“Men of the forest of Finland is the theme of a new series of drawings being prepared by ‘Tom’ an artist who lives in Finland and draws from life…” reads the first page of the of the spring 1957 issue of Bob Mizer’s Physique Pictorial, a so-called athletic magazine that circulated for 30 years. It was Tom of Finland’s American debut, and this line, alongside the illustrations it accompanies, seem to pre-emptively lay out the complexity of Touko Laaksonen’s (b. 1920, Kaarina, d. 1991, Helsinki) own persona. “Tom” is a rare figure (if not the only one) whose own biography and identity was almost completely eclipsed by his own desire. A search, whether by his birth or adopted name, turns up only a handful of images of him—the number of bright, smiling faces of young men seem to overwhelm. More commonly remembered in an idealized form, Tom’s own face is erased in our memory in favor of his lovers, both real and imagined.