A guide to the Tom of Finland arts and culture festival in London

A guide to the Tom of Finland arts and culture festival in London

The Tom of Finland Foundation’s annual event takes place in London and Los Angeles this weekend, featuring Jonathan Anderson, tattoos and a virtual reality tour of the artist’s house

Over 65 years ago, Tom of Finland began displaying its now iconic erotic works in beef magazines, circumventing the strict laws that banned gay art at the time. In the decades that followed, his subversive illustrations served as a model for other artists to explore sexuality in their work, a legacy celebrated by his eponymous foundation, which he co-founded in 1984.

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

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

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


For nearly three decades, the Tom of Finland Art and Culture Festival has been held in the United States, but this year it is taking place around the world for the first time, 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 the London outpost of Second Home in Spitalfields. On Friday evening, the Aigle is also organizing a screening of Homosexual propagandaa program of short films presenting the work of Bruce The Bruce and Matt Lambert.

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


In case two locations around the world aren’t enough, guests of the London edition of the festival will be able to experience a third location through the magic of virtual reality: Tom of Finland’s historic home in Los Angeles. This will be featured at Second Home Spitalfields alongside specially designed murals by James Davison, Pol Anglada and London Performance Studio.


Want a lasting reminder of this year’s festival? Scorpio Mars Tattoo will be based in London, while Queen’s Head Tattoo Parlor will be available to attendees in Los Angeles. For a less permanent way to beautify yourself, the two festival venues will also host barbers offering visitors clean cuts – Toppins Barbershop in London and Folklore Salon in Los Angeles.


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 network 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 authentic way to express yourself to friends,” adds Dehner, highlighting the possibilities offered by this year’s festival.


The ToFF is dedicated to elevating erotic artists and celebrating those who have made history with their work. This year, he will induct activist, designer and “living sculptor” Daniel Lismore into his Artists Hall of Fame as part of his annual Transatlantic Fashion Awards (he will join past inductees including HR Giger, Ritt with herbs, and Don Bachardy). Leather legend Peter Fiske will also receive the foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award, joining previous winners including Hugh Hefner, Larry Flynt and Benedikt Taschen.

Tickets for this year’s Tom of Finland Art and Culture Festival, in London and Los Angeles, are available here

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