Tag Archives: Opera

Go Behind the Scenes with the Costume Sketches and Concept Art of Tyson Vick’s Photographic Mozart Illustrations

2 Feb

Whenever I take photos with big concepts, I start with concept art and costume sketches. Usually these aren’t so detailed that someone else can interpret them, but they are detailed enough for me to remember what I feel the need to include in an image. There are three types of art I can potentially do in order to help conceive my vision.

1. Costume Sketches

2. Concept Art

3. Thumbnails 

I use these three types of art to help me develop my ideas into costumes, find models and locations and compose images.


 

First up is a set of thumbnails I drew up for my illustrations of Ascanio in Alba. Interestingly, while I did photograph these things, I did not use any of these ideas in my final photograph.

Ascanio in Alba concept sketches

Ascanio in Alba concept thumbnails

Next is a sketch for Fiordiligi’s costume from the opera “Cosi Fan Tutte”. This character dresses up in her boyfriends military uniform.

Fiordiligi costume art for Cosi Fan Tutte

Fiordiligi costume art for Cosi Fan Tutte

Der Stein der Weisen was a fun opera to bring to life through illustration. Set in a fantastical Asian world, there was a lot to play with.

Der stein der Weisen concept sketch for Genie

Der stein der Weisen concept sketch for Genie

My genie is based off of Buddha and the maidens vying for his bird’s attention were drawn from Chinese inspiration.

Der Stein der Weisen costume concept for maiden

Der Stein der Weisen costume concept for maiden

The thumbnail below is followed by the image I produced.

Der Stein der Weisen concept sketch

Der Stein der Weisen concept sketch

Compare the thumbnail above to the finished image below to see how closely my concepts are followed.

Der Stein der Weisen Act 1. Photo by Tyson Vick. Hair & Make-up by Lizzie Hatfield. Models: Sierra Rae, Meilyn Saychow, Kolya Cain

Der Stein der Weisen Act 1. Photo by Tyson Vick. Hair & Make-up by Lizzie Hatfield. Models: Sierra Rae, Meilyn Saychow, Kolya Cain

Die Schuldigkeit des Ersten Gebots didn’t have such a big concept process, I only needed the thumbnail to get an idea of what I wanted to get out of the final picture.

Die Schuldigkeit des Ersten Gebots concept sketch

Die Schuldigkeit des Ersten Gebots thumbnail sketch

You can compare the thumbnail above to the finished image below.

Die Schuldigkeit des Ersten Gebots, Act 1 by Tyson Vick

Die Schuldigkeit des Ersten Gebots, Act 1 by Tyson Vick

Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail was costumed out of clothes found in my friend and fellow costumer Camille’s closest. I thought about all the pieces she had available, and then combined them on paper as seen below.

A costume sketch based on Camille's costumes and set in the yellow void.

A costume sketch based on Camille’s costumes and set in the yellow void.

Below you can see some of these costumes in the finished image.

Mozart Project. Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail. Photo by Tyson Vick.

Mozart Project. Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail. Photo by Tyson Vick.

The Magic Flute is an opera I have extensively illustrated. When I first heard it, I was inspired to fill an entire sketchbook.

Queen of the Night Drawing

An early drawing of mine, illustrating the Act 1 Aria “O zittre Nicht”

But when I decided to use photography to bring these ideas to life, I did not know anything about costuming. So, I started petty small. I would probably go bigger today, especially with the Queen of the Night.

Papageno concept art

Papageno concept art

My costume ideas of Tamino and the Queen of the Night were based on what I could realistically make at the time.

Costume Sketches

Act 1 Costume Sketches for Tamino and The Queen of the Night

Tamino’s outfit is influenced heavily by Japanese history and video game costumes.

Tamino Costume Sketch for  my Magic Flute photos

Tamino Costume Sketch for my Magic Flute photos

Below you can see the outfit created from the above design.

zauberflote_act1a

Papageno was always meant to be a sort of bird version of a faun in my final image. I based his tattoos and look of of the Egyptian art of the Ba Spirit. A half-bird/half person creature represent a person’s soul.

