How did you become an Art Director, did you wake up one day and decide this is what you wanted to do with the rest of your life? Or was it something that you just sort of fell into?
“To tell you the truth, I was a soul with no direction when I was younger. I studied architecture, which I thoroughly enjoyed. My studies were a real eye opener, after an extremely conservative and staunch Afrikaans schooling. Then I started working in the architectural field and was very disappointed in this slow industry. I opted to do more nightclubbing and helped out in a friend’s restaurant. This is how I got involved with another wild night clubber who is still in the film industry. I assisted in wardrobe and got introduced to art department where I assisted and did props. An Art Director discovered my skills in architecture and I was soon put in charge of design and presentation. It was very clear to me that all I needed to do to become an Art Director was to polish up on my people skills on how to deal with directors, producers and clients. The rest is history…”
What specifically do you love about your job?
“What I love about the job is the design and the fast turnaround. In architecture design is 1% and the rest takes forever to complete and to finish a building. With Art Directing, every project is different, every time it’s a different design, different people, etc. There is never a dull repetitive moment.”
How many commercials would you say you have Art Directed?
“More than 200.”
“What is your favorite film genre in terms of the Art Direction?”
“Sci Fi, Futuristic. There’s not a specific design for it, so I can come up with anything. My imagination can go completely wild.”
If we had to walk into your house what kind of pieces would we find?
“Mirrors. I love reflected light.”
Do you have any tips for up and coming Art Directors?
“Communicate by drawing.”
One of your latest jobs was for the new Nissan Leaf TVC and you had to design a modern day looking laboratory. How important was it to work closely with the lighting department for this kind of a set?
“It was very important to work closely with the lighting department and the DOP. The entire commercial and the lab were night scenes and most of it was lit by set practical lights. All lights have a certain color and intensity, so the selection was very important.”
What is your absolute go to color!
“PINK AND ORANGE.”
Where do you shop the most for props and dressing?
“Unfortunately, bloody unfortunately, I do very little shopping. I brief prop masters and set dressers on what to hire and purchase to realize a design. When I do get a chance I absolutely love going out to source, select and yes, I love shopping.”
Who is the one director that you would still love to work with?
“I don’t have a specific director, I love working with all of them. They’re all so passionate to tell a story in a very short time. I can tell who I will never ever, ever want to work with ever again, but hey, that’s my secret, although everybody knows.”
To see more of Herman’s work feel free to visit his website: http://www.hermanlampen.com/#!commercials/c16di