His art is about high-octane masculinity, with every straining muscle of these muscular bodies lovingly detailed under clothing about to rip apart at the seams. And that includes the crucial zone below the belt, both fore and aft. There was nothing ambiguous about Tom of Finland’s interest in his objects of desire: “”lf I don’t have an erection when I’m doing a drawing, I know it’s no good””, he himself said. The eroti-cism is naked, even aggressive. The poses inevitably consigned his work to the pornography shelves, and the walls of leather bars in the gay scene. So far there has been no account of the artistic virtuosity of his work.
The present volume traces the life and career of this important artist. Born in southern Finland, Tom played the piano at local coffee shops to supplement his income as a graphic artist until his watercolors of male sexuality began to appear as covers on major American gay publications. His impact as an artist has since stretched far beyond the gay scen