Design for the Stage: First Steps

By Darwin Reid Payne | Go to book overview

oriented; it is made up of personal preferences, a backlog of known facts, previous solutions to design problems (other scene designs), and prejudices. This area, depending upon the bent of the individual artist, may be traditional and conservative in nature or radical and revolutionary. This area, being subconscious for the most part, is the most difficult one for the designer to bring into use let alone master.

It is easy to understand, therefore, that the design of a stage setting can never be a simple straight-line accomplishment as the solving of a problem in mathematics might be. And, of course, one should expect the use of these areas in the design process to assume different proportions with different projects; the work done on and the thinking behind The Odd Couple will have little in common with the effort expended on Macbeth.

(One of the best explanations of how the artist's mind works and of the very nature of artistic creation itself, is contained in The Hidden Order of Art, by Anton Ehrensweig, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London. This is a difficult book to read but is nevertheless highly recommended to any student deeply concerned with his own conscious and unconscious processes as well as those of artists working in other fields. This book belongs in the serious designer's permament library and can be read many times with profit.)


§14 The Designer's Library

In the Introduction to this book, mention has already been made of the need for the designer to possess a library of research materials and pertinent texts. The list of suggested readings at the end of each section, it was noted, comprise the basis of this library, hopefully the nucleus of a larger more comprehensive one.

Most designers are (or soon become) avid collectors of books and printed materials. Of course this is understandable since the mature designer not only uses this material directly in his work, but also allows it to trigger his imagination. (Imagination, which is an indisputable part of the designer's art, has a voracious appetite and needs constant feeding. There is no doubt that many designers develop early this craving to collect visual materials.)

The designer today, however, is much more fortunate than those who started even fifteen years ago; the printing of low and medium priced paperback art books had had a tremendous growth during this period. At the same time, there has been a phenomenal interest in

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