Interview with Chris Boyd: Art – The Fine Art of the Digital Eye
Written by Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney.
Photograph © Artist Chris Boyd 2007.
Friday 20 March 2007.
Chris Boyd, a recent member to Transvoyeur, and a young and upcoming artist in the international art market. He is a graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University, 2006. He received the Microwave Award from Fact in 2004, the UK’s leading organisation for the development and exhibition of film, video and new media.
He won the Big Art Challenge, where he was labelled a genius by art critic Brian Sewell, the 6 part series on channel 5 was aiming to seek out the next Damien Hirst or JMW Turner with a prize of £10,000. In 2005, Boyd received a Priestley prize and provided a video in 40 artists 40 Days, a special Tate Britain project supporting London’s Olympic bid that brought the Games to Britain in 2012. He curated the Chaosmos exhibition for the Liverpool Biennial 2006.
He discusses his art and ideas that shape his work with Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney in an interview.
Sweeney: When did you first become interested in art and recognise yourself as an artist?
Boyd: I’ve always been drawing and making things since primary school, I used to sell sketches on a school bus and I remember the teachers going ape shit because I was drawing nudes.
Whilst at college I wanted to work in transport design, but then became immersed in illustration, painting and graphic design. On a foundation course I was interested in chiaroscuro and wanted to create moving paintings and so started making experimental videos and animations. I had started a Graphic Arts and Design course, unsatisfied there I went to an Interactive Arts degree. Most courses required that you specialise in a discipline where as Interactive Arts let me carry on experimenting.
During this competition I entered I was fortunate to meet Jane Wilson and Brian Sewell and they encouraged an interest in being an artist. Before then I had never given it serious thought.
Sweeney: Can you explain your art work?
Boyd: I usually find it difficult to talk about my own work, I’m often straining doing so and feel unsatisfied when I’ve tried. I’ve just graduated and feel like I’m only just starting to articulate my work.
I usually work in narrative that draws upon autobiography, psychology and mythology that mixes memory, metaphor, fact and fiction. The majority of these stories are based on creation and transformative processes that reference and / or attempt to address subjects like Transhumanism, accelerating change, drills and rituals. I enjoy experimenting creating intense or rich painterly visuals in video.
Sweeney: Your work has a strong interest in digital media? How do you research and develop a concept into a final project?
Boyd: It depends on the project. I’ve made some videos where the post production processes are as much apart of the subject and in others I’ve disguised them as much as I could. I’ve been teaching myself about what’s possible with digital video and animation. I’ve been learning how to use various compositing programmes, so I can test ideas first and develop them or wait until there’s an opportunity or for the right technology to try them. On a commercial commission there’s a whole load of compromises and restrictions a form goes through. On a form structured to music I would interpret lyrics, emotion and movement and dissect the track into graphs and charts then go about the usually process of storyboarding. I make other drawings which aren’t necessarily storyboards but me planning out compositions and loading my images info.
Sweeney: What artists have inspired you and why?
Boyd: At college I saw Lynch’s Eraserhead, Greenaway’s The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover and Blade Runner. These films all blew me away and inspired me to work in moving image and sound. Also at the time I had a head full of Caravaggio, Goya and Francis Bacon and was steering to a fine art path over design. I was interested in science fiction, romanticism, expressionism and angst ridden work. Before starting Interactive Arts they had sent out handbooks to prepare the students for the course, in it were some of Joseph Beuys ideas. A little googling got me interested in his use of materials, transformations of substances and narrative etc, his language became useful for my thinking at the time. I was recalling times I spent with family in the Philippines where I saw how important materials and significant preparations were to rituals. As a kid I used to mimic these whilst playing games, so it felt like a natural development to incorporate them into a vocabulary as they’ve been swimming around in my head for a while. Maya Deren’s films, Anselm Kiefer and some of the usual suspects Da Vinci, Titian, Michelangelo and Bernini. Lee Bul’s work on the cult of technology. Mariko Mori for combinations of the spiritual and science.
Sweeney: What subjects shape and influence your work and how?
Boyd: I think I’ve covered some of this in trying to explain my art work. I’m as much interested in covering a range of emotions and exploring my own head as working with subjects and themes.
I’m interested in Ray Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns which is a proposed extension of Moore’s law which describes an exponential growth in computing. Transhumanist thinkers speaks of progression and improvement of the human condition and our desires and possibilities for humanity to enter a post evolutionary phase of existence.
Sweeney: What motivates you to create through digital media?
Boyd: An interest in technological innovation and the possibilities of making my imagination real.
Sweeney: Do you use any other media as research source or in production of your art?
Boyd: Most lens based media, models, sculptures, drawing, matte paintings and prosthetics.
When researching I devise relevant experiments like cymatic tests. Cymatics is the study of waves and how sound manifests into form in various materials. I collect sound recordings of various textures etc.
Sweeney: What do you plan for the future as an artist in your professional practice?
Boyd: Make experimental short videos and other work in projects that involve a range of media. I just want to learn my craft basically.
Sweeney: What are the positive and negative experiences of being an artist?
Boyd: I’m too inexperienced to have much of an opinion. I guess the economic realities as I‘m working in a costly medium. Regarding my practice I would say that my methods in video and post production demands much more of my time and concentration then it would with other media.
Sweeney: What do you want to be remembered for?
Boyd: Good work I guess.
Further information on Boyd’s work can be viewed at:
For future events Boyd is involved with Transvoyeur: