Featuring: Caitlin Graham (MFA Costume Design Student)
How and when did you become interested in costume design?
I’ve been coordinating costumes since I was eight years old in children’s theatre. I realized my desire to pursue costume design as a career when I was working for my mentor–Broadway scenic and costume designer, Tony Walton, in New York. I was so inspired by the amount of detail and precision of his work and knew that I had to return to school to continue my education, build a team of collaborators, and curate a portfolio.
What drew you to UT Austin’s MFA program? What made you realize that it was the right place for you?
I was drawn to UT because of Susan Mickey who mentors the graduate costume designers. Her diverse range of experience in theatre, fashion, commercials, film, and art indicated to me that she would be encouraging of artistic exploration as an individual designer. She made me feel like I could speak openly about my underdeveloped talent and guide me confidently towards classes that were both important basics for a designer as well as tailored to my interests. I also had been working in New York and felt there wasn’t enough time and space to be a creative. When I found UT Austin, it felt like I would be able to balance a graduate program and developing my craft as an artist.
What is your favorite thing about the city of Austin?
There are so many reasons I love Austin, it’s hard to pick! Though the city is growing fast, it still has many great pockets of nostalgia and weirdness. Austin’s motto is “Keep it Weird.” I adore the 60’s refurbished retro neon signs and the diversity of agriculture. There are palm trees, cacti, and all kinds of visually intriguing art, landscapes and personalities.
What is campus life like at UT Austin?
It’s BIG! As a theatre and dance student, I’m usually only crossing campus to go to the art store but the walk is stunning. The architecture of main campus is like walking through a European city and the landscape reminds me of Italian groves. Our department is often working long late hours in Winship Drama Building but it’s nice to be connected to the entire university. We are always encouraged to find friends in other schools of discipline like architecture to make new engaging work and we often do!Posted by Rachel Friedman Posted on 13 Dec