Tag Archives: Grabmusik

From Concept to Completion for Tyson Vick’s Mozart Photography Project!

19 Jan

Well, I’ve Run Out of Costumes to show you. Over the past three months I have shared nearly every costume I created for my photographic illustrations of Mozart’s Operas. There are three or four pieces hiding in the closet somewhere that I’d like to dig out and photograph for you guys, but then I will have showed you everything!

While this project is getting ready to be compiled and put together in a book, I wanted to show you how it all began!

One day I was walking home from the library after looking for some Mozart Operas to get through the inter-library loan, and I thought, “Hmmm. Maybe I could illustrate my favorite parts of these operas through photography!”

When I got home I drew some sketches on my opera list, which you can see below!

The first thing ever put on paper for my Mozart Photography Project.

The first thing ever put on paper for my Mozart Photography Project.

And after ten years, that list turned into this:

Half of the finished photographs all put together in a collage.

Half of the finished photographs all put together in a collage.

In the image above you can see a little over half of all of the photos I took to illustrate the operas of Mozart! You’ll have to squint, but you can even make out that two of the initial sketches seen in the top sketch image were brought to life and can be seen in the final grid of photographs– lol, it’s a lot of work but on the top image, far right sketch row, second box down (guy blowing away in wind) is the design for row 1 column 5 in the photo set. In the sketch far right, bottom, image of lady with severed head can be seen in the photos row three column 3.

Isn’t that fun to see an idea come to fruition?

Be sure to subscribe to this blog, because now you will start getting all of the information on the books progress! You’ll get to see some of the final photos, and the beautiful costumes, hair and make-up — both Historical and Fantastical! There are also a few costumes left to share with you once I get them photographed! These are exciting times!


Grabmusik – Angel Costume

15 Dec

Grabmusik is a very early work by a young Mozart. It means “Funeral Music” in English, and tells the brief story of a newly departed soul being guided to heaven by an Angel.

I chose to illustrate this short piece early on when I was considering illustrating all of Mozarts works, but this is one of the only non-operatic pieces that got the photo treatment in the end.

The Angel 

The Angel wears a beautifully detailed white corset with numerous bridal style details, as well as an expensive and flowy silk chiffon chemise.

Grabmusik by Tyson Vick

Grabmusik by Tyson Vick (Models: Natasha, Dillan)

Once again, the details of the costume I made do not show up in the final image, which is something I learned to plan around late in my photo taking (I’ve been at this for ten years). However, the corset is made of white and ivory dupioni silk.

Vanessa Genieva Williams models my corset for Etsy.

Vanessa Genieva Williams models my corset for Etsy.

The corset features so many things I got on clearance in the bridal section. There are appliques, frogs, trim and lace. The white and ivory silks, which don’t really show up in these images, alternate, and the fabric over the bust is pleated.

Bridal Corset fully spread out.

Bridal Corset fully spread out.

The bridal trim at the top of the corset is beaded and has sequins which matches the appliques.

Bridal Corset front details.

Bridal Corset front details.

This was the third corset I ever made, and I was playing around with different ways to add detailing to an already existent structure. The corset itself is entirely a Rococo corset, with no alteration, underneath the fancy facade.

Close up of the details, pleating, frogs and applique.

Close up of the details, pleating, frogs and applique.

The boning in the corset is snap steel, and I believe it is actually too heavily boned to be comfortable. The bones have very little give, and so while it supports very well, if the model doesn’t fit exactly into it, it can press uncomfortably on the ribs which is an unwanted effect. The corset is too solidly put together to replace the boning, though, without lots of effort, and so I have a hard time deciding whether to sell this on Etsy or keep it because of all the work I put into it.

Vanessa Genieva Williams in the corset.

Vanessa Genieva Williams in the corset.

You’ll pardon these terrible pictures of this chemise. My camera was having an off day, and the light was low outside and the kitchen light must have also been on because they have a horrible green cast from one side and an awful cyan cast from the other. But, this is the Chemise.

Silk Chemise worn under the corset.

Silk Chemise worn under the corset.

Yikes. I don’t even want to show you this picture, so I’m sorry, but that’s the only one I have of the whole chemise. I need a better one before I try to sell it, because it is so soft and flowy and made from $90/yard fabric. I just know it can find a home if it’s marketed on my Etsy shop correctly.

If you like getting costume updates, please subscribe to my blog! I’m hard at work on the book of my Mozart Illustrations, and can’t wait to share more updates soon!

