Design & Style, Arts & Entertainment

Storytelling With Light

Es Devlin

Lesson time 09:40 min

Es delves deeper into the conversation around scale, one of her key components. She shows how she practices with scale in her studio and reveals how you can play with the scale of objects to elicit a sense of surprise, overwhelm, and delight.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Storytelling With Light • Create Emotion With Light • Harnessing The Sun • Mirrors


[MUSIC PLAYING] ES DEVLIN: Light is one of the ways that you can most directly and dramatically affect people's emotion and tell them stories. If you think about it, we-- we tell stories to children in the dark, don't we? We concentrate better with our ears when our eyes are focused on perhaps a small area of light rather than too much information. So light and dark are a very important tool for telling stories and communicating emotion. When I was a kid, we used to have a small projector. It was actually-- had a little roulette wheel, a carousel of slides. And you'd press a button, and the next slide would come in front. And all that a slide is, really-- a little glass slide is just a mixture of light and dark and various shades in between, different ways of allowing light through an aperture. So I learned a little bit just about how slide projection works from a really early age. And I guess also, when we were kids, slide projectors were used to show early family photographs, family footage. So there was some connection made in my mind between memory and time and the past. And how could time be captured on a piece of glass and then brought back to life by light being illuminated behind that glass with a little bit of printed ink and obstruction on it? So to me, it was something quite magical. It was a way to reinvigorate time, I guess. [MUSIC PLAYING] Lights, please, maestro. Thank you. So really simple forms that we just made out of a piece of paper, some glue, and some pins can start to come to life just by really simple, little dancing with the light around them. Look how that changes the mood. Look how we're all feeling now. I'm feeling quite different playing with that now. Of course, with a mirror, something extraordinary happens because each ray of light bounces off each piece of mirror and gets broadcast and disseminated around this. I can bounce the light from the mirror around everything else. And then using an aperture like this, control the light. Things that glow from within-- look how that transforms something that was all about how it reflected light and now being about how it emanates light. In fact, I worked with a theater director who once said to me, Es, can you just not put a light in it? I was like, not really, no. Isn't that extraordinary, the difference in emotional quality of something that's reflecting light to something that's emanating light? For me, endless fascination, really endless fascination in how these things behave. So this is something, I would say, really easy for you to do. Whatever you've made, turn the lights off at the end of the day. Get a torch out, and just play with it. See what it does. See what it brings you. We normally start in the dark. We begin our lighting sessions in the theater or in an arena. Or, actually, in a stadium, we work at night. We might start our lighting sessions at sort of midnight. And normally, the first action is to turn every...

About the Instructor

For more than 20 years, Es Devlin has sculpted immersive experiences for opera, drama, and performers like Beyoncé, Billie Eilish, The Weeknd, and U2. Now the artist and designer shares her process so you can cultivate creativity in any form. From sketching to collaborating to creating powerful visual stories, learn how to turn the abstract—your ideas and imagination—into art you can see, feel, and share.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Es Devlin

Designer and artist Es Devlin teaches you her approach to creating powerful visual stories and cultivating creativity in any form.

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