Papageno costume sketch for my Magic Flute photos.

Papageno costume sketch for my Magic Flute photos.

Papageno was brought to life by Jon Sollee in the image below.

Die Zauberflote, Act 2 by Tyson Vick

Die Zauberflote, Act 2 by Tyson Vick

My Don Giovanni costume sketches were fairly blank, mostly focusing on shape.

Donna Elvira costume sketch for my Don Giovanni photos

Donna Elvira costume sketch for my Don Giovanni photos

In the end, Don Giovanni got a much more complicated white doublet, but the same cut still applies.

Don Giovanni costume sketch

Don Giovanni costume sketch

My thumbnails for Don Giovanni, below.

Don Giovanni concept art

Don Giovanni concept art

A set of Il Sogno di Scipione thumbnails.

Il Sogno di Scipone concept art

Il Sogno di Scipone concept art

Don Pippo of L’oca del Cairo and Lucio Silla, of Lucio Silla, costume sketches.

Don Pippo costume sketch for L'Oca del Cairo and Lucio Silla costume sketch.

Don Pippo costume sketch for L’Oca del Cairo and Lucio Silla costume sketch.

Compare the Lucio Silla Sketch to the final image.

luciosillatitle

La Finta Semplice was originally meant to feature five or so models, but they kept dropping out. Below was my last minute attempt to create some costumes that could be pulled from what I already owned.

La Finta Semplice costume sketches

La Finta Semplice costume sketches

The Marriage of Figaro photos were inspired by the image below, something I created after first hearing the opera a decade ago.

The Marriage of Figaro concept art

The Marriage of Figaro concept art

The Marriage of Figaro photos involved so many models and stylists, that I needed a thorough map of thumbnails to keep them straight.

The Marriage of Figaro Concept art

The Marriage of Figaro Concept art

I used the page below to keep track of which photos I had taken on the day.

The Marriage of Figaro concept art

The Marriage of Figaro thumbnail art

Compare the middle sketch above to the final image below.

FigaroAct2

For Mitridate, I based Aspasia’s outfit’s off of Historically accurate garb.

Aspasia costume sketch for my Mitridate photos

Aspasia costume sketch for my Mitridate photos

Farnace was also based off of History, but with a fantastical tattoo addition.

Farnace costume sketch for Mitridate

Farnace costume sketch for Mitridate

Compare the costume sketch above to the final costume below. I regret selling that cool pirate belt holding his cape up.

This is the photo that I will be showing you how I made! Mitridate, Act III, by Tyson Vick.

This is the photo that I will be showing you how I made! Mitridate, Act III, by Tyson Vick.

Finally, I end with the costume sketches for Zaide, another set of costumes pulled from my friend Camille’s closet.

Zaide costume sketches

Zaide costume sketches

I hope you enjoyed viewing all this concept artwork! I have much, much more, but none of it is scanned.

If you like following the creation of my illustrations of Mozart’s operas through photography, please feel free to subscribe to the blog! All you have to do is type your email into the box and the blog will be sent directly to your inbox from here on out! You don’t need to provide any information beyond your email!

Thanks for reading!

Happy Birthday Mozart!

27 Jan

I waited to post today, because today is Mozart’s Birthday!

This year Mrs. Nina Nöhrig of Mozarthaus Vienna and Brigitte Pfisterer of NetHotels.com, have invited Mozartians all over the world to submit a photo greeting for Mozart’s birthday to be presented at his former residence! My photo, and many others, will be displayed in a slideshow at Mozarthaus, today, January 27th, in honor of Mozart’s birthday.

Tyson Vick's photo illustrating The Magic Flute with a personalized message for Mozart's 259th birthday.

Tyson Vick’s photo illustrating The Magic Flute with a personalized message for Mozart’s 259th birthday.

