BOOK REVIEW: Skin Tight: The Art of Marcus Gray

By Annamarya Scaccia (, 2005)

Title: Skin Tight: The Art of Marcus Gray
Author: Marcus Gray
Publish Date: 1995, 2002
Pages: 48
Genres:Erotic Art

What do you think of when you hear the words bondage, latex, chains and whips? Sadomasochism? Experimentation? A spanking good time? Well, whatever comes to mind, you are sure to find it all in artist Marcus Gray’s book of erotic pin-ups, Skin Tight.

A mass display of women dressed in tight black latex and high-heeled leather boots, Skin Tight portrays just another science-fiction buff’s fantasy: dark-haired ravens fully clad in corsets and chokers, saving the world from extraterrestrial evil. Although the subject matter is far from risqué and resembles more of the archetypal dominate female with black tresses and tribal tattoos, the artwork is pulsing with vibrant colors and delicate brush strokes.

A self-taught painter, Gray grew up in the mist of a world filled with sci-fi television, films and comics. Inspired by the flamboyant artwork of Alphonse Mucha, Gray began his journey of erotic art in 1992, establishing a style that mixes retro techniques with ultramodern design. Using Gouache (a thicker medium of watercolor) and color pencils, Gray combines light washes, opaque background tones and rough textured paper to create robust portraits.

“Good eroticism does not just deal with our base instinct to copulate, it’s much more than that,” writes Gray in the introduction of Skin Tight. “There’s a myriad of other senses and emotions at play.” As true as that statement is, Gray’s ideas of eroticism does not reflect the art he chooses to create. Even though he has the ability to paint portraits that are closely reflective of reality in terms of physical features and body movements, he unfortunately lacks any unique thought. Each painting is yet another well-known, typical fantasy. For example, his work titled “Erogenous Zone (2000)” on page 35 is a pure representation of such. A woman is being seduced by an androgynous robot that is licking her nipples and pulling down her panties. Skillfully detailed with deep shadows and translucent light sources, “Erogenous Zone (2000)” does nothing sexually other than leave an empty feeling in your stomach. “Terminatrix 1” on page nine displays a latex-bound half-terminator, half-dominatrix woman dutifully clothed in a spiky rubber outfit, riding a robotic scorpion chair. Her facial expression is bored, as if this is another day at the job, and the leg bar keeping her spread open is just a formality. Again, the artwork is marvelous, with monochromatic colors and blue undertones; however, he chooses a subject matter both boring and characteristic of horny science-fiction nerds.

The best pieces out of the book are “Heavy Rubber 1” (p. 20) and “Heavy Rubber 2” (p. 21). Both are incredibly disturbing–both women are covered in layers of black rubber from head to toe, wearing gas masks and anal pumps and resembling cockroaches experimenting in S&M. The detail of each piece is startling yet vague; the flexible shapes are washed out in strokes of grays and browns. These two pieces are the more erotic of the book because of the mere fact they exhibit a bound, gagged, tied and fucked fantasy not usually found in erotic pin-up books. The heavy rubber duo may not get you off, but it sure will stick to you.

Overall, Skin Tight is just another erotic comic book hiding amazing artwork. Not worth the money to spend, but definitely worth the look.


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