‘Art has helped me to discover, understand and heal myself. I would describe my style as a combination of surrealism and expressionism‘
Toni Mo is a London based self-taugh acrylic artist. She has an educational background in medical neuroscience and is currently working in the the field of mental health.
One of Toni’s dreams is to have her work exhibited at the Bethlem Museum of the Mind, an art gallery that explores the history of art and mental healthcare. Her work is often influenced by personal experiences with mental health and she uses art as a means for healing and self-discovery.
‘I use intense colours and skin tones often inspired by my African background to express feelings, emotions and mental states.‘
Some of Toni’s influences include the surrealist painters Edvard Munch and Frida Kahlo as seen below:
This will be the death of you
Life is amazing, the world is beautiful.
Cannot keep still, let’s go to Japan tonight.
Forget what I said, I was just in another mood.
Moods, going back and forth.
They give us all a whiplash.
Swoosh, swoosh, snap!
This will be the death of you
I’ve unlocked the door but I am afraid to come out.
Afraid to let go but I want out.
I’m scared to find out,
What lies beyond the door?
Feels like the war to end all wars.
I want to be free and enjoy life,
A life of peace, without the mind strife.
What will happen post-war?
Can’t picture myself beyond this door.
It’s a mixture of emotions,
And I would love a mind potion,
To clear this cocktail, to end this war.
I want to uncover the veil,
Discover what outside these doors has to offer,
And fully recover, from this jail of the mind.
Hot steaming blue bath…
Soak away the blues and bruises.
This pays more than being abusive.
Instead, this is therapeutic.
It’s been confusing,
But now it’s fusing,
The peace piece.
Now she sees,
That’s how she heals.
No longer is she fuming,
Because all along she’s been blooming.
Interview for The Collaborator’s Project
What interested you about collaboration with other artists?
Collaboration is a good way to grow as an artist. It creates an open mind; I can pick up a few things from the other person and vice versa.
How long have you been working on your craft and what inspired you to start?
I have been on and off for about 5 years, but I would say I really started last year after I attended an art exhibition early summer. Seeing all the work displayed inspired me to take this seriously and develop my creative skill.
How did the theme of Isolation resonate with you? Did it conjure any immediate images?
I can relate. There has been the lockdown obviously but more personally, I lean towards emotional isolation. Images coming to my head include a cage and the brain.
Is there anything that you usually use to inspire your work?
A combination of images, together with my imagination.
How has the lockdown affected your work?
Surprisingly, positively. Working from home has allowed me to relax, take things slow and allow my creativity to come out more. I have done more paintings during the lockdown than I have in the past year.
If you could master any other artform, what would it be and why?
A musical instrument, specifically violin. I started learning but I got lazy with lessons. I find the violin very calming so I might start again soon. I also wish I could make cartoon/animation videos. I think in pictures and have a very wild imagination and it would be nice to bring them to life.
Discover more of Toni’s work on her website: tonimo.co.uk
We look forward to seeing the work of all our artists in this seasons Collaborator’s Project. Works will be exhibited at the end of August. Follow us on instagram for more updates! CM