This fun event was organized in part by Sherry Davis from The Chronicles of a Modern Day Mozartian, whose passion for Mozart continues to benefit lovers of Mozart the world over! Please head on over to her Facebook page to participate in similar events, and get the latest news on Mozart.

 

An image from the Mozarthaus slideshow! You can see my picture there!

An image from the Mozarthaus slideshow! You can see my picture there!  Photo by Brigitte Pfisterer. 

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!

 

La Clemenza di Tito – The Gown That Became Vitellia’s

12 Jan

When I first decided to start making costumes from my Mozart Project, it was because I felt I could better bring to life the operas through photography with fantastical and historical costumes. At that time I had already taken a few photos, but felt that I could do better — produce better images — and on many occasions I did re-shoots to more accurately capture my vision. I made a red gown for one of those re-shoots, but never got around to using it. The shoot fell through or never worked out, and so the dress remained.

With only one photo left to take for the project, I decided I would just use that dress, no matter what Historical context it belonged in, just because I spent so much time and money on it. Therefore, this is the dress that Vitellia wears in my “La Clemenza di Tito” images.

Elizabeth shows off Vitellia's gown, make-up and headdress.

Elizabeth shows off Vitellia’s gown, make-up and headdress.

With no connections to Ancient Rome outside of the headdress, the gown actually seems to have a bit of a Medieval flair. Using it on Vitellia was simply a choice based on having a complex gown in the closet, made and never used. Very little thought went into how to make it work Historically, or anything. I did, however, base the headdress on ancient Roman headdresses.

When I was building this dress, my goal was to do elegant ribbon embroidery!

I bought and used numerous silk, polyester and blended ribbons to do the 3-D embroidery. I used beads and pearls, and the one thing I remember about creating this dress was that it started costing more than it was worth. I chose polyester for the gown, and the embroidery started to inflate in price 2-3 times more than the cost of the dress fabric, and as anybody with any sense knows, this is both bad and slightly inept, because the dress grows disproportionate in value if I ever wanted to resell. “Here’s a gown that cost $45 in fabric and has hundreds of dollars and hours sunk into the embroidery! Want to buy it?”

Not only was the cost of the embroidery growing out of control, it began taking so many days. I literally drained my bank account to do the embroidery, and spent at least four days just going to the store search for and buying more embroidery floss. It was awful, and I actually just gave up, calling my mom and saying, the dress is a money pit and I’m done!

I left the dress as you see it in the image directly below…

The dress from center front.

The dress from center front before the embroidery was finished.

Years later, when Catey Lockhart signed on to be my apprentice, I saw a good opportunity to finish the dress. I added thick knitting ribbon on the apex of the bosom, a spot I had initially wanted to fill with more ribbonwork flowers. I also bought a brooch shaped like leaves to finish out the center. Catey added freshwater pearls all along the bottom of the dress, which, frankly, you’ll never see.

Front detail of the ribbon embroidered dress used for Vitellia.

Front detail of the ribbon embroidered dress used for Vitellia.

Looking at the dress now, I feel that it is clearly an early work — it was my third or fourth full scale gown — and all I see is embroidery that never quite got to the point I wanted it. Something that makes me feel better, however, is that my mother loves this dress. She loves the details and the colors, and because I could never resell it (money pit), I can gladly give it to her and allow her to enjoy it for the rest of her years!

A Sleeve detail (left) and back detail (right)

A Sleeve detail (left) and back detail (right)

The sad end to this story is that my embroidery days are over. I cannot physically do it because it makes my eyes hurt, and has caused my sight to go blurry and caused at least two trips to the eye doctor. While 3-D embroidery is cool looking, and has a great texture, this was my one foray into the technique. This was the final reason for using this anachronistic costume in the “La Clemenza di Tito” photo… I wanted this health-threatening, never-ending money-pit to have some sort of payoff!

Please subscribe to this blog, because, for those of you who follow me know, I will be producing a book featuring my images in 2015 and am eager to share all of the progress with you as it happens!

