I got such a lovely commissioned from The Guardian this weekend. They wanted me to write about the series of stamps celebrating the work of homoerotic artist Tom of Finland, but in the context of the female gaze. You can read the article online HERE.
As a special treat, I’m also going to post my first draft here too because, well, it’s nice sometimes to give the bits that got cut an airing, as it were.
The male nude is, let’s be honest, a faintly amusing figure.
Those hairy knees, fleshless dugs, the hopeless sagging of veined and twitching genitals, the too-long toes. From Lucian Freud’s paint-thick, thigh-sticking appendages to the baby carrot and hanging plums of Michelangelo’s David, it’s hard to pull off a naked man. If you’ll pardon the expression.
But perhaps, as the Finnish Postal Service’s latest release suggests, it takes a gay man to show a real man. Finland’s new philatelic celebration of the phallus is a series of stamps showing the work of famous homoerotic artist Tom of Finland, due to come out in September 2014. The stamps show perfect curves of smooth thigh, lustrous moustaches, rounded shining pectorals and lantern jaws. Imagine the Vitruvian Man, buffed from the pages of an Armistead Maupin novel.
Tom of Finland, known as Touko Laaksonen to his friends, influenced an aesthetic that stretches from advertising to arthouse, with everything from Arnie and the A-Team in between. Looking at his images today, my first thought is not of Gautier’s Le Male or Paul Gandy’s boat glistening bronzed body in those Dolce and Gabanna adverts. No. My first thought is of Rambo.