1421 Laveta Terrace in Echo Park, Los Angeles appears like any suburban home from the outside. A large Eugenia hedge covers most of the street façade of the house where Finnish artist Touko Laaksonen lived and worked for the last ten years of his life. Touko is better known by his pseudonym Tom of Finland and 1421 Laveta Terrace is known as Tom House. The building is the subject of a new book edited by Michael Reynolds, designed by Hoffman Creative with a foreword by Mayer Rus and photography by Martyn Thompson.
Tom House is now the headquarters of the Tom of Finland Foundation that serves as a shelter for runaway LGBTQ youth, a gallery for outsider art and a vast archive of the artist’s work, correspondence, documents and ephemera. The book explores each room in the house, all crammed with works and artefacts that explore every dimension of Tuoko’s life, giving insight into what inspired him artistically, and, of course, carnally. Martyn’s images are packed with detail and depth, and are juxtaposed on page with previously unpublished preparatory drawings and sketches to give an idea of process. Quaint, it’s not, but the book, published by Rizzoli, provides context for a body of work that never fails to provoke a response.