What is a Production Designer?
Production Designer of a TV show or a movie is the head of the
Art Department and the person responsible for the look of the
the look of a picture is so critical, one person – the production
designer – is normally in charge of coordinating all its
elements. This includes not just the props and set decoration,
but every place or thing that will be photographed.”
From Film Budgeting (Singleton, Ralph. Ifilm Publishing, Lone
Eagle, Hollywood, CA, 1996)
Production Designer is the person ultimately responsible for every
aspect of film décor and set construction. His duties range
from designing and preparing all studio and outdoor settings to
the acquisition of all properties required by the script. Probably
the most underrated of cinema artists, the Production Designer
may dominate the visual quality of a film, and the caliber of
his work often determines its mood and atmosphere. His knowledge
of architecture and design, a good grasp of decorative and costume
styles of all periods, graphic ability, business acumen, and a
working knowledge of everything concerning film production, including
photography, lighting, special effects and editing.”
From The Film Encyclopedia (Katz, Ephraim. Harper Perennial,
What got you doing this kind of artwork and making the leap from
photography to steel?
was a matte camera operator at a special effects company and drifted
into the physical special effects side where I learned how to
weld and use the torches. That put me farther from camera and
closer to fabrication.
started doing metal sculpture because in the early days Monster
Garage didn’t have any money for sets, but we had all the
tools and BIG spaces on the walls to fill. I suggested doing a
skull and crossbones “metal panel” plasma cut and
backlit for the first Hearse build. The producers liked it so
much they wanted a different one for every show. I only do special
shows now because we are all out of wall space!”
How long does it take for Dan to create a panel?
panel is different, but they always take longer than I think they
will. The design is a lot of research and drawing, many days.
The cutting is a 12 to 14 hour day, and that doesn't always include
Do you ever design on the fly because of your time constraints
or do you work from sketches/roughs first?
because of the time constraints I don't get to do as much sketching
and research as I'd like, but I always make a rough sketch of
the piece to be done.
real time in drawing comes when I transfer the sketch to the metal
because it is only then that the concept really gels with the
medium and I can see how best the design works with the metal.”
Has there ever been a Monster Garage build that has been really
hard to interpret for one of the pieces of wall art?
hardest Monsterpiece I've ever had to do was the one for the Cop
Car/Donut Maker. It was really hard not to have it turn out stereotypical
and stupid. I spent two weeks on the drawings and more hours of
cutting than on any other panel because I had to cut layers of
flames, the car and the donut shack. But it was worth it. 'Bad
Cop, No Donut' is one of the best pieces I’ve done for the
show, so far.”
How long did it take for you to get the hang of working with a
still learning. It is like anything else that requires motor skills,
practice, practice, practice…”
What kind of training or schooling do I need to become a metal
artist like Dan?
anybody can weld or use a cutting torch; that is really not the
hard part. It only takes practice and the will to do it right.
The hard part is coming up with ideas and designs, and then actually
drawing them out.
studied Photography and Art History in college, worked in the
Special Effects and Art Department in the entertainment industry,
and I am a certified welder. Although all of these endeavors shape
who and what I am, my studies in the visual arts and art history
are what (I think) make my art work well for the show.
we don’t know what went on before our time artistically,
we will constantly be re-inventing techniques and styles that
have been around for centuries. Visit museums, see films, read
books on art. Learn to draw. You can’t cut what you can’t
draw. Stay in school and move on to college, more for the people
you will meet than for the classes you are forced to take.
chances, risk everything.”
Where can I find a plasma cutter like the one you use?
you have to determine if you will be using 220 power or 110. Plasma
torches are available in both, but more power is always better,
it's just that not everybody has access to 220.
plasma torches require an air compressor. Only the really small
110 power torches have their own air compressor built in, but
they aren't really suited for my kind of work because of the recycle
best thing you can do is go to a welding supply outlet (under
welding supply in the yellow pages, Airgas is pretty national)
and let them help you out. It's pretty much what I did when I
bought my own 110 plasma.
What is the “Tattoo Tribe's Gold Award of Excellence 2004"?
Tattoo Tribe has a website called “The Vanishing Tattoo”,
which is like an extreme tattoo encyclopedia: www.vanishingtattoo.com,
where any question about tattoos will find an answer, plus they
have a great gallery with tattoos from all over the world.
They grant websites with supreme quality their “Tattoo Tribes
Gold Award of Excellence”. We feel very proud because Vulture
Kulture was selected for this award.
Does Dan Statler only make panels with skulls and flames? Can
I get a custom made panel or metal sculpture?
Dan not only makes panels with skulls and flames. He can create
a panel for anything. Just check out the Rolling Stone section
in the gallery for an example of different logos with very different
styles cut out by Dan.
Which company designed your website? I would like to have a website
did! Vulture Kulture has an in-house team of professionals that
design, build and constantly update vulturekulture.com. We are
now accepting projects for other artists and companies. Please
use the Contact Us form for more information.
Dan come up with all the design ideas for the furniture on the
set or if is he told by the producers what to build?
designs everything he does. Probably the only piece he has had
the less input was the one commissioned by Rolling Stone. Other
than that, the producers of Monster Garage, Driveshaft and Original
Productions give him completely liberty to design and create the
art and the furniture.