THREE: PHILIPPA PRICE
MULTIMEDIA ARTIST/ADDS ELECTRIFYING DIMENSIONS TO TOP MUSICIANS’ STAGE AND VIDEO PERFORMANCES
When Rihanna performed at the Brit Awards in London earlier this year, she sashayed onto a darkened stage, her all-white outfit illuminated by trippy pink-and-blue lines and grids that nearly rendered her a fluttering two-dimensional abstraction. Throughout the brief set, Rihanna—who was joined by SZA for “Consideration” and by Drake for “Work”—was immersed in an ever-shifting environment of mesmerizing color and pattern that lent the performance a cool, futuristic edge. It was an eye-popping display, conceived by Philippa Price, a Los Angeles–based multimedia artist and designer who has masterminded videos, album art, and stage-set animations for top musicians such as Pharrell, Brooke Candy, Grimes, Alicia Keys, and Banks. And at 27, she’s just getting started.
The Rihanna performance, inside The O2 arena, was Price’s biggest gig so far. “The stage was something like 60 feet by 80 feet—I had 10 projectors and a huge screen,” she says. “At that scale, there’s only so much you can imagine on your laptop, and everything I’d made, when I first tested it after arriving, completely didn’t work. I had to redo it all in one day.” Yes, it was stressful, Price concedes, but, she adds, “My best work often comes from mistakes that I didn’t anticipate.”
Price’s creative path—which she describes as “kind of wiggly”—began at New York’s Parsons School of Design, where she occasionally made “zero-dollar-budget music videos for friends” while pursuing a major in integrated design. “It was self-directed, so I got to mix different fields,” she says. “My parents used to joke about how I was so confused, but I love exploring any medium to express myself.”
After graduation, Price worked briefly at the architecture and design firm Commune, and she cofounded the fashion brand Guns Germs $teal with Smiley Stevens. That business is now on hold, but it led directly to the work Price is doing now. “The clothing brand is what took me to the music industry, because a lot of our success came from being picked up by musicians, rappers, and artists who I’ve started working with in other ways,” she explains.