NEW YORK, NY -- thaloTV learns how set/interior designer uses art background in her work.
One of the arrows in Lydia Marks’ quiver for movie set design work is her extensive art background and keen knowledge of art history. The set designer on such films as “The Devil Wears Prada,” both “Sex in the City” movies, and many others, points out that artwork on walls is underappreciated, but frequently crucial to motion picture design.
“You often have to hang art on film sets, and that is a big challenge,” she told thaloTV during a recent conversation at the New York custom furniture design firm of Martin Albert Interiors, a company where she frequently collaborates. “You look for artwork that will become very prominent in the frame. So having a knowledge of art history is very important [for making such decisions].”
Marks certainly has a full-range knowledge of art, and she uses it every day as a designer. Since learning photography at the Packer Collegiate Institute and fine arts at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University in Boston, she has gone on to design sets for dozens of motion pictures, TV shows, and commercials. And with her partner, Lisa Frantz, she also operates a high-profile interior design firm in New York called Marks & Frantz.
The journey she took to get to the interior design world emanated out of Marks’ realization of the fact that a designer is responsible for creating “a whole atmosphere and a feeling and a character for people based on what they surround themselves with. All that thinking about people in their environments led me to eventually become a set decorator.”
And so, Marks became expert in the use of color in design, and the notion of applying color and other elements to the specific nature of her client or subject. Take the “Sex in the City” films, for example.
“The colors of the [environments] of each character have to be individual to the character,” she explains. “So the Samantha character might have chrome accents [in her home] and Sarah Jessica Parker might have warmer brass accents in her apartment.”
There is an added bonus to being a set designer, she adds: she gets to “shop and shop and shop in order to please a whole variety of people [on a production].”
“I can come to a place like [Martin Albert Interiors] and talk about draperies and custom furniture and take pictures and then come at the end of the day back with maybe 300 pictures for one room, sorting through them with fabrics,” she says with a smile. “That is how you make places feel real, and not just ‘designed.’ ”
You can learn more about Lydia Marks from her thaloTV interview below.