We’re very excited to announce that Quentin Jones has just joined us at Breed. We’ll be working with her as an illustrator and on art-related projects. Though she’s not restricted to a single medium, also working in photography and film, with Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Vogue among her clients.
We thought we’d welcome Quentin to Breed by asking her a little about herself:
If we can ask, how did you end up with what would usually be a boy’s name?
Essentially just because my mum loved the name, but she persuaded my dad by explaining it means the fifth child, and I am his fifth.
You originally studied Philosophy at Cambridge. How did you go from that to an MA in illustration at St Martins and working as a model for a period of time?
I think I was very lucky to have managed to bag a place on the MA with a little portfolio I put together while interning in the Burberry graphic design department. The modelling just meant I could rent somewhere in London and not feel like I was totally starting from square one, and avoid having to move back in with my parents. Then as soon as I got on the MA I realised I was totally out of my depth, and lived in fear for two years that I shouldn’t have been let on the course.
Did working as a model help inform your work on the other side of the camera?
I think I always have sympathy for the models, because I know how tricky the job can be. And how uninterested in the creative angle I was as a model. I was just watching the clock and hoping to go home on time. Often shoots run really late and these girls are meant to be thrilled to be part of the process, when really they are probably thinking about their own course-work or what they are gonna have for dinner.
You use photomontage in a lot of your illustrative work. How did you find your way to that becoming your signature style?
I started playing with collage on my MA. I think I was drawn to the immediacy of it. That you can make images nearly as fast as you can think of them, which suits how creatively impatient I can be. I also love the accidental nature of it – I often don’t know how two or three things will connect, but you develop an eye for seeing something that is visually more than the sum of its parts. For both these reasons I also love working with really quick paint and ink mark making, which is also more about knowing which accidents are beautiful and which are just a mess.
And did your interest in photography come from that? Or were photography and film-making something you were already doing?
I have always taken pictures, and actually started making stop motion films as a child. As I have grown up I have had tons of different cameras, but still considered myself amateur and never took it too seriously. But in painting and then collage, photography was always a stage in the process. But one that was often obscured in the end result.
Then once I started working more and more with fashion and beauty brands, people were asking me to work with other people’s photos and that didn’t feel that right. I would constantly be wanting to give the photographer directions, and be in total creative control. My fashion film agent basically shoved a camera in my hand and told me to get on with it one summer…. so I have been ever since!
But like with illustration, or any art form, it is a continual learning and growth process.
Photomontage also seems to have led into the editing style you use in your film work. How did you learn to edit? Does it take a lot of time?
The first few films I made on my MA, I used iMovie on my laptop and literally just lined up one photo after another of a painting growing and changing. Then, once I got frustrated with the limitations, I decided to teach myself After Effects. Rather awkwardly, my first few attempts with the software were making animated films for AnOther Magazine and a menswear brand. So I definitely was making mistakes in public. But it’s really the only way to learn anything. I still learn new technical things on every film I make. But I am lucky enough to have a team of people who are all more experienced than me in their specific fields, whereas I still do a little of everything.
Whereas your photographic work is very precise, your painting style seems much looser. Do you enjoy the contrast?
Yeah, for sure. I have always enjoyed raw mark making against the perfection of a beauty of fashion image.
Surrealism is cited as an influence. Do you see your work as part of a surrealist tradition?
I would be extremely flattered if anyone thought that!
What’s next? Do you have unfulfilled ambitions, or new artistic areas you want to explore?
The impatience I spoke about earlier also leads to boredom easily. So I like to change things up often. On the film side of things I am working towards longer format narrative pieces. And for art, I would love to do a new sort of installation or exhibition with a brand. I also love working at huge scales – having done one 20-metre-wide collage for Sisley in Paris last year, and working on a mural for an amazing new hotel in Detroit this year. It would be fun to carry that on, and create large-scale painted works for a brand.
I am sure tomorrow I would have a different answer for you…