NICOPANDA X TOM OF FINLAND 🌈 HAPPY PRIDE!

WHO’S YOUR (LEATHER) DADDY?

During this month during this year, when social and political tensions are at an all time high, where art is being censored—stripped funding because people fear what consequences may come from supporting someone who speaks out … We couldn’t be more proud to get super queer. To celebrate revolutionary artists and homosexuality. Plus it’s really fun.

Better known under his pseudonym Tom of Finland, Touko Valio Laaksonen is acclaimed as the “most influential creator of gay pornographic images” by cultural historian Joseph W. Slade. Most of Tom’s earlier illustrations were for private eyes, burned after being viewed—works of art that no one had ever seen before because in some places the punishment would be death. Tom of Finland found catharsis from the forced privatization of the gay community with his erotic illustrations, creating a cultural phenomenon just as relevant today as it was then.

The Tom of Finland House (TOM House) sits three stories above Los Angeles’ Echo Park, the home and pieces of artwork within it, have been preserved by its Foundation, a nonprofit organization that’s been protecting and promoting erotic art for over 25 years. We were lucky enough to have the home all to ourselves (things might’ve gotten a little weird, shhhh) and meet up with Terry Miller for a photoshoot featuring Nicopanda x Tom of Finland. Miller might not need an intro, but it’s so fun to write about him, how could we not? Miller is an ambassador for Tom of Finland. Which means he embodies the art, sex, style, masculinity, and cultural iconicism that’s found in Tom’s work. And when he’s not doing that, you know, he’s sitting on the Board of Directors of The Seattle Symphony and hosting gay nights around town.

This is the design Tom did for his Foundation in 1989. TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920-1991) © Tom of Finland Foundation

In celebration of pride, we present a twenty-two piece “Daddy” approved collection, exclusively available at OC, Nicopanda, and the ToF Store. The tees, tanks and hoodies are filled with Tom’s iconic illustrations, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Foundation (even better, right?). Below, we get queer with Terry Miller on the significance of Tom of Finland (if you don’t know, this is mandatory reading), pride and why in Miller’s life, it’s always leather weather.

CARLY AIMI: What is your favorite Tom of Finland piece of work and why?
TERRY MILLER: My favorite piece of Tom of Finland is The Hitchhiker. This dude has been the secret man of my dreams since I first saw him in my teens. It’s also fueled an obsession with owning a motorcycle that my husband won’t let me bring to fruition.

In your opinion why is it so important to preserve erotic art?
Erotic art has been around for eons, look at Greek art for instance, there was never a problem or issue with celebrating the erotic as long as it was fairly heteronormative. Homosexual erotic art has been in that zone of seeming less important because of our own minority status. Preserving this art now is imperative to claiming part of LGBT history. No matter how out there, or transgressive it is, we need to preserve and celebrate the works of great homo artists. Etienne, Harry Bush, George Quaintance, Tom of Finland, etc. all of it holds value, not just historic and sexual, but cultural.

There’s probably so many gay teens in rural areas that don’t know about Tom of Finland’s work—How do we continue ToF’s reach and influence across the country and world?
Protecting his value by preserving and licensing his work for good use, and carrying on a tradition of gallery and museum shows worldwide is very important. This is much easier in Western Europe where ToF is seen as a positive figure not just by the LGBT community but he is beloved by straight people across the Nordic countries.

This is why Tom of Finland Store’s online presence is such an asset now. A place to build collaborations with other gay artists and designers, and sell and purchase art by Tom all under one “roof”. It makes sense to see a whole collection of work evolving together and being presented in one place.

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New York debut of The Posters | 9th July

unnamed.jpgTHE POSTERS SERVES UP FINE ART TO-GO

Remember the days of Tiger Beat pull-out posters with Justin Timberlake’s baby-face and crunchy Ramen hair? Or perhaps you were the kid that went to the F.Y.E. store at the mall and bought an endless assortment of Andy Warhol Campbell’s Soup Can posters. Well, fellow decor-obsessed children of the ’80s and ’90s, the poster dream never died, and here to prove it to you is an art publishing company by the name of The Posters.

Because our taste has gotten more sophisticated, The Posters brings the work of your favorite artists off of the museum walls and into your foyer. Based on pieces from everyone from Tom of Finland to Mark Gonzales, its high-quality offset lithographs display the details of each artist’s technique and match their canvases’ original colors. Compared to the poster printing process, choosing the artists to feature is relatively simple, say co-founders Athena Currey and Adrian Rosenfeld. “We ask friends and others artists who they would like to own a poster by,” says Athena. “We go to shows, studio visits, and we look online; it’s a never ending process. This is a bit of a blessing because we are more thoughtful with our choices.”

Available at Opening Ceremony starting July 9 is a wide range of The Posters prints by artists including Marc Hundley, Nate Lowman, Sara VanDerBeek, Wyatt Kahn, and Simone Shubuck—each for only $55. In addition to owning the work of some of today’s most renowned artists for a totally affordable price, you can get them signed at our launch event at Opening Ceremony Ace, where Hundley, Kahn, VanDerBeek, and Shubuck will be present.

The best part of The Posters? It helps fund art education for underserved children. Ten percent of each poster sold goes to education partners, like Inner-City Arts located in downtown LA. “We look at our contributions to art education as being part of an ecosystem,” says Athena. “We make affordable posters of work hanging in museums and galleries, these images then end up in your home, and the sales fund art classes where new artists are being formed every day.”

By Chloe Drewberry
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