Getting to know Durk Dehner

22nd February 2021, 5:28 pm

Peter Sparrow and Durk Dehner

“Tom felt like a dignitary. And he was! He was a leather dignitary.”
– Durk Dehner, President and Cofounder of Tom of Finland Foundation

In this archival interview with Durk, given by his friend Peter Sparrow on the public access channel New York Gay Cable, patrons at The World of TOM get to learn more about the man behind the man (Tom of Finland, that is!).

The relationship between Durk and Tom was one with many layers and partnerships of many forms. The kind of dynamic that exists between mentors and mentees, the interplay that happens when we teach each other about our lives and skills, is something that’s present in how Durk tells stories about other parts of his life, as well. Durk tells Peter about his youth experiences: Growing up in Alberta, Canada, and what role motorcycle shops played in his upbringing (and leather history). Durk also discusses becoming a masseur and being educated by a woman he felt drawn to learn from.

In the second half of this video, Durk delves into his relationship with Tom and Tom’s art. He discusses his experiences running in a leather contest, the debauchery of the 1960s and ’70s, as well as how he witnessed Tom impacting the lives of young Gay men. Seeing the man who dedicated his life to Tom’s legacy in his own multiplicity is a rare treat in this clip, so please sign up at the Hook-Up Date tier or higher and check it out!

Peter Sparrow is a New York-based designer of everything from mainstream commercials and music videos to sexy nightclubs. He was a judge for the 1997 Tom of Finland Emerging Artist Competition, and co-produced a few Tom of Finland Parties over the years with Durk and Mark Nelson.


Conversation: Durk Dehner on Tom of Finland

    To celebrate Tom of Finland’s centenary, Bella Gladman interviews Durk Dehner, cofounder of Tom of Finland Foundation and the artist’s muse and advocate. Dehner and Gladman talk Tom of Finland’s life and legacy, with reference to the Tom of Finland: Love and Liberation exhibition.                  

Published: 22nd February 2021


Categorised in: , , ,