Interview: Felicity Abbott

The Brief

The Brief - FA.png

Felicity Abbott is an award-winning production designer whose work includes the feature films Upgrade, Ladies in Black, and Bran Nue Dae, as well as Julien Temple’s Rose D’Or-winning film-opera The Eternity Man. For her design of the television film The Outlaw Michael Howe, she won the Award for Design on a Television Drama from the Australian Production Design Guild. Forthcoming projects include the BBC mini-series The Luminaries, an adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s acclaimed novel.

Which 20th/21st-century film would you recommend?
Vigil, directed by Vincent Ward, is a cinematic enigma: visually poetic, disturbing, and engaging in its portrayal of the New Zealand landscape in this coming-of-age story.

Which album about travelling would you recommend?
Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, a melancholic vibe with stream-of-consciousness lyrics about being transported to ‘another time’ and ‘another place’.

Which choreographic work would you recommend?
The exceptional Love Sonnets by Thierry De Mey and Michèle Anne De Mey, a film about love and dance where words become poetic movement in natural and architectural settings.


The following questions relate to our Perspectives column, in which two writers respond to an artwork that they are experiencing for the first time.

Can colours portray information as effectively as speech?
Palette underpins the very essence of visual narrative and is as descriptive and transformative as word alone.

Does art encourage solitude?
Solitude inspires creativity. The creative process relies on both collaboration and introspection and as such, solitude is a crucial element.

Rule of Three

The following questions relate to our Rule of Three column, for which each article includes a trio of artworks that share an association with a single word.

Which artist associated with the word ‘Desolate’ would you recommend?
Russian photographer Evgenia Arbugaeva finds beauty in the desolate imperfection of the Siberian arctic. She paints with light and captures quiet moments, frozen in time.

Which novel associated with the word ‘Zodiac’ would you recommend?
Eleanor Catton’s mysterious masterpiece, The Luminaries, written according to astrological principles, with characters associated with each sign of the zodiac, the Sun, and the Moon.

States of the Arts

The following questions relate to our States of the Arts column, for which each article includes four artworks that share an association with a single nation or territory.

Which Norwegian architectural work would you recommend?
The Juvet Landscape Hotel, designed by Jensen & Skodvin, represents the harmonious synthesis of art, architecture, and nature within a dramatic Norwegian backdrop.

The art of discovery

The following questions relate to Silent Frame’s aim to celebrate the art of discovery.

What is your greatest artistic discovery, and why?
Discovering Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space and how the active mind perceives its intimate surroundings continues to have a profound influence on my work as a designer.

What question would you like to ask other Silent Frame interviewees?
How important is humility to the creative process?

More to discover

Felicity Abbott: Visit Felicity Abbott’s website here and her Instagram page here. Her Twitter handle is @designfelicity. Bel Tromp has interviewed Abbott for Ausfilm.

Today’s recommendations: Vigil (trailer), ’Astral Weeks’ (title track), Love Sonnets (excerpt), Evgenia Arbugaeva (artist’s website), The Luminaries (excerpt), Juvet Landscape Hotel (information).

Also on Silent Frame