|TOM OF FINLAND FOUNDATION|
OVER A QUARTER CENTURY OF DEDICATION TO PROTECTING, PRESERVING AND PROMOTING EROTIC ART.
FEATURED ARTIST: PLAYER
Player was born in England in 1965. He started drawing erotica as a teenager: pencil sketches of identical twins touching each other’s shoulders was as much as he could imagine at the time. He would fold them small and hide them in the back of his transistor radio.
art college in London with a first class degree and has been painting
consistently ever since.
His earlier work was very blunt erotica, men engaged in sexual activity rendered in pencil. But eventually his interest in the psychology of relationships, in mortality and morality, began to seep into his images.
“Flying Circus”, 1998, watercolor on paper, 12" x 10", $1,300.00*
look at a lot of gay art one would think that we were purely animal,
that gay men were mere sex machines and think no further than the body
we are using at the time. Obviously, we are more than this. Fears, aggression,
sensitivity, and intelligence are more interesting to me than the bodies
that house them. That is what I try to paint...
My work acts as a sort of diary, depicting the feelings and events
of my emotional and intellectual life at that time. I am of the belief
that we are less unique than we suspect and think that the personal
images I produce strike a chord in many, perhaps depicting their feelings
in a way they have not experienced before. I am very fond of symbolism
and like to create layers of meaning in my work. Some symbols are universal,
others come from my own mythology...”
years, several themes have remained strong: those of death, and life
beyond death; Christian symbols, especially angels and demons, exploring
the nature of innocence and corruption; dwarves as emblems of carnality
and naivety; skinheads who tend to represent the masculine, bestial,
and aggressive elements of the male in his work. He takes inspiration
from literature, music and film as well as “the human condition” in
“I work from imagination exclusively and do not use photography as reference which also sets my paintings aside from the realism found in much erotic art. I want people to approach my work as pretty watercolors, that way they come to them innocently and by the time they have read the picture it’s too late to turn away. The subject matter is anything but innocent, however, and I enjoy that conflict between content and style. I also like there to be a sense of narrative in my paintings, a feeling that this is a moment in a continuing story.”
* Works on this page are available through the Foundation - please contact Volker Morlock at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 229-5251
works mostly in watercolor, though he does paint in oil for commission.
He now lives in the US.
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“…I named what I thought was an enormous sum. Without blinking an eye, he gathered up my life work and handed me the amount I asked for: $70… I didn’t expect more. Remember that homosexuality was forbidden in most of the Western world; so all those businesses were illegal, black market. I knew that they wouldn’t have paid me more anyway — or so I believed then.” — Tom of Finland