Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Philately or Fellatio?








A nipple, shapely buttocks and a muscular, moustachioed man smoking a cigarette – a new set of three stamps, to be issued in Finland in September, are among the most daring ever seen in the philatelic world. The images are by Tom of Finland, the legendary artist who was born in south-west Finland in 1920, and died in 1991. He created an archive of erotica with a distinct aesthetic – vast-shouldered men in leather, denim and knee-high boots – that is said to have influenced figures including Robert Mapplethorpe, Freddie Mercury and the Village People.

The male portraits on the Finnish stamps aren't the most explicit of the artist's work. His art very often pays tribute to a tumescence absent in the images chosen for these stamps. The Tom of Finland Foundation has said his early process often involved "locking himself in his room, stripping naked, and stroking himself with one hand while the other hand created on paper what he could seldom find on the streets".

Even so, they are considerably more erotic than those usually seen on any nation's envelopes. Dean Shepherd, editor of Gibbons Stamp Monthly, says that he has never seen homoerotic art on stamps before. Erotic art more generally? "No, it tends to be nude paintings reproduced on stamps, but as far as actual erotic art is concerned, I think this is the first time." There was a bit of a storm in the early 1930s, he says, when the Spanish Postal Authority approved some stamps featuring Goya's The Nude Maja – a woman reclining naked. The US government apparently barred and returned any mail that bore it.

Stamps represent a country, and are the most public of media, so they rarely feature strongly sexual subjects, says Matt Hill, editor of Stamp and Coin Mart. When paying tribute to LGBT culture, it's more usual for stamps to depict gay heroes.
Read more in The Guardian

7 comments:

  1. A philatelist friend of mine brought this to my attention the other day. No, I wasn't phelating him at the time however my jaw DID drop open.

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    1. I'm basically picturing myself licking the back of them. Jx

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    2. I was just about to say... Suddenly, I feel the need to sit down with my feather pen and write a lot of letters. I suspect I may be responsible for loooooong rows at the post office...

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  2. An interesting point was raised on Radio 4's "Today" programme about these stamps - imagine sending loads of letters with Tom's finest imagery on them to Vladimir Putin, Robert Mugabe, Pat Robertson, Paul Biya, Goodluck Jonathan and the rest... Could be hours of endless fun and games! Jx

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    1. What a brilliant idea! I saw the stamp story on Gawker and asked how one in the States can get these stamps but no one replied. Do you know?

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    2. Presumably international customers can buy them from Finnish post office Posti's website. I am tempted... Jx

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