A film about the life of iconic gay fetish artist Tom of Finland is set to hit the big screen, and the first trailer has just been released.
The artist behind Tom of Finland was Touko Laaksonen, who produced more than 3,500 homoerotic drawings.
Born in 1920, Laaksonen grappled with the homophobia of the times in Europe, both in his personal life and in his art, which was considered shocking and pornographic.
Working in advertising, he started producing his illustrations as a hobby. He fought in World War II and became fascinated with soldiers’ uniforms, especially those of the Nazis.
“The whole Nazi philosophy, the racism and all that, is hateful to me, but of course I drew them anyway—they had the sexiest uniforms!” Laaksonen said.
The popularity of his work then spread to the US and the rest of the world and, in 1973, he quit his job to focus on his art.
With his idealised depiction of bulging masculinity and leather and fetish imagery, Laaksonen’s drawings had a major impact on gay culture as well as on more mainstream pop culture and fashion. He died at the age of 71 in 1991.
In September 2014, the Finish postal service released three stamps commemorating Laaksonen’s work, which went on to become a hit amongst stamp collectors around the world.
Tom of Finland stars Pekka Strang as Laaksonen, is directed by Dome Karukoski, and is described as, “A story of courage, love and freedom”.
Karukoski told Variety in September: “Touko Laaksonen lived in a time when the laws and norms of the society tried to deny him the right to be himself. His story is an indication how a man can change the world with only the artists’ tools as ammunition.”
The film is set to be released internationally in February 2017.