One of my favorite artists is Michael Manning. He recently launched his own site at www.thespidergarden.net, named after his first graphic novel. He is local to the Bay Area, his work closely associated with the Fetish Diva Midori (his illustraton of her is well known from her business cards and website) and Madam S (on their t-shirts, flyers as well as exhibited on their walls).
"Artist and writer Michael Manning's style is intelligent and libidinal at the same time, a curious mix of fine art, Japanese manga, science fiction, and high fantasy. . . Manning's signature mixture of omnisexual groupings of women, men, mixed genders, and machines. Throughout his work, Manning's imagery conveys a very personal mythology, a direct route to his deepest fantasies about our relationships with machines, bodies, and power." (HotWired '95)
His imagery is sumptuous, at times almost delirious in its sensual detail. It teases one with provocative dualities: at once organic/mechanistic, human/animal, male/female, light/dark, pain/pleasure... The organic element can be seen in the use of webs, tendrils and pervasive, fluid-like bondage, as well as the actual setting of water and garden. For me, I am particularly drawn to the Androgyne character -- a hermaphroditic dream come true who rules over this ethereal and erotic landscape.
His latest work is the In a Metal Web series (books I and II). I am the proud owner of both novels, signed and given to me by the artist. Look out for local domina Reina Aurora, who is featured in these stories. These beautifully drawn tales will expand your imagination with tantalizingly twisted images. Step into the garden and enjoy your visit!