Tom of Finland beefed up the image of homosexuality, creating images of bulgingly priapic cops and cowboys that have become icons of gay liberation. Today the house is the HQ of the Tom of Finland Foundation, with Dehner as president, dedicated to preserving and promoting erotic art. Apart from the 12ft hedges that run across the front of the property, little would seem to distinguish the residence from its well-kept neighbours. Step inside, however, and a different world comes into view.
Tom of Finland/ Gay Images
Tom of Finland - Artist - David Kordansky Gallery
The Art Newspaper. Fans of Tom of Finland will no doubt flock to the House of Illustration in London which is launching a show of works by the late Finnish artist and illustrator. Tom is known for his highly homoerotic depictions of hyper-masculine men decked out in biker leather gear who inspired and aroused a generation of gay men with their bulging muscles and jutting jawlines. This celebration of beautiful beefy bodies includes rarely seen works such as linocuts produced in limited editions and striking images of Durk Dehner, the co-founder of the Los Angeles-based Tom of Finland foundation, which has loaned most of the works. At the exhibition launch, Dehner singled out a portrait of himself, aged For more information, contact info theartnewspaper. Our daily newsletter contains a round-up of the stories published on our website, previews of exhibitions that are opening and more.
Tom of Finland
But nevertheless, his more explicit work retains an unwavering capacity to shock. His posthumous success has undoubtedly been bolstered by the fact that in , towards the end of his life, Laaksonen founded a non-profit foundation with his friend Durk Dehner to preserve and promote his catalogue of more than 3, illustrations. In , the Finnish postal service even celebrated his impact with a set of commemorative postage stamps. At the same time, Tom of Finland is still more of a cult figure than a household name like Andy Warhol who owned several of his pieces because his art remains incredibly provocative, especially to the straight male gaze.
Through sheer force of imagination, the artist was able to manifest a hyper-real, hypermasculine style of queer erotic illustration that would end up inspiring not just legions of visual artists but entire subcultures. Any time a stylist puts a young pop star in a leather biker cap for a magazine shoot, the impact of Tom of Finland is not far-off. The year marks the centennial of the birth of this artist, born Touko Valio Laaksonen, who died in Exhibitions, both virtual and in reopened spaces, have been staged or planned in locales as far-flung as Los Angeles , London , Tokyo, Paris , Berlin and Tallinn, Estonia.