Meet the Mentor: Nicola Bell
Stylist and Set Designer
Briefly describe what you do
Set designer and prop stylist. This means I build the environment and or style the props/look of commercial (advertisement) and editorial (Magazine) photo and motion shoots.
What made you want to go into your career path?
I was running my own business part time making floral signs (giant light up floral letters) which I began making for events and photoshoots. I realised I really loved making props and wanted to broaden my horizons with what I was making. Additionally, part of running your own business is taking product shots to advertise what you do. I loved creating these scenes and stylising them. I realised that I wanted to do this not for my own products but for other companies.
Did you always think you’d go into this career?
Life led me to the career, I began my Journey into the set design and styling world in 2016. I wasn't aware such a job existed when I was studying. Had I known, I think I would have gone specifically down the route of an interior stylist.
How does it compare to how you thought it would be?
I didn't have an expectation of what 'it' would be as there are so many revenues and types of styling/ set design you can do. I knew I'd have to work hard to learn many skills to progress and to and choose my direction. It is equally rewarding as it is challenging. The hours can be long and exhausting. But the people and projects are diverse and exciting.
How was life at school?
Life at school was spent in the art room. I can't say I loved school, but I loved art, any form it took, Art and design, DT, Graphics, Textiles. It was where I put all my energy.
How did you get into your career?
As soon as I had made the decision I wanted to try out the prop making and styling world I assisted as many people as possible trying as many different areas of the industry as I could. That way I could see which I enjoyed the most and learn on the job.
What do you enjoy most about it?
The versatility of each project. Some days you are faking a car race on a track in Spain, others you are making a giant plate. Oh and most importantly, I love being my own boss ;)
What are your ambitions?
Good Question. ;) Top 3 right now I'd say; create more videos. Work more internationally, Set up a studio with a team.
Tell us a fun work story
I came to Australia in 2017 and worked as part of a team on a FOX TV series called Black Comedy. I found myself carrying an airplane wing onto a beach at 6.30am and we styled a plane crash. It's odd where this job takes you.
Some of Nicola's work
To learn more about Nicola, about her career, and about mentoring and opportunities, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ES Magazine Food edition