any projects at the moment, do you have anything coming up? So many! Right this moment I'm working on a timeline project about pup hoods over the past twenty years, and in the very near future I will be starting work on the third issue of Leash - a magazine I created and curate with one of my closest friends Pup Pixel. I'm so excited for this issue, as it's going to be a comedy issue. Essentially, it's all about how people stumbled into fetish, so definitely keep your eyes open for more info on that.
Do you have a website / fan page / twitter? You can find me pretty much everywhere. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter. I'm under the username SpacePupSilver everywhere. And you can buy my merch in my store!
If you'd like to apply to be interviewed by Recon about your fetish life and kinky tastes, send your Recon username to: firstname.lastname@example.org