Durk Dehner: “Sex between men is just plain manly, no matter what position one takes”

23rd November 2022, 5:35 pm


Durk Dehner of Tom of Finland Foundation dissects one of the many elements that define the Queer as a community and a tribe, the roots of the sexual attraction the same-sex collective feels for one another




The inception of Tom of Finland Foundation

Durk Dehner won a leather contest at Eagle’s Nest bar in New York City and a photo shoot session with Target Studios. The day before the shoot, he went to another leather bar, The Spike, and saw a poster of a shirtless leatherman, holding jail keys in his hand. Before leaving, Dehner walked up to the poster, pulled out the thumbtacks, rolled it up, and squeezed it into the sleeve of his leather jacket.

The next day, he arrived at the photo shoot with the poster on hand and showed it to another artist named Etienne. Dehner discovered that the artist behind the poster was Tom of Finland. Etienne gave Dehner the mailing address of the Finnish artist, who then wrote a letter to him about how much his art had affected him. When Tom replied, it began the periodic correspondences between them, their pursuit to free erotic art, and the point that lead the duo to establish Tom of Finland Foundation.


The Foundation’s archive introduces the Finnish artist

Dehner was twenty-six by the time he discovered Tom of Finland. The artist would sign his drawings and artwork with Tom, reserving his given name for his family and colleagues. The Foundation’s archive introduces the Finnish artist through excerpts from Valentine Hooven II, the author of Tom of Finland: the Official Life and Work of a Gay Hero. The narrative retells how at the end of 1956, the artist sent a secret artwork to Physique Pictorial, a muscle magazine.



Published: 23rd November 2022

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