Tucked behind a monumental Eugenia hedge on a street of modest bungalows and apartment houses in the rapidly gentrifying Los Angeles neighborhood of Echo Park is one of the gay world’s most idiosyncratic and authentic historical sites. Known officially as TOM House, it is the place where the revolutionary Finnish homoerotic artist Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen, 1920 -1991) lived and worked for much of the last decade of his life.

1421 Laveta Terrace, now home to the Tom of Finland Foundation and the men who administer it, has now been immortalized in Tom House, a hardcover imprint from Rizzoli. The vision of ingenious creative director Michael Reynolds, the book combines interior photographs from revelatory photographer Martyn Thompson, words from essayist, journalist and design authority Mayer Rus and unpublished preparatory sketches and drawings by Tom himself. The result is an experience that celebrates Tom’s work and life in an entirely new light, inviting readers to explore a hidden world of dreams and desire — the world of Tom of Finland.

"Los Angeles gallery owner David Kordansky, who represents the work of Tom of Finland, has become a clarion voice in promoting a wider appreciation of Tom’s oeuvre. 'The work has not yet been subjected to the kind of criticality and scholarship that it merits. It’s so much more than a garnish for West Hollywood coffee tables,' he insists. 'There’s a politic involved, and it’s pretty fucking radical.' Kordansky is particularly eloquent on the subject of Tom’s preparatory drawings: 'They are the central station of his desire and the arena in which he exercised his imagination. You can see Tom’s mind and libido rendered through his hand.' "

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Pictured: Tom of Finland, prepatory drawing #0165, graphite on paper

© Tom of Finland Foundation

Photography © Martyn Thompson; Artwork © Tom of Finland Foundation