NJ is a scenic designer, costume designer, and craftsperson currently based in San Francisco, California, where they recently finished their Costume Fellowship at American Conservatory Theater. They are from Albuquerque, New Mexico and moved to Seattle in 2014. They graduated from Cornish College of the Arts Summa Cum Laude in May 2018. Their recent work in Seattle includes the co-costume design for Baskerville at the Taproot Theater and the scenic design for Seussical, directed and choreographed by Kathryn Van Meter at the Cornish Playhouse in the Seattle Center.
“I design scenery and costumes for live theater plays and musicals, with a collaboration, idea, and process based mindset. My design process is based on my drawing practice of carrying a sketchbook with me at all times. When I draw I filter what I am seeing through myself and my hand and create something new from that. In the same way, a scenic or costume design takes in the script and the reality the script references and filters it through the collaboration of the design team into something more.
My sketchbook is essential to my process because it gives me the freedom of low expectations. This way I can get through a multitude of bad ideas with no consequences, allowing me to find the good ideas. I also build up from drawings to model to drafting and back and forth throughout the refinement process.
When the audience sees a show I have designed, I want them to feel that everything in the show has a purpose. I want them to experience a unified world. I want them to experience something that is in a way greater than reality rather than a pale imitation. I want them to leave with an altered perspective, looking at things in a new way.
As an artist I try to take the world into myself and send it back out with a little extra. I see myself as part of a feedback loop with the greater consciousness of the world.”