|TOM OF FINLAND FOUNDATION|
OVER A QUARTER CENTURY OF DEDICATION TO PROTECTING, PRESERVING AND PROMOTING EROTIC ART.
BLACK MEN IN TOM'S
It is well known to all who have followed Tom of Finland that he held a deep fascination for dark-skinned men. In the 1980s, while Tom was living and working in the States, he captured as many aspects of American men as he could, and had an ongoing exposure to African-Americans as friends, models, or merely objects of desire taken in from afar. From cops to construction workers to leather guys at the local watering holeóTomís interest in black men was strongly manifested in his output during this final decade at his craft.
back through the decades, however, we discover that the earliest
documented work in which Tom depicts a person of color is much earlier, in
Tomís universe, all men are created equal, and are equal to fuck or be
fucked. There is no point in using the term intercourse; Tom
would only find it demeaning. His men were basic and unpretentious,
following their manly instincts and enjoying every minute of it.
was a period when Tomís primary market was Bob Mizerís magazine, The
Athletic Model Guild. Mizer commissioned work from Tom on a monthly
basis, but his drawings of black men couldnít be printed in the U.S.
at the time, being deemed unacceptable. This didnít deter Tom, who
drew whatever he found desirable. Tom depicted interracial sex and
showed men getting plowed by both races. He found this naturally
appealing, and put the same amount of detail into his renderings of
black men as he did of whites.
portrayals of men of color found their market through European
publishers. Tourists would purchase them abroad, bring them home to the
States, then reproduce them and send copies to friends. It wasnít that
gays of that era werenít enjoying interracial friendships or sexual
relations, but visual depictions of such activity were strictly taboo.
years, the occasional critic has depicted Tom in a less than favorable
light, asserting that his drawings were somehow disrespectful to the
black male. This is simply not the case. In Tomís world blacks are
forces of maleness, possessing as much testosterone as their white
brothers; equal and equally desirable. Rather, once again we find Tom
doing his part to bring males together through mutual pleasure and
portrayed men of different races and different skin colors as equals,
acting out their natural sexualities long before it was conventionally
acceptable to do so.
ó Durk Dehner
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“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