Gay history with AJ Sloan: The Tom of Finland Art & Cultural Festival 2023: GlobalSexual hits Los Angeles

12th September 2023, 1:57 pm



Mark your calendars, Los Angeles. The Tom of Finland Arts & Cultural Festival 2023: GlobalSexual is around the corner. The exhibition, returning stateside from Berlin and London, honors Finland’s journey from a repressive society to an iconic figure in Gay culture. His body of work showcases the power of art to challenge societal norms and ignite change. This extraordinary festival is a testament to the enduring power of art to ignite societal change, all while paying homage to an artist whose contributions have redefined queer representation and identity.



Tom of Finland has left his metaphorical DNA all over the history of Gay porn and its influence on queer culture. His journey in the realm of homoerotica started with drawings of hyper-masculine, muscular men engaged in explicit and erotic encounters. In the 1950s, his artwork resonated with Queer folks who sought a representation that mirrored their desires and experiences. At a time when homosexuality was largely hidden from the public, Tom’s bold and unapologetic depictions provided a visual language through which Gay men could explore their sexuality and identity.

During the mid-20th century, Gay porn was primarily distributed underground due to censorship laws and societal taboos. Tom of Finland’s illustrations, often featured in Gay publications and erotic magazines, played a pivotal role in shaping the aesthetics of Gay pornographic imagery. His hypermasculine characters exuded confidence, strength, and sexual agency, challenging prevailing notions of effeminacy and shame associated with homosexuality at the time. Through his work, he transformed the portrayal of Gay sexuality from a source of shame into a symbol of empowerment and pride.



As the Gay rights movement gained momentum in the late 20th century, Tom of Finland’s influence on Gay porn and queer culture expanded. His art became emblematic of sexual liberation and the celebration of diverse desires. His hyper-masculine archetypes became ingrained in the collective consciousness, influencing the aesthetics of Gay pornographic films and magazines as well as the burgeoning leather and fetish subcultures.






Tom of Finland Art & Culture Fair 2023

Tom of Finland Foundation presents the Tom of Finland Art & Culture Festival 2023 GlobalSexual LOS ANGELES: Soho Warehouse, 1000 S Santa Fe Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90021 (map) Saturday 7th October: 11a-7p Sunday 8th October: Noon-7p BERLIN: prideART at The Knast, Söhtstraße 7, 12203 Berlin, Germany (map) Friday 12th May: 3-8p Saturday 13th May:… View Article

Published: 12th September 2023

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