Saturday, October 4, 2014

Tom of Finland gets global stamp of approval, with success of Finnish stamp set. 8.9.2014

A set of homoerotic Finnish stamps featuring images by gay icon and artist Tom of Finland have become a worldwide success, Finland's postal service company said. During the six months that preceded the launch, buyers placed pre-orders from 178 countries, Posti said in a statement. The stamps feature partial nudity and muscular moustachioed men in uniforms.

"It's great that these images, which in the past had to be sold under the table, can now be openly stuck on an envelope or a postcard," Timo Berry, the graphic artist who designed the stamps, told Finnish public broadcaster YLE. Posti said the stamp set got "the largest global media attention" ever. "Our aim is to keep printing stamps which are in line with our time," Posti spokesman Markku Penttinen said in a statement. After Finland, the highest number of orders came from Sweden, Britain, the United States and France.

Ever been tempted to lick a Tom of Finland artwork? A new stamp series may present just that opportunity. 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.

Tom of Finland, whose real name was Touko Laaksonen (1920-1991), is venerated internationally in gay circles for his explicit sexual drawings, created at a time when homosexuality was still taboo in the West. 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 humour typical of subcultures.”

Thank you very much Ella for this FDC which puts a new dimension in philately.

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