HENZEL STUDIO HERITAGE: TOM OF FINLAND, marks the debut of an ongoing collection of art rugs and pillows created in close collaboration with foundations of some of the most prominent and influential artists of the 20th century.
The artworks by Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen, 1920-1991) are part of the collections of major institutions such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York; he’s been referred to as one of the “five most influential artists of thetwentieth century.”
HENZEL STUDIO HERITAGE: TOM OF FINLAND includes one freeform hand knotted rug and twelve hand tufted rugs, all made of the finest silk and New Zealand Wool. Three art pillows complement the collection. 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.
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 Heritage
Hand tufted, Wool
170 x 245 cm (67 x 96 ins) / Custom size available upon request
© Tom of Finland Foundation
Widely regarded as one of the 20th century’s most influential artists for his revolutionary representation of the male figure. His drawings of fantastically muscled men engrossed in acts of homoerotic desire comprise one of the most inventive portrayals of the human body in modern times. These pictures of gay men as virile, confident, and unashamed—equally radical for their near-illicit, underground distribution-originated an empowering queer iconography and liberating spirit that has marked popular culture, art, fashion and human rights.
Over a career that spanned nearly fifty years, he produced thousands of images beginning in the 1940s, robbing straight homophobic culture of its most virile and masculine archetypes; bikers, hoodlums, lumberjacks, cops, cowboys, and sailors, and recasting them - through deft skill and fantastic imagination - unapologetic, self-aware, and boastfully proud enthusiasts of gay sex. The integration Tom of Finland’s work into the media at hand – hand made rugs and pillows - 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, it 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.