My interests for the erotic arts has a long tradition in history which goes back more than a 1,000 years, first dated being "pillow books" these were given to heterosexual couples at time of marriage to show them how to pleasure each other. My interests although still within erotic art work seems to focus on homosexual erotic art which has been come more apparent over the 5 years, leading me to strong inspirations from such artists as; Axel, George Cayford, Dave Davenport and mostly focusing on the works from Tom of Finland.
"Tom of Finland's" real name is Touko this is due to him being born on the 8 May 1920, in Finland where the finish word for May is "Toukokuu". The name "Tom of Finland" come about at the end of 1956, when he secretly sent a piece of his artwork in to a popular American muscle magazine "Physique Pictorial" (image ref 1), but due to the legality of his work he signed his name as "Tom". The editor loved His work and the cover of the Spring 1957 issue of "Physique Pictorial" features a laughing lumberjack, credited to "Tom of Finland". It was a sensation. Touko became Tom of Finland.
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When Touko was born his homeland had only been a independent country for just three years, outside of its few cities, lay the country which still rough and wild was being tamed by farmers and loggers, Touko grew up as a onlooker to those men but was never a part of their environment. His parents, both schoolteachers raised Touko indoors within an atmosphere of literature, music and art, nurturing such a talent from a young age. By the age of five he had started drawing comic strips and playing the piano.
But around this same time, he began to take a keen interest in his neighbor, a muscular, farmboy know as, "Urho", this means "hero" in Finnish. Urho was one of the first in a long line of men to hold Touko's attention, from such a young age he says how: "I memorized every flex of their lean muscles, every humorous twist of their full lips" (quote ref 1 ).
By 1939, Touko enrolled in Helsinki's top art school to study advertising. At this time his fascinations expanded to include: policemen, construction workers and sailors, yet he never dared approach them. It was not until Stalin invaded Finland in 1940's when Touko was drafted into a lieutenant's uniform in which time during the Second World War he found the courage in the back street of city during the blackouts to fulfill his fantasies with sexual encounters with uniformed men that he had fantasist over.
After the war, Touko continued his study's at the Sibelius Institute of Arts. At this time with peace reinstated and war over sex in the blackouts was no longer. At this time, he did freelance artwork - advertising, fashion design and window displays. In the evenings, he played the piano for parties and cafes, becoming popular with the members of Helsinki's post-war bohemian. Although admitting his homosexuality, He avoided the fledgling gay scene, claiming, "those so called 'artistic' bars were dominated by the flamboyant effeminacy homosexuals" (quote ref 2). He frequently traveled, becoming familiar with local gay cruising areas found in every major city. Latter to settle down in 1953, when he met Veli, the man who he wished to spend the rest of his life.
The demand for what Touko always called his erotic homosexual drawings, "dirty drawings"; "I know my little 'dirty drawings' are never going to hang in the main salons of the Louvre, but it would be nice if - I would like to say 'when,' but I better say 'if' - our world learns to accept all the different ways of loving. Then maybe I could have a place in one of the smaller side rooms." (quote ref 3), but neither erotic art nor homosexual art paid well in the 1950's.
He soon gave up playing the piano to devote his time for his drawings; it was not until 1973 when Touko was making enough money to be able to quit the daytime job in advertising. Now that Touko was devoting more time and efforts into his erotic drawing, he started combining new photorealistic tecquenics paying attention to the detail with his wildest sexual fantasies (image ref 2). Commercially his work appeared in magazine illustrations, posters and advertising.
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Although my up bring was different we share similar history's, personally I grew up in a built up urban council flat in Hackney London, with my mum as a single parent. As a child I was much an outcast in education and socials, at the age of 10 found my self staying more confined due to a traumatic attack resulting in many operations to my mouth. From this moment the realization of the matter I was not the same arose, I begin to focus on my studies and playing the piano.
It was not until the age of 13 where I started to understand myself better, from fantasizing about men to having a hard time coming to terms with going threw puberty. At this time my mum had started relations with my current step-dad and fell pregnant, this prompted the move form the city to Canvey Island, Essex. Here I didn't know any one and had no concept of if they would understand or except me, my fantasies were left, I became more of a active, sporty person which intern only fueled my fantasies, at this time in my life I tried to deny my feelings.
College, aged 16, at this time I announced that I was homosexual, this did help me come to terms with my fantasies, yet I still could not express what I felt words and text, fundamentally I found my college subject computer information and communication (ICT) hard to express my self. Soon after completion of college, longing for a way to inspires myself I enrolled into Essex University for a foundation in art and design. They had requested for me to show my portfolio, having nothing but websites I decided to draw my fantasies, this small work landed me my foundation.
It was this foundation year that changed many points in my life, from a semester in Spain, to my introduction in to the 'gay fetish world' of which I had longed for. This was my first introduction to the works of "Tom of Finland" with a strong memory of a quote from his book; 'Male Muse' saying "Whenever I was depressed or disgusted, I would feel him, that spirit inside, urging me back to living, back to drawing, I believe there is a lot to the world that can't be seen or touched, and if you turn away from that - especially if you are an artist - you are avoiding an important part of life, maybe the very heart of it (quote ref 4)". It was from this that I found out about the Tom of Finland's Foundation of Erotic Arts, aiming to support the encourage emerging erotic artists such as my self, promoting there a bi-annual contest which provides exhibition of the winners art work also publicity award them for there achievements. I plain to submit some of my personal "dirty drawing" for their spring contest.
Unlike Touko's work which mostly consternates on lust and sexual activist, stating; "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! (quote ref 5)". I rather take the direction of love, showing intimate loving homosexual couple, trying to remove the perception of homosexuals of as having a pernicious sexual nature that has been stereotyped. Touko did not help this matter, and may be credited as a contributor to such stereotypes with the aid of his most famed of correctors' 'Kake', due to the fact that he drew over 26 complete illustrated stories of the sexual exploitations of Kake, amounting to over 500 drawings.
With my interests in the showing of love rather than lust, trying to remove the "hardcore" sexual aspects of fetish sex to replace them with the intense love that is shown after, this dose not mean that I don't depict similar models, with tastes for leather, rubber and general fetish ware, only that I tend not to show the sexual activist rather hint of what has happened and the love and affection that shows after the sexual experiences, usually depicting my self as the submissive partner in my images.
When Tom's work was first published, homosexuals thought they had to be imitation women;
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finally been acknowledged as the man responsible for creating the image of the leatherman that persists to this day. His drawings not only rocked the boundaries of the gay community of the time but also spread into the straight leather biker clubs of England, Germany and, eventually, the US. Tom's leatherman image has manifested itself as a style of clothes, build, attitude and lifestyle. In fact, some straight men are beginning to consider Tom's Man the "uber-man", an ultimate male sexhound role model.
Tom's favorite character, "Kake", was always just as willing to "get his hole plowed" as he was to do the plowing and clearly sent the message out that sex between men is just plain manly - no matter what position one takes. By his characters' actions Tom showed unbridled sexual passion between men and, afterwards, a brotherhood and camaraderie. His drawings also encouraged guys to experiment and push boundaries, to do anything to turn your partner on and get him off.