Recent WAAPA Graduate and rising star Tyler Hill makes his Black Swan debut as Set and Costume Designer for Endgame. Tyler has said that he is 'interested in exploring the unseen perspectives of the bush, suburbia, and cities in Australia...(and is) heavily influenced by an abstraction of Western Australia focusing on Beckett's reference to a surrounding 'desert' and in heightening that ambiguity.' Tyler will offer a sneak-peek at Open Day, delivering a design presentation 'From Page to Stage'. See below for a recent Q&A with Tyler, sharing his upbringing in regional WA town of Paraburdoo and his inspiration to study Design.
With a background in fine art and architecture, what inspired you to study Design at WAAPA?
I saw the Design course at WAAPA as an opportunity to combine my experience in fine art, architecture, and storytelling. From my childhood growing up in Paraburdoo, through high school and into now my early twenty’s I have always been sketching and painting my surroundings and ideas, I think it was a perfect fit as the course is both theory and hands on. As a child I remember watching my mum making wind chimes from sticks and shells from trips in Exmouth and being a big fan of furniture rearranging. Funny enough I think this is where the idea of ‘creating’ began. I come from a family of open minded straight forward thinkers this is something I want to continue through my career as a Designer. From day one at WAAPA my focus was pursuing a career as a Designer. This involved juggling my studies with assisting and meeting with a mix of designers in the industry who’s work I admired.
What do you love about your job?
Meeting and working with a mix of people and companies, working in supportive and constructive workplaces and making big breakthrough. Where there is the opportunity having the chance to merge traditional and modern technologies to tell stories.
Do you think your fine art and architecture background influences the way you look at set and costumes?
I think both areas introduced me into the world of design and are of great passion even so more after finishing at WAAPA. Whenever a project calls for these influences I'll draw from my growing library of books for research. I do have favourite styles and artists, but I try to remove this when initially designing. My interests may not necessarily be cohesive with the context and function of the work.
Do you have a particular aesthetic or ideas that inform your work?
I’ve learnt to prioritise process and function over aesthetic. I focus on creating a world based on my response and exploration of the work with the director and fellow creatives. I try to challenge my own response and decisions through the creative process. Currently, I am interested in exploring the unseen perspectives of the bush, suburbia, and cities in Australia through furthering my understanding of our land, our history, our privileges, and our flaws, while bringing new perspective to unfamiliar works whether new or a classic.
You're currently working on Endgame for Black Swan. Can you take us through your creative process from when you receive a job and brief, to production day?
I met with Andrew while still finishing my studies last year at WAAPA when he asked me to come on board. Endgame will be heavily influenced by an abstraction of Western Australia focusing on Beckett’s reference to a surrounding ‘desert’ and heightening the ambiguity typical in his work. Every designers process is different and not to be compared. For me I need to read the play multiple times to understand the work, the context, and my response. I’ll then work with the director, other creatives unraveling the work developing a design through sketching, painting, models and extensive research. The design process continues with costings and changes to make the vison work within the scope and producing final models, set and costume drawings for construction, fittings and rehearsals.
What are your strongest memories growing up in Paraburdoo?
The red dirt. As a child my clothes were covered in it and I loved it and I miss it, I was even known to eat it. Not on purpose of course...The community was immensely strong with swimming training at the local pool and tee-ball on the weekends. Riding everywhere, the heat, the surrounding rich landscape and the adventures out of town I believe all played part in my creative pathway.
What do you love about WA?
That we are west! Yes we are far from the eastern states why should that matter! Look at the success of Boorna Waanginy and all the Western Australian artists involved! Distance shouldn’t restrict creativity. There is so much potential for interstate and international companies and creatives to develop relationships with us and vice versa.
Image: State Theatre Centre of WA Open Day by Rebecca Mansell.