By Daniel Reynolds
Originally published on Advocate.com April 14 2014 2:55 PM ET
Ever been tempted to lick a Tom of Finland artwork? A new stamp series may present just that opportunity.
Itella Posti Oy, a subset of the Itella Corp. and the Finnish equivalent of the U.S. Postal Service, will release stamps this September that feature the homoerotic artwork by the gay artist, whose illustrations of hypermasculine figures have become celebrated in gay culture around the world.
Susanna Luoto, the European liaison for the Tom of Finland, and graphic artist Timo Berry selected two drawings from the oeuvre of Tom of Finland, who produced more than 3,500 works in his career, to be included on the three-stamp sheet.
The first-class stamps showcase images typical of Tom of Finland art: a mustachioed, wide-framed, and uniformed man with a seductive stare and a cigarette dangling from his mouth, as well as the curves of the male derriere.
"The sheet portrays a sensual life force and being proud of oneself. There is never too much of that in this northern country," Berry said.
To coincide with the stamp sheet’s release, Finland’s Postal Museum will also debut an exhibition on Touko Laaksonen, more popularly known by his pseudonym Tom of Finland, titled “Sealed with a Secret: Correspondence of Tom of Finland.” The show, which runs from September 6 through March 29 at the Museum Centre Vapriikki, will feature letters and exchanges from the late Finnish artist throughout the course of his career.
The Itella Corp. describes Tom of Finland as one of the “most well-known Finnish artists around the world. His emphatically masculine homoerotic drawings have attained iconic status in their genre and had an influence on, for instance, pop culture and fashion. In his works, Tom of Finland utilized the self-irony and humor typical of subcultures.”