|TOM OF FINLAND FOUNDATION|
OVER OVER THREE DECADES OF DEDICATION TO PROTECTING, PRESERVING AND PROMOTING EROTIC ART.
Daddy and the Muscle Academy:
The Life, Art and Times of Tom of Finland
by Kurt von Behrmann
In Finnish and English
Five out of Five Stars
[This review was originally published in the June 2003 issue of IONAZ]
The name Touko Laaksonen is not a household name. His pseudonym, on the other hand, Tom of Finland, is anything but obscure. If images of Nordic men with rippling muscles spring to mind when you hear that name, you know you have just entered Tom's exaggerated world of super men.
Even if you are not familiar with his art, his influence on gay and mainstream culture is undeniable. Long before hyper masculine male sexuality was allowed to rear its head in public, Tom of Finland was among the first to present gay male sexuality as uncompromising, unapologetic and undeniably masculine. Literally cranking out drawings by the thousands to satisfy his growing audience, he was in much demand and frequently imitated. Ironically, distributors and others made far more money than Tom ever did from his earlier creations, a point well made in Daddy and the Muscle Academy: The Art and Times of Tom of Finland.
This informative fast paced, and very erotic, biography captures little known facts about the Artist, as well as providing some intriguing insights into the man and his work. Influenced by propaganda art from World War II, and affairs with German soldiers, Laakonen created drawings that captured a strong definite, Nordic type. " I took all of the properties that I myself did not have and put them into this comic figure," Tom states with an unassuming candor that shows the difference between the man, his fantasies and the type of men he idolized. If you think that Tom of Finland only found beauty in Blonde Finnish types, Laaksonen makes it very clear that African- American men also captured his attention, and become the subjects of his work.
Before his death, which took place shortly after this documentary was filmed, Durk Dehner, a friend of the Artist, helped him form a corporation that later became the Tom of Finland Foundation dedicated to supporting and preserving the work of Laakonsonen and other erotic artists. If you think of documentaries as just talking heads, this one is an interesting informative erotic journey through the work of an Artist whose efforts have had a far reaching influence on fine art, fashion and advertising. This is one film that lovers of erotic art will want to watch over and over again. Included with the DVD are forty minutes of extended interview time with the artist, all of which is just as fascinating as the material included with the film, and a sketch gallery that includes over 100 drawings by Tom of Finland.
This DVD is available at fine video stores and the Tom of Finland Store.
© TOM OF FINLAND FOUNDATION 2003
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“I almost never draw a completely naked man. He has to have at least a pair of boots or something on. To me, a fully dressed man is more erotic than a naked one. A naked man is, of course beautiful, but dress him in black leather or a uniform — ah, then he is more than beautiful, then he is sexy!” — Tom of Finland