2020 marks the forthcoming 100th anniversary of the birth of Tom of Finland (aka Touko Laaksonen), the world’s best-loved fetish queer artist, comics creator and of course gay icon.
Starting from the 1940s, Tom pushed the boundaries of gay erotic art, with a style of sexual comics that inspired generations of gay men to celebrate their sexuality.
“My aim is not to create an ideal but to draw beautiful men who love each other and are proud of it,”Tom of Finland: His Life and Times.
The demand for Tom’s “dirty drawings” continued growing and growing, although it wouldn’t be until 1973 that Touko would quit his daytime job in advertising and devote himself entirely to the Tom of Finland cartoon making. Once he completely moved to his erotic drawing, combining photorealistic with his wildest sexual fantasies, Touko produced one of the strongest and most sought after homoeroticism works of art in the world.
“In those days, a gay man was made to feel nothing but shame about his feelings and his sexuality. I wanted my drawings to counteract that, to show gay men being happy and positive about who they were. Oh, I didn’t sit down to think this all out carefully. But I knew – right from the start – that my men were going to be proud and happy men!”Tom of Finland: His Life and Times.
The liberation that Tom of Finland’s cartoon have brought to the gay world is unmeasurable and so far unmatchable. His 100th anniversary is something to be celebrated, to embrace more our sexual freedom and to continue fighting for equality and freedom.