Grabmusik – Duet Video

21 Dec

A few posts back I wrote about the inspiration for my Grabmusik photos.

Today, I would like to share a video featuring the duet from Grabmusik that I chose to illustrate. This entire Mozart project is about music, and also how the music of Mozart inspires the images that I try to bring to life, so I hope you will enjoy seeing the images paired with the songs that inspired them.

Grabmusik Inspired by Moreau, Art Deco

5 Dec

Mozart’s “Grabmusik” (Funeral Music), is a short German religious cantata*.

It is told that the Archbishop didn’t believe that the 11 year old Mozart was capable of composing all those mature sounding pieces of music. He believed Mozart’s father was secretly writing for Mozart and trying to market his son as more of a prodigy than he actually was! So, the Archbishop put Mozart to the test, locking him in a room with pen and ink, and giving the young boy the task of writing a completely original cantata. The result was the delightful Grabmusik.

Story-wise the cantata is a dialogue between a recently departed Soul and an Angel, with a chorus of Angels at the end.

Although something called “Funeral Music” might strike a newb as probably sounding heartbreaking or harrowing (like Mozart’s Requiem), because Mozart was so young, this cantata is actually quite pretty, with lengthy melodies and lovely ascending, intertwining vocal lines — like an angel in flight!

Grabmusik by Tyson Vick

Grabmusik by Tyson Vick (Models: Natasha, Dillan)

When illustrating “Grabmusik”, I was inspired by the paintings of Gustav Moreau*.

Moreau often used the vertical height of a space, flowy fabrics, sexy bodies, backgrounds with huge depth, tiny distant mountain towns and various celestial bodies dotting the skies in his artwork. I wanted to reflect this in my image of Grabmusik. My idea was to have the angel guiding the soul to heaven.

I was inspired particularly by his beautiful “Hesiod and the Muse” painting, and the background of “Saint George” (and the Dragon! You can see the princess in the background praying, and even farther in the distance is the fantastic Lord of the Rings style city that Saint George was protecting.)

Moreau, Mozart Project Photo comparison

Moreau’s “Hesiod”, a detail from “Saint George”, and a crescent moon detail from “Evening Sorrow” and finally my photograph. Note the many similarities!

Saint George Kicks a Dragon's Ass.

Saint George Kicks a Dragon's Ass. Una prays on a hill in the back instead of helping. What a nut!

Before any of my photographic choices were made, however, I needed to make costumes! I wanted the angel to be clothed in the most beautiful, luscious fabrics available. I also wanted to make a fairly complex, stylistic 18th century corset, with an Art Deco Theme.

My grandmother balked at the thought of making a chemise out hundreds of dollars worth of White silk chiffon, but as you can see from the pictures, the beautiful floaty sleeves and train really sell the angelic qualities of the angel! My grandmother even helped me optimize the cutting area, which left us with only a small triangle and a thin strip of remnant, making it the most cost effective use of expensive fabric I’ve ever managed.

The Angel’s corset is an intricate use of Ivory and White dupioni silk, lace, Bridal Satin and beaded bridal appliques. While the corset isn’t seen in its full complexity in my final image, I do have some pictures of what it looks like.

This Corset is available for sale from my Etsy shop.

The full front view of the angel's corset.

Here is the top front detail of the Art Deco Corset, where you can see the pleating and beaded appliques.

This is a detail of the applique and frog on the side front of the corset.

At the Joann’s Fabrics store they were having a clearance on bridal appliques when I was making these outfits, which is why I utilized them so thoroughly. Good looking appliques are both hard to find and expensive to purchase, so I generally use them very sparingly.

I drew a sketch of how I was going to lay out the fabrics before I started pleating and overlaying the silks and lace.  This particular corset is boned with steel.

The Soul in the image (the guy with the angel) is wearing Cotton Gauze (which is just an awesome looking and feeling fabric) draped around his waist, and body oil.

The models, Natasha and Dillan, were great to work with. They are brother and sister, and so they got along really easily. Their mother helped by using the reflector board. The only issue was that the corset made Natasha a little light-headed, with the heat of the light and the tightly laced corset.

  • A cantata, defined fairly literally, means something that is sung — which is pretty broad. But generally Cantatas are religious in nature, and alternate between Arias, Recitatives and small Ensembles.
  • Gustave Moreau (1826 – 1898) was a French Symbolist painter, but unlike some symbolist painters, you can actually look at one of his paintings and tell what’s going on! He has absolutely no connection to Mozart, whatever.
  • Visit my Etsy shop to view or contemplate buying this lovely Art Deco Corset.