… I point you to a little video, a four minute ‘shout’ for a documentary from film-maker Pete Telfer at Culture Colony. I hate seeing myself on film and squirm when confronted with how I look and sound. But Pete was a regular and gentle presence in the studio when first we arrived here, and over the succeeding months he quietly followed me around as I went about the business of preparing for the exhibition Saints and their Beastsat MoMA Wales while simultaneously settling in at Ty Isaf. (The filming began less than a week after Peter and I had moved into the house.) In the full-length documentary Pete is never on screen, but off-camera he and his partner Swsi were unceasingly insightful and thorough with their questions, though always gentle and respectful. (Swsi is also a puppet-maker and puppeteer, and so has a deep understanding of my use of maquettes, which are very similar to shadow-puppets. She asked all the right questions about this aspect of my work, as is evident in the clip.)
On occasion when Pete spent hours filming me as I painted, I completely forgot he was there. For a tall man he has the gift of being able to vanish into any background when behind the camera, a great attribute for a fly-on-the-wall film-maker! He also has the knack of being silent for long periods behind the camera, but then softly asking a question so discreetly and intimately that it never interrupted my flow of work, but almost came like a whisper from inside my own head. In a world where interviewers are frequently aggressive, loud and in a tearing hurry, his subtlety is a master-class in putting the subject at ease. And of course, it means he gets all the answers!
Those of you who have seen the photographs of my studio as it is now (posted here) will be surprised at how spartan it appears in the film, before the easel had arrived and before I’d unpacked the crates of paints, brushes and books.
UPDATE 7.45 am. 25/01/10
Painting Without a Safety Harness: a documentary about Clive Hicks Jenkins by Pete Telfer.
The four-minute clip was available yesterday by clicking the link I provided to the site, but today the promo had been removed and is currently available, along with the full-length 40 minute documentary, only to pay-to-view Culture Colony subscribers. I’ll check and find out whether there may be some way of viewing the promo alone without subscribing.