We got to meet up with Art Director, Daniella Dagnin, represented by Hello Circus, to get some insights into what the life of an Art Director looks like. Just to clarify, this isn’t the Art Director that teams up with a Writer in the agency, we’re talking about the pros that are there to elevate and serve the director’s visual vision. They are the visual voila to storytelling, that if done right, can take your commercial from a Wessel Anderson to a Wes Anderson. Dani is no small-fry and over the span of her career has worked her way up through the ranks of the Art Department alongside some of the industry’s most respected aesthetic icons, like Julie Bonnet, Melissa Maxted Henderson and Lenny Dee Neilson, before going solo some years ago. Here’s what Dani had to say.
Q: First off, we read Visi magazine, are we also Art Directors?
Dani: Haha, not quite. An Art Director is the Head of the Art Department of a film or commercial production. The Art Department consists of the Props Masters, Set Dressers, Swing Gang and the Standbys. Basically, a group of the most talented and hard-working people you’ll come by. We help determine and bring to life the visuals of the film or commercial that best serve the story.
Q: What does the process of working with an Art Director look like?
Dani: Typically, a production company or a director would hire me directly. They would share the brief and their vision of how they see the commercial with me. Then I would either put the visuals of the script together in a mood board, based on the director’s vision, or I would further flesh out the director’s treatment. From there myself and my team bring it to life on set. I am hired to bring my own artistic visual interpretation to the script but also to interpret the director’s, and somewhere in between is the final magic.
Top: Daniella Dagnin on set for Converse Kick The Debt / Bottom L to R: Zuchu and Bradlows 50th Birthday campaign, Art Directed by Daniella Dagnin