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OVER A QUARTER CENTURY OF DEDICATION TO PROTECTING, PRESERVING AND PROMOTING EROTIC ART.

DISPATCH AUTUMN 2003

art in action

by norm lloyd

Norm Lloyd is the creator, designer, sculptor and artist behind the new TOM Action Figure.

The images and ideas floating around in the art world are like elements of a surrealist dream to me. Tom's dream-like world of "perfect" men who are not only great and proud slabs of beef that are ready to enjoy themselves, in any way, at any momentóbut are also good natured and caringóhas to be a turn on for anyone. What man hasn't at one time or another felt the same assertiveness portrayed in Tomís drawings?

Tomís technique, and how it evokes the sensuous quality of tumescent volume, taught skin and the smell of leather on a potent man reflects my own experience working with materials, either paint, drawing or sculpting. I love to sculpt. There are times it is like playing chess, trying to figure out the technicalities of a shoulder joint. The best times are when I get into the raw appeal of manipulating the materials.

Having sculpted in the toy industry for over nine years there seemed to be a clear lack of product available to particular markets. This, along with my interest in Tomís work, inspired me to approach the Tom of Finland Foundation. My initial meeting with Durk Dehner was pretty animated as I also happen to have a ten-year background as a curator and exhibit administrator and have worked with artists, collectors, galleries and museums putting together exhibitions. I care deeply about art.

There were extensive discussions regarding all aspects of the project; from the expression on his face to whether he should have a mustache; all came under our consideration. The goal was to create the most "Tom" figure imaginable. The process was filled with challenges; it took six design revisions to come up with something Tom would be proud of.

In keeping with the caliber of Tom of Finlandís extensive body of artwork, the first figure to be released, 001 Rebel, is of the highest quality and workmanship, and is a serially numbered open edition that will be retired after a limited run. Additional characters will be released such as Santa, cowboy, sailor, biker... each extending the series consecutively. "002" has yet to be determined. The Adult Action Figures web site (www.AdultActionFigures.com) includes a section where visitor's input on "Who's Next?" is tallied and taken into account in product development.

Norm Lloyd
"001 Rebel"

I get off on the cultural relevance of Tomís unique vision. His work presents a potently versatile rubric of dominant cultural icons (such as cops, lumberjacks and construction workers) and uses humor and sensuality as a key that helps to open our preconceived notions about the nature of both assertive and receptive power. Extending these same qualities into pop culture, in the fun, heroic status of an "Action Figure", is a natural progression and continuation of Tomís vision of which I am proud to be part.

As for philanthropic endeavors, the Foundation will be the recipient of not only the royalties from each sale of the action figure, but will also be one of many nonprofit organizations given early editions of the figures for auction and other fund raising efforts.


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HAPPY SEXUALITY
“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