“My Gay Eye” chronicles much more than beefcake

Historic images explore influence of Tom of Finland on our culture

If you are gay man, 30 years old or older, chances are you have heard of or seen iconic images from Tom of Finland that feature erotic and artistic portraits of men together and solo in what are easily some of the most sexual and beautiful pieces ever to come out of the gay community.

If you haven’t taken a look at these works of art do yourself a favor and Google them now or better yet, visit the Tom of Finland Foundation for a tour and a history lesson at one of LA’s hidden gems of the gay community tucked away in the historic neighborhood of Echo Park, just blocks away from your favorite eateries on Sunset Boulevard.

In 1984, the non-profit Tom of Finland Foundation was established by Durk Dehner and his friend Tom of Finland (born Touko Laaksonen). As Tom had established worldwide recognition as the expert in homoerotic art, the Foundation’s original purpose was to preserve his “library” of work. Soon after Tom and Durk found themselves with a larger purpose and now, after 35 years, the Foundation still educates the public on just why erotic art is important to overall health and sexuality.

The Foundation is a non-profit organization supported by donations from the public and various fund-raising events throughout Los Angeles during the year.

During LA Pride weekend, the Foundation will join forces in the well-known “Erotic City” tent within the festival to reach out to a larger demographic of festival goers, including the younger generation who might not be as familiar with some of the iconic images and background of the Foundation as it promotes its 400- page, special edition of “My Gay Eye” containing works by more than 120 artists and writers from around the world, as well as a large selection of work from Tom himself. More than just a collection of beefcake images, the book features essays and pieces of history that help to build a bridge between the continents of Europe and America and the twin cities of Berlin and Los Angeles. This collection which will be on hand to purchase, is an in depth exploration of the history and influence of Tom of Finland within the gay community.

Rinaldo Hopf, editor of the book, gives the community a sense of the culture and art that has been shown at the Foundation. Hopf an important figure of German gay art, was Resident Artist at The Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles in 2017, and brings to life, the collection from over the years, in “My Gay Eye.”

“It starts with Tom’s work process: the collages he did with found images from newspapers and magazines and preparatory sketches. Durk Dehner came up with the idea to feature examples of all the techniques Tom used, from taking his own reference photos, to pen and ink drawings, to the absolutely finished masterworks,” Hopf notes.

After you pick up your copy of My Gay Eye, on Saturday, inside Erotic City, head over to a special event at the Tom of Finland Foundation house in Echo Park: RUBEN ESPARZA “Piss + Blood & Spunk: Seminal Works 1993-2019.”

Ruben Esparza combines the skills of a multimedia artist and the insight of a gifted curator to synergize intensely cross-referential artworks. This exhibition of 20 of Ruben Esparza’s most potent pieces includes a survey of the artists, art influencers and scenesters who frequent TOM House, and who Esparza has photographed in a collection of Polaroids.

Opening night events include performances and happenings by Oscar David Alvarez, FleshPiece, Ridge Gallagher, Jordan Michael Green, Jamison Karon, Marval A Rex, and Sheree Rose.

TOM House is at 1421 Laveta Terrace in LA,
213-250-1685 or TomOfFinlandFoundation.org.

By Roman Navarrette

 

 


If you can’t make it to the festival, you can order a copy online.

Share

TOM at 2019 LA Pride Festival | 8-9th June | WeHo

EROTIC CITY

 

 

 

Tom of Finland (born Touko Laaksonen, 1920-1991) has created a fascinating Gay world with his pencil.

This special edition of My Gay Eye, presents the many sides of the artist Tom of Finland as well as the Foundation in Echo Park he cofounded. Contemporary authors and artists add to this unique homage to Tom with their essays, interviews, short stories and images. Discover treasures from TOM’s Foundation’s extensive collection of Gay art.

See artwork and meet contributors from this book at this year’s festival!
Get your copy signed!

Celebrate what truly unites us.

Featuring artwork from Greg Day, Ruben Esparza, Jordan Michael Green,
Mark Timothy Hayward, Van Jazmin, Michael Kirwan, Stefan Pinto
and Miguel Angel Reyes.

Celebrate My Gay Eye with 31 Artworks Inspired or Drawn by Tom. By Daniel Reynolds for Advocate

Pick up your copy of Los Angeles Blade and read about Tom of Finland Foundation at LA Pride

If you can’t make it to the festival, you can order a copy online.


Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall. Made possible by funds from Eagle LA.

Come, experience this life-size Stonewall Riots mural
by Rinaldo Hopf, editor of My Gay Eye / Mein schwules Auge.

On display in Erotic City will be a full size mural Hopf created this year as part of series dedicated to the Stonewall riots in 1969. Though raised in West Germany, Hopf had his coming out in the mid ’70s in San Francisco and has always had a strong bond with the gay movement in America.

Too young at the time of the riots, the artist has now gathered as much information as he could, and utilized the few photos of the events that are available. He also researched fashion and police uniforms of the period. Friends and family modeled for the large paintings, portraying the mix of people present at the New York uprising.

The original painting was done with watercolor, acrylics and ink on vintage newsprint of The Advocate magazine from the late ’60s / early ’70s and all figures are life size.

Quoting Marsha P. Johnson, “No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.”

See Rinaldo Hopf’s Stonewall Mural on 1969 Advocate Pages. Advocate


We will have advance tickets for DaddyWood available for purchase.

Saturday Noon to Midnight
Sunday 2p to 10p

FACEBOOK EVENT
TICKETS


Tom of Finland Foundation at Erotic City

Share

Showcasing the enormous wealth of erotic art and culture that is being conserved, protected and promoted by Tom of Finland Foundation

In Dutch and English by Xavier van Beesd

It is the first edition of the yearbook, which is entirely bilingual (German and English). The 400 page book, published by Konkursbuch in Tübingen, contains works by more than 120 artists and writers from around the world. The editors found it important to build a bridge between the continents of Europe and America and the twin cities of Berlin and Los Angeles. This issue can be seen as an exploration of the history, development and influence of the artist Tom of Finland through both homages and critiques. It also showcases the enormous wealth of erotic art and culture that is being conserved, protected and promoted by Tom of Finland Foundation, founded in 1984.

Apart from works by other artists, “My Gay Eye” also includes a larger selection of Tom’s work. “It starts with Tom’s work process: the collages he did with found images from newspapers and magazines and preparatory sketches. (…) Durk Dehner came up with the idea to feature examples of all the techniques Tom used, from taking his own reference photos, to pen and ink drawings, to the absolutely finished masterworks,” editor Rinaldo Hopf notes.

Ships Worldwide

Share