Touko Laaksonen aka ‘Tom of Finland’ is one of the most influential and celebrated figures of twentieth century gay culture. Over the course of four decades, he produced some 3,500 illustrations, mostly featuring men with exaggerated primary and secondary sex traits, wearing tight or partially removed clothing.
Now we are happy to introduce Joakim Andreasson, who has been spearheading licensing for Tom of Finland Foundation since 2014. You can read our exclusive interview with him about Tom of Finland Store, and you will find an exclusive interview with Terry Miller, the official TOM’s Man, too.
JA I first came up-close and personal with Tom’s work in Paris when I bought one of the Taschen book in the gay book store in Marais. I was thereafter captivated – And Tom has been part of my life since. I never imagined that I would end up working with Tom’s art in this capacity – But it certainly has been a sexy ride…
JA Tom of Finland is a very fine movie – I have seen it a few times and have been involved throughout the making if it. Each time I see it I get touched by the bigger picture of Tom’s influence. The positive message of what he accomplished is what keeps us going, and keeps us creative in coming up with new avenues to communicate his vast body of work.
Tom, with businessman and friend Durk Dehner, cofounded Tom of Finland Company, and in 1984 established Tom of Finland Foundation dedicated to collecting, preserving, and exhibiting homoerotic artwork.
TM I really am out there to represent the brand in a physical manifestation. I try to present myself as the confident and sexually domineering guy that Tom made come to life so vividly… and I love it! The reaction has been incredible and gratifying. It’s totally fucking cool for guys to point at me and say, “You’re Tom of Finland!”
TM Visiting the Foundation house and getting to run around it all day and just go where we wanted and explore was incredible. Being able to go to Tom’s room, sit at his desk, hands on the last drawing he was working on at the time. It was like the Holy of Holies for kinky gay men. I was in awe. I will never forget getting the chance to lay in his bed and just close my eyes and think, “What was he dreaming of…?”