Artist Mari Kasurinen to create an LGBT sculpture series of “My Little Ponies”

Huffington Post: Gay Voices

Finnish artist Mari Kasurinen, who recently drew attention for creating a My Little Pony sculpture modelled after a Tom of Finland figure, has told Huffington Post that she will be creating a dedicated series of My Little Pony sculptures re-imagined as LGBT pop icons.

Kasurinen has already attracted international attention for her sculpture series “My Little Pop Icons” – a series of My Little Pony sculptures modelled after pop culture icons.

Recently speaking at Helsinki’s MUU Galleria for the launch of Tom of Finland: Dirty Frames, an exhibition of comic art by Tom of Finland, Kasurinen said:

A lot of my upcoming “My Little Pop Icons”… are huge LGBT icons who have brilliant, unique and multi-dimensional visual personal brands. They will get a series of their own in the near future.

Along with her My Little Tom of Finland sculpture, Kasurinen has already included numerous LGBT icons in her My Little Pop Icons series, including My Little Dolly Parton and My Little Dr. Frank-N-Furter. When Huffington Post asked Kasurinen how she chooses LGBT icons for her My Little Pony sculptures, she replied:

When I choose a subject for a “My Little Pop Icon” of my own, I tend to choose characters or people who I find to be icons and phenomenons of their time who, in my opinion, made a great impact within popular culture. People who changed things forever — sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. Very often that person is someone who I admire and respect or find especially interesting, original and inspiring concerning the personal brand. I enjoy portraying people whose personal brand is visually multi-dimensional, challenging and represents something more than meets the eye. All of the LGBT icons that I have made I chose keeping all this in mind.

The Tom of Finland: Dirty Frames exhibition also features comic art by other artists associated with the Tom of Finland Foundation – along with Kasurinen’s own My Little Tom of Finland sculpture.

My Little Tom of Finland sculpture by Mari Kasurinen

My Little Tom of Finland sculpture by Mari Kasurinen

 

My Little Dolly Parton

My Little Dolly Parton sculpture by Mari Kasurinen

 

My Little Dr. Frank-N-Furter

My Little Dr. Frank-N-Furter sculpture by Mari Kasurinen

 

“Tom of Finland: Dirty Frames” runs until September 28 at MUU Galleria, Lönnrotinkatu 33, 00180 Helsinki, Finland. Gallery hours: Tues-Fri 12-5pm, Sat-Sun 12-4pm. Map | Facebook event | Gallery phone number +358-(0)9-625 972. 

To purchase sculptures in the My Little Pop Icons series, contact Mari Kasurinen directly.

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Tom of Finland Leatherman gets Photoshopped into photo of Helsinki landmark

Kuukausiliite magazine

A Finnish publication has cheekily Photoshopped a depiction of a Tom of Finland leatherman into a photograph of one of Helsinki’s most famous landmarks.

The September issue of Kuukausiliite, a monthly supplement to Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, includes a photo in which the nude from the bronze statue known as Havis Amanda has been replaced by a Tom of Finland leatherman.

Tom of Finland as Havis Amanda: Detail

Detail from a depiction of the Havis Amanda statue, re-imagined with a Tom of Finland leatherman

Sculpted by Finnish artist Ville Vallgren (1855-1940) and unveiled in 1908, Havis Amanda is one of the most popular landmarks in Helsinki. Located at the city’s Market Square, it is commonly used as a meeting place for locals. Vallgren originally called the statue Merenneito (Finnish for “mermaid”), but it eventually became known as Havis Amanda (“sea nymph” in Swedish). Although the statue was originally the subject of controversy due in part to its nudity, it came to gain wider acceptance and today is considered a symbol of Helsinki.

Havis Amanda

Havis Amanda statue (1908)

This is not the first time that the Havis Amanda has been subject to affectionate modification. Every year, university students place a Finnish student cap on the statue’s head as part of Vappu celebrations for the coming of Spring. As can be seen from the full article in Kuukausiliite (in PDF form here), the Tom of Finland parody involves two additional hats: as well as the leatherman’s cap, one of the sea lions surrounding the statue is wearing a leather cap.

