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Tom of Finland, Untitled (from Sex in the Shed), 1975
Tom of Finland, Untitled (from Sex in the Shed), 1975Courtesy Tom of Finland Foundation

A guide to the Tom of Finland’s art and culture festival in London

The Tom of Finland Foundation’s annual event hits London and LA this weekend, featuring Jonathan Anderson, tattoos, and a VR tour of the artist’s house

More than 65 years ago, Tom of Finland first began exhibiting his now-iconic erotic artworks in beefcake magazines, circumventing the strict laws that prohibited homosexual art at the time. In the decades that followed, his subversive illustrations would lay the blueprint for other artists to explore sexuality in their work, a legacy that is celebrated by his namesake foundation, which he co-founded in 1984.

Tomorrow (October 8), the Tom of Finland Foundation (ToFF) will continue this legacy with the 27th iteration of its yearly arts and culture festival, taking place in both Los Angeles and – crossing the Atlantic for the first time ever – in London.

Kicking off at noon on October 8, and running all weekend until October 9, the event aims to bring international artists, galleries and patrons together to share their art and establish new creative connections.

Read everything you need to know about this year’s festival below.


For almost three decades, the Tom of Finland Art and Culture Festival has been held in the US, but this year it’s going worldwide for the first time, taking place in both Los Angeles and London. In LA, the event will return to Second Home Hollywood for the second consecutive year, featuring art installations, performances, and presentations.

In London, it will be hosted at Second Home’s London outpost in Spitalfields. On Friday night, the Eagle is also hosting a viewing of Gay Propaganda, a program of short films featuring the work of Bruce LaBruce and Matt Lambert.

“Having artwork in your own private space brings us great joy,” says ToFF co-founder Durk Dehner, who will inaugurate the international edition of the festival. “And what better surroundings to find work that speaks to you? Our festival is uninhibited and comfortable – like our very natures.”


In case two worldwide locations weren’t enough, guests at the London edition of the festival will get to experience a third location via the magic of VR: Tom of Finland’s historic home in LA. This will be on show at Second Home Spitalfields alongside specially-made murals by James Davison, Pol Anglada, and London Performance Studio.


Fancy a lasting reminder of this year’s festival? Scorpio Mars Tattoo will set up shop in London, while the Queen’s Head Tattoo Parlour will be on hand to ink attendees in Los Angeles. For a less permanent way to spruce yourself up, both festival locations will also host barbers offering visitors sharp cuts – Toppins Barbershop in London, and Folklore Salon in LA.


The JW Anderson and Loewe designer – who previously judged ToFF’s Emerging Artist Competition – will be in conversation at the London event. Elsewhere, there will be chances to buy and sell art, as well as networking with galleries and art world insiders such as The Community, Arcadia Missa, Taymour Grahne, and The Artist Room.

“Collecting art is the ultimate ‘thank you’ to artists and the most genuine way of expressing yourself to friends,” adds Dehner, highlighting the opportunities available at this year’s festival.


The ToFF is dedicated to uplifting erotic artists and celebrating those who have made history with their work. This year, it will induct the activist, designer, and “living sculpture” Daniel Lismore into its Artist Hall of Fame as part of its annual awards in transatlantic fashion (he’ll join past inductees that include HR Giger, Herb Ritts, and Don Bachardy). Leather legend Peter Fiske will also be presented with the foundation’s lifetime achievement award, joining previous honourees that include Hugh Hefner, Larry Flynt, and Benedikt Taschen.

Tickets for this year’s Tom of Finland Art and Culture Festival, in both London and LA, can be found here