Toby Mott at the John Varvatos store in London for the launch of Oh So Pretty Punk in Print 1976-80
Toby Mott at the John Varvatos store in London for the launch of Oh So Pretty Punk in Print 1976-80

Toby Mott on the punk poster every collector wants

Punk graphics archivist and Phaidon author shares another highlight from his new book in this short video

You may have only needed to know three guitar chords in order to start a punk band – as the fanzine Sniffin’ Glue once proclaimed – but it took a little more know how to produce the accompanying graphics, as Toby Mott, owner of the Mott Collection, perhaps the world’s finest trove of UK punk art and graphic design will tell you. 

Mott, the author of  Oh So Pretty Punk In Print 1976-80, says that in the late 1970s, before the likes of Photoshop and InDesign, print design was a far more laborious process than it is today. Rather than produce a dedicated poster for every venue, most touring bands would offer a “concert blank”, or generic partially blank poster, which could be filled in accordingly for each gig.

 

The John Varvatos store window for the launch of Oh So Pretty Punk in Print 1976-80 by Toby Mott
The John Varvatos store window for the launch of Oh So Pretty Punk in Print 1976-80 by Toby Mott

However, the Liverpool club Eric’s – a seminal venue where the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Ramones all played – was a little different. It was able to employ a commercial artist to produce bespoke posters, such as this one (as seen in the video) for the Damned. As Toby explains, this makes the poster exceedingly rare; all the other punk collectors have, over the years, tried to get it off Mott one way or another.

 

Toby Mott Damned poster

 

You can see this and more Toby Mott posters at the John Varvatos store in Conduit Street London for the next week. And for more highlights from his collection order a copy of Oh So Pretty Punk in Print 1976-80, here, and watch another video with Toby talking through his collection at the John Varvatos store, here.