A Tom of Finland sketchbook, with preparatory drawings that reveal his painstaking craftsmanship
Positioned at something of an angle to art history, Tom of Finland (1920-91) nonetheless counts among the popular artists of the latter 20th century. Through his iconic images, he almost singlehandedly changed the way gay men were perceived by society, and, more importantly, how gay men perceived themselves. The massive oeuvre that he produced over the course of a career spanning nearly six decades is devoted almost entirely to this one topic: men, their bodies and their eroticism. This extraordinary consistency in subject matter was matched by a lifelong passion for the discipline of drawing. And Tom most likely drew every day of his life.
Tom’s world was populated by cowboys, mechanics, cops, punks and thugs–all indulging their desires with great camaraderie and without guilt or prejudice. This book assembles a cross section of these characters as devised by the artist in rough sketches or more carefully executed studies. These mostly served as preliminary drawings for the highly finished works, many of which were intended for publication.
Designed as an imagined Tom of Finland sketchbook, this book lets the viewer share in his exuberant joie de vivre.