I was honored to receive an artist hall of fame award this year from THE TOM OF FINLAND FOUNDATION.

I was a bit tipsy so everything i wanted to say didn't exactly come out right....
 so i am posting my little acceptance speech here~

Well thank you all allot.
This is very special & pleasing to me to receive this award from my peers.
Over the years, I’ve known practically everyone here-
 either as a friend, model, collector, or I slept with you.
Since I may never have this chance again- I want to bore you for a little while about my history.

I grew up in los Angeles- born & raised- third generation. My parents still live in the house I grew up in Monterey Park- San Gabriel Valley.
I moved to Hollywood when I was one day over 18.
I love Hollywood- despite what it did to me.

After a successful career as a commercial wardrobe stylist, working for all the photographers who became the biggest names in the business, I decided to pick up a camera and shoot what my interest was…. 
This somehow became fetish.. It was initially my fetish.

Waayyyy.. Back in 1980 I was a regular at THE ONE WAY on Hoover ave. 
to this day my favorite leather bar... it was a dive.
I tried to pick up this  hot Leatherman… I was unsuccessful, but we made out.
In 1986 I presented my first photography exhibition @ the DIFFERENT LIGHT BOOKSTORE in silverlake- I believe now it’s a vacant lot.
I invited that Leatherman to my exhibition, and he was the first person to purchase my photography- my first collector. That leatherman was
Durk offered to publish my first book. At the time I had no images- besides the 13- I was showing @ different light., so for 2 years I photographed non-stop what I wanted to say.
In early 1990- Durk hosted my first book signing here at Tom’s house. He reluctantly allowed me to have my signing in his private dungeon. This was the first time the dungeon was opened to the public.
 It’s a special place. It means allot to durk, it means a lot to me.
So...... 25 years later I am back in the dungeon where I belong.

Tom of Finland has also meant so much to me. I had the privilege of meeting tom about 
4 or 5 times. I was at his first exhibit in Los Angeles- @ Circus of Books- approx 1985ish.

I bonded early on with Durk, we have a  history.  Later I bonded with Sharp, and more recently with Toni Rodriguez, Marc Bellenger and all the volunteers @ the foundation.
I always connect with fetish people. We have a spirit and awareness that brings us peace in this chaotic world.
For the young people and newbies I want to challenge you….
In 2015 it is not enough to be gay. Gay is mainstream- as it should be.
I use plural because EVERYBODY has at least one fetish… I would say in this crowd each has many- some have not been explored. 
If you know your fetish you know yourself.
Fetish exploration is part of the beauty of life.

 Live more!

RICK CASTRO- october 4th 2015- tom of finland artfair

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