Toby Laurent Belson is a multidisciplinary community artist, designer and educator. He was born and raised and resides in West London. He has run a community arts group, Brownbaby, in North Kensington since 2007, was a Portobello market trader for 8 years and has held local school governor and Trustee positions. Since 2015 he has dedicated much of his spare time (and then some) to four local campaigns to protect and enhance community assets, supporting them with posters, leaflets, videos, web pages, infographics, zines and regular blog posts and event reports.
Toby's community practice includes a wide range of disciplines with a focus on techniques that enable individual participants efforts to be brought together into a larger whole. Since 2006 he has produced many group mosaics, public installations, school exhibits, magazines, screenprints, murals and radio shows, working with hundreds of young people. He has designed and painted a number of bridges in North Kensington with public art charity Urban Eye, as well as producing the odd piece of street art. In 2017 and 2018 he led a creative community response for Grenfell at Notting Hill Carnival, and in 2018 produced the Green for Grenfell illuminations, which included the lighting of 12 local tower blocks, many London-wide landmarks and Grenfell Tower itself, to mark one year since the devastating fire.
Toby's personal practice has mainly focused on print and cut paper collage. He exhibits in libraries, theatres and other community spaces. These are his preferred spaces over traditional galleries, due to their accessibility for him as an artist, the broader range of people within them, and the unique curatorial conversations.
Community in its many manifestations remains at the heart of Toby's creative thinking.