Leather and Love: Inside the Tom of Finland House With Terry Miller

Watch this exclusive video from the It Gets Better Project and the Tom of Finland Foundation.The influence of Tom of Finland is extraordinary. “You can find Tom of Finland drawings in almost every leather bar, and in gay bars all over the world, “said Terry Miller, model, ToF ambassador, and co-founder of the It Gets Better Project (a nonprofit that uplifts and empowers LGBTQ+ youth around the globe). “It was almost like a code — this is where you’re accepted.  This is where you’ll find a community for yourself.”

To commemorate Tom’s, what would have been 98th birthday, Terry visited TOM House, which has served as a safe-haven for LGBTQ+ young people, artists in residence, and for anyone in search of belonging, to give us an inside look into the 35-year old landmark and to chat about the ToF partnership with the It Gets Better Project.

Terry said:

For years, Tom of Finland’s work has served as a means of connecting people and creating a conversation around what it means to be LGBTQ+. In a lot of ways, it’s very similar to the It Gets Better Project. Just like it only takes one person to say “have you seen one of these videos” and then you go online and you find thousands of It Gets Better videos — there are thousands of Tom of Finland pictures and drawings that tell the history of our community.

Watch more from Terry and the Tom of Finland Foundation in this video premiere below.

Learn more about how you can support the partnership between the It Gets Better Project and ToF.

By Bobby Schuessler


On this special day | 8th May | Detroit

At Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead

The exhibition
TOM House:
The Work and Life of Tom of Finland
will be on view on Tom of Finland Day!

Bust out the poppers: Tom of Finland’s leather boys are hitting Detroit. Goons whining about perversion and pornography in the presence of his illustrations don’t know sublime weirdness when it strips for them. Classical sculptures on steroids emitting an angelic glow, Finland’s bodies have the same sci-fi sexiness as H. R. Giger’s aliens, complete with nuclear-missile dicks and flesh that looks like latex. MOCAD shows them off inside Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead, amid juicy photographs, ephemera, and works from Finland devotees such as John Waters, Richard Hawkins, and Raymond Pettibon, creating an art-historical biker gang at once homoerotic and magical. They all transform so-called trash into beauty. Free your mind and your ass will follow.

Charlie Fox, Artforum

Special Hours: 11a-8p

Cake and Souvenirs: 5:30p
Talk with Tom Cho: 6:30p
Tom is the author of  Look Who’s Morphing and is a former resident of TOM House, Los Angeles.
Daddy and the Muscle Academy Showing: 7p

The MOCAD Café and Store Will Be Open from 9:30a-8p