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Reference / Tom of Finland


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Tom of Finland—a pseudonym used by Finnish artist Touko Valio Laaksonen (1920-1991)—is best known for meticulously rendered portraits of muscular men and stylized homoerotic fetish art. Called the “most influential creator of gay pornographic images,” he produced more than 3,500 illustrations over the course of four decades. His work featured men with exaggerated genitalia, buttocks and muscles—and he excelled in creating explicit fantasy images that celebrated beefcake, homosexual love, and muscular male physiques.

By the mid-1970s, when male nudity became decriminalized, Tom of Finland's work was emphatically photorealistic. His drawings were often based on photographs, though none were exact replicas. Instead, he used found images and reference photographs to produce realistic postures and gestures, to which he would add exaggerated physical features. His creations present an ideal of masculine beauty and sexual allure, adorned in the stylistic markers of hypermasculinity (leather jackets, military caps, buttless chaps, and harnesses) and aggressively fetishize traditional homomasculine archetypes.

Published by Innen, 2017
Printed in a limited edition of 500 copies

Softcover, 24 pages, stapled, black and white offset, 5.12 × 7.48 inches