San Diego brand Rufskin, maker of activewear for men, has teamed up with the L.A.-based Tom of Finland Foundation for a 15-piece collection of athletic apparel featuring those distinctive and homoerotic designs. Angelenos are treated to a special launch party at the Tom of Finland Foundation’s Echo Park space, where you will see the new collection up close and personal. rufskin.com
Tom of Finland’s pioneering work fought misconceptions of gay men
in provocative fashion…
TOM OF FINLAND
Untitled, 1947, Gouache on paper, 11 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches (28.7 x 20.8 cm), © 1947 Tom of Finland Foundation
Cock, cock and more cock. Proud, throbbing, tumescent members wherever you look. Just thought we’d better let you know what to expect at this exhibition, although if you’re familiar with the work of Touko Laaksonen (aka Tom of Finland) it won’t come as too much of a shock. Of course, these days gay art is everywhere and (one would hope) not that shocking at all, but the show at David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles is concerned with the artist’s early work from the period 1944-1972, at a time when such material was revolutionary and required semi-illicit distribution.
TOM OF FINLAND
Untitled, 1970, Graphite on paper, 8 3/4 x 6 3/4 inches (22.2 x 17.1 cm), © 1970 Tom of Finland Foundation
Laaksonen’s portrayals of homoerotic encounters certainly don’t hide their light under a bushel; his men are muscular exhibitionists, unabashed and not given — it seems — to any sort of performance anxiety. In fact, Laaksonen’s figures challenged the prevailing stereotypes of the time of gay men as effete and sickly; his 1947 gouache work of a strongly-built, leather-clad chap in strident pose pleasuring a friend is one such example of this, as well as showcasing the artist’s delicate fashion-illustration style. Graphite drawings, inked storyboards and gouache works, selected with the input of the Tom of Finland Foundation, are on display in Early Work 1944 – 1972 until 7 March.
WORDS BY Rob Wilkes; Executive Editor
A special launch event at Tom of Finland Foundation
The new range of athletic apparel heavily features Tom of Finland’s homoerotic designs
First you could get his art on stamps, then on your bed linen, and now you can get Tom of Finland designs all over your body thanks to a new collection from Rufskin.
The San Diego-based designer teamed up with the Tom of Finland Foundation for a new 15-piece collection of athletic apparel featuring the distinctive artwork and designs of the homoerotic Finnish artist.
Head designer Hubert Pouches explained that his aim with the collection was to pay homage to the artist’s unique characterization of masculinity, which was itself an inspiration for Rufskin’s inception:
My goal when I was asked to collaborate with such an iconic name was to showcase the incredible work of an artist who insistently pushed the boundaries of art and sex and translating it into an ‘athletic’ wardrobe, which is today fully part of our daily routine.
The new collection will be available from Rufskin’s website and their boutiques in San Diego, New York, Miami and Amsterdam. Check out a few of our favorite pieces from the collection.
There’ll also be a special launch event at the Tom of Finland Foundation right here in L.A.
By Dominic Preston