Let me ask y’all something. How many times have you been standing at the bar in your favourite fetish club, spotted an image on a screen on the wall, and exclaimed out loud, “Hey! Look! I’d know those metal panties anywhere!” Never? Well after you’ve read this article and gazed at these galleries, you might have occasion to do just that!
Give me a few moments of your time and I’ll tell you about a friend of mine, Bill Reichardt, aka Tsubasa. Quiet a few of you have seen his work in clubs or magazines and may or may not know his name. Many years ago that was the case with me. I first caught Bill’s work on a projection screen in an Atlanta fetish club. In an environment that is so visually stimulating and sexually charged, it’s a challenge to grab someone’s eyes, let alone their libido, long enough to make and impression. Tsubasa’s work did this for me and has done so for others from Tokyo to LA to Berlin and all points in between. His work has been featured in magazines such as Skin Two, Marquis and his own Buckle, and most recently it was tapped for an album cover with Some Bizarre Records.
If you’re not familiar with Bill’s work, take a look at the accompanying galleries, as a picture is worth a thousand words and I’m hard pressed to write a hundred! (Just ask my extremely patient editor.) Bill has recently released a new DVD entitled Breed. It’s a collection of his latest work with a choice selection of his past pieces and its release is the perfect excuse to reflect on his past work, have a look at what’s new and indulge in a little chat in between.
I opened by mentioning Bill’s animations, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention his other work. In addition to creating the images and the accompanying music for release on DVD, Bill has released a compilation of his work in print entitled Binarotica. He was also one half of the creative team that produced the sadly shortlived Buckle magazine. I was a huge fan of the mag but that’s to be expected as I was also a minor contributor. Despite the fact that Buckle is no longer in production, Bill feels it proved there was a market for a new fetish magazine in the USA.
“The lesson to be learned from Buckle,” he says, “is that the fetish community is hungry for something fresh and new. The attention to design aesthetics and quality of content that was Buckle really was what made the publication so interesting to its readers. Not to mention that the US fetish publication market, more specifically, is really interested in having a quality publication that it can call its own and call its own for much less than $20.”
His new DVD Breed has something for everyone, from home viewers to VJs to bunnies. I’ll dispense with the bunnies first by saying that somewhere on it is hidden an Easter egg. You’ve got to hunt to find it but Bill assures me it’s worth the effort. Perhaps that’s true if you’re technically inclined, but since those of us who are glamour inclined are quite often technically challenged, I’ll just have to give up ’til one of you e-mails me with the location. I’m certain that VJs will find the looping animated slide show with three animations (without sound) particularly useful. And of course home viewers can use the very same feature (with sound) for casual viewing or the odd kinky cocktail party.
‘The DVD includes three animations spanning seven years, and all three pieces reflect the artist’s twin loves of bondage and shoe fetishism’
This disk contains a great deal of material. There are three animations spanning seven years: Reflections at the Speed of Life (from 2001), Dream Human (2003) and the title animation Breed (2007). All three pieces reflect the artist’s twin loves of bondage and shoe fetishism. Watching them back to back reveals his progression from almost exclusively digitally-animated video to a combination of live action and animation with the bio-mechanical bent we expect from his art.
So does Bill plan on taking his work in new directions now that Breed is out — for example by focusing more on photography? This seems possible, given that his fetish photography project, Girls I Know, is branded (complete with logo) separately from the art of Tsubasa, as the ‘online erotic portfolio of WDR Photography’ — WDR being the full initials of William David Reichardt. Sharp-eyed surfers will notice that there is also a third web presence for WDR Photography — as a commercial photographer for hire.
But the truth is that things have just developed this way organically, as Bill explains: “The photography that I'm working on isn't so much of a new direction as it is a separate one. A couple of years ago, I started more straight photography in order to become a better photographer for Tsubasa portraits. That grew into my Girls I Know project and that has expanded into some more commercially-oriented projects.”
The influence of his photographic practice with ‘straight’ shooting can be seen in some of the 56 digitally manipulated images included in the disk’s photo galleries. They are arranged in a still gallery format and in an animated slide show with music by one of Bill’s many musical projects. And if that’s not enough, the artist has also included a home movie section of his travels and a look behind the scenes into his image building process, edited and ever so slightly manipulated in his own Tsubasic style. This section includes video Bill had shot during several of his photo shoots.
I ask him what it’s like shooting with certain models, and the conversation rolls round to a particular incident with a particular young lady. “I was shooting this model and we were both drinking. It was a casual shoot at night, so we were both having fun, but totally wrecking my house in the process. I had her tied up for one particular shot and she wanted her drink. Right then. Right there. I looked everywhere for her drink and had no idea where it was.
“She was sitting there tied up, whining, ‘I want my drink... I want my fuckin’ drink now!’ while I'm scouring through my house looking for it. It was so funny how upset she was over it and neither of us thought about possibly making a new drink for her. So I wouldn't let her have her drink and her pissed-off poutiness made for some great expressions. You'd never know by looking at the finished shot that she was half-lit and bitching about her drink.” An image from this particular episode has made it onto the DVD so now we can all have fun trying to spot it.
The travelogue segments cover places where Bill has exhibited his work. They are definitely entertaining and even, at times, poignant, as when he interviews the late Bob Carlos Clarke. It’s a brief interview but a significant one for the artist, as Bob’s work was the inspiration behind Bill’s initial foray into erotic art. This is the only interview I know of with Bob Carlos Clarke that’s available on disk, and as such, it is a touching tribute by one artist to the influence of another who is no longer with us.
‘Bill’s interview with the late Bob Carlos Clarke, though brief, is a touching tribute by one artist to the influence of another who is no longer with us’