Stage design may be something we don’t pay too much attention to when watching a performance at the theatre or a music video on our phone or laptop screens, however, it’s actually an incredibly creative and fascinating profession that is a lot harder and difficult to perfect than it might initially seem.
Whether you’ve only recently gained an interest in the art of stage and sculpture design or if you’ve already had some experience with designing environments and sets for performances, chances are you have heard of undoubtedly the most famous and well-known designer out there, Es Devlin, who has recently launched a MasterClass on her sculpted immersive experiences as a large-scale artistic designer.
Now that the online class is here, it’s time to see how useful it actually is for the aspiring environment, sculpture, and stage artists.
We will now start the complete and detailed Es Devlin Masterclass review!
Who Is Es Devlin?
Whether it’s Olympic opening ceremonies, opera shows on broadway, or music videos from some of the biggest artists including Beyonce and Billie Eilish, Es Devlin has proved the extent of her cultivate creativity time and time again through designing some of the most recognizable and vibrant sets and props out there.
While Es started out preparing props for her local circus alongside her theatre studies, her creative talents were eventually noticed by theatres all around the UK for her incredible ability to blend art and technology into one to make sculptures and designs that glow with vibrance and significance.
By 2012 she was already designing the London Olympics closing ceremony before then working on the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics 4 years after.
She has also made large-scale touring stage sculptures for some of the most well-known music artists on the planet including Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce, Adele, and even the Royal Opera House.
Needless to say, Es Devlin knows all there is to learn about sculpture and stage design thanks to her huge amount of experience, which is why her MasterClass was anticipated as potentially being one of the best of its kind.
What Is Included In The Es Devlin MasterClass?
In just 15 lessons, Es Devlin gives a full in-depth insight into how she and her team tackle some of the biggest challenges when it comes to staging sculpting, and design including how to research abstract ideas, sketches, lighting, architecture, and a few of her own examples to give a first-hand example of how she has gone about designing a set or environment throughout her career.
Between the lessons are also a few handy assignments that are designed to test your knowledge and keep you immersed and engaged in each of the classes.
Alongside the 15 lessons, you also gain access to an optional 28-page PDF booklet along with a few other extra resources including an entire reading list that helps to build your knowledge even more outside of the classes.
The MasterClass is therefore tailored towards people who have an interest in sculpting immersive environments and props, even if you have limited knowledge about the profession of stage design itself.
Positive Of Es Devlin’s MasterClass
Good Mix Of Practicality And Psychology
While the practicality of stage design is obviously very important and what many of us may think first about, the psychological and intangible aspect of what is being shown is just important, after all, there’s no point in creating powerful visual stories or a sculpture or environment if it doesn’t make an audience feel any emotion.
Es knows this and manages to strike the perfect balance in each of her episodes between talking about the physical form and manual work that goes into creating a concrete form of contemporary art, before then discussing the desired effect that you hope comes as a result of it.
Great Extra Resources
Not only are there some great pre-videos to get you familiar with set design and who Es is as a person, but the 28-page PDF booklet is also packed with a tremendous amount of information that features everything you could need to know about the class, upcoming assignments and a ton of added information on topics that may not have been covered to their full extent in the sessions.
The booklet also contains a huge amount of information on contextual information such as the history of set and sculpture design, the psychology of theatre and music set design, and even an entire reading list of essential books that make this class full of content to get stuck into.
Easy To Follow Progression
Because the 15 lessons gradually rise in complexity as you get nearer to the end, it makes the course incredibly accessible and easy to follow, and with each episode only averaging 10 minutes, it means the lessons are paced incredibly well with the more basic topics such as sketching and generating turning ideas into art.
Being some of the first things you learn until you finally reach more complex topics later on such as how to take creative leadership and sustaining art designs.
With the course being just under 2 and a half hours long in length, it makes it a lot shorter than many other MasterClasses, however, this does mean that you won’t need to set aside too much time to absorb the extravagant amount of information being thrown your way in each lesson and can instead fit the sessions around your daily schedule.
Additionally, it doesn’t matter whether you are an artist, designer, video designer or even a video editor, Es makes sure to emphasize that if you regard yourself as an ‘artist’ in any way, shape, or form, then the class is can still help you advance your knowledge in many different fields.
Engaging First-Hand Examples
Es has worked with many well-known names over the years, and while many MasterClass hosts usually skim past first-hand examples as a quick reference, Es instead dedicates entire lessons to guiding viewers through how she came up with the ideas and techniques for designing sculptures and environments for certain artists such as her fascinating episode focusing on her time designing optical illusions during The Weeknd’s King of the Fall tour.
Negatives Of Es Devlin’s MasterClass
Limited Hands-On Experience
While there are practical assignments to test your knowledge during the course, they are optional and barely mentioned by Es throughout the classes.
This isn’t as much of a problem for those who may just want to watch the videos, however, the limited amount of assignments that are fairly weak in their requirements do present a missed opportunity for greater hands-on engagement after every few sessions.
No matter what kind of experience and which profession you pursuing, if you fit the title of an artist, Es Devlin’s MasterClass is the perfect way to expand your knowledge not only on stage design but on artistry in general.
You can get unlimited access to Es Devlin Masterclass if you subscribe for an annual membership with Masterclass.
The mixture of first-hand experience, examples, and informative discussion really does blend perfectly and Es always make sure to go at a slow and clear pace in each of her lessons, making the course even more accessible.
The extra resources also help to make this MasterClass well worth the money, and while the course is a little limited in its hands-on engagement, in terms of actual content, there is no one out there who can teach about artistry quite as well as Es Devlin.