Touko Laaksonen, best known by his pseudonym Tom of Finland (8 May 1920 – 7 November 1991) was a Finnish artist notable for his stylized androerotic and fetish art and his influence on late twentieth century gay culture. He has been called the "most influential creator of gay pornographic images" by cultural historian Joseph W. Slade.
He got his name Touko - because he was born on
8 May 1920, on the south coast of ,
and May in Finnish is "Toukokuu". His homeland had been independent
for just three years when Touko was born, and outside its few cities the
country was still rough and wild. Finland
The men who worked in the fields and woods, the farmers and loggers, were true frontiersmen, every bit as rough and wild as the countryside.
Touko grew up among those men but was not a part of their world. Both his parents were schoolteachers, and they raised Touko indoors in an atmosphere of art, literature and music. Obviously talented, by the time he was five he was playing the piano and drawing comic strips. He loved art, literature and music.
In 1939, Touko went to art school in
advertising. His fascination expanded to include the sexy city types he found
in that cosmopolitan port - construction workers, sailors, policemen - but he
never dared proposition them. Helsinki
After the war, Touko went back to studying art. He avoided the fledgling gay scene, because what were then called "artistic" bars were dominated by the flamboyant effeminacy typical of the time. He traveled frequently, becoming very familiar with the gay cruising areas found in every major city. Still, in 1953, when he met Veli, the man with whom he would live for the next 28 years, it was on a street corner a few blocks from home.
At the end of 1956, at the urging of a friend, Touko sent his secret artwork to a popular American muscle magazine, but, being cautious in those paranoid times, and anyway thinking that "Touko Laaksonen" was too tough a name for American tongues, he signed them,"Tom". The editor loved them. The cover of the Spring 1957 issue of "Physique Pictorial" features a laughing lumberjack, drawn by "Tom of Finland". It was a sensation. Touko became Tom of Finland. The rest is history.
Over the course of four decades he produced some 3500 illustrations, mostly featuring men with exaggerated primary and secondary sex traits: heavily muscled torsos, limbs, and buttocks, and large penises. Tight or partially removed clothing showed off these traits, with the penis often visible as a bulge in tight trousers or prominently displayed for the viewer. His drawings frequently feature two or more men either immediately preceding or during explicit sexual activity. Nearly all of his characters were versatile and obviously enjoyed the bottom as well as the top role in sexual intercourse.
Last weekend Infa showed be a picture that he made to make a new look. I told him that it remind me of Tom of Finland and some how it gave him inspiration to make this look.
He made this picture at
in front of the garage. River Island