A Letter From the President, Durk Dehner

Dear Tom Fans:

In pondering what message the president of this global erotic art Foundation has to pass on to its readers, the image of Tom’s guy fucking the world came to mind. I hope it's clear that Tom was having fun when he came up with this drawing. Does it have more than one meaning? Global sex? Man = sex? Screw the world? Maybe all of these? Well... just maybe. What it symbolizes for me today is how Tom's work continues to grow in international notoriety eight years after his death. His work is collected by a growing number of museums and respected by an expanding segment of the fine arts community, and still it is kept under the mattress in tens of thousands of bedrooms to be pulled out for those horny excursions into his nasty sexual fantasies. Throughout the history of my partnership with Tom and now still at the helm of the Tom of Finland entities, I can state without hesitation that the sex magic he captured in his work, the ability to excite and entice the viewer into sexual fantasies, will not diminish no matter how widely admired his work becomes in the art establishment. There is a force within his work that makes him the exception to the norm; his work continues to excite even though it becomes more well known and mainstream.

So, I move forward, looking for more ways to build his name and expand his royalties, which is money to aid the future of his legacy, the Tom of Finland Foundation, and there is still a lot of confusion as to how the Foundation and the Tom of Finland Company go about that. Sometimes it seems that the media and public always assume that everything that has Tom's name on it is under the parent guardianship and benefaction of the Foundation. That is often not the case, so it is wise to pay attention to see what the promotion says, since I don't want you, the public, to feel you have been misled. Does it say Company or Foundation? There are three basic categories. The first is purely Foundation. When it says it is a `fundraiser' like the Tom of Finland 400 (NYC) or the Tom's Bar or Erotic Art Fair (LA), all the money raised goes directly into the Foundation's coffers. The same is true if you become a member of the Foundation or donate money directly to it — 100% Foundation.

The second category is the Tom of Finland Company, a mail-order commercial company that Tom and I created, years before we set up the not-for-profit Foundation. Under my direction, the Company is the manner in which I personally and four staff members make our living, while also providing royalty revenue to the Foundation. It is the Company which was the true parent of the Foundation, having nurtured it along for several years until it could stand on its own two feet. It is the Company which owns the publishing rights to Tom's work and regulates all the Tom of Finland commercial business. By actively marketing Tom's published work the Company not only increases awareness of Tom's art but provides revenue that the Foundation with its current limited volunteer and fundraising resources, cannot generate on its own. When you purchase a Retrospective book through the Company or a magnet (made by Ata-Boy), stamp (Alice in Rubberland), clothing (Tom of Finland Clothing) and so on, the proceeds and/or royalties are split between the Company and the Foundation.

As to the third category, many of you have seen the ads or attended nightclub parties (Man-O-Rama, etc.) which use the Tom of Finland name and images, and these are the third category, being events that I stage myself, alone or with others, to put revenue into my own pocket. Please remember that the Foundation and I are joint heirs to Tom's estate and until that happy day when the Foundation can afford to employ me (yep, I'm still a volunteer president), I have to make a living somewhere.

Which finally brings me to the subject of this newsletter — the Internet. Here on our combined Company/Foundation site at, you shall be seeing more extensive upgrades in our presentation over the next few months. The Company is planning on the addition of new features to their site such as chat rooms, and other lifestyle and community oriented material under the new domain name of Revenues derived from that venture will be shared with the Foundation 50/50. Licensing agreements such as this one are a potential lucrative source of revenue for the Foundation in the future.

While our heads are still focused on the Internet, let's talk about the erotic art that's found there. Weekly, the sites of erotic artists increase, to the degree that pirating of copyrighted art of working artists continues to be a vexation, but the visibility and sale-ability of art from Internet erotic artists is at an all time high. Emerging artists are setting up their own sites, having their own gallery showings, and consequently thousands of people visit and see their work. The free entrepreneur is once again reborn through freedom of action.

We have begun to list links at the Foundation website for other places for like-minded purveyors to visit. We cannot accept all link requests but we do attempt to include a wide range of styles and leave the judging of artistic merit to you, the art lover. Recently, a young artist, who goes by the handle of `lewd', was proud enough of his erotic work to e-mail an invitation to us to visit his brand new site at Upon this visit, I was so impressed! What a remarkable site! I think this 19-year-old artist is an example of the real future of our Foundation. And so in the coolest of ways, we pass this onto you: Keep surfing- or is it keep fucking - THE WORLD!

Just one of many amazing images from lewd’s website

Recent donations from John B. Harter and James Smith Stone

The Foundation is very happy to have received $5,000 from John B. Harter, a very accomplished and much-exhibited artist, whose work can be seen in his book “Encounters with the Male Nude” from British Publisher Editions Aubrey Walker. We all are very grateful for this generous donation.

“Celebration” by James Harter 1994

James Smith Stone, Los Angeles nightclub and party promoter, presented the Foundation with a $500 donation in the late fall of 1998. The Foundation greatly appreciates when commercial businesses make the Foundation part of their event beneficiaries. Thank you James.

A long time friend of the Foundation, Tom Dennison, took advantage of a great opportunity to give a wonderful gift to the Foundation. After making the move from L.A. to N.Y.C., Tom was working for “Reader's Digest” and became aware of their program to double the donations their employees make to non-profit organizations. So just before leaving his job last year, Tom donated $1,200 to the Foundation via the program, and true to their word, a check has just arrived for $2,400 from “Reader's Digest”. We are very proud Tom thought the Foundation such a worthy cause and thankful to him and “Reader's Digest” for the donation. An added bonus of Tom's creativity is that we will now be able to list “Reader's Digest” as a donor on future grant applications.

A large and diverse crowd attended the opening of the Tom of Finland show
in Chicago which continues until March 27, 1999. See the Foundation Events page.

Volunteers Needed

The Foundation is in serious need of people, no experience required, to help with the archiving of the many works submitted by artists and other wealth of material related to erotic art. Of course the work is full of exciting, rarely-seen images which you will be organizing so that it is easily available to the public, collectors, students and curators. The hours are flexible and the work environment friendly, so please volunteer whatever hours you can. Call 213-250-1685.

A classic image from the Archives by Tank


In our last newsletter we let you know that if you didn't join the Foundation, you would no longer be receiving our newsletters. As a result, our membership grew the fastest it ever has in our history. So if you are receiving this Dispatch, it's either because of the responsible support and commitment you showed by becoming a member or because you luckily squeaked by our first paring down of our mailing list. Thus once again, we seriously invite you to join, if you are an artist, an art facility, a press person, or gallery, we warn that you must sign up now to continue to receive Dispatch and to take advantage of the current membership offer which includes a year's subscription to the Erotic Art Gallery (a $20 value).

We have three levels of membership: Recruit, Seaman, and Commander. All three get Dispatch and the Erotic Art Gallery, plus Seaman get our Foundation magnet and Commanders get the Foundation cast pewter pin. But it's not about the gifts, it's about you as an individual supporting the freedom in the erotic arts which you are enjoying right now.


President - Durk Dehner

Vice President - Valentine Hooven

Chief Financial Officer - Mike Goldie

Secretary - Bill Reichart



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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