I recently read an article on, It’s Nice That, that included an interview from set designer Gary Card on the importance of being a chameleon.
The key message that I took away from the article was adaptability is essential and a very large part of the territory for a set designer. Card explains that, “Every day is completely different. It’s a great thing being a set designer: you’re constantly making new things, you’re constantly shifting.” The idea of being a chameleon is centred on being able to apply a brand new set of skills to each job.
I enjoyed looking through the images of Card’s studio; it is cluttered, disorganised and littered with the remains of past projects. I was surprised when I read that Card and his team usually have about three jobs on the go at once which might explain the chaos!
The interview opened my eyes to the two worlds of a set designer: the detached, slick, mathematical process of designing in 3D, using a computer program, and oppositely, the messy art of making. I admire Card’s desire to adapt and learn new skills. He alternates between the drawing and illustrations side to working with a massive set team.
I got the impression that being a set designer is constantly manic, which both delights and infuriates in separate minutes. Being able to adapt to the clients brand image and brief is essential and I can image that it is this that makes the job both frustrating and fun.
When looking through Card’s portfolio I was most intrigued by his extremely creative 100 figurative sculptures made out of masking tape. There was everything from headpieces to props to set pieces. This is definitely a unique skill! I was unsure at first whether I liked the sculptures, however I have come to appreciate the folds and movement the media creates.
Overall, I appreciate how passionate Card is about his work and that he is not afraid to constantly change and alter his working style to fit a brief or new project.