Tom of Finland (birth name: Touko Laaksonen) was an erotic artist, but he was so much more than that title suggests because of two things: who he was drawing and when he was drawing them.
As the video description on YouTube states:
(Tom of Finland Foundation) cofounder and former Bruce Weber model Durk Dehner met Tom because of a compelling image on a bathroom wall, and soon became the artist’s muse, patron, and longtime friend. In this short video, Dehner and foundation vice president S.R. Sharp discuss Tom’s radical imaginary, his command of the gay male gaze, how Tom of Finland got his name, and why Tom made the move to Los Angeles. Dehner has preserved the home he shared with Tom as a homage to Tom’s legacy, and to this day, the home remains open to the public.
This video features footage of TOM House, the house in Los Angeles that has been preserved as a homage to Tom of Finland’s legacy. Tom lived and worked in this house for the last decade of his life. To schedule a tour of TOM House, please call +1 213-250-1685.
Artist Richard Hawkins tours Bob Mizer & Tom of Finland, the first American museum exhibition devoted to the art of Mizer (1922-1992) and Touko Laaksonen, a.k.a. “Tom of Finland” (1920-1991), at MOCA Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. Hawkins, who guest co-curated the exhibition with MOCA Curator Bennett Simpson, examines selections from the first-ever presentation of catalogue boards of Mizer’s Athletic Model Guild studios, which to him are enthusiastic celebrations of everyday youth and beauty, as well as Tom of Finland’s pencil drawings and pen-and-ink illustrations of radical sexuality.
In light of the sexual freedoms still denied in Russia, “…that even though I know that I enjoy certain freedoms in this day, that I’d always known that Tom and Bob didn’t have those same freedoms, but it really hit home that it’s not the same everywhere and or in different times.
…we had done the right thing. That we had completed an exhibition that was both titillating and thrilling and as sex-positive as Tom and Bob would have wanted it to be.”
Richard Hawkins (b. 1961, Mexia Texas) is an artist and writer living in Los Angeles. He is represented by Corvi-Mora, London; Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Berlin and Koln; Greene-Naftali, New York and Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles. His first book of fiction, “Fragile Flowers”, was released by Les Presses du Reel in Fall 2013. In October 2013, he premiered his first solo French museum presentation, “glimmer”, at Le Consortium Dijon and in 2012 he was a Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy, Berlin. Upcoming, Hawkins’s butoh-inspired collages will be the focus of a solo exhibition at Tate Liverpool, “Hijikata Twist”, curated by Darren Pih. His research into the Los Angeles painter Tony Greene will be shown at the 2014 Whitney Biennial in an exhibition co-curated with Catherine Opie.
Touko Laaksonen, better known as Tom of Finland, is a famed erotic artist and queer icon whose legacy spans multiple generations.
Tom of Finland Foundation continues to embody and celebrate his contributions to both erotic art and the queer community, and a poignant new short film is now providing visibility to the Foundation itself and Durk Dehner, cofounder of the Foundation and one of Tom’s muses.
“Durk Dehner met Tom because of a compelling image on a bathroom wall and soon became the artist’s muse, patron, and longtime friend,” Tom of Finland Foundation said in a statement emailed to the Huffington Post.
“In this short video, Dehner and Foundation vice president S.R. Sharp discuss Tom’s radical imaginary, his command of the gay male gaze, how Tom of Finland got his name, and why Tom made the move to Los Angeles. Dehner has preserved the home he shared with Tom as a homage to Tom’s legacy, and to this day, the home remains open to the public.”