“TOM of FINLAND: Original Drawings” – phd gallery – St. Louis

PHOTO: Sandy Whitehead


Thank you to everyone who visited this important exhibition and donated to
Tom of Finland Foundation.


“The abstract, especially in those rough sketches, is very important to me, perhaps because of my advertising background, where layout is so important. Sometimes those first few lines cut the paper into such satisfying shapes that I don’t want to go on, but I always do, adding nostrils and nipples and bootstraps until I have filled the paper up as usual.”
– Tom of Finland

Work available by Tom of Finland.



Closing Reception for Tom of Finland Exhibit – St. Louis – August 7

TOM of FINLAND: Original Drawings

Concludes with A Recognition from St. Louis LGBT History Project

Closing Reception and Mixer is Sunday, August 7, 2011, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.


The first EVER exhibition in St. Louis of ORIGINAL Tom of Finland drawings  closes with a reception. Special Guest of the gallery is The St. Louis LGBT History Project whose members will present a selection of LGBT memorabilia from their archives. To commemorate the historic exhibition of TOM of FINLAND drawings, St. Louis LGBT History Project Founder Steven Brawley will present a Certificate of Recognition to PHD Gallery owner Philip Hitchcock for his efforts in bringing this landmark body of work to the St. Louis LGBT community.  Champagne and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

PHD Gallery
2300 Cherokee Street
St. Louis, MO 63118



TOM OF FINLAND (Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Untitled (Preliminary drawing)
1988, Graphite on paper, 11.50” x 8.50”, ToFF #0399
© 1988 Tom of Finland Foundation

Founded in 2007, The St. Louis LGBT History Project  is operated by Steven Brawley (founder), Colin Murphy and Ian Darnell.

The mission of The Project is to preserve the myriad stories of The Gateway City’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender past. As a resident partner of The LGBT Center of St. Louis, The Project serves as the unofficial collecting arm for the St. Louis LGBT Archives  at UMSL, conducts and facilitates oral histories with area LGBT Elders, works with area LGBT organizations on maintaining their own archive, and seeks out and preserves LGBT history, documents, artifacts and memorabilia. The Project has developed a LGBT Walking Tour in the city’s Central West End, is available to speak on St. Louis’ LGBT History and provides displays from The Project collection. The goal of The Project is to not only celebrate and preserve our city’s LGBT History, but make it accessible through digital media. For more information .

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A Fine Finnish – “Tom of Finland” – St. Louis – June 25

Tom of Finland: Original Drawings

Every week Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday from Sat., June 25 until Sat., August 6

phd gallery
Price: $10 suggested donation opening night; free thereafter

By Paul Friswold

 When Touko Laaksonen was a young man, homosexuals had no public image because homosexuality was not discussed in the 1930s. That didn’t stop Tuoko from fantasizing about the loggers and farmers of his bucolic Finnish village — and it didn’t stop him from using these men as the inspiration for his drawings of burly men rough-housing, wrestling and engaging in more intimate physical acts. Touko eventually found work in advertising, but sent his illustrations to the major American physical fitness and muscle mags of the day, signing his work with the easier-to-pronounce “Tom.” The burgeoning gay community fell in love with Tom of Finland’s work not just because of his hyper-sexualized male nudes — although what’s not to love about that? — but because his subjects were always depicted as strong, happy and proud of their bodies and themselves. Gay pride was evident in Tom of Finland’s art long before it was a rallying call for the LGBT community. And in honor of PrideFest weekend, phd gallery hosts a unique exhibition, Tom of Finland: Original Drawings. As the title implies, these are not lithographs or reproductions, but genuine original graphite on paper illustrations from the hand of the master.


Gay pride was evident in Tom of Finland’s art long before it was a rallying call for the LGBT community.

Tom of Finland: Original Drawings opens with a free public reception from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at phd gallery (2300 Cherokee Street; 314-664-6644 or www.phdstl.com). A suggested $10 donation on opening night benefits the Tom of Finland Foundation, an organization which promotes, protects and preserves erotic art. The work remains up through Saturday, August 6, and the gallery is open Thursday through Sunday. Admission is free after opening night.