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Tom of Finland's Legacy Lives on With Leather Doggies and Kitties

Tom of Finland's Legacy Lives on With Leather Doggies and Kitties

Tom of Finland doggies and kitties
Kajo Rauni, courtesy Musti Group

A Finnish pet food company pays homage to the great gay artist.

Finnish petcare brand Musti Group found a novel way to celebrate Helsinki Pride Week — commissioning a local artist to recreate famous Tom of Finland images with a lot more fur.

The drawings from Kajo Rauni, made with permission of the Tom of Finland Foundation, places the leather gear and lusty looks on cats and dogs. The images are being splashed all over Helsinki, the Finnish capital, appearing at bus stops, museums, and on the sides of buildings.

Helsinki poster

“Instead of just drawing inspiration from the art of Tom, we felt it was important to get an official seal of approval from the Tom of Finland Foundation. This way our pet versions become a small part of the Tom family, and we get to show our support to the legacy of this great artist and the foundation that looks after it,” Evelilna Rantahalvari, Musti's marketing manager, said in a statement.

Tom of Finland, aka Touko Laaksonen, created some of the most iconic queer art of the 20th century, typically depicting hyper-masculine gay men cruising in the tightest of clothing; many images showed sailors, cops, and bikers on the hunt. The look Laaksonen created would influence musicians like Freddie Mercury and The Village People.

Rauni's creations aren't merely fun, according to Musti's Rantahalvari. She says they help bring attention to the LGBTQ+ causes that still must be fought for in the Scandinavian nation, especially trans rights. Musti, which sells a wide variety of pet products, has partnered for several years with Helsinki Pride.

“While bringing pets into the world of Tom of Finland is a playful choice, we’re very serious about the message behind these drawings. We’re committed to our partnership with the Pride organisation and the values we both cherish,” Rantahalvari states.

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