RICK CASTRO “Fetish King: Seminal Photographs 1986 – 2019” presented by Tom of Finland Foundation

RICK CASTRO (American, 1958-), Amputee Hustler (still from Hustler White), 1996, 20″x16″

The artist’s sex-positive imagery is darkly erotic, elegant, and at times sinister. A powerful figure that emerged in the Los Angeles underground during the late ’80s, Rick Castro was dubbed “the fetish king” by the press. He continues his pictorial career and fascination with lust, desire and kink, producing elegant portraiture of celebrated artists and the demi-monde. 

Durk Dehner, cofounder of Tom of Finland Foundation, was one of Rick Castro’s first collectors, and his first publisher. TOM House is where Castro hosts his weekly tea salon and monthly book club.

Born in Los Angeles in 1958, Castro began his early career working as a fashion stylist and costume designer. His clients over the years included Bette Milder, David Bowie, Herb Ritts, Joel-Peter Witkin and publications like Interview, GQ, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair. He first became a free-lance photographer in 1988 with his work appearing in Drummer magazine and The Advocate.

His first solo exhibition was at Different Light Bookstore in Silver Lake, California, in 1988. Over the decades he has had numerous international exhibitions. Notable films include his short films of hustler interviews in 1994 that inspired Bruce LaBruce to make the film Hustler White (1996), of which Castro was co-director/writer. The film garnered great success internationally and is listed by the Los Angeles Times in the top 100 underground films of the twentieth century. Castro also directed a documentary for MTV called Plushies & Furries in 2001, a film which focused on the furry communities.

Over his 30 plus career, Castro has photographed producer Alan Poul, porn star Peter Berlin, author Gore Vidal, director Kenneth Anger, performance artist Ron Athey, and the 14th Dalai Lama. Castro has created editorial photos for Christian Dior Homme, Cartier jewelry and designer Rick Owens, realizing photographs that are notably more art than fashion.

Castro’s films are archived by UCLA Legacy Projects and his books and photographs are archived by the Alfred Kinsey Institute, and Tom of Finland Foundation. He continues his art practice and commissioned photo shoots.  [@eigilvesti]

Exhibition, 6th – 27th April, TOM House

By Marcel Schlutt

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