Next month the US Postal Service will be releasing a stamp commemorating Harvey Milk, a landmark figure for the LGBT community. The Finnish postal service, Itella Posti, have decided to step their game up in response, with stamps featuring the homoerotic art of Tom of Finland.
The set of three stamps, featuring two pieces by Tom of Finland, will be released this September to coincide with an exhibition of the artist’s correspondence in the Postal Museum. Tom of Finland, whose real name was Touko Laaksonen, produced more than 3,500 drawings before his death in 1991, and he is best known for his homoerotic, humorous and often explicit drawings of male figures.
Itella Posti had this to say of the artist:
“His emphatically masculine homoerotic drawings have attained iconic status in their genre and had an influence on, for instance, pop culture and fashion. In his works, Tom of Finland utilized the self-irony and humor typical of subcultures… The drawings on the stamp sheet represent strong and confident male figures typical of their designer.”
The drawings used for the stamps were selected jointly by Timo Berry, the stamps’ designer, and Susanna Luoto, a representative of L.A.’s Tom of Finland Foundation, which works to preserve and promote erotic art. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they selected a couple of drawings from the tamer end of the Tom of Finland spectrum, but a quick Google should turn up the raunchier stuff if you’re so inclined.
Last year the popular Finnish director Dome Karukoski announced that he was to film an authorised biopic of the artist, making it a very good time to be a Tom of Finland fan.