The artist known as Tom of Finland would have turned 102 this year. A pioneer of LGBTQ and erotic arts, Tom of Finland not only pushed the boundaries of homoerotic art and censorship in the 1950s and 60s, but his images became intertwined with gay culture and the gay aesthetic of the 1970s until present day.
His stylized and exaggerated images of masculine men being joyfully erotic changed the way that many gay men saw themselves and their sexuality. He was sex-positive decades before the term was invented.
The importance of his work has progressively been recognized more and more in the late 20th into the 21st century. New York’s Museum of Modern Art has several pieces in their permanent collection. Solo exhibitions of his work have been hugely popular in galleries and museums from Tokyo to Stockholm, from Berlin to Madrid.
“The things he did are seen in a different light these days, more sympathetic. It has entered into another field than purely sexual. Tom stands for all tolerance today, beyond homosexuality.” In celebration of his birthday and Pride month, Tom of Finland Vodka has created “Tom’s 102nd Birthday Photo Competition and Charity Auction.” Tom of Finland Vodka is accepting photography submissions through May 27 th . The finalists will be chosen and showcased on the Tom of Finland Vodka Instagram page from June 1st through June 23rd . Viewers can vote for their favorite image by commenting on the post with the word VOTE and #YourTomIsShowing.
The image that receives the most votes will be the Audience Winner, while a Jury Winner will be chosen by a curated panel.
Each of the 10 finalist photos will be framed and offered for auction from June 23rd to July 7th on CharityBuzz.com, with 100% of the proceeds benefitting Tom of Finland Foundation, which is dedicated to protecting and preserving erotic art, as well as promoting healthy, tolerant attitudes toward sexuality.
To see and vote on the finalist photographs go to @tomoffinlandvodka’s Instagram.
To raise money for Tom of Finland Foundation, bid on each of the finalist photographs on charitybuzz.com from June 23rd to July 7th .
Here’s a dive into their Instagram — for inspiration: