For our Elton John TAIT Take Over, we feature one of the many artistic features from his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour; a highly-detailed, pictorial and thematic portal that showcases a retrospective of Elton John’s career. The scenic portal frames the main LED screen and is a stunning backdrop to the show. On this episode, Karla Ramsey, Scenic Group Lead at TAIT, takes you inside the scenic department to share the craftsmanship, or rather, craftswomanship, of making the elaborately designed portal and what that all entails.
I am continually trying to push myself to be a better artist.
It’s nice to be in an environment where the client is also pushing you to be better.
My name is Karla Ramsey and I am a Scenic Group Lead here at TAIT.
As the Scenic Lead, I oversee the group that builds the scenic elements for touring shows.
We are really trying to give our clients beautiful artwork that will withstand the rigors of the road.
It is loading on and off stage, in and out of carts, on the trucks, it’s exposed to extreme temperatures, heat and cold, it is exposed to the vibration of the truck moving against its packaging and we need to build it so that it stands up to the full tour.
For projects like this, I get involved pretty early on. We are looking to get paint or carving samples out to the client for approval so that we can set processes and then we are working with our mechanical designers on in-house prototypes.
For my TAIT Take Over, I am working on the Elton John, Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour.
We are building a portal which has a retrospective of Elton John’s career.
The portal is the frame for the LED screen for the backdrop to the show. It consists of four elements. There’s brick, posters, portraits, and roses.
We’ve got album artwork, we’ve got musicals that Elton John has written the music, we’re also doing nine bas-relief portraits of people who have been really important to Elton John.
For this project, we were looking for a high level of detail. We are working from one to six scale maquette’s that were given to us by the client. Using those maquettes, we have made clay sculpts of the portraits and the posters. We then pour silicon over those to pull a mold which we then cask in to get those really fine details such as the sequence on Elton’s lapels when he was dressed as Mozart for a concert in Vienna.
I am excited to see all of these pieces come together to be the full portal and to see how that adds to the final show.
That moment when the client sees your work and they see this vision that they have had in their head the entire time brought to life and full to scale is really gratifying and fulfilling and part of the reason why I enjoy this job so much.
And, for Elton John TAIT Take Over music inspo, we curated this playlist just for you (and us!)