LOS ANGELES – In 2015 XR Brands will bring the erotic art of Tom of Finland to life in the form of Pleasure Tools, a complete collection of toys and gear for men bearing the brand of the late artist.
An intimate, yet heavily attended, launch party was held on Saturday, Jan. 10, at the Tom of Finland Foundation in January to celebrate the launch of brand and to celebrate the memory of the late artist.
The party drew the likes of adult industry buyers including distributors and retailers as well as the press, adult performers, Foundation members, staff, volunteers and even a couple of Hollywood rock stars. Frankie “Groovie Mann” Nardiello, singer of My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult was spotted among the crowd among others.
Attendees — who got to be the first people outside of the development teams to see the collection — were treated to drinks and hors d’oeuvres and a tour of the Foundation, which houses more than 100,000 images including more than 1,500 original works by Tom and more than 3,000 by other artists.
Tom of Finland, whose real name was Touko Laaksonen, is arguably the most influential homoerotic artist of all time. His work has had a mainstream impact and has been featured in galleries around the world. In 2014 the country of Finland commemorated the artist with his own set of official stamps.
The Tom of Finland aesthetic is both immediately recognizable and leaves an impact on the viewer. Not only is Laaksonen’s style bold and eye catching, his subject matter contains images that are brazenly sexual.
The Foundation, which was cofounded by Laaksonen himself in 1984, was set up to not only preserve the legacy of his iconic works, but also that of other erotic artists as well. Today, thanks in large part to its members and supporters from all parts of the globe; it is the world’s largest repository of erotic art.
As SR Sharp, vice president of the Tom of Foundation, explained during a tour of the house, many gay artists in the middle of the AIDS crisis in the ‘80s had their works destroyed by homophobic family members who didn’t respect the work of the deceased.
“After the AIDS crisis hit, the world lost a lot of great art, that is why the Tom of Finland Foundation opened its doors to other artists as well as Tom’s.” he explained. “We are very happy to be working with a company that fully understands The Foundation’s purpose and helping to further achieve it by allowing more people to enjoy Tom’s work and learn about gay history through the arts.”
Randy Alvstad, general manager of XR Brands, says he couldn’t be happier with the finished product and the evening was a perfect culmination of the hard work and hours put into the line over the course of the past year.
“We are incredibly proud of this line,” he said. “It was a pleasure to gather with our peers, top customers, and wholesalers and retailers from across the globe and celebrate the legacy of an art icon while debuting a line of products that we and the Tom of Finland Foundation worked long and hard to create together. Thank you to everyone who attended. We look forward to having Tom of Finland Pleasure Tools on store shelves around the world.”
Tom of Finland Pleasure Tools debuts with 15 SKUs and include lubricants, restraints, insertables, cock & ball gear, nipple clamps and Kake’s cock, a suction-cup dong and the signature piece of the collection. Inspired directly from Tom’s most featured character, this dong was hand-sculpted by an artist to exactly replicate the famous image found throughout Tom’s portfolio of a man only known to the world as Kake.
It is available in a Collector’s Edition Gunmetal Grey made of high-end silicone as well as a lower-priced realistic flesh-tone made with dual density TPR technology. It’s truly an art piece and needs to be seen and felt in person to appreciate it. The Collector’s Edition comes in an art display case for maximum impact and is sure to grab the attention of anyone within eyesight.
XR Brands is already continuing to conduct product development with the creative team at the Tom of Finland Foundation with plans to add products that span all categories and are all based on ideas or things the members know Tom would want to see if he were still alive today.
The collection has its official unveiling during the ANME Founders Show in Burbank, CA January 12-13 and will begin shipping to stores within the following weeks.