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Tom of Finland (8 May 1920 – 7 November 1991) was the pseudonym of one of the best-known erotic gay artists of the Post-World War II generation.

He was born Touko Laaksonen, in Finland, and as a young man based his drawings on masculine archetypes like Finnish lumberjacks, and later the soldiers and sailors he knew (sometimes intimately) during World War II.

His original erotic images were submitted and ran in USA and Japanese physical culture journals of the 1950s. In the Sixties, with the decline of overt censorship, his drawings became yet more explicit and ran in many of the then-new gay magazines.

Typically Tom of Finland men, clad or not, have large bulging muscles, very large penises, a readiness to engage in any kind of gay sex (often in very unorthodox locations), and a sense of humor. Many of today's gay artists owe much of their visual style to Tom of Finland, and the artist himself is still widely recognized by gay men.

The Tom of Finland Foundation exists to perpetuate his work and to serve as a showcase for young artists.

"I can spot a Tom of Finland illustration at a hundred paces."

"Me, too, but sometimes his more recent imitators trip me up."

by al-in-chgo March 23, 2010
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