Flint Watches are proud to present 'Flint Features'. A fresh content series exploring the work of artists & designers in the capital.
In our first feature, we caught up with Hubert Cecil of CecilBoyd to discuss their latest exhibition 'Phantasmagoria'. The mixed media painting and photography series, comprising the collaboration of William Boyd & Hubert Cecil. The pair combine this with some smart lighting effects, to produce a unique series centred around the exploration of identity.
The series depicts a range of young female artists, designers, models, actors and entrepreneurs including Elliot Sailors, India James, Bella Yentob, Sibylla Phipps, Joanna Vanderpuije and Idina Moncrieffe.
How did you and Will meet?
We were aware of each other and on hugging terms at parties when I was newly in London fresh(ish) from university in Manchester when he asked me to photograph some of his paintings for his website before they went to clients. I had recently taken some tasteful black and white shots which he liked and we began our friendship based on mutual creative respect. Over the following days and weeks we spent a lot of time talking and exchanging ideas. That fell into trying some of them out.
Can you explain the CecilBoyd process?
We start talking about the picture we want to make by discussing our subject and the aesthetic we want to cultivate. We then talk about the kind of pattern or scene that Will is going to paint with some sketching and references involved. He paints it and we set a date for the shoot, making sure all the heads involved can make it. Most of them have been where i live in W12 with a couple of exceptions.
Whats your background?
Art history and photography mainly. I have been a photographer for a few years and did some assisting and archiving for Alex Bramall and Mario Testino respectively.
Where did you cut your teeth?
At Manchester, I satisfied a passing interest in my degree and otherwise was taking shots of my friends at play in a variety of settings. I would say I used those three years as an opportunity to get my eye in.
How do you achieve the technique?
Its a double exposure thing, to reveal more would be indiscreet.
How long did it take to construct each piece?
The series overall took 2 years and 7 months from inception to completion. That length of time was punctuated by periods of inaction because Will or I had gone somewhere literally or figuratively. The individual pieces varied, one or two of the paintings were done overnight or in a handful of days. Others were more involved and took more layering, detailing and the like.
Which piece did you enjoy creating the most and which posed the greatest challenge?
That's a difficult question to answer because each picture required the same degree of emotional investment. We had one or two that we couldn't include because one or two of the many elements involved didn't come through and it let the whole image down. As a result each one holds an equal status in my mind. Having said that, 'Follow Me' required some thought and rehashing with new models and new ideas because we discovered the reflective element in the white paint interferes with how the light distributes itself.
How did you achieve the digital element to the exhibition?
Each light-box has an integrated circuit board which controls the movement of the lights. For upcoming work we are thinking of maximising the potential of the tech side of things.
Have you thought about creating an interactive live experience around such installations in the future?
Yes, more on that later..
As you have employed two different media, what other collaborations do you admire by artists historically?
I like Gilbert and George.
What art/photography do you most identify with?
I love the epic scale and allegorical themes of Jacques-Louis David's neo classical history painting but I am receptive to all creative works as some testament or other to the immense variety possible in the human soul.
Phantasmagoria is on at the Chelsea Arts Club until the 24th October 2017.
All images © CecilBoyd