Your Interview Carrie Heisler
How long have you been in entertainment lighting?
How did you get into Lighting? Where & what did you study?
I did a theatre apprenticeship at Jackson College and my mentor, Michael Coy known mostly as Buddha, specialized in lighting. He introduced me to theatrical lighting which quickly became my passion.
From there I got my associates in arts, then transferred to Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan where I obtained my Bachelors of Arts with a concentration in Theatrical Lighting.
What is your area of expertise at work?
I specialize in concert lighting, as well as entertainment sports lighting.
What inspires you to work in lighting entertainment industry?
I gain inspiration for my art through all visual things. From the way streetlights shine on the hoods of passing by cars at night, to the sunsets over Lake Michigan that I used to see when I was a kid. Everything around us is art, and I pull inspiration from it.
Not only visually, but being a musician as well as a lighting designer, I pull a lot of inspiration from auditory things. When designing lighting for music events and concerts, I use the music itself as a way to make artistic choices regarding emotion, color palettes, and overall aesthetic of the lighting.
What is the biggest challenge that you have overcome in your career?
The biggest challenge I have had to overcome in my career was COVID. As many people know, the pandemic completely put all events on hold. Being someone who only does live events my life, everything stopped all at once. But through the time of COVID I realized that lighting is my one true passion, because without it I felt incredibly lost. COVID made it so when live events began once more, I was even more inspired, and had a harder drive to be better, and grow as a designer.
Did you ever consider leaving the industry due to these challenges?
Being someone who has been doing theatre since I was 15, and lighting events since I was 17, I grew up in this industry. So it really is all I know, and a huge part of my life. No matter how hard things get, I have never thought of leaving.
How do you think the Women In Lighting project will benefit women in lighting/women starting out in lighting?
Women In Lighting is a platform that allows women to be seen for our art, and have a voice to discuss what this industry is like from the perspective of someone femme. It also connects women in lighting, so that we can become a network, and a support system for one another. Making space for women is important, and giving us the opportunity to be heard is a beautiful thing. And I am incredibly thankful and humbled to be apart of it.
What project are you most proud of and why?
Every project I put a little piece of me into, so choosing a project that I am most proud of is difficult. But if I have to choose one, I would say being the Lighting Director at Little Caesars' Arena. This is because it's a ongoing project that takes so much time, energy, dedication, and designing. For 7 months of the year I am at that venue creating, building, and bringing art to the world of sports. I pride myself on what I do there, and so thankful for the opportunity to bring lighting to sports.
What is your professional dream?
My professional dream to is to tour as a lighting designer for musical acts, specially artists whose music may seem more taboo, and not in the mainstream. Being someone who has attended heavy metal concerts since I was 14, I have found that lighting the music that I am most passionate about is my dream. So I can bring visual emotion, energy, and life to the music through lighting.
How do you see your future in 5 years?
In five years, I see myself on tour with a lighting rig I designed, seeing the world, and getting to bring visual art to live music.