MICHAEL GILLETTE – KES
- What were the key influences from the film that you wanted to translate in your artwork?
“I love Kes- it’s a film that has stayed with me for a long time, such a genuine and unpretentious piece of cinema. I wanted to capture the hope for freedom the kestrel represents, and Billy’s probable fate. The football match is such a memorable scene, his gymnastics on the goal post reveal his talents, but you see how authority is blind to his potential in every direction.
Stylistically there’s a nod to the Mai ’68 protest posters of which the film is kindred in spirit. I wanted it to be solid and proletarian, perfect for screenprint.”
- You’ve translated the relationship between Billy and his kestrel beautifully; can you explain how you came to visualize this?
“He really comes alive with Kes, The kestrel is such a vital part of him it just seemed a natural solution.”
- I think you’ve done a fantastic job communicating the elements of tragedy and sadness in the film through Billy’s face which is subtle but powerful – was this something you were conscious of doing when creating the artwork?
“Well, thankyou! David Bradley is amazing as Billy, his face is so understatedly expressive.
I drew him 3 times fairly large and quickly with a chinese brush and ink and picked the most spontaneous. One of them, academically, was a better likeness but lacked the pathos and simplicity. I wanted the execution of the poster to match the spirit of the making of the film, natural and unpolished- real.”
- Your work is famously associated with Britt Pop & culture which seems very fitting for the cultural setting of the film, how do you feel your personal interests / style was effective in translating the film’s narrative visually?
“I have a good understanding of Kes. My knowledge of the 60s extends well beyond the swinging cliches. Kes really reveals what the decade was like for swathes of the country. I grew up in Swansea and my mum says “The 60s” didn’t happen there. My great grandfather was a miner in South Wales, his wife died when I was 13, so I remember our visits to her home in nearby Neath- all back alleys, outside toilets and Saturday afternoon wrestling on T.V. I’m familiar with the territory so I hope that I’ve done it justice.”