Q&A: CTC costume design fellow Jennifer Clark shares love of painting on clothes and playing Pokémon with her sons

Jennifer Clark

Who: Jennifer Clark, 29, costume design fellow.

This summer, Clark is assisting the costume designers on all three mainstage shows. Additionally, she spearheaded the costume design for the traveling production of As You Like It, as well as the New Play Workshops, running Monday, July 30, through Aug. 4.

Clark said that she uses historical research as the basis for most designs.

“It is really hard as a designer to not impose your own fashion sense or whatever you want to call it on to what you’re designing, so I try really hard not to let my personal style come into the mix,” Clark said. “That being said, I do enjoy designing things that are very colorful, very whimsical. I like getting a little weird with stuff.”

Clark is also a painter, which is a skill that sometimes makes its way into her designs.

“I also love to paint on clothes, so I do that a lot,” Clark said. “Every show I’ve ever done so far this summer, I’ve done some kind of painting.”

Where she’s from: From St. Louis, Missouri, Clark currently attends University of California, Irvine, earning her MFA in costume design. She has two “mischievous” sons, ages 5 and 3, that are spending the summer with their grandparents in Missouri.

When they are together, Clark said she and her boys love to play with Legos and Pokemon, which she also enjoyed when she was a girl. Her favorite is the firetype Charizard.

First theatrical memory: When she was young, Clark’s grandma taught her how to sew, and together, they made clothes for dolls. It wasn’t until later that Clark started designing for theater.

“I started really getting into costume design when I was in undergrad, and looking back, it was rough. Strong, but wrong,” she said. “It’s definitely all been a learning experience.”

Proudest theatrical moment: Clark’s favorite show she has designed so far was a production of American Idiot at UCI because the director gave her free rein with the costumes.

“I came in with the idea for a light-up dress, which we did, and it had different lights that strobed to the music in different patterns,” Clark said. “It worked really well and we had a really good design team in general and we all worked off each other really well, so it turned out great.”

Favorite color: Clark said she loves green because it is bright and comes in a wide variety of tints and shades.

What she’s reading: Tara Westover’s Educated.

What she’s watching: Clark’s favorite television show right now is “The Mindy Project” and her favorite anime is “My Hero Academia.”

“I think it’s probably for high school girls, but I can’t help that; I love it,” she said.

What she’s listening to: In the shop, Clark said she likes to jam to the soundtracks from Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 and “The Greatest Showman.”

Dream superpower: Clark said she wishes she had the telekinetic powers of Jean Gray from X-Men, “but not her ability to read minds.”

What she’s learned from Chautauqua: Clark said she has benefited from talking with the other fellows at the designer dinners for each show and from shadowing experienced costume designers.

“Beyond their personal style, it teaches you about how to work better,” she said. “I feel like I’ve really learned a lot, especially watching Mary (Eggers) interact with the actors and the directors  in that show, for Airness.

Tags : As You Like ItctcJennifer ClarkNew Play Workshops

The author Kevin C. Vestal

Kevin Vestal is from Westerville, Ohio, and is a rising senior at Miami University in Ohio, studying journalism and professional writing with a minor in theater. Last summer, he interned for The Florence Newspaper in Italy, and he is excited to cover Chautauqua Theater Company and the Family Entertainment Series for the Daily. An avid thespian, Kevin recently performed on stage in Tartuffe and also has an irrational fear of wrists.