Costume, performance, jacket, cloth/mixed media/applique/paint, used by Reg Mombassa, Australia, 1991-1992
Jacket originally tailored by Samuel Edwards at Mansworld. Modifications designed in Sydney by Reg Mombassa.
Jacket originally made by Samuel Edwards at Mansworld. Modifications done in Sydney by Reg Mombassa, who obtained the jacket second hand and modified it by applying materials he obtained from an 'industrial recycling place'. He made the coat for the video clip for "I'm so handsome" by Dog Trumpet, in late 1991 - early 1992
Worn by Reg Mombassa in the video clip for the Dog Trumpet single 'I'm So Handsome', from the 1991 album 'Two Heads, One Brain'. The single was released on 29 October 1991. Dog Trumpet was the part-time Sydney band formed in 1991 by two members of Mental as Anything, Reg Mombassa and his brother Peter O'Doherty. Other members were John Bliss (drums), Tony Martin or Mark Honeybrook (bass) and Mike Gubb (keyboards).
As members of Sydney's quintessential Australian band Mental as Anything, brothers Peter O'Doherty and & Reg Mombassa (aka Chris O'Doherty) have helped to contribute to the Mentals' record of the most top forty hits by any band in the country's history. And as visual artists, their works have been acquired by galleries around the world, and, most notably, have given the Mambo line of surf clothing its distinctive look and helped make Mambo one of the country's greatest fashion industry success stories.
In 1991 Reg & Peter signed to Regular Records, and with Steve James and Peter co-producing, recorded the first Dog Trumpet album 'Two Heads, One Brain'. It made the Rolling Stone list of top albums for the year. Peter & Reg shared both the lead vocal and songwriting duties, delivering music that was quirky, interesting and different.
Peter & Reg were originally from New Zealand, from Irish and Mancunian immigrant parents. The family came to Australia in 1969. Reg enrolled at the National Art School in East Sydney, but left after a couple of years and worked as labourer, pet ambulance driver, musician, signwriter and cleaner. In 1975 he returned to Art School and completed a Diploma of Painting. While still a student he formed Mental As Anything with fellow art students Martin Murphy, Andrew Smith, & David Twohill.
Meanwhile Peter was finishing secondary school in Sydney's northern peninsula suburb of Curl Curl and playing jazz guitar. When the newly formed Mentals needed a bass player to fill in for a night, Peter obliged, and has been in the band since. That first gig with the current line-up was on the night that Elvis died.
Despite Reg & Pete's Dog Trumpet, Mental as Anything has continued as a recording and performing force. They are one of Australia's most successful and best loved bands. They've toured internationally and had hits in England, Europe and Canada, but Australia has always been their stronghold. The songwriting of Mombassa and O'Doherty has been an integral part of the Mentals' success.
The members of Mental As Anything have never been satisfied with just one career. They've all contributed to other projects and they've all kept up their art interests. There have been several Mental As Anything Group Art Exhibitions, which have receive positive reviews from the art critics. In 1987 the band was commissioned by the Victorian Government Ministries of Art & Transport to design and paint a Melbourne tram.
Reg is the best known of the Mentals for his work with the brush. He has had many solo exhibitions and his work is in great demand. Art aficionados from Nobel Prize winning author Patrick White, to pop icons like Elton John and Yahoo Serious have bought his works.
Reg has also designed many t-shirts, posters, videos and record covers for Mental as Anything and other bands. He designed the album cover for Public Image Limited's 'Greatest Hits So Far' after John Lydon spied Reg's work on Mambo clothing and sought him out to do their album cover. Reg's talents extend to illustrations and writings for, among others, Rolling Stone, Stiletto, RAM, Dolly, and FMG.
Ironically Peter O'Doherty was the only one of the Mentals not to go to Art School, yet he is second only to his brother in providing a prolific outpouring of artworks.
The brothers share a vision of the world that is, to say the least, eccentric. For example, the titles of some of Reg's paintings include: 'Newly Married Nazi Space monsters inspect a farmlet'; 'The aristocracy of the normal'; and 'Big Aussie football ghost inspects a ute load of dog trumpets'. Reg says he gets inspiration for his work from science, religious and mystical books; the magnificent rural and suburban scenery of Australia and New Zealand; and the behaviour of machinery and domestic animals.
Source: Dog Trumpet website
Lent to the Powerhouse Museum by Reg Mombassa in 1993. Donated to the museum in 1999.