The beauty of Tom of Finland is that he doesn’t exist to me. What exists is in his world. Wittgenstein wrote that ‘the limits of my language means the limits of my world.” Tom of Finland had set a strict boundary where there is his world, and then ….Nothing. For those in the nothing, we wander into his world, and therefore we have everything that we can possibly want or hope for.
As a heterosexual, I am disappointed that my world is not so closed off as his utopia that is expressed in Tom of Finland’s art. I’m not even sure if it is even ‘art’ as we know it, but more of a self-expression that is acceptable to the few and only for the few. Which to me is the definition of utopia. What I like about Tom’s work is that it is not explicit in action, but more by a thought of something erotic will happen. The voyeur aspect of his work is part of taking a walk in the woods, and as we all know the deep forest is a walk through a sexual landscape.
There is a beauty of “the mystery” that is reflected in his work, but maybe it is only a ‘mystery” to me, because I don’t share that specific sexuality. I can admire Eric Stanton’s cartoons of heterosexual bondage and fetishism, but it's not erotic to me. Tom of Finland is erotic. The way he portrays nature as serving the erotic is among the images that gives me so such pleasure. The locations are sometimes in the imaginary west or in a park, perhaps, which due to its very nature is an erogenous zone. I think any area where nature is cut-off from the world is of course a fetish territory.
As a teenager I would go to the renaissance faire, that usually took place in some rural area outside of Los Angeles. What I loved was going with girls who I went to school with, but once in the faire, they become downright erotic objects to me. At first I thought it was their clothing, which was to imitate the 14th century, but no, it had more to do that all of this was taking place in nature. The girls weren’t the one’s that arouse me directly, but the fact that they were enclosed in that environment.
The fiction of Thomas Pynchon, on the other hand, even though one gets a clear picture of the location in his work, it is rarely, if ever erotic. When I read his works, I feel like a child entering a three-story toy store, and everything looks fantastic and I want it all. Tom of Finland doesn’t offer everything, because his world is very closed, and so was the renaissance faire. I really wanted those girls, but only, in that space and a specific time.
Perhaps it is only a matter of control, and allowing certain aspects or parts of that control to slowly be released over a period of time. Time to me is also erotic. Due to the fact that schedules and deadlines have a certain amount of pleasure and pain attached to the process. When I see a Tom of Finland drawing, I am not aware of time foresee, but I’m conscious of its absence, which makes me think of time. Which, of course, is erotic to me.
As a child, I would watch “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, ” mostly due to their son, Ricky Nelson. The show is totally boring to me, but the odd thing is when Ricky sings, it becomes another world that is totally blocked off from the rest of the show. It makes sense as a narration in the show, but whenever I see Ricky singing in the context of the series, I feel he’s in another space or world than his parents or anything else on that particular TV show. Which got me thinking that perhaps he has another life that is not expressed on that series. When I see pictures of him, his eyes have a tendency to tell another tale. Something mysterious, dreamy, and sensual. I do carry a passport that will enable me to visit other countries, but what I really desire is a document of some sort that will allow me to visit ‘areas’ that I fantasize. I wish to travel with Robert Johnson, and with him as my guide, I want him to lead me to that fork in the road. With anticipated hope, he will push me towards a specific direction.