“Long iconic and even formative for American gay society, Tom’s well-endowed and sexually charged imagery is now hitting the global mainstream.” —NBC News
With a foreword by Jean Paul Gaultier, an extensive history, and provocative photos and illustrations, this illustrated biography brings to life the story of the icon whose erotic depictions of men influenced gay culture, pop culture, and many prominent artists, including Robert Mapplethorpe and Bruce Weber.
The text was completed just a few months before the death of the artist and he was interviewed at length for it—making this book the only fully approved biography of the legend responsible for creating the muscled, mustachioed gay archetype of the 1960s and ’70s.
Tom of Finland (born Tuoko Laaksonen, 1920–1991) was an iconic and ground-breaking artist who rose to cult status in the international queer community and then beyond for his work celebrating the male figure and masculinity during a time when being homosexual was still taboo.
Avant-garde, provocative, sexual, subversive, and rebellious, Tom of Finland stamped history with his recognizable artistic style. A virtuoso of drawing, he fashioned the silhouette of a new Gay Man—strong, confident, joyful, and assertive—fully participating in the visibility and recognition of the nascent gay rights movement.
Created in partnership with Tom of Finland Foundation, Tom of Finland: The Official Life and Work of a Gay Hero includes text authorized by the artist himself a few months before his death. This unique illustrated biography reveals a life of art, pleasure, and liberation using never, or rarely seen, materials from his archive.
About the Author
Philadelphia native F. Valentine Hooven III is a freelance writer and illustrator who lives in Palm Springs. In the years leading up to Tom of Finland’s death, Hooven wrote Tom’s biography, tracing the evolution and impact of his art on the world.