One Delightful Day – Final Photograph Taken

5 Jan

Sometimes life isn’t all that sentimental. Even though I’ve been taking photos which illustrate the operas of Mozart for just-shy-of a decade, the last photo shoot for the project did not make me feel too many emotions. In fact, I had planned to do this photo just around the time my father died, and I had to put it on hold to run my Father’s estate. After all that was finished, I sat down, looked through all my Mozart photos, made a list of what was needed to finish the project, where I could use old photos rather than taking new ones, and discovered that only one image was required to finish the photography part of the book. The feeling I got was “git ‘er done!” more than anything!

I wanted to Illustrate Act II of “La Clemenza di Tito”, which means “The Clemency of Titus”, an opera about a princess who plots to assassinate the emperor and the boy she’s hired to do her dirty work. For years I had been planning a cool Greco-Roman inspired dress for the Princess, Vitellia, but after my new project “A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters” cropped up, I decided to use the only dress that I made for Mozart Project but never got around to using.

My cousin Elizabeth came to portray Vitellia, and my friend Jake came to portray the would-be-assassin, Sesto.

Elizabeth and Jake prepare to model as Vitellia and Sesto for my final Mozart Photo.

Elizabeth and Jake prepare to model as Vitellia and Sesto for my final Mozart Photo.

Jake and Elizabeth have both appeared in Mozart Project in different photos over the years. Jake appears as Hyacinth in “Apollo et Hyacinthus”, and Elizabeth portrayed Susanna from “The Marriage of Figaro” around six years ago. Jake also portrayed Sesto for the other images taken to illustrate this opera all those years ago, and is actually reprising his role.

Jake and his magic mechanical cigarette.

Jake and his magic mechanical cigarette.

The final shot for this project was done outside, and is the only digital image in the entire book. All the rest of the images were taken with 35mm film. The reason I did this is because (as Chantell and Cortney are no doubt aware) my last film photo negatives took me over a year to get around to scanning, and frankly, the cost and time it takes to do film have taken their toll. After this photo, film will be reserved for very special occasions, and will not be my main medium.

Elizabeth's headdress kept drifting during the shoot.

Elizabeth’s headdress kept drifting during the shoot.

Now that all of my Mozart Project photos are taken, there are only around five images left to edit or composite! One is a very large undertaking – the Idomeneo royal family image requires SO much work — and the others will be finished shortly. I hope to finish and put together this project as a book sometime in 2015, and will certainly keep you all updated on what is going on there.

Here is a behind-the-scenes image of Jake around 6 years ago when he first portrayed Sesto.

Here is a behind-the-scenes image of Jake around 6 years ago when he first portrayed Sesto.

If you subscribe to this blog using the form just below the header image, you will be able to receive all the latest updates to this blog as well as the upcoming book featuring my Mozart Project!

Creating Miniature Buildings for The Magic Flute

29 Dec

Die Zauberflote or The Magic Flute is one of Mozart’s and the world’s most famous operas. It is a fantasy story about an Asian Prince who has to undergo trials, and he is helped by his half-bird/half-man friend, Papageno.

At the end of the play the Prince has to face the challenges of the Fire Temple and the Water Temple using his Magic Flute.

I wanted these two temples to be a part of my final image, and I wanted them to be something you could focus your attention on once you were done admiring Papageno and Papagena!

Die Zauberflote, Act 2 by Tyson Vick

Die Zauberflote, Act 2 by Tyson Vick

I built these two temples as miniatures using blocks, balsa wood, craft foam, toys, expanding foam and styrofoam. First I drew a concept, and then imagined how to make it 3D in the physical world. Using toy blocks as a base, I built them up, like modeling with clay, but by using rigid pieces. Below you will see the beginning of the Fire Temple.

Using a child's toy block, balsa wood and craft foam, I made the base of the fire temple.

Using a child’s toy block, balsa wood and craft foam, I made the base of the fire temple.

Anything that looks right for my purposes is enlisted, including empty containers. A paper cup was mutilated for the top of the Fire Temple.

I cut apart a paper cup for the building up top.

