Whilst in London, helping out on the Camden Fringe event, I was fortunate to be able to organize a meeting with Interior and Prop Stylist Aurélien Farjon. We had previously emailed, discussing how I had discovered his work and was eager to meet him to discuss how his career has developed. On Thursday I was able to have a look at the event he had styled that day at the Hoxton Hotel before talking about the above. I found this experience extremely valuable and I took away four main pieces of advice, which I will keep in mind as I progress through this year and onto industry.
The process of a styling job.
I had researched this beforehand but hearing it from Aurélien, I learnt more about he personally approaches a project and specific details regarding briefs rather than a generic procedure. Here is an example he described:
- Receives the brief
- Creates mood boards (colours, themes, etc. which stick to the requirement of the brief, for example, fitting in with an already established brand identity and reinforcing this brand)
- Back and Forth with the client
- Goes out, finds locations/props and photographs
- Sends to clients
- Receives feedback
- Collects and makes all the bits and bobs needed
- Turns up with everything and puts it all together
- Takes it all down when finished
Although this process if very familiar from past university projects, hearing it in such a linear way while discussing real life briefs helped me to understand how simple it can be and how important it is to get creating early on in a project. For Aurélien the timescale for a job can range from two days to six weeks, depending on the brief. Food styling projects tends to have a quicker turn around than interiors as less is needed, for example. However even on longer projects you have multiple projects on the go so juggling time is crucial. The brief is key for Aurélien with every job. If it’s an exciting brief, which captures his imagination, he is more inspired to create work. If the brief lacks a certain something it is harder to get excited about. However, saying that even difficult or perhaps boring briefs can be interesting. For example, Aurélien got given a brief working with a seriously Retro brand whose colour scheme consisted of yellow and brown (brown being Aurélien’s least favourite colour.) However he found that trying to incorporate these colours and the style of the brand whilst bringing it in to the modern environment was an engaging challenge.
A part time job may be necessary.
When starting out as a stylist a job on the side may be required in order to pay rent, making sure you have a steady income to live off. However it seems that finding a part time job with lots of flexibility is the best so that you can get time off to help on sets from a day to a week if needed. This is especially key when you start out, you want to be available to help, let people know that you are around and can work on sets as an assistant if needed. Being local definitely helps!
Keep creating as much work as you can.
I should try working in as many ways as possible, continuously producing work and always getting it out there for people to see and share. You never know when the skills you develop might come in handy. Aurélien actually studied Set Design for Theatre Production at university. He worked in this area for a while after university but his career developed into other avenues one of them being interior design. He managed to find an area in the creative industry within which all his interested came together. Everything just slotted in together. Interests in set design, prop styling and advertising all fitted together with interior styling. (An area he didn’t even know existed when he was at university). He had also previously studied to be a chef and this knowledge of food and how different foods work with one another have allowed him to work as a food stylist too. Aurélien now spends half of his time styling interiors and the other half styling food. Although he struggled to begin with, working in jobs that he didn’t like, or unsure if what he was doing was ‘right’, he now has a job he truly enjoys.
Work because you love it.
Aurélien says he got to where is he is now through a series of lucky encounters and whole lot of perseverance. This seems to be the case the more people I talk to! Therefore I think you need to be in an industry that you have enough passion for so when they times get tough you are motivated to push on. What keeps Aurélien motivated and why he loves the industry he works in, is the success he has achieved. When he creates an amazing set or interior or prop that he is happy with, and the client is also happy with, he forgets any struggles or bad moments he has to go through to get there. So yes there are times when you struggle and you want to give up or you will work with clients that you perhaps don’t get on as well with. However, with this kind of job you are constantly moving round, travelling to new locations, moving on to new projects and working with different clients therefore if something doesn’t work as well, there is no time to dwell on it. Time to move on to the next task and enjoy it. So why am I interested in Interior styling? Aurélien has helped me realize that it’s the fact you have an aim, a job to do with your styling. There is a brief and there is something to work toward rather than just making something look good. It is this that I am most interested in. How styling of all sorts interior, props, food, can be used to portray a message. However, I think the best way to discovery if I like this career and why, is through doing. Therefore, I need to get styling!