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Tom of Finland Foundation's 26th Art & Cultural Festival

By December 16, 2021



By Richard Villani, photos by Benno Sebastian and Dave Rhodes

On the weekend of December 3–5, the Tom of Finland Foundation (ToFF) presented the 26th Tom of Finland Art & Culture Festival — Tom of Finland 101: Raw Anatomy. An estimated 1,400 people attended. This was the first year the Tom of Finland Art and Culture Festival was held at at Second Home and the first in-person Festival they have hosted in two years.

"The turnout, programming and weekend weather all exceeded our expectations. We are thrilled to be back with the communities we serve,” said Richard Villani, Creative Director of ToFF. The Festival was at Second Home in Los Angeles (Hollywood), California.

Some of the artists were Peter Kalisch, Aimee Goguen, Tom Rees, Karisa Gregorio, Mikko Juhani Rasila, Patrick Mizumoto, Carlos Rodriguez, Diego De Leon, Jose Tinoco, Van Jazmin, Creighton Baxter, Abe Garcia, Angela Divina, Shelley Cohen, Nick Burger, Emily Lucid, Thomas Green, Josh Paul Thomas and Daniel Crook.

LA Plays Itself started screening early on Saturday and continued through all day Sunday in the Screening Room. On Sunday Life Drawing Session ran when the doors opened until early afternoon where artists were painting or drawing live subjects.

The online version of Raw Anatomy, opened on December 4 and continues till March 24, giving people the opportunity to discover 100-plus artists. It features galleries for the UK/EU, exhibitors, and both online and attending artists.

ToFF announced the first solo presentation of the winner of the 2020 Tom of Finland Emerging Artists Competition, Mr. Gruts. Tom of Finland Store was a sponsor of the Competition and hosts Mr. Gruts: Love and Power on their platform. You may visit it here. https://www.tomoffinland.org/online-viewing-room-artists

"We wanted to offer the opportunity for global artists to participate and showcase their work,” says curator Dr. Gary Everett. The UK/EU section is curated by Everett and Stuart Sandford. “I know you will enjoy these inspiring and diverse artists,” Sandford affirmed.

On Sunday, Okko-Pekka Salmimies, Consul General of Finland in Los Angeles, opened the awards ceremony. Musician and artist Martín Sorrondeguy was inducted into the Tom of Finland Foundation Artist Hall of Fame by Danny Fuentes, a 2019 Tom of Finland Foundation Achievement Award recipient. Suzanne Shifflett was given a 2021 Tom of Finland Foundation Achievement Award presented to her by Christopher Harrity, who received a 2019 Tom of Finland Foundation Inspiration Award. The Tom of Finland Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon Lloyd L. Clayton, former Executive Director of the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum, by Tom of Finland Foundation Board of Directors member Graylin Thorton.


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The Festival brought together artists and patrons from all over the globe in a social environment, where they could network as well as buy and sell works.

Second Home is an indoor/outdoor space that offers a large garden campus, where art installations, performances, DJs, and presentations occur in select “pods” and inviting courtyards. Intriguing open glass environments are ideal for gallery presentations that included Edward Cella Art plus Architecture, PHIL, Rubén Esparza Projects, Simon Haas and QuTies, Miguel Angel Reyes, Lethal Amounts and Rick Castro’s Torture Garden.

The much-desired Tom of Finland 2021 Christmas ornament was offered by the Tom of Finland Store which was manned by brand ambassador Terry Miller.

Second Home proved perfect for screenings of Fred Halsted’s beautifully restored film masterpiece, LA Plays Itself; a talk on “the masculine” in queer erotic art; and readings by Steven Reigns and William E. Jones, presented by David Kordansky Gallery. Life drawing sessions, videos, and performances by Murmurs Gallery took place in unique spaces framed by lush landscape.

Phenakite, the Los Angeles Times 2021 Restaurant of the Year, boasting a recent Michelin Star and a 30,000-person waiting list, hosted a buzzy opening night gala featuring a three-course meal as well as an exclusive preview to the Festival weekend.

2021 would have been Tom’s 101st birthday and ToFF’s theme this year is “Tom of Finland:101," where education is a part of all their programming."

If you couldn't attend Tom of Finland 101: Raw Anatomy in-person, you now have the opportunity to visit it online,” says Durk Dehner, President and cofounder of Tom of Finland Foundation. “Perhaps you need to reconnect with someone you met at the Festival? Or experience Raw Anatomy for the first time?” he suggests.