I cut apart a paper cup for the building up top.

I wanted the fire temple to be a building built into a volcano. The concept was for the volcano to have erupted during the buildings existence, destroying part of it. To make the mountain I added expanding foam, the type used in home repair.

I added expanding foam to the block to create a mountain.

I added expanding foam to the block to create a mountain.

After the expanding foam was dry, I carved it like a mountain. I also added a cute toy sphinx, because The Magic Flute has a heavy Egyptian influence in the story.

Once the expanding foam dried, I carved it to look like a mountainside.

Once the expanding foam dried, I carved it to look like a mountainside.

After everything was primed, I painted the Fire Temple with colors that matched reality. There’s also a tiny Isis statue at the bottom, one of the gods who is praised in two different songs in the opera.

Here is the Fire temple painted.

Here is the Fire temple painted.

Looking at a close up of the top of the temple, you will see how I tried to make it look like a volcano had erupted.

A close up of the little Sphinx and melted building.

A close up of the little Sphinx and melted building.

The Water Temple, on the other hand, was less heavy and rocky. I wanted it to look like it was built on a plateau, but tha the water rushing out of the temple had eroded it so far over the years, that it was just sort of hanging on a hollowed out spire.

The water temple was made out of a toilet paper tube, styrofoam inster and more expanding foam.

The water temple was made out of a toilet paper tube, styrofoam insert from some random package.

I used a styrofoam insert for the base, and I loved the way it looked textured and rocky when painted. I think the styrofoam mixed with the expanding foam worked better than just the expanding foam alone.

The water temple gets it's own expanding foam piled on to the styrofoam.

The water temple gets it’s own expanding foam piled on to the styrofoam.

I primed this one in two colors. The black was for bricks. I carved brick shapes into the craft foam which was built over the toilet paper tube. When the carved foam is painted black, I could then lightly brush the surface with brick colors, grey and brown, and the black in the brick’s crevices would stay black, making the bricks pop, visually.

I primed the pieces in black and white. Black to create shadows, white for better color application.

I primed the pieces in black and white. Black to create shadows, white for better color application.

The little Grecian temple at the top of the water temple turned out very wonky and misshapen, but I fixed that in photoshop. I even added glitter to the greens so that little weird light effects would occur when the miniature was photographed for the composite image.

Here is the water temple painted.

Here is the water temple painted.

Viewing the completed composite once again, you will know how those tiny buildings were made! There are even more tiny buildings and cities seen throughout my project. Can you spot them all?

Die Zauberflote, Act 2 by Tyson Vick

Now, when you look at the image again, you will see the two temples flanking Papageno and Papagena! Die Zauberflote, Act 2 by Tyson Vick

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Thamos – King of Egypt Costume

22 Dec

Mozart wrote incidental music, which is similar to the music you’d find in a film score, for a play called Thamos which is set in Egypt. The costume I made for the King of Egypt combines numerous Rococo and Egyptian fashion ideas.

Thamos

Basically Thamos wears a Rococo waistcoat in the traditional Egyptian royalty color of white.

An outtake of Thamos in full costume.

An outtake of Thamos in full costume.

The upper part of the vest is decorated to reflect the linen wrappings found on mummies, but instead of Linen everything in this costume is made out of silk to hearken back to the Rococo when the play was written. Yes, I built the hat, too.

The costume is a mummy themed Rococo waistcoat.

The costume is a mummy themed Rococo waistcoat.

I made the vest slightly smaller than the model to make the front open to reveal the faux tattoo which I drew on him for the images.

The details on the collar are meant to look like linen wrappings.

The details on the collar are meant to look like linen wrappings.

The lining is a white brocade, but as a sneaky detail I added beaded lace to the inner collar. I just thought that having a little something that makes you wonder what’s going on in there would be fun. And unlike my early costumes, this attention to a detail near the face ensures that you can make it out in the final image! Woo!

The inner collar features beaded lace, which you only catch glimpses of.

The inner collar features beaded lace, which you only catch glimpses of.

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