We had the good fortune of connecting with Ben Rawson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ben, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I think my work life balance is starting to even out more as I move through my career and it is getting closer to where I would like it to be. In the beginning, I was taking all the design work I could get and trying to put myself and my work out there as much as possible. As I’ve become more established I’m able to choose my work a bit more and decide if I’m more interested in a proposed project or scheduling in a week off to be at home. I try to leave myself some time to be home in relation to how much I will be working during those time periods. If I book multiple big projects that will keep me busy every day for more than a month with lots of really long days (or I am travelling a lot), I try when possible to reflect that in how I schedule my personal life and days off.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a freelance lighting designer for live entertainment such as theatre, opera, and dance. Part of what I enjoy most about my work and what sets me apart is the fact that I work in many different production mediums for lighting, as opposed to working primarily in one. I design for plays, musical theatre, and opera, as well as both ballet and contemporary/modern dance. This has greatly informed my style and work, allowing me to incorporate different parts of each medium into my style. I built myself to where I am today through trying to produce work as much as possible, to build and maintain my name and reputation, as well as to practice my craft, learn from each experience, and continually try to improve. I have assisted more established designers and learned from their mentorship and observing their styles and crafts. Most recently, I am teaching as an Adjust Professor at Kennesaw State University in addition to my design work, which has made me examine and think about my work in a different way as well. I try to keep my style somewhat varied based on the production I am designing and its needs. I often find myself, however, being drawn to either end of the aesthetic extreme. Sometimes I am drawn to more monochromatic concepts or minimal shifts in temperatures/shades of white/black. Other times, I find myself diving into the richness of color, indulging in vibrant, saturate colors that compliment and contrast, as well as soft pastels. Overall, I would say that my style tends to lean towards the darker, more sculpted, and high contrast, especially when working in mediums like dance and opera. But, I often embrace a more colorful, vibrant, and dramatic palette when working in musical theatre, for example.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would have to thank my fiancée Maddie. She has been my #1 fan, supporter, idea and career-move sounding board, support system at home, patron of my productions, curator of my website, and best friend since the beginning.
Brian Wallenburg Greg Mooney Casey Gardner Joseph Guay T.M. Rives Rafterman