Tom of Finland + Durk Dehner

Talk Art special episode with WePresent! We meet Durk Dehner to discuss TOM OF FINLAND as the 40th anniversary of the ToF Foundation approaches. Since first meeting Tom in 1978, Durk worked closely with the artist, serving from time to time as Tom's muse which continued until Tom's death in 1991. We also chat with Richard Villiani, the foundation's Creative Director.

In 1984, the nonprofit Tom of Finland Foundation (ToFF) was established by Durk and Touko Laaksonen a.k.a. Tom of Finland (b.1920, Kaarina). As Tom had established worldwide recognition as the master of homoerotic art, the Foundation’s original purpose was to preserve his vast catalog of work. Several years later the scope was widened to offer a safe haven for all erotic art in response to rampant discrimination against art that portrayed sexual behavior or generated a sexual response. Today ToFF continues in its efforts of educating the public as to the cultural merits of erotic art and in promoting healthier, more tolerant attitudes about sexuality. 

Unlike many artists, Tom of Finland’s work has always been appreciated by a grass-roots audience as his work was first seen in commercial settings such as magazine illustration, posters and advertising. From the perspective of art historians, Tom’s work had an effect on global culture unmatched by that of virtually any other artist. Tom’s work had a defining impact on the way Gay men throughout the world were perceived and more importantly, how they perceived themselves. Tom’s work has, therefore, had a ripple effect throughout Gay and Straight culture, influencing lifestyle, political tolerance, design, fashion and art.

Follow @TomOfFinlandFoundation & support ToFF by donating, shopping or getting involved via their official website:

Join the global community of ToF! It really is a loving, creative, safe space for all.

Russell Tovey is WeTransfer’s third Guest Curator across 2023 where he spotlights LGBTQIA+ artists that have inspired him. The selected artists of the Guest Curatorship have been given a platform on WePresent, the arts arm of WeTransfer, and on these TalkArt episodes.  As part of this collaboration, WePresent will also launch Russell Tovey’s documentary Life is Excellent and present a tour of four performances of BLUE NOW, a live version of Derek Jarman’s film BLUE directed by Neil Bartlett and performed by Russell Tovey alongside three other performers. 

As a certified B Corporation™, WeTransfer has long been a champion of using business as a force for good. Since its founding in 2009, WeTransfer has donated up to 30% of its advertising space to support artists and social causes, and commissioned original projects for its Oscar-winning arts platform WePresent. Last year, WeTransfer also launched its Supporting Act Foundation to support emerging creative talent through arts education, grants, and an annual prize.

Follow @WePresent on Instagram and visit to stay up to date on Russell Tovey’s Guest Curatorship on WePresent.

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