28th April 2021, 5:28 pm
“In the late ’40s and early ’50s, Helsinki had no full-fledged Gay bar. But, as Tom learned, more than a few of Helsinki’s more uninhibited bars and cafes had ‘Homosexual corners’.
A drinking establishment was actually there to serve the patrons of a cooperative department store (“Helsinki Co-op Store”), but being small and more or less ignored by the shoppers, it gradually developed one of the largest Homosexual corners in Helsinki.
Motorcycle races became very popular with the clientele of the wilder bars, who liked to ooh and aah over the sexy young riders dressed in leather garb modeled more or less after the outfits worn by the fighter pilots of World War II. The bar patrons all wore cashmere except Tom, who strutted around in specially made brown leather outfits. His attire was so exotic that most of the crowd assumed he was a foreigner.”
TOM OF FINLAND, Untitled (Hell’s Angels), 1973, Graphite on paper, © 1973 Tom of Finland Foundation
Most frequently, Tom went to the bar in the HOK.
It was on Mannerheimintie,
the street named for Finland’s World War II hero
and it was only a block from the Esplanadi park.
“Back on duty with his gun crew, Tom the artist continued to be frustrated. Every day, he was surrounded by the laughter and horseplay of his soldier buddies. Sometimes the play was blatantly sexual. The men were always goosing each other and playing grab-ass. In the showers, they would “accidentally” drop the soap… View Article
Avant-garde, provocative, subversive and rebellious – Tom of Finland stamped history with his recognizable artistic style. A virtuoso of drawing, he fashioned the silhouette of a new Gay man – strong, confident, joyful and assertive – fully participating in the visibility and recognition of the nascent Homosexual movement. With text authorized by the artist… View Article
How are you going to celebrate this year? Take in an exhibition – IRL or virtual? Design a new cocktail and try it out on friends? Or a stay at home read-a-book, watch-a-movie kinda celebration? Do your homework, finish your quizzes, and show us your favorite ToF “text” book! 8th May is fast approaching,… View Article
The story of how a former Finnish soldier turned advertising man named Touko Laaksonen with a self-taught gift for draftsmanship and a wild fantasy life went from penning gay pornography to instigating a cross-continental leather subculture to becoming a widely celebrated visual artist with a subversive and instantly recognizable visual aesthetic, is certainly one… View Article
28th April 2021
Tags: #TomOfFinland101, 101 Quiz, The Official Life and Work of a Gay Hero
Categorised in: For the Record, History