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Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920-1991) is widely regarded as one of the twentieth century’s most influential artists for his groundbreaking representation of the male figure.

A hand knotted rug, entirely woven by hand over the course of five months, depicts one of Tom of Finland’s most iconic works of a “leather man” wearing a cap. The drawing was made as a study for the visual identity of the gay leather bar TOM’S SALOON, the only place Tom lent his name to. Made with comparable intricacy as the original drawing, it is free form and in select areas enhanced with silk to add shine and replicate the effect of polished leather.

Images: TOM House, Los Angeles, photo by Daniel Trese, TOM OF FINLAND, Untitled, 1978, JUERGEN TELLER, Vivienne Westwood, 2009, TOM OF FINLAND, Untitled, 1982, installation view, Austere, Los Angeles, TOM OF FINLAND, Untitled, 1977
© Tom of Finland Foundation

The artworks woven into the hand tufted rug designs consist of a series of preparatory drawings, many unseen or ever reproduced. They feature portraits, scenes depicting camaraderie, homoerotic gaze, flirtation and sexual acts. One drawing outlines a man engaged in a boot fetish scene, another a nipple flirtation, whereas a third a f**k scene, bringing new meaning to love making on a rug.

HENZEL STUDIO’s partnership with Tom of Finland Foundation was ignited by the unique environment and interior elements that make TOM House. Located in Echo Park, Los Angeles, it is home of Tom of Finland Foundation, guardians of the artist’s body of work and living archive for the erotic arts, and where Tom permanently lived for the last decade of his life. Founded in 1984, its a place where Tom’s relentlessly butch aesthetic and drawings mingle with different styles of décor, artifacts, rotating art displays and open air installations. It is a place that is marked by a community that disarms shame and judgment, and promotes Tom’s message of encouraging respect, acceptance and love through art. The collection is curated by Joakim Andreasson and designed in collaboration with Calle Henzel. 

Images: TOM OF FINLAND, Untitled, 1978, installation view (Nicola Formichetti, New York), TOM House, Los Angeles, photo by Daniel Trese
© Tom of Finland Foundation