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Tom of Finland's Early Works

Tom of Finland's Early Works

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A new solo exhibit in Los Angeles displays the artist's early erotic works

Images courtesy David Kordansky Gallery

Lately, it seems there's a new exhibit of Touko Laaksonen (a.k.a. Tom of Finland) works just about every few months (and the exhibit of his work with Bob Mizer in L.A. in 2013 received a lot of attention). Now the David Kordansky Gallery is exhibiting Early Work 1944 - 1972, which surveys the artist's formative years across 15 works. The L.A. exhibit continues through March 7, and each work was selected in close collaboration with the Los Angeles-based Tom of Finland Foundation.

The exhibition includes graphite drawings, gouaches, and inked storyboards -- the majority of which have never been shown before-- that according to a press release, "broadly trace the evolution of Tom of Finland's exquisite draftsmanship and compositions from his earliest extant erotic works, executed just after serving in the Finnish Army during WWII, through to a complete comic produced in 1972, the year before Tom both earned his first solo exhibition, and retired from his advertising career to devote himself fulltime to his art."

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The exhibition's chronology culminates in a 1972 multi-panel comic featuring Kake (pronounced KAH-keh), Tom's recurring alter ego superhero and the original gay leatherman clone, seducing a "Tom's TV" repairman during a house call.

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Published as "Kake Vol. 11 TV Repair," one of 26 stories the artist released from 1968 to 1986, this sequence of 20 images (plus cover) comprise the final photo-ready artwork for press production. The artworks are photo-collaged reproductions of Tom's own "dirty drawings."

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Early Work 1944 - 1972 at David Kordansky Gallery through March 7 in Los Angeles.

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