Tom of Finland Foundation Awards 2021
Tom of Finland Foundation has presented awards since 2000 to stellar individuals who have demonstrated their vast commitment to our community.
ARTIST HALL OF FAME
FOR ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENTS AND STEADFAST COMMITMENT TO THE ART AND CULTURE OF OUR COMMUNITY
Martín Sorrondeguy was born in Montevideo, Uruguay; raised in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago; and has returned to Pilsen after fifteen years of living in California. He is a visual artist, photographer, and musician.
The core of Sorrondeguy’s work is about addressing inequities through the creation of physical and artistic space—first as the singer for the internationally renowned, politically charged, punk en Español, hardcore band Los Crudos. For the last nineteen years Sorrondeguy has been the singer for the beloved, hardcore, radically and openly queer punk band, Limp Wrist. Rolling Stone magazine published an article titled, “Music’s Unsung LGBTQ Heroes” where Limp Wrist was noted as one of twenty-five artists throughout music history that created visibility for the LGBTQ community.
In the late ’90s Sorrondeguy produced, shot, and edited a short documentary titled “Mas Alla De Los Gritos/Beyond the Screams” (1999). Some of the documentary footage came from his travels abroad to Mexico and South America while on tour with Los Crudos.
Sorrondeguy has published three photography books: En Busca de Algo Mas (Ugly, Bueno Aires) in 2015; Get Shot: A Visual Diary 1985-2012 (Make-A-Mess, Los Angeles) in late-2012; and Porqueria (Base, Tokyo) in 2010.
“Punks aren’t used to getting awards, we don’t get awards, y’know, so I’m really honored to get this, thank you so much everybody, the punkers are really happy that somebody’s getting this award.” Sorrondeguy continues to work on various projects as a musician, documentarian, and artist and joins previous inductees who include Don Bachardy, Tom of Finland, Herb Ritts, Jim French, The Hun, Pierre et Gilles and Bruce LaBruce.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
FOR LEADERSHIP AND STEADFAST COMMITMENT TO THE ART AND CULTURE OF OUR COMMUNITY
LLOYD L. CLAYTON
Lloyd L. Clayton, former Executive Director of the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum (MCLM), continues his mother’s legacy of collecting and preserving rare and out of print African American art – books, music, film, letters and documents that tell the stories of historical interest.
The collection contains over two million rare books, films, documents, photographs, artifacts and works of art related to the history and culture of U.S. African Americans with special focus on Southern California and the American West. The MCLM was officially founded in 1975 as the Western States Black Research Center.
Mayme, a university librarian, collector and historian, believed preserving and sharing the scattered, neglected history was crucial for current and future generations. The collection, started in a three-room garage in the West Adams district, and was moved to the old Culver City Courthouse after her death.
Lloyd Clayton became the Executive Director upon his brother Avery’s sudden death. He gave tours and began screening vintage films in a program titled, “Black Talkies on Parade”. He sponsored jazz concerts titled, “Double M Jazz Salon”, live theater and stage performances, and more.
Clayton’s passion is collecting and preserving musical history. He began his collection in the early 1960s. It began as a hobby but became intense upon discovering the first African American to be recorded on metal cylinder.
“This is a great opportunity, thank you Durk, thank you Sharp, thank you Tom of Finland Foundation.”
Clayton then gifted the Tom of Finland Foundation permanent collection with a sculpture by Marcello Lupetti. “Unfortunately Marcello passed away, then his lover passed away and I was asked to get his statues out of their apartment. I was friends with them both and I’ve had this for quite a few years now. But I feel that it really is best finding it a new home. And I think the best place is Tom of Finland Foundation, so I present this to you.”
Lloyd Clayton, born in Los Angeles to Mayme and Andrew Clayton, still resides in Los Angeles and continues his collecting journey and enthusiasm for history in the arts and joins fellow Lifetime Achievement awardees Hugh Hefner, Benedikt Taschen, Larry Flynt, Arthur Tress, and J. F. Lohman & C. W. Leslie.
FOR ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT AND PERSONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT
SUZANNE M. SHIFFLETT
Suzanne Shifflett grew up in Maine as the second child of four to a single mother: They lived at her grandmother’s house. “There were strict rules of what a girl could or couldn’t do, or be and couldn’t be.”
Being dyslexic, she really had a hard time in school except for art class. In high school she took her required classes and then spent the rest of the day in the art room. Through scholarships and loans, Shifflett made it through four years of undergraduate studies. While in school she was drawn to the punk scene because it fit so well with her feeling of being an outsider. Her art, in turn, reflected those feelings.
Shifflett moved to San Francisco in 1988. Her art went from making distorted male forms into painting empowered female forms. “This had a lot to do with my freedom to be out and express my queerness: Paintings I did from this time look like S.F. queer culture.”
Some of the artist’s work from the late ’90s reflects how she was involved in the sex workers activist movement. In the early 2000s her work reflects her interest and involvement in BDSM. Though there have always been concerns with gender non-conformity in Shifflett’s art, it’s only been within the last ten years that it is the main subject.
In 2016, Shifflett enrolled in Laguna College of Art and Design to earn her master’s degree in painting. “I instantly felt at home at Tom of Finland Foundation and I felt like I’m with my people. Ever since then I’ve had a great relationship with them and I always enjoy my time coming to visit them at TOM House. I’m glad the pandemic is coming to a close so that I actually get to see my friends again.” She lives full time in Southern California and joins Danny Fuentes, Rubén Esparza and Slava Mogutin in having been acknowledged with this special recognition.
Sunday, 5th December 2021
26th Tom of Finland Art & Cultural Festival
Second Home, Hollywood
Okko-Pekka Salmimies, Consul General of Finland in Los Angeles, opened the awards ceremony. Musician and artist Martín Sorrondeguy was inducted into the Tom of Finland Foundation Artist Hall of Fame by Danny Fuentes, a 2019 Tom of Finland Foundation Achievement Award recipient. Suzanne Shifflett was given a 2021 Tom of Finland Foundation Achievement Award presented to her by Christopher Harrity, who received a 2019 Tom of Finland Foundation Inspiration Award. The Tom of Finland Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award was proudly bestowed upon Lloyd L. Clayton, former Executive Director of the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum, by Tom of Finland Foundation Board of Directors member Graylin Thorton.
Tom of Finland Foundation is honored to have the opportunity to recognize these influential individuals who have, and continue to shape the world in which we live. Thank you for your tireless work to make and support art, and for challenging the status quo. We look forward to seeing what great things you accomplish next.