This event showcases the LGBTQ talent in a book presenting images and stories of the artist Tom of Finland and explores the Foundation he cofounded. Discover treasures from an extensive collection of Gay art, many shown in this volume for the first time. Contemporary authors and artists add to this unique homage to Tom with their essays, interviews, short stories, and artwork.
Cofounder and president of Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles. Durk has been at the helm of Tom of Finland endeavors since 1979, a video porn director, a guy who was a model for Bruce Weber, and tied for 1st place in the first IML. He was a model for Target Studios, in Drummer magazine, broke as many rules as he could get away with and put on the notorious underground parties in Los Angeles called Butt Boys.
Mark Timothy Hayward
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Art Institute of Chicago. Curator, author, illustrator and storyboard-board artist.
Los Angeles based writer and filmmaker. He received a BFA in Theatre from the University of Arizona in 2012. For three years following graduation, Jamison worked on original Queer content in New York City, propelling his sex-positive voice into the American zeitgeist. Jamison is the writer, director, and producer of the narrative web-series and short film Sorry You’re Sad, as well as the art film Last Night. In 2016, Jamison was inducted as the artist-in-residence at Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles, where he published a book of erotic non-fiction, How to Be a Faggot. Jamison is currently a screenwriting fellow at the American Film Institute.
David Parke Epstein
Participant in the Tom of Finland Art and Culture Festival. The former author and writer for the magazine Esquire lives with his cat Compton at the Sunset Junction in Los Angeles.
Marc Ransdell Bellenger
Curator and Community Development at Tom of Finland Foundation. Prior to his time at TOM House, he was curator for Walt Disney Imagineering at Walt Disney World and MGM Orlando Studios; Curator of Collections with The Art Museum at Florida International University; Collections Registrar for the Boca Raton Museum of Art; and Registrar for the Palm Beach Community College Museum of Art, The J. Patrick Lannan Gallery. He also has had an extensive career as a private art dealer and served on the American Craft Council as a special curator to the White House under the Clinton administration.
Los Angeles-based poet and educator who was appointed the first Poet Laureate of West Hollywood. He edited My Life is Poetry, showcasing his students’ work from the first-ever autobiographical poetry workshop for LGBT seniors. Reigns has lectured and taught writing workshops around the country to LGBT youth and people living with HIV. Currently he facilitates the monthly Lambda Lit Book Club and is at work on a new collection of poetry. Tom of Finland Art and Culture Festival poet.
Sharp studied Fine Arts, Art History and Design at several Midwest schools and managed the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. He worked in design for film and television for 30 years and fell head-over-heels for Tom of Finland Foundation more than a decade ago. He has acted as the editor of its newsletter, The Dispatch, and is the Head Curator of its Permanent Collection. Says Sharp of art, “I’m impressed by integrity, wackiness, resplendent candor and all those things you want to revisit when you close your eyes at night before you fall asleep.”
He studied painting, ethnology and religious studies and is based in Berlin as a painter, photographer, editor and curator. He was an Artist-in-Residence at TOM House in 2017 and has had many international exhibitions in museums and galleries. Two books of his on photography: Subversiv (2004) and Amore (2006), and the art book Trickster (2013) were published by Konkursbuch. He is co-editor of My Gay Eye.
MC: Jordan Michael Green
My Gay Eye is a 400-page anthology of 120 queer artists from around the world who were influenced by Tom of Finland. Since 1984, Tom of Finland Foundation has been the guardian of this treasure trove of art, which shows the enduring influence of the Finnish gay icon. As stated by Durk Dehner, the Foundation’s president, “Artists are the shamans of our community, they show us things we could not see ourselves.”
Tom of Finland isn’t just one of our favorite artists. He’s an inspiration. In honor of the 14th annual volume of the anthology My Gay Eye, we reached out to Durk Dehner, the cofounder and president of Tom of Finland Foundation to talk a little bit about 10 of our favorite pieces from the latest volume. And you’ll want to make sure to get your own copy of My Gay Eye, which features more than 120 different artists over its 400 pages, alongside text contributions from Michael Bullock, Kevin Clarke, Jamison Karon and Ralf König.