Leather to Leather Award [Edit]

Award Logo - Leather to Leather Award
The Leather to Leather Award Logo. Original artwork designed by Chris Swanson.

The Leather to Leather Award was founded in 2015 to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a sincere effort to build leather-related friendships and alliances between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The award was established by Marlon Morales and Ray Tilton. Both men, building upon their experience as leather title contest producers in their respective cities (Morales in Los Angeles and Tilton in San Francisco), desired to recognize those influential individuals who were building lasting bonds of brotherhood and communication between the two cities. The recipients demonstrate a high level of commitment within their own communities that affect both cities in some positive and perpetual way.

When Tilton was retiring from producing the Mr. SF Leather contest which happened to coincide with the 25th anniversary of holding the title himself he was inspired to mark the occasion. The historical relationship with LA’s leather community/scene was an excellent opportunity to establish a new tradition. Tilton reached out to Morales who was on the front-lines of nurturing the bonds of brotherhood his predecessors had established between the cities and together they founded the award.

In the early years of titles and contests there was perceived to be a rivalry like that of the Dodger/Giants in baseball. It is not understood why within the community there would be this “gap” instead of a more cohesive way of working together.

Beginning in the mid 2000’s Tilton saw a tangible shift in that history as the two cities genuinely began to join forces not only in promoting and supporting each other. This was likely due to the titleholder classes initiating strong and lasting bonds. And in increased cooperation between their sponsoring organizations.

Physical description of the award

The Leather to Leather Award Crystal Tower

A glass full-color crystal tower, with digital printing. Dimensions are 7” high by 1” thick.

Inscription, centered:

“In recognition of your heartfelt endeavors to build friendships and alliances between Los Angeles and San Francisco”

Recipient name inscribed, centered

Logo: the official logo centered below the recipient name and the year with the year of the award.

The award logo is original artwork designed by Chris Swanson a creative director at globally recognized public relations and marketing firm. Swanson himself has contributed in numerous way to the strong relationship between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

How recipients are determined

The award founders confer with previous recipients to create a list of possible recipients. Together, the San Francisco group selects an honoree designated for Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles group selects an honoree designated for San Francisco.

Speaking at the 2018 award ceremony on March 23, Morales further described characteristics of the award recipients and he also emphasized criteria for selection by saying, “The awardees span a wide range of ages and backgrounds. Their work can be very public as well as unassuming. They are not motivated by gaining followers, self-promotion or collecting accolades.”

List of Recipients San Francisco to Los Angeles

2015 Leo Iriarte

2016 Kevin Casey

2017 Marlon Morales

2018 Steve Ganzell

List of Recipients Los Angeles to San Francisco

2015 Jessie Vanciel

2016 Patrick Mulchahey

2017 Jerry Roberts

2018 Case Cito DaMaude

Expansion of the award to include New York, The Tom of Finland House

In 2017 the award expanded to include New York and recognized its first honorees.

List of Recipients Los Angeles to New York

2017 Dave Stringer Hughes

Lis of Recipients New York to Los Angeles

2017 Durk Dehner, Tom of Finland Foundation

Archival Image

Original artwork by Chris Swanson. Proposed designs for the Leather to Leather Award.