I had an amazing and life affirming experience this weekend with the men of Tom of Finland Foundation. I was asked to create a piece of work to live alongside TOM House in Echo Park. The piece is a 40′ X 10′ mural applied to the structure that houses some of the legendary works by Tom of Finland as well as countless other gay artists. Some of these artists had a level of notoriety but many were simply creative men who felt the urge and desire to bring to life artistic work glorifying the male form and a sex positive vision of the Gay Male.
A portion of the work in the collection was donated but some of it was salvaged from the homes of men who died of AIDS in the last 30+ years. As the story was told to me, frequently during the height of the plague, the men at TOM House would get a call from a friend or neighbor reporting that a certain man in the community had died and that his family was on the way to clear out his possessions. Knowing that in almost every case, this would mean the destruction and disposal of any artwork with homoerotic theme, the crew would go in and remove as much as they could to preserve the work and honor the deceased. This act of preservation has formed the foundation of this incredible and important collection.
I am proud beyond words to have been asked by the Foundation to add my voice and artistic expression to the collection in this way.
Below is my Artist’s Statement regarding the piece. I hope if you are ever in the Los Angeles area you can stop by TOM House and check out the piece or join in for the unveiling at the Tom of Finland Art and Culture Festival on October 1-2.