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Print Club London / Film 4 Collaboration / Exhibition

posted by Lo Parkin June 7, 2013

Print Club London are currently curating a poster exhibition coinciding with Film 4 and Somerset House’s Summer Screen. The exciting collaboration will see hyped illustrators from both the UK & USA design & print original prints (in limited edition runs of 200) inspired by the films screened this year. I was lucky enough to interview a selection of the collaborating Artists about their pieces as they were being created for the show. Read on for interviews with Joe Wilson & Michael Gillette plus a VERY exclusive viewing Holly Wale’s Red Shoes print.

Print Club London Film4
Print Club London Film4
Print Club London Film4
Print Club London Film4


– What were the key influences from the film that you wanted to translate in your artwork?

“In the film, the balance of light and dark is captured so well, and that was something i wanted to echo in my artwork. So much of the film has this beautiful gradient of dark to light from the bottom of the scene so I wanted to try and recreate that somehow in the image.”

– Your print depicts the death scene beautifully with a haunting close up, what made you chose a close up and why do you feel it is so effective?

“I had drawn up many ideas based on other parts of the film before i settled on this, i think there was a few factors that led me to go down this route in the end.
It’s incredibly iconic and brutal and makes for such good inspiration. Plus, Toshiro Mifune is such an interesting looking guy i thought he’d be fun to draw.
i chose to go close up as we had only 2 colours to play with, therefore i wanted to cram as much line detail in as possible. I drew the original at full size so i could get the most out of it and those big blank eyes seem to draw you in to the image nicely at that size”

– Throne of Blood is one of the most celebrated adaptations of Shakespeare into film, did you draw any influence from this when creating the imagery?

“I didnt want to get too caught up in the fact that this is an adaptation of Shakespeare. I felt that Kurosawa’s version was so visually arresting there was way more than enough inspiration in that alone.”

– Your style is a hybrid of traditional and contemporary, how do you feel this was effective in translating the films narrative?

“I guess parts of my work are a nod to processes of the past, I take influences from etching and woodcuts and try to bring some of those ideas and skills into my line work. Perhaps there is some correlation in the attention to detail in my work and the attention to detail in the film that feels old or familiar yet still maintains a contemporary standing?”


– 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.”

Image 1: Joe Wilson – Throne of Blood
Image 2: Michael Gillette – Kes
Image 3: Hattie Stewart – Mean Girls
Image 4: Marco @ Print Club London printing Hattie Stewart’s piece (Photographed by Julian Love)
Image 5: EXCLUSIVE Holly Wales – Red Shoes

Lo Parkin

Lo Parkin

Freelance Illustrator & Fashion Editor at People of Print.
Lo Parkin

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