frank lebon is the man you need to see about a dog

The artist and filmmaker spent the day interviewing Billy, his latest muse, a furry four legged family friend, and the inspiration for Frank's first narrative film, LEAD

by Frank Lebon
12 May 2017, 10:44pm

For his latest creative endeavour, British artist and filmmaker Frank Lebon was inspired by a family friend's dog called Billy. LEAD follows the journey of a dog, who after witnessing a fatal stabbing, gets separated from his owner. With his lead trailing behind him, the dog runs off into the night, roaming the streets of south London, where he encounters a host of different characters. Moving between black and white and a silent story telling and colourful abstract dream sequences, LEAD marks Frank's first ever venture into narrative film, and a first time working with a crew.

Lacking training, another dog ended up being used to make the film, but to make up for it Frank spent the day with Billy, taking his portrait and philosophising on the meaning of life. Here's how it went...

Frank: Hello Billy, as a dog living in London, how safe do you feel?
Billy poos on ground. He doesn't look up at me as though he shamefully knows I need to pick it up


Would you say you are lost if you're not with your owner? Or if you don't recognise where you are?
Billy sniffs then picks up disgusting bit of chicken bone with his mouth...

If your owner was dead or missing would you be overcome with sadness and/or fear?
Billy lays down, as though about to sleep but his eyes are open, looking straight into mine...

I believe you love me as I love you, is this really the case? Or am i just projecting my own emotions?
Billy suddenly tries to bolt after a cat but is stopped by the leash he's attached to...

You have always been good at making me ask myself fairly philosophical questions, even inspiring me to make films and images on dogs. you have featured in two of my films and inspired this one. do you believe it is possible to tell a story worth telling through a subject which has no proper form of communication? and potentially only one interesting emotion, animal instinct?
Billy obediently walking on heel by my side, I stop to take his picture and he looks everywhere that isn't towards me or my camera...

I'm sad you didn't star in this film, you just lacked the training... though even with the training it's next to impossible to use a dog as a subject. I'm far too reliant on what other people think about my work... Billy, did you enjoy the film?
Billylying on my lap, in the middle of a crowded tube, Billy start to lick his own balls...


Text and photography Frank Lebon

Frank Lebon