Presented as a sales brochure with supporting website, advertising banners and using the visual language of marketing, 'Toymota' is part of Philip Curnow’s ongoing photographic investigation into the way vehicle advertising imagery allows us to seduce ourselves, or be seduced, with the psychology of consumer marketing.  However, in the case of ‘Toymota’, the images and language are slowly subverted throughout the work, culminating in the viewers unease about the product.


The new motor-car launch is intended by the manufacturer to represent the perfect “Dream Image”, however the photographs and language used by the artist in the work slowly evoke a mental picture which would be more familiar to Andy Warhol and J G Ballard, with perhaps more modern references to artists such as Raffael Waldner and Arman.


Using manipulated images from a number cars of the same model, government data and information from various finance companies, mixed with dark humour (plus a small portion of poetic licence) the artist’s work questions and responds to the information presented in marketing material, as well as the economic and environmental issues of vehicle use and ownership.


The complete brochure, plus further information about the ex-soviet block manufacturer who converted their plant from Trabant saloon and Agricultural Cart output to copy a Japanese designed sports coupé and further images, can also be viewed on and individual pages downloaded as a pdf if required – in a similar fashion to genuine marketing material.   


The body of work is centred around a 16 page brochure, intentionally designed to resemble a marketing publication by a major Japanese motor company, but perhaps not perfectly imitated by a new central-Asian manufacturer.  The brochure makes use of manipulated existing images taken from actual commercial booklets, but then overlays these with other images taken by the artist to alter and subvert the main photograph on each page and adds to this smaller thumbnail images taken by the artist to replace the original marketing images, plus altered text, mainly using factual information available from government, news-media, businesses and motoring organisations.


Inspired by an interest in investigating both vehicle marketing photography, as well as images relating to crashed and damaged cars, Philip’s “Toymota” project started to take shape in parallel with his Dissertation (which also related to Car Advertising and Images of damaged vehicles).  However, while the practical “Toymota” project and theory-based Dissertation shared the same research, Philip’s “Toymota” project also uses a degree of humour to subvert the marketing message, much as Arman’s “Long-Term Parking” uses the language of motoring, linked with a structure made of concrete with embedded car bodies to raise questions about consumerism and sustainability.

Artist’s Statement:
Toymota Selica, New Car Launch