Touko Laaksonen – Tom of Finland: Of Music and Men is an exhibition about multitalented Touko Laaksonen (Finnish, 1920-1991), who came to be known as Tom of Finland, the internationally renowned creator of homoerotic art.
Laaksonen was taken with all things beautiful. He picked up both the piano and drawing at an early age. As a young man he was studying music at the famed Sibelius Academy by day and advertising at night. He went on to play professionally while he was also employed at an ad agency.
His private work, his “dirty drawings” as he modestly called them, were his real passion. That zeal led Tom to produce nearly 4,000 sketches, drawings and paintings in a career that spanned six decades. He pursued this without the knowledge of his family and colleagues, but even with laws designed to prevent the circulation of erotic material, he became and icon to his ever growing Gay admirers world-wide. His artistic depictions of sexuality, executed with the highest quality of draftsmanship, became a liberating beacon of sex positivity and healthy self identity.