interior stylist glen proebstel

Glen Proebstel is Australia's leading interior stylist. His work is known for its breathtaking beauty. His shoots are like works of art. For the past 10 years he has been the style director of Inside Out magazine. He is also in demand with advertising clients - such as David Jones, Domayne and Aura - who want their products showcased in an extraordinary way. Glen is highly respected in the industry not only for the quality of his output but because he is always focussed on the job at hand. He is less interested in becoming a "brand" than creating a body of work that speaks for itself. He is considered and thorough with all that he does, including his prop hire business, Prop.d. I encourage you to check out his portfolio website and his blog to be thoroughly inspired. Not to mention his answers below, which are thoughtful and include some great pieces of advice for any aspiring stylists.

Please note: Glen is kindly giving us a sneak peek of two images (the inspiration and the realisation, combined above) which are part of the homewares trend story in the September/October issue of Inside Out magazine, on sale Wednesday August 3.

Which five words best describe you?
Calm, cheeky, unpretentious, generous, resourceful.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since?
I was given an opportunity to work as a junior stylist on Inside Out magazine after many years with a career in visual merchandising. I distinctly remember my first ever shoot with Inside Out. It was for one of the upfront news pages about the release of a new magnetic paint which you could apply to walls. I had to illustrate to readers how this could be installed in a domestic environment with the idea of using fridge magnets and children’s pictures, which readers could "stick" to their walls. I don’t think I slept that night. My stomach was churning. The anxiety was completely overwhelming at the thought of producing an amazing shot for publication in the magazine. It printed in the next issue, the size of a postage stamp! Quite an hilarious experience indeed, in hindsight. I was definitely on the fast track to getting to grips with all things styling.

These days, I am fortunate enough to have a stable base of clients whom I work with very closely.
My editorial work keeps me creatively challenged and attuned to what’s going on and with my commercial clients, I adapt my style to offer them a fresh approach to the way they approach advertising.

My next challenge is to look at doing an exhibition with close friend and photographer,
Sharyn Cairns [DI interview here]. Constantly working with briefs and constraints, the thought of collaborating on a body of work without any restrictions is both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. There are no limitations. This is a very different way for me to work however I am up for the challenge!

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way?
There was a pivotal point in my career that I distinctly remember. I was in the middle of pre-production for a huge editorial feature. I found myself standing in
The Sydney Antique Centre surrounded by beautiful things, however, I was unable to "see" a single thing. My mind had shut down. I was submerged in an ocean of endless possibilities. Out of desperation I began grasping at things that caught my eye. I began creating a huge shot list in my head, not realising that I had completely gone off on a tangent from what I was originally there for. Standing there like a deer in the headlights, I realised the importance of gaining structure and cementing concrete ideas and sticking to them. Every shoot I am briefed on I always sketch out a storyboard, mostly for my own peace of mind. I find that it helps me to set definable boundaries and work from there. I can then begin the task of calling in everything I need to, bring my visual concepts into reality (with a little bit of room for improvisation).

What’s your proudest career achievement?
Being offered the position of style director for
Inside Out magazine. I still pinch myself. One becomes so familiar with the day-to-day things we do at work and in life, that there are certain moments when you must stand still and realise where you are and where you came from. For me, Inside Out is the perfect fit. The philopsophy of the magazine is dear to my heart and for this reason, I have remained with the magazine for over 10 years. We have such a fantastic pool of creative people and the quality of their work is world class.

I should like to add that I am also rather chuffed about launching a props hire business,
Prop.d. The idea of setting up shop had been hanging around with me for some time. I spent a number of years collecting and collating objects from markets, antiques shops and garage sales - it was addictive! I had a storehouse full of ephemera and felt that we had enough to finally hit the market. I couldn’t have brought it onto reality without the can-do proficiency of friend and business partner, Rachael Hart. I just adore a person that makes a list! We opened our doors in August 2010 and we haven’t looked back. Not only do we provide surfaces and props for food styling and sets, we work quite closely with a number of caterers and event companies to provide props for weddings and exhibitions and trade events. The warehouse is a beautiful space to work from, and we are constantly putting together concepts and suggestions together for the briefs that people email through. Visit our website - it’s quite extensive and every product can be viewed online.

What’s been your best decision?
My move to Melbourne really helped to develop my style and at that time fate had me paired with the talents of photographer Sharyn Cairns.
Working together really elevated things to a whole new level! It’s comforting to know that you can work with someone that sees things the way you do. Knows how you see the shot. Often, we don’t even have to talk about it... it just "happens". On a personal level, Melbourne has always had a special place in my heart. It feels like home, so when I made the move down here everything sort of just fell into place.

Who inspires you?
At the very top of my list, I take my hat off to
Christine Rudolph. She is simply adorable. Her style and impeccable eye for detail get me every time. She is the best interior stylist on this earth. I also find Sibella Court an inspiration. Sibella constanlty amazes me with the amount of beautiful work she produces each year and her store The Society Inc is a must-see for anyone interested in being surrounded by exquisite objects and rare finds! In terms of photographers, I like Ditte Isager, Marcus Nilsson, Hugh Stewart, Chris Court, Martyn Thompson.... the list goes on.

Last but not least, I must mention my dear friend
Matthew Collins. He has a