For the first time, the annual Tom of Finland Art & Culture Festival is expanding its reach and taking place simultaneously this weekend in LA and London (the Festival’s first time in London).
Bringing together its usual curation of LGBTQ+, erotic, beautiful, taboo, underground and fringe art, this year’s iteration is bigger than ever. In LA, the event takes place at Second Home Hollywood for the second consecutive year, while over the Atlantic Second Home’s London outpost in Spitalfields joins the party. Bringing a slice of West Coast ToF to the UK, a special VR experience of TOM House transports visitors to the legendary bungalow in Echo Park where Touko Laaksonen (aka Tom of Finland) once lived – a treasure trove of erotic history relics – while works by the likes of Stuart Sandford, Rick Castro and Pol Anglada will decorate the space.
Elsewhere, designer Daniel Lismore will be inducted into the ToFF Artist Hall of Fame joining the likes of Herb Ritts and H. R. Giger, and as is tradition, tattoo artists and barbers will be on hand offering their services for anyone interested. The London side of the Festival kicks off on Friday night at the Eagle, East London, with a viewing of Gay Propaganda, a programme of short films curated by Slava Mogutin featuring works by the likes of renowned provocateur Bruce LaBruce and filmmaker and photographer Matt Lambert.
“We sort of got cheated last go round in that Tom had an exhibition here that had to shutter after only one week cause if Covid,” Durk Dehner, Tom of Finland co-founder, tells us of bringing the Festival to London and spreading its reach. “In reality, this is part of the foundation’s larger global plan, we are a global organisation and this is one aspect of our expansion.”
And in terms of what we should look out for at the festival, Dehner says, “we have works from some of our past artists in residence, we have a conversation with JW Anderson and myself on Saturday, there are drawing class with live models, a VR Experience, I will be presenting a few of our Emerging Artists Competition Winners their Awards. Daniel Lismore will get the Artist Hall of Fame Award, and Gary Everett will do a talk called Walk Like A Man.” Slide into your leathers and saunter on down.
Tom of Finland Art & Culture Festival 2022 takes place 8th – 9th October – see the full line-up here.