Toby Mott

Toby Mott
Toby Mott
Born 12 January 1964 (1964-01-12) (age 47)
London, England
Nationality British
Field Artist, Designer, Collector

Toby Victor Mott (born 12 January 1964) is a British artist,designer and sometime Punk historian known for his work with the Grey Organisation, an artists' collective that was active in the 1980s, and for his fashion brand Toby Pimlico.[1] More recently he has won acclaim for the Mott Collection,[2] an archive of UK punk rock and political ephemera that includes over 1,000 posters, flyers and fanzines.[3]


Life and career

Early life

Image of a young Toby Mott, London, 1978

Toby Mott was born in London 1964.[4] He attended several schools, including Pimlico Comprehensive where he shared a classroom with the screen writer Amy Jenkins and Patrick Harrington an infamous leading member of the National Front. He later studied art at Westminster Kingsway College. Mott was a founder member of the ASA (Anarchist Street Army, a late 1970s organisation that caused disturbances in the Pimlico area of London).[5]

In the early 1980s he lived at the Carburton Street squats in Fitzrovia, a centre of artistic activity at the time - other residents included Boy George, Marilyn (singer), Cerith Wyn Evans, Fiona Russell-Powell and Mark Lebon. During this period Mott appeared in a number of films made by the British director Derek Jarman, notably The Angelic Conversation and also appearing in Gilbert & George's “Exister” pieces from 1984, currently in the Tate Collection.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s he was based in New York and Los Angeles working as an art director for MTV and making music videos for various groups, among them Public Enemy, A Tribe called Quest and The Rolling Stones. He also produced album cover graphics for De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising[6] and the Information Society (band).[7]

Anarchist Street Army

Anarchist Street Army, ASA, 24 Bus Stop Pimlico, London 1978. Photo depicts the ASA's logo and motto 'Running Riot'

The Anarchist Street Army (ASA) was a loose collective of young punks and anarchists from several inner city London Schools including Pimlico Comprehensive and Camden School for Girls, who congregated around an independent record shop on Wilton Road called Recordsville and attended Crass concerts.[5] Their motives as an organisation were varied, but had a general ethos of bringing anarchy and chaos to the London streets, such as crashing Capital Radio's Nicky Horne show in an attempt to save the Roxy,[8] and were a forerunner to later organisations with similar attitudes such as Class War, The Wombles, and protest tactics like Black Bloc. The ASA's motto and anthem was 'Running Riot' a punk rock song by the band Cock Sparrer,[9] later adopted by Right Wing factions within the Oi! movement.

Grey Organisation and solo art career

The Grey Organisation: Alive and Awake

Mott was a co-founder of the East London art group the Grey Organisation (GO) who were active from 1983 to 1991. GO worked in several mediums including film and video and participated in over 20 international exhibitions.[10] In January 1985 the group committed an act of "art terrorism"[11] by smuggling one of their paintings into the International Contemporary Arts Fair in London. The following year they mounted an attack on Cork Street, then the centre of the London art world, splashing grey paint on the windows of a number of galleries. After this, members of the group were arrested and for a time banned from central London. This resulted in them relocating to New York City where they exhibited at The Civilian Warfare Gallery in the East Village. When GO disbanded in 1991, Mott pursued a solo career[12] exhibiting at White Columns NYC, The Thomas Soloman Garage, Los Angeles and Interim Art, London. He was for many years represented by the Maureen Paley gallery.[13]

'Unrest' Vegas Gallery, London, 2011

In September 2011 Toby Mott produced a series of paintings inspired by the 2011 England riots, the resulting exhibition 'Unrest' was exhibited at Vegas Gallery, London. Many of the paintings in the exhibition were brandished with the slogan 'All Coppers Are Bastards' in gold leaf a reference to the legendary punk/political slogan. Mott said of this exhibition “I was going to call the exhibition, ‘I’ll keep looting until I get caught’— a quote from a looter but which could equally apply to a banker, [T]hose at the bottom are taking their lead from those at the top; although the rioters act in a cruder way, it is essentially the same thing.”[14]

In October 2011 Knightsbridge gallery New Contemporary presented a solo exhibition of paintings by Mott entitled 'This Means Everything'. "The show is comprised of collection of new paintings addressing our culture's present preoccupation with fame and success versus the historical background of nihilism and anarchy as epitomised by the punk movement."[15][16][17]

The Mott Collection

Mott began his collection in the late 1970s. In addition to the iconic works of the era, notably those produced by Jamie Reid for The Sex Pistols and Linder Sterling for the Buzzcocks, it includes propaganda from political groups such as Rock Against Racism and the British National Front and memorabilia from the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II, an event that collided with punk's high watermark in 1977.

