“Let’s Go Camping with Tom of Finland” | 28th September | Kendal UK

15th September 2019, 1:42 pm

TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Untitled (From “Camping”), 1976, Graphite on paper (Colorized), © 1976-2019 Tom of Finland Foundation

Cross Lane Projects is taking part in
The Lakes International Comic Art Festival
with this exhibition

This special show is celebrating the forthcoming 100th anniversary of the birth of Tom of Finland (born Touko Laaksonen), the world’s best loved queer artist, comics creator and gay icon.

From the 1940s on, Tom pushed the boundaries of gay erotic art, creating a style of comics that inspired a generation of gay men to celebrate their sexuality.

“My aim is not to create an ideal but to draw beautiful men who love each other and are proud of it,” Tom, who died in 1991, noted in his book, Tom of Finland: His Life and Times.

“In those days, a gay man was made to feel nothing but shame about his feelings and his sexuality. I wanted my drawings to counteract that, to show gay men being happy and positive about who they were. Oh, I didn’t sit down to think this all out carefully. But I knew – right from the start – that my men were going to be proud and happy men!”

Let’s Go Camping with Tom of Finland has been curated with the Tom of Finland Foundation and Cross Lane Projects, and charts the artist’s career, including his famous Kake comic series and some of his other popular titles, including Camping and the soccer comic, Dick. The exhibition will also explore the work of artists inspired by Tom of Finland, including the well-known American artist, Michael Kirwan.

LICAF, in association with the Tom of Finland Foundation, will produce a series of fine art prints, and a unique publication featuring an entire reprint of Dick to accompany the exhibition.

Tom of Finland: A Personal Perspective
Saturday 12th October at 12:30p


A rare opportunity to welcome and listen to Durk Dehner, Cofounder and President of Tom of Finland Foundation, in conversation with Paul Gravett.

An opportunity to delve deeper into the extraordinary life and works of this gay icon and superlative cartoonist and to find out more about how his legacy lives on.

Booking Required

TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Untitled (From “Camping”), 1976, Pen and ink, gouache on paper, © 1976-2019 Tom of Finland Foundation

This is a unique, free exhibition, open to those over 18, and part of the official Tom of Finland Centenary celebrations, supported by the Finnish Institute.

On view through 19th October

READ “Speaking at an exhibit of Tom’s work at Cross Lane Projects in the northern English town of Kendal, Dehner, dressed in leather – jeans, jacket and tie – was visibly moved as he looked back on his years as Tom’s friend, lover and muse.”

LISTEN An interview with Durk Dehner, founder of Tom of Finland Foundation and the gay erotic artist’s former lover, muse and occasional model

READ: “Tom of Finland’s style was influential, evident in David Hockney’s swimming-pool paintings, Jean Paul Gaultier’s fashion designs and the films of Derek Jarman. Since his death in 1991, Tom of Finlands pop-culture legacy has only increased. “Tom of Finland”, a biographical film, was released in 2017, and the Finnish postal service celebrated his work with a racy set of stamps. Next year, events around the world will mark the centenary of his birth.”

Published: 15th September 2019

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