Touko Laaksonen – Tom of Finland: Of Music and Men is an exhibition about multitalented Touko Laaksonen (Finnish, 1920-1991), who came to be known as Tom of Finland, the internationally renowned creator of homoerotic art.
Laaksonen was taken with all things beautiful. He picked up both the piano and drawing at an early age. As a young man he was studying music at the famed Sibelius Academy by day and advertising at night. He went on to play professionally while he was also employed at an ad agency.
His private work, his “dirty drawings” as he modestly called them, were his real passion. That zeal led Tom to produce nearly 4,000 sketches, drawings and paintings in a career that spanned six decades. He pursued this without the knowledge of his family and colleagues, but even with laws designed to prevent the circulation of erotic material, he became and icon to his ever growing Gay admirers world-wide. His artistic depictions of sexuality, executed with the highest quality of draftsmanship, became a liberating beacon of sex positivity and healthy self identity.
What cannot be said out loud must be drawn.
What cannot be drawn must be sung.
Turku City Theatre has got it right in their interpretation of the life of Touko Laaksonen and his alter ego Tom of Finland. In starting off, they are providing buckets of laughter filled with shovelfuls of joy. This musical will be a grand success because it brings people to the “pleasure zone”. Keep it simple, take time to stop and smell the roses, work effectively with diligence and employ the art of recreation in making sure you take full advantage of your time here. Tom did just that, leaving a few pearls of wisdom behind to ignite the curious. A grin was at home with Tom, it came easily and often.
In this musical’s adaptation of the artist’s life they really got his rhythm down. Turku City Theatre is at the core of this epidemic of smiles, which is very contagious. Tom of Finland’s life is a beautiful thing and honoring him this way is so appropriate. We feed our own lives whilst cementing his into history. A legacy of national hero proportions: Tom of Finland, who’s very much alive residing in the forests of Finland with other Nordic gods. -Durk Dehner, President and Cofounder, Tom of Finland Foundation