Tom was the pioneer
who singlehandedly from Finland set up a new masculin image for post Worldwar II homos
inspired by the military aspects of his country's fight against fasist and imperialistic Nazi's and Russians.

In 1983, Tom of Finland was interviewed by Joshua Olivetti for "in Touch for Men" magazine
and it was published just as Tom of Finland Foundation was being established :
Few contemporary artists have remained quite so obscure
while their art continues to garner international acclaim
as the now legendary Tom of Finland. Why have you avoided being in the public eye all these years?
I wanted my work to speak for itself.
And I didn't want to disappoint all those people
who expected me to look exactly like one of my drawings.

Do people travel to Finland expecting to find some sort of gay paradise as you've depicted it?
Sometimes, yes. (laughs)
There have been some very wealthy Americans who have flown to Helsinki
expecting to see handsome guys engaging in sex on nearly every street corner.
They are inevitably disappointed and jump on the next flight back to the States.

Are you trying to tell me that Finland isn't quite as liberated a country as you have depicted it?
Well,people don't realize that most of my work is considered pornographic by my country's standards
and is therefore not published.
Our laws are not as progressive as some of our neighbors, like Sweden, Denmark and Holland.

How easily is your art influenced by your immediate surroundings?
I am planning to spend more time here in Los Angeles in the next few months.
Setting up your Foundation?
Yes, with my business partner Durk here. We are establishing a foundation
where my art can be gathered together and exhibited.
I know that if I left it up to my family
after I was gone they would probably toss my work into the nearest trash bin.
I'm hoping collectors who have the same problem will donate my work to the Foundation
so that the exhibits and catalogues can be as complete as possible.
I honestly am not sure what "great art" is,
and I am truly amazed my work has remained as popular as it has all this time.
So anything is possible.
Who knows, they might still be looking at my work a hundred years from now.
Anything's possible.

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