In the late 1940s, Tom of Finland, then a young Finish war veteran, spent his evenings drawing homoerotic scenes. At that time, mainstream society considered Gay men morally and physically weak, mentally ill, effeminate, limp-wristed sissies. Tom imagined himself and his comrades much differently. With all the propaganda skills he acquired from his advertising career, the master draftsman began a one-man crusade, creating an international campaign that sold Ggay men on their own self-worth. His taboo images of defiant same-sex hedonism taught his peers to find joy and pleasure in their own sexual experiences. Tom created thousands of hyper-realistic, utopian depictions of homosexual strength, masculine beauty, and erotic confidence. His images were so powerful that they were able to dominate reality, making ‘Tom of Finland’ a world-renowned brand and a permanent cornerstone of Gay liberation.
Today, 32 years after Tom’s death, hundreds of people from all over the world continue to make a pilgrimage to Los Angeles to pay respects to the artist who transformed their shame into strength.
Published: 17th November 2023Tags: Apartamento, Luke Abby, Michael Bullock, TOM House, Tom of Finland, Tom of Finland Foundation