Finland is currently rediscovering Tom of Finland via a wave of Tom-related projects currently taking place in Finland, all accomplished with support from the Tom of Finland Foundation. The Tom of Finland postal stamp series and a coinciding exhibition of Tom’s letter correspondence, Sealed With A Secret – Correspondence of Tom of Finlandlaunched in Finland on September 8 to worldwide attention. The Sealed With A Secret exhibition opened as the inaugural show at Finland’s new Postal Museum. A few days earlier, on August 28, a Finnish language book of Tom’s comics, Tom of Finland: Sarja Kuvia, was released by Finnish publisher Like Publishing. The book – which includes art that had never been printed – was launched at the opening of Tom of Finland: Dirty Framesa Helsinki exhibition of Tom’s comic art.

Widely recognised as Finland’s most famous artist, Tom’s depictions of hyper-masculine gay men attained iconic status throughout Europe, North America and further afield in the second half of the last century. Given Tom’s status, it makes sense for one Finnish artistic icon to take the place of another – even if only for one imaginary night.

“Tom of Finland: Dirty Frames” runs until September 28 at MUU Galleria, Lönnrotinkatu 33, 00180 Helsinki, Finland. Gallery hours: Tues-Fri 12-5pm, Sat-Sun 12-4pm. Map | Facebook event | Gallery phone number +358-(0)9-625 972. Information and purchase details for Tom of Finland: Sarja Kuvia are available at the book’s page on the Like Publishing website. Sealed With A Secret – Correspondence of Tom of Finland runs until March 29, 2015 at the Postal Museum at Museum Centre VapriikkiAlaverstaanraitti 5, 33101 Tampere, Finland. Exhibition hours: Tues-Sun, 10am-6pm. Map | Museum phone number +358 (0) 3 5656 6966.

Tom of Finland Foundation logo

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Artist Mari Kasurinen creates My Little Tom of Finland pony sculpture

In 2012, Huffington Post article reported that Finnish artist Mari Kasurinen had created a sculpture series “My Little Pop Icons” – a range of customised My Little Pony sculptures modelled after pop culture icons.

More recently, however, Kasurinen has come to attention for adding a new sculpture to her series – a My Little Pony modelled after Finland’s most famous artist, Tom of Finland. My Little Tom of Finland joins many other pop culture favourites in Kasurinen’s My Little Pony pantheon, including My Little Michael Jackson, My Little Elvis, My Little Ziggy Stardust, and many more.

In 2009, art critic/historian Edward Lucie-Smith wrote an essay for Tom of Finland XXL, a large format, 666-page collection of Tom of Finland’s work. In the very first paragraph of that article, Lucie-Smith wrote:

In addition to Tom art and Tom books, there are Tom postcards, Tom clothing and even a Tom action figure. What this tells us is that Tom is now ineradicably part of popular culture, in many ways just as much of an icon as Marilyn Monroe.

(p. 21)

Could Lucie-Smith have ever known, though, that Tom of Finland would stand alongside Marilyn Monroe in My Little Pony form?

My Little Tom of Finland sculpture by Mari Kasurinen

My Little Tom of Finland sculpture by Mari Kasurinen

my-little-marilyn-monroe-by-mari-kasurinen

My Little Marilyn Monroe sculpture by Mari Kasurinen

 

Kasurinen’s “My Little Tom of Finland” sculpture is currently showing at Tom of Finland: Dirty Frames – a Helsinki exhibition of comic art by Tom of Finland, along with comic art by other artists associated with the Tom of Finland Foundation.

The sculptures in Kasurinen’s My Little Pop Icons series are also available for purchase – Kasurinen invites would-be collectors to contact her.

“Tom of Finland: Dirty Frames” runs until September 28 at MUU Galleria, Lönnrotinkatu 33, 00180 Helsinki, Finland. Gallery hours: Tues-Fri 12-5pm, Sat-Sun 12-4pm. Map | Facebook event | Gallery phone number +358-(0)9-625 972. 

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