Palanca is a Peruvian artist known for his homo-fetish art which centers on the bare male foot. At early age, he started creating cartoon characters and some depict homoeroticism. Palanca began making underground erotic drawings in 1982. It wasn’t until 1994, after a short summer holiday in Spain, when he decided to do something to introduce his work to the Gay public. Then his pseudonym was born (Palanca in Spanish means lever, or a closer definition, gear shift.
PHOTO: Andrew Epstein
From 1995 to 2001, Palanca’s style went from primitive to cartoonish (and that’s why his work was easily accepted, even by non-Gay or non-fetish people). In 2001 Palanca went to Los Angeles where he met the founder and the curator of Tom of Finland Foundation (ToFF). He showed at the Tom of Finland Art Fair, L.A. Pride’s Erotic City and TOM’s Bar. In L.A. he also met filmmaker Chris Maher.
In 2007 he was honored with a Special Recognition from ToFF. His drawings have been published in the American magazines FootScene, Sneerzine, Honcho and Inches, and in European magazines, as well.
Palanca applies the same skill needed to finely delineate the male foot to the rest of the anatomy with crudely sexual and delicious results. Please add some Palanca’s to your collection or drop him a line to say hello and wish him well.
Photos: Øystein Thorvaldsen, Oslo
At the invitation of Elmgreen & Dragset
Cosima von Bonin, Cerith Wyn Evans, Tom of Finland
Simon Fujiwara, Julian Göthe, Henrik Olai Kaarstein, Henrik Olesen
Raymond Pettibon, Seth Pick, Ingegerd Råman, Prem Sahib
Dirk Stewen, Sissel Tolaas, Elmar Vestner and others
QUESTION: Tom of Finland is perhaps your most famous contemporary working in the same field of pornographic art, and the artist you are most often compared with. Didn’t he also explore the unvarnished truth about male sexuality?
REX: Yes he did, but in a romanticized and idealized way. On that level it is much more profound and engaging on a more sensual level than my work. His intellectual approach to male sexuality is never mean or crass but positive and uplifting. Those are extremely difficult emotions to convey when springing from a purely sexual context. Tom studiously avoided portraying any degradation or demeaning situations in his work. In his era it was important to portray homosexuals as masculine Gods to lend self-esteem to homosexuals that they were being denied from the wider society. His drawings are suggestive of the Greco-Roman view of Men as Gods. I’m am only interested in portraying mortals being perceived as Gods in those moments of suspended disbelief that can happen when we are in the throes of sex.
Tom’s work has a more universal appeal with a generic quality which translates across all cultures where homosexuality exists. His work is timeless. Tom’s prototype is blond; mine is brunette. His men are absolutely clean and flawless, mine are imperfect and soiled. And finally, his medium was lead pencil which is soft and pliable, which lends his work a smooth satin finish. My medium is pen and ink which is hard and unyielding, incapable of half tones which give my Men a hard sharp edge. However, in psychological terms I would never attempt to cover the same mental territory he did. I work the other side of the street.