Today would have been the 100th Birthday of  Touko Laaksonen, better known to the world as the homoerotic artist Tom of Finland.

It really can be understated how much Tom’s work shaped the collective imagination of gay men. For many his work marked the first time they saw gay men boldly being openly sexual, and as powerful and masculine men. For years many men modelled themselves on what they saw in toms work, The proliferation of the ‘Castro Clone’ look is testament to that.

But even though we now live in a world where high quality art of men loving men is only a click away, I still find something that is still amazing to see in fetish work.

Toms men are often smiling.

Its a small thing, but so much of fetish art projects this super serious, mean looking attitude where all the men scowl of ‘butch pout’ all the time. When you look at Tom’s sequential story art so much of it focuses not on the sex, although there is plenty of that, but on this sort of bubbly, happy, charged flirtation between men. Its a joy and fun I have come to know from so many kinksters and leathermen.

Happy Birthday Tom.



Craig Is one of the founding members of the UK bootblack association, host of the Kinkyboys podcast and bondage enthusiast. When not Bootblacking for the London leather social he is geeking out playing DnD