In a A Punk's Journey, an essay by Mott which appears in Loud Flash, he writes: "In 1977 my bedroom was covered in posters, flyers and shelves of records and fanzines, and when I left home these significant symbols of my past were stored away. In 1997 I returned from living in America and started to add to my collection. I appreciated the visual immediacy which never seemed tired or dated. The ideals of self empowerment, motivation, action and common cause are evident throughout [the collection]. To me they are the spirit of punk".

Loud Flash: British Punk on Paper, ISBN 9781905620548, Haunch of Venison, 2010
Loud Flash: British Punk on Paper, ISBN 9788492572175, MUSAC, 2010

Exhibitions of the Mott Collection include:

  • Crass, Andrew Roth Gallery, New York, February 2011, accompanied by the publication: Crass 1977 - 1984, PPP Editions, 2011[21]
100 Fanzines/10 Years of British Punk - 1976–1985, PPP Editions ISBN 978-0-9826431-0-5
Loud Flash: British Punk on Paper, Honor Fraser, 2010
  • Loud Flash: British Punk on Paper, Honor Fraser, Los Angeles, July 2011[22] accompanied by the publication: Loud Flash: British Punk on Paper at Honor Fraser, designed by Brian Roettinger.

On the occasion of the exhibition at Honor Fraser a panel discussion took place moderated by Professor Vivien Goldman of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, panel members: Gardar Eide Einarsson, Artist, Billy Idol, Punk Musician, Toby Mott, artist, writer and collector, Simon Reynolds, British author and music journalist.[23]

  • We Have Our Own Concept of Time and Motion: Auto Italia South East, London, 25 – 28 Aug
  • We Are the Writing on the Wall: MoMA PS1: NY Art Book Fair, New York City, 30 September – 2 October accompanied by the publication: 100 Fanzines/10 Years of British Punk - 1976–1985, PPP Editions ISBN 978-0-9826431-0-5[24] On the occasion of the exhibition at MoMA PS1 a panel discussion took place on the history of British punk fanzines, moderated by Professor Vivien Goldman of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Toby Mott, artist, writer and collector, Joly MacFie, fanzine publisher, Victor Brand writer, Michael Gonzales afro-punk music writer.[25]

The Mott Collection - CRASS exhibition

Crass concert poster, 1978 2-color offset

In February 2011 Mott exhibited another part of his collection, Crass, selections from The Mott Collection, an exhibition of over 130 objects and artifacts centered on the anarchic, self-produced culture of the British band Crass, featuring significant pieces by Gee Vaucher, and the influential Crass logo by Dave King, Roth gallery, New York.[26][27] The exhibition featured artwork, albums and ephemera, including original 12” LPs and EPs, 7” singles from Crass Records, and a complete set of Crass’ iconic house zine, Inter-National Anthem.

Crass 1977 - 1984, PPP Editions, 2011

The material featured in the exhibition spanned the high period of Crass’ endeavors, from 1978 to 1984, and constitutes a special segment of The Mott Collection. Says Mott: "Crass ended its own story in 1984 a suitable Orwellian demise - but while active they were nothing but authentic, inspiring and principled in a cynical age, answering to no one but themselves."

The Roth Gallery exhibition was also accompanied by a publication: Crass 1977 - 1984, PPP Editions, 2011[28]

Toby Pimlico

Celebrities wearing garments from the Toby Pimlico range

Toby Pimlico is a fashion label based on paintings by Toby Mott.

Mott began making paintings based on detention school ‘lines’ such as “I Will Try Harder”; these were then transferred onto t-shirts, transforming them into a recognisable design motif. He came up with the brand name, Toby Pimlico, and an initial six designs, including “I Must Not Chase the Boys” and “I Have Nothing To Wear”.[29]

The T-shirts began to have a cult following after being worn by Kate Moss, the actress Sienna Miller,[30] Geri Halliwell from The Spice Girls and It Girl Tara Palmer-Tomkinson.

Toby Mott and the Prince of Wales, 2001

The label also received praise from the Prince of Wales.[31]

Other slogans are used to promote social consciousness, such as the Marie Curie-inspired 'love you to death.'[32]

The label was launched at London Fashion Week in 1998.[29]

The Brand now includes a range of tea towels, maternity wear and knickers.[29]

Mott responded to his own success and transition from Punk to artist-businessman by calling himself a ‘Gold Card Anarchist’[11]

2005 arrest & Personal life

In 2005, Mott was involved in an incident with a "gang" of youths near his home in Notting Hill Gate; according to the British newspaper The Daily Mail, Mott called the police after the assault and told them he was carrying CS gas for his own protection.[33] He was then arrested for possession of a weapon and held for 11 hours at high-security Paddington Green police station.

Mott divorced celebrity hairdresser Louise Galvin in 2008 after one year of marriage,[34] as reported in the Evening Standard. Mott met Galvin through a mutual friend, she was already several months pregnant when they married.[29] "The marriage was never going to work, I discovered Louise had matching Louis Vuitton luggage" says Mott.[29]

Their daughter was born In 2007.[35]

Other useful links


  1. ^ [ Debretts 2003-2004
  2. ^ [ The Observer 29 August 2010
  3. ^ [ magazine, Evening Standard 11 September 2010
  4. ^ [ Debretts 2003-2004
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ [ Hipsters Journal
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^ [ Frieze October 1996
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ [ News
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Artforum, November 2011
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ Curated Mag, January 2011
  27. ^ Word Press, January 2011
  28. ^
  29. ^ a b c d e
  30. ^ Brand Republic3rd November, 2005
  31. ^
  32. ^ Scotland
  33. ^ [ The Daily Mail 11 February 2005
  34. ^
  35. ^

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mott the Hoople (album) — Mott the Hoople Studio album by Mott the Hoople Released November 1969 UK, 1970 U …   Wikipedia

  • Crass — This article is about the British rock band. For the definition of crass , see crass. Crass Crass, May 1984. Background information …   Wikipedia

  • Derek Jarman — Michael Derek Elworthy Jarman (31 January 1942 – 19 February 1994) was an English film director, stage designer, diarist, artist, gardener and author. Contents …   Wikipedia

  • Peace One Day — The project Peace One Day is the vision of British filmmaker Jeremy Gilley. BackgroundAt the Womad music festival, Jeremy had an idea: what if there was one day when the world stopped fighting? A worldwide ceasefire a non violence day? A Peace… …   Wikipedia

  • Maureen Paley — (born 1953[1]) is the American owner of a contemporary art gallery in Bethnal Green, London, where she lives. It was founded in 1984, called Interim Art during the 1990s, and renamed Maureen Paley in 2004. She exhibited Young British Artists at… …   Wikipedia

  • The Angelic Conversation (film) — Infobox Film name = The Angelic Conversation image size = caption = DVD cover director = Derek Jarman producer = James Mackay writer = William Shakespeare (Sonnets) narrator = Judi Dench starring = Paul ReynoldsPhillip Williamson music = Coil… …   Wikipedia

  • The Angelic Conversation — est un essai cinématographique de 1985 réalisé par Derek Jarman. Il consiste en une juxtaposition d images photographiques au ralenti et de sonnets de Shakespeare lus par Judi Dench. Les images représentent l homosexualité et des paysages à… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Rock Star: Supernova — This article is about the TV show. For the band created via the series, see Rock Star Supernova. For their debut album, see Rock Star Supernova (album). Rock Star: Supernova Format Inter …   Wikipedia

  • Fremantle Football Club drafting and trading history — Fremantle Football Club s drafting and trading history is often cited as a reason for their poor on field record, in not winning a finals game in their first 11 seasons. This can also be coupled to the few concessions that they received relative… …   Wikipedia

  • Ulverstone Robins Football Club — Articleissues cleanup=August 2008 fansite=August 2008 trivia=August 2008Infobox aus sport club | clubname = Ulverstone fullname = Ulverstone Football Club emblem = Robins strip = Red and Black founded = 1885 sport = Australian rules football… …   Wikipedia