RICK CASTRO “Fetish King: Seminal Photographs 1986 – 2019” | 6th April | TOM House

RICK CASTRO (American, 1958-), French Kiss-Ass, 1994, 20″x16″

The artist’s sex positive imagery is darkly erotic, elegant, and at times, sinister. A powerful and imaginative figure that emerged in the Los Angeles underground during the late ’80s, His photographs are characterized by potent and visceral tableaux, tinged with sadomasochism, leather and sexual pleasure. From the artist’s fetishizing of Tony Ward in the ’80s, to capturing moments, places and the people of the underground scene in Los Angeles nightlife in the ’90s and ’00s, he continues his pictorial career and fascination with lust, desire and kink producing elegant portraiture of celebrated artists and the demi-monde.

Curated by Rubén Esparza

RICK CASTRO (American, 1958-), Caught Smoking, 1992, 20″x16″

I consider myself a fetish artist.
Be it thru photography, film, writing and blogging; this is who I am.
I understand the term fetish to be broad, more so than most people are aware, or would like to admit.
Fetishistic desire reaches all aspects of life.

fet·ish ˈfet̬·ɪʃ
-A form of sexual (not exclusively) desire in which gratification is linked to a particular object, item of clothing, part of the body, person, practice, etc.
-Fixation—obsession—compulsion—mania—a driving force.
-An object thought to have magical powers; something that is empowered by something else.

The sexual revolution began in the late ’60s through the ’70s, perhaps ending in the ’80s with HIV/AIDS.
The ’90s marked the beginning of the fetish revolution, my most prolific period.
Early twenty-first century is all about fetish.
This is my time. I was once labeled “the fetish king” by the press. I accept the title.

This exhibition is a comprehensive journey of my photography, 1986 through 2019. Besides the themes of BDSM, lust and desire, I am presenting an in-your-face pushback to American censorship. If we accept these restrictions as a community, we’re doomed.

-Rick Castro, 2019

RICK CASTRO (American, 1958-), Perfect Bondage, 1998, 20″x16″

Born in Los Angeles in 1958, Rick Castro began his early career working as a fashion stylist and clothing designer. His clients over the years have included Bette Midler, David Bowie, Herb Ritts, Joel-Peter Witkin and magazines like Interview, GQ, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair. He first became a freelance photographer in 1988, with his work appearing in international and local publications.

His first solo was at A Different Light Bookstore in Silver Lake, California, in 1988. Over the decades he has had numerous international exhibitions. Notable films includes his short films of hustler interviews in 1994 that inspired Bruce LaBruce to make the film Hustler White in 1996, in which he was co-director/writer. The film garnered great success internationally and is listed by the Los Angeles Times as one of 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 other international fashion houses. He works closely with his friend, 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.

Reception 6-9p
Doorman – Peter Finland | Bartender – Ron Athey | Poetry Recital – Matt Steele

On view through 27th April by appointment

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 a tea salon every Wednesday and a monthly book club.


This year marks the 23rd annual Tom of Finland Art and Culture Festival

Located at the Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument where Tom of Finland Foundation has operated since 1984.

The Festival is one of the key public events initiated and run by the Foundation, and serves as a platform in furthering its mission to preserve, protect and promote erotic art. To celebrate the release of the book, My Gay Eye, this year’s programming will focus on the purposeful commitment of collecting art.

My Gay Eye (Mein schwules Auge) is a special Tom of Finland Foundation edition. Artists from its pages will be represented at the Festival with works available for sale including: Rubén Esparza Curatorial showing Marcel Alcala, JT Bruns, Amina Cruz, Cleonette Harris, Homo Riot, Peter Kalisch, Naruki Kukita, Matt Lambert, Santy Mito, Slava Mogutin, Sad Boy, Gio Black Peter, Oliver Sarley, and Phil Tarley with performance by Jon Vaz Gar. Rick Castro’s Dungeon will feature John Blackburn, Sierra Domino, Paul Mahler and Joel-Peter Witkin.

“What better way to say ‘thank you’ to an artist than investing in his vision? A review in a magazine, or a comment left, is definitely a way to show support – but to buy something by them is the ultimate way of acknowledging them. At the Festival you find what represents you, and you then get to share the artwork in your home with your friends – the gratitude is circulated.” – Durk Dehner, president and cofounder, Tom of Finland Foundation.

Special guest artist, photographer, poet and Russian dissident, Slava Mogutin, who will read and be on hand to sign books. Steven Reigns, poet and educator, has invited notables to share their written words on Saturday, including author Clint Catalyst and performance artist Ron Athey.

TOM House will preview Secret Gay Box curated by John Wolf; the show is an expansive history of Queerness embodied in a menagerie of objects from across time. The works within are by Brian Andrew, Patrick Angus, Paul Cadmus, Hossein Edalatkhah, Don Joint, Mike Kuchar, Joseph La Piana, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jose Gonzalo Garcia Munoz, Justin Olerud, Stuart Sandford, Matt Siegle, Andy Warhol, and David Wojnarowicz.

Drawings by Silvia Prada from her recently released artist book, TOM, developed in collaboration with Tom of Finland Foundation will be on view. A series of photographs by Daniel Trese taken at the Foundation in 2014 will be showcased in conjunction with his exhibition Surface Streets at Tom of Finland Store. Los Angeles’ Lethal Amounts has always focused on subversive and counter culture these. In their booth, they showcase their collaborations with artists and musicians. Jeremy Lucido, photographer, publishes Starrfucker and features zines as art. A live auction on Sunday will allow attendees to bid on classic Homoerotica.

Eye on Collecting features over 60 Queer artists including Seth Bogart, Hector Silva, and the late Michael Kirwan. Resident artist Phuc Le will display his photography. Miguel Angel Reyes directs the life drawing sessions and will preview his upcoming exhibition at TOM House as will Jess Scott and Stefan Pinto. Josh Paul Thomas’ photography is the cover for My Gay Eye and he works across multiple mediums.

Saturday night’s screenings are the time-honored Born to Raise Hell (1974) introduced by writer and director, Roger Earl. The film has been the standard by which all gay SM films are judged around the world. Earl received the Tom of Finland Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. Following are a new collection of shorts by Bruce LaBruce, It is Not the Pornographer That is Perverse (2018).

Not only are visitors to the Festival offered food and beverages throughout the day, they can get their footgear shined and benefit from expert hair and facial grooming.

Tom of Finland Art and Culture Festival: Eye on Collecting takes place at Tom of Finland House (TOM House), 1421 Laveta Terrace, Los Angeles (Echo Park) on October 6-7, 2018.

TOM House is the site where the artist and gay hero Tom of Finland lived and worked for the last and most prolific decade of his life, and where he fully lived what he drew. Marked by artists and a community that disarms shame and judgment, TOM House has been and continues to be a gathering place that promotes his message of being free and happy, embodied in respect and acceptance.

Art Fair – Noon to 6p
Life Drawing Session – Noon to 2p
Readings – 2-3p
Film Screenings – 7p-10p

Art Fair – Noon to 6p
Drawing Session – Noon to 2p
Live Art Auction – 2p
Awards Presentation – 3p

$10 Each day – Eventbrite and door
½ price admission for Tom of Finland Foundation Members
at the door! (You can join when you arrive!)

Food and Drink Available

SLAVA MOGUTIN Slideshow of 95 Explosively Erotic Works of Art From the Tom Art Culture Festival