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Interview: Rhea Thierstein

Our interview with Rhea Thierstein, art director and set designer-extraordinaire, is now out for Quint Magazine. Check out issue 9 for the full low-down – or read a teeny excerpt below.

Originally from Germany, Rhea grew up in the bucolic coastal town of Bournemouth. Her childhood was spent making things with her hands, a trait she likely inherited from her civil engineer father with a knack for carpentry. And from her mother? A love and curiosity about animals.

“Ours was the family that neighbours brought injured animals to,” she remembers. Childhood pets were made up of a coterie of rescued animals; a squirrel, a magpie and an amiable rabbit whom Rhea and her sister carried around in a basket. Let’s not forget the chinchilla and the vicious goose.

“A lot of my work now is reminiscent of my childhood,” she says. “I try not to be influenced by other artists or what’s been done, so I draw heavily from memories – feelings and atmospheres remembered from growing up.

Five years ago, Rhea became a Londoner, working as an intern for the then newly set-up SHOWstudio. Her affinity for SS collaborator Shona Heath was inevitable, Heath is a set designer and art director who is responsible for some of the most loved fashion editorials in recent history. After working for Heath for a rewarding and educational four years, Rhea set up shop on her own last year. To date, she has been responsible for magical sets on projects as diverse as pop music videos and editorials for British Vogue with renowned photographer Tim Walker.

From Left to right:
1. Doll’s face prop from Jessie J’s Price Tag video
2. Hundreds of hand-painted flowers used in an Italian Vogue editorial
3. Doll house Rhea and her team created for the Jessie J video
4. Who doesn’t love Freddie Mercury?
5. A typical day’s to-do list
6. A friendly fruit bat
7. Research materials sit atop a chair designed for an AnOther Magazine editorial
8. A lovely collection of eyeballs. As you do.
9. Prep work for an ambitious McDonald’s tv advert

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