Jonathan Johnson X Tom of Finland
Why have I made a Tom of Finland jewelry collection? ‘Cause it´s revolutionary!
Like Genesis Breyer P. Orridge once said, "Pleasure is a weapon!”
The collection is based on the first insigna TOM created for his Los Angeles non-profit Foundation, founded in 1984 in form of a FLYING COCK. It was drawn by TOM to symbolize the brotherhood of patrons who advocate for the preservation, protection, and promotion of the erotic arts in the same vein as his playful and subversive insignias worn proudly by the countless uniformed men he drew throughout his body of work. The collection features the FLYING COCK insignia in a variety of hand crafted pieces. The collection also features TOM’s most recognizable leather-clad character Kake – immortalized in intricate engraving – encapsulating the archetype leather man.
I designed each piece of jewelry as a special reflection of TOM’s art and his influence in the movement of sexual liberation and pleasure as a human right. The genesis of the collection began in my native Hamburg, a city where club culture and house music reign king and freedom of speech and sexuality is understood. I found myself asking, “where does this come from?” Doing research, I dug deep – past the insurgent club kids of the 80’s and 90’s and found myself at the genesis of post-war queer sexual resistance. There I found Tom of Finland. The outstanding craftsmanship of his drawings. The shameless, joyful and proud expression of sexuality without borders. Created in a time were people put his comrades in death camps. What a brave man!
In 2015 I was invited to visit Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles, and was instantly imprinted by the vast and diverse collection of homoerotic art they archive and community that has been built around it over the decades. It felt like family from the first moment, and so, we began to work on the collection, a process of two beautiful and inspiring years.
With my jewelry I want to give people a wonderful piece of pleasure, created under fair circumstances in Germany, with the highest level of craftsmanship. Pieces that everybody can wear with pride to show that they stand for openness and acceptance. One of my biggest artistic achievements has been to be able recreate a big, fat cock with wings out of solid sterling silver!
From the Reeperbahn with Love,
Tom of Finland
(Touko Laaksonen, Finnish 1920 - 1991), is the creator of some of the most iconic and readily recognizable imagery of post-war gay culture and is regarded as one of the 20th century’s most influential artists. 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 imagination - unapologetic, self-aware, and boastfully proud enthusiasts of gay sex.
In 1984, the nonprofit Tom of Finland Foundation was established by Durk Dehner and Touko Laaksonen. As Tom had established worldwide recognition as the master of homo-erotic 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 art in response to rampant discrimination against work that portrayed sexual behavior or generated a sexual response. Today the Foundation 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.
Photos by Josh Paul Thomas @thestudiohaus
Modeled by Tom of Finland Store Ambassador Terry Miller @terrysphots