Sitting languorously in her brand new Kentish Town home, wearing her boyfriend’s blue shirt and not a scrap of makeup, 31-year-old Quentin Jones radiates the good life glow. A prolific film maker, illustrator and photographer, best known for collaborating with high-end fashion brands (including Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Victoria Beckham) her taut mind boasts both academic prowess (she read Philosophy at Cambridge) and a graphic, artistic discipline (she also completed a Master’s in illustration at Central Saint Martins).
Born in Toronto, but raised from the age of five in Primrose Hill, she also possesses a pair of blade sharp cheekbones which helped her make a lucrative living as a model in her late teens and early 20’s. Add in a cucumber cool North London attitude (‘it’s not that I don’t give a shit, but growing up in Camden stops you from taking anything too seriously,’ she says) and it’s little wonder this brains, beauty and balls combo has so captivated the fashion industry’s biggest labels.
Whether it’s a black and white collage combining new season catwalk wares, Cara Delevingne and a pair of cat’s ears or a surrealist film dissecting Miley Cyrus’ nearly naked body, the result of Quentin’s work is always raw, feminine and attractively unhinged . ‘I often pull apart faces and try to put them back together again. I love animals – but you have to be careful – cat’s faces fit in a way that doesn’t look grotesque. Whereas if you were to cut a dog’s face with a human’s and hand it to a fashion brand, they’d be like, ‘Ok, cool. You’ve just made our model look like a monster’. If you’re described as catlike or birdlike, it’s a compliment whereas doglike or cowlike…-Not so much.’
Her lo-fi, mixed media approach to digital branding is immediately distinctive in part, she thinks, because, ‘the work is often viewed on screens. To have something that feels tactile on a screen is appealing - particularly when the trend is for everything becoming slicker and quicker. Seeing paper rip in that context has been where a lot of my success has come from.
Seven months into her first pregnancy and still putting in intense 10 hour days in her studio, aside from her talent and immediately identifiable style, it’s Quentin’s work ethic that has catapulted her to international success. ‘My dad has always worked incredibly hard and it inspired us (Quentin is one of a fused family of six siblings) to do the same. He’s 75 and still has his own architectural practise which does very well. He also taught me that in creative fields you should never be worried about how many peers you have or what they’re doing, because the cream always rises to the top.’
Quentin also credits her parents with defining the early boundaries of her taste, ‘Both of my parents are architects and have always had modernist things in their house. I also think part of my taste is down to my personality – I’m a really impatient person, so I’m drawn to work which you can see has been done quickly. I need a pace or my mind just wanders.’
But it’s not all graft – indeed Quentin espouses the importance of visceral pleasure and balance in her lifestyle. ‘Making time for good food and wine and exercise is so key. It would feel like a massive injustice to work through dinner so it happens very rarely and only in moments of total panic.’ Cooking is a passion– but she advocates simple soul food over fancy trimmings. ‘In the morning I make porridge with cashew nut butter, banana and maple syrup – which makes getting out of bed pretty exciting.’ Post-baby, she’s also looking forward to getting back into the rhythm of her yoga practise, ‘I do a lot of classes at a nearby tri-yoga centre, it’s just simple, no frills but it’s amazing.’
While Quentin says she doesn’t keep up with the vicissitudes of fashion (‘I definitely don’t watch all the shows or pay attention to ‘must-have’ pieces’), her sense of style has seen her attract glossy magazine editorials as well as many a party invitation. ‘Right now I’m just trying to work out what I can fit into in the morning,’ she laughs gesturing at her neat bump, ‘but usually I’m a sucker for party dresses and boots. I’ve amassed lots of really extravagant dresses and shelves of boots – usually black leather and flat. I also obsess over winter coats every year. I feel like I’ve got all the classics I need, so this time I might go full-on with a brightly coloured fur – something really unnecessary.'
As for aspirations, Ms Jones has her eye on exploring long-length film and working with talented actors. ‘I’m making baby steps into exploring narratives and it would be nice to step out of purely doing fashion projects. I want to use my techniques to tell a story now rather than to just paint a picture.’ And who wouldn’t want to hear what she has to say?