January 20, 2011
Event: Tom of Finland Retrospective
Tom of Finland was born Touko Laaksonen in 1920 in the village of Kaarina, Finland. At age 19, he moved to Helsinki to attend art school, where he created his first homoerotic drawings. Following his release from the army after World War II, Laaksonen worked in advertising and continued drawing. He submitted his work to Physique Pictorial magazine, where he was first published in 1957 under the pseudonym Tom of Finland. His brilliant work soon became synonymous with gay culture and perhaps for the first time in art joined masculinity with homosexuality.
“Tom’s artwork provided generation after generation healthy and happy imagery with which they could identify,” president and cofounder of the Tom of Finland Foundation Durk Dehner says, “something that Western culture had been unwilling to supply and, in fact, did its utmost to curtail.”
Though he passed in 1991, Tom lives on through the more than 3,000 illustrations he created over four decades. International readers, get your butts to Finland! For more info, click here.