Finland’s Official Selection for Best Foreign Language Film
consideration at the 90th Academy Awards.
Q&A Friday 7p: Actor Pekka Strang (Tom), and VP Tom of Finland Foundation S. R. Sharp
Q&A Saturday 7p: Dialogue writer Mark Alton Brown, and VP Tom of Finland Foundation S. R. Sharp
A TOM-themed Celebration of the Tom of Finland Movie
Come dressed as your favorite Tom of Finland character
The film has received acclaim in 30 countries
and now comes to Tom’s second home, Los Angeles!
Tom of Finland is the artist name of Finnish Touko Laaksonen (1920, Kaarina – 1991, Helsinki). He signed his erotic work “Tom” and when his drawings were first published in 1957, now world-famous “Tom of Finland” was born. “Touko Laaksonen” was kept for family and colleagues; both friends and fans have always simply called him “Tom”.
Tom shaped the fantasies of a generation of Gay men, influencing art and fashion before crossing over into the wider cultural consciousness. Dome Karukoski’s stirring biopic follows his life from the trenches of WWII and repressive Finnish society of the 1950s through his struggle to get his work published in California, where he and his art were finally embraced amid the sexual revolution of the 1970s.
Tom first visited the USA in 1978. With in that year, he had two solo exhibitions, one in Los Angeles and one in San Francisco. This trip to the States was worthwhile with his career taking a significant leap.
Tom needed someone to manage his business and Durk Dehner, who lived in Los Angeles and had hosted him on his first visit, turned out to be just this man: trustee, model, lover and business partner. Together they formed Tom of Finland Company, followed in 1984 by the nonprofit Tom of Finland Foundation in Echo Park.
Tom’s story is one of love, courage and perseverance, mirroring the Gay liberation movement for which his Leather-clad studs served as a defiant emblem.
Last year, Tom’s Los Angeles residence, the Tom of Finland House, TOM House, was honored with a Cultural-Historic Monument designation in Los Angeles. It was in his home, TOM House, that Tom got to be Tom 100% of the time and live the life he drew on paper.
The night is hosted by
Marc Bellenger and Pete Karjalainen of Tom of Finland Foundation
Jeff Wilcox, Eagle LA Mr. Leather, Mr. L.A. Leather 2017
Touko Laaksonen aka ‘Tom of Finland’ is one of the most influential and celebrated figures of twentieth century gay culture. Over the course of four decades, he produced some 3,500 illustrations, mostly featuring men with exaggerated primary and secondary sex traits, wearing tight or partially removed clothing.
Now we are happy to introduce Joakim Andreasson, who has been spearheading licensing for Tom of Finland Foundation since 2014. You can read our exclusive interview with him about Tom of Finland Store, and you will find an exclusive interview with Terry Miller, the official TOM’s Man, too.
JA I first came up-close and personal with Tom’s work in Paris when I bought one of the Taschen book in the gay book store in Marais. I was thereafter captivated – And Tom has been part of my life since. I never imagined that I would end up working with Tom’s art in this capacity – But it certainly has been a sexy ride…
JA Tom of Finland is a very fine movie – I have seen it a few times and have been involved throughout the making if it. Each time I see it I get touched by the bigger picture of Tom’s influence. The positive message of what he accomplished is what keeps us going, and keeps us creative in coming up with new avenues to communicate his vast body of work.
Tom, with businessman and friend Durk Dehner, cofounded Tom of Finland Company, and in 1984 established Tom of Finland Foundation dedicated to collecting, preserving, and exhibiting homoerotic artwork.
TM I really am out there to represent the brand in a physical manifestation. I try to present myself as the confident and sexually domineering guy that Tom made come to life so vividly… and I love it! The reaction has been incredible and gratifying. It’s totally fucking cool for guys to point at me and say, “You’re Tom of Finland!”
TM Visiting the Foundation house and getting to run around it all day and just go where we wanted and explore was incredible. Being able to go to Tom’s room, sit at his desk, hands on the last drawing he was working on at the time. It was like the Holy of Holies for kinky gay men. I was in awe. I will never forget getting the chance to lay in his bed and just close my eyes and think, “What was he dreaming of…?”