Touko Laaksonen, Tom of Finland

Tom of FInlandTom of Finland is widely considered to be one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, far beyond the confines of gay culture or even the wider pornographic art spectrum.

Born as Touko Laaksonen in 1920 in Kaarina, Finland, Tom of Finland began his career as an artist in advertising after having served in the Finnish Army in World War II.  While working as an artist in advertising during the day, at night he would follow his passion, drawing homoerotic images of virile, handsome men.

His first published work was in 1956 as the cover of Physique Pictorial in the United States, where he was given the pseudonym Tom of Finland by the editor of the magazine.  The name stuck, and he continued to produce works for gay-focused periodicals and private collectors throughout the world.

By 1973, Tom was able to quit his job at the Helsinki office of the McCann-Erickson advertising agency, and devote himself to full-time production of his artwork, primarily graphite representations, which appeared in beefcake magazines as well as his own comic series such as Kake.  

By the late 1970’s, Tom made the decision to move to Los Angeles, where his work was able to gain more commercial appeal in conjunction with the changing attitudes toward homosexuality.  He and his business partner Durk Dehner launched the Tom of Finland company, offering a variety of products featuring Tom’s images or influence.

Tom of Finland continue to produce his iconic imagery until his death in 1991 in Los Angeles.  The Tom of Finland Foundation continues to promote and preserve his legacy.

© 2015 Tom of Finland Originals Images may not be copied.

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