Tuesday, April 3, 2007

"The Trash Sisters" band

Fun project made up by my professor Alan. I enjoyed eating snacks to provide trash for my artwork. : P I liked using an old paper bag as my backdrop too. Yes, I am environmentally-conscious too!

"From Dust Thou Art"

This was my first design assignment at UCLA, based on a compilation of many writings from the Dust Bowl era. So the characters in the play said things that were written by different people who went through the westward migration during the Dust Bowl. Set in the 30s, the experiences of these people were far from glamorous--they underwent harsh conditions to follow their dreams to make a better life in California.

Because of this shared experience, my design concept was that all of these characters would share similar fabrics that would be made into their clothes. I very much enjoyed the details of the wear and tear of their clothes. Hope you enjoy them too. Perhaps one day this play could be realised.

"King Lear"

This was one of my last projects at UCLA, and my 2 classmates and I had the privilege of consulting with Brian Kite, a fine director at UCLA, to create our unique designs for the play. It was difficult for me to get into the story at first, so finally, after much thought to the story, I decided to go back to my roots and place King Lear in the Qing Dynasty, since Lear reminded me so much of the fierce Shihuangdi (Qing Emperor), whose stories I grew up hearing, and fearing. This take afforded me the opportunity to learn so much about Chinese history, since I hadn't taken any classes prior to this. Also, my mom got excited about my project and found a handful of historical figures from the same time period who somehow had similar personalities or relationships to each other--I ended up using their names for the other players in the story.

The project enabled me to get back into Chinese brush-painting, but I hadn't really painted people before--I only knew how to do the brush writing in 1st & 2nd grade back in Taiwan. Anyway, it was challenging but I'm pleased with the results.

Here are a few paintings I did on authentic rice paper (very different from watercolor paper, esp with the Chinese watercolor I used, the renderings came out very much muted).

"Beaux' Stratagem"

This was my second show at UCLA, and my first 18th century production. Set in the early 18th century (1707), and written by George Farquar, this was a really fun piece. Joe Olivieri, the director, actually liked the silhouette of the later 18th century, so ended up pushing it back to circa 1760s. We ended up recutting a lot of pre-existing supposedly 18th century gowns to make the period look absolutely correct. Thanks to Maxwell Barr at UCLA, who practically builds 18th c. gowns for museums, the result was breathtaking.

I did a lot of research and learned a great deal about the mannerisms of that period. It was a little stressful though, because I was planning for my wedding at that time, and was literally juggling alterations on my gown and alterations on the show! Not to mention I got rear-ended on the freeway in the midst of all this...talk about stress! Well, if anything, I learned that if I can survive planning a wedding and doing a full-on period show while getting my accident taken care of, I can handle anything!

Some sketches:


Mrs. Sullen

The Thieves, Bagshot and Hounslow

Mr. Sullen

This is an example of a "Color Plot" that I usually put together to show the director the overall palette for the entire show, esp when the cast is large. I also bring copies of the color plot with me to swatch for fabrics.

Life Drawing with Marker

I took a life drawing class at UCLA my last quarter with Jacquline Wazir, and fell in love with marker rendering. It's so fast, esp b/c you can't really go back and fix anything you don't like. Once you put the marker down on paper, that's it!
note: Probably my favorite model--Jackie always said curvy models are the best to draw. It's true! This one was probably a 10 minute pose.

This was my homework assignment--finding a photo in a magazine and sketching it out. It was intimidating at first b/c I didn't know if I would be able to capture the photo quite right, but I think it turned out well. :)

"The Matchmaker"

This is a beautifully written story that the famous musical "Hello Dolly" was based on. I loved doing the research on the 1880s, where the silhouettes changed so much. I also loved the texture of all the fabrics I found for the costumes.

Monday, April 2, 2007

"The Last Mass at St. Casimir's"

This is the last production I designed costumes for. I love the story--it is beautifully written by Tom Dudzick, with a lot of humor as well as depth. Set in 1977 during the blizzard in Buffalo, NY, "Last Mass" tells the story of the Pazinski family who find themselves stuck in the house together during the storm. It is directed by Glenn Casale. The show opened on June 1st, 2007, at La Mirada Theater, CA.
Production Photos are finally in!

This is the color palette that I painstakingly rendered using Photoshop, which I'm still an amateur at (should have studied graphic arts as well).

Rough sketches for some of the characters, including research inspiration collages.


I was so excited to have gotten the opportunity to design "Proof" with Brian Kite, one of my favorite directors. I also have a personal attachment to the story b/c the story is based in Evanston, IL, and the leading lady Catherine goes to Northwestern Univ, where I got my bachelor's from! In fact, this was the first design project I received while at NU. It was a blast, and the cast was incredible.

This show ran from October 13th~29th, 2006, at La Mirada Theater, CA, and received rave reviews in the L.A. Times. Way to go gang!
Some Production Photos:

Some quick marker renderings:

Oh, and this is what I usually make for a show that has many costume changes. It's called a "Color Plot". It's a tool for me to communicate to the director my ideas of color progression throughout, as well as see how each character's colors work with other ones on stage at the same time. It's just quickly painted 4" thumbnails of my designs, taped onto an illustration board. But this one prob got tossed out at the fitting room area! : 0 Ah well...at least I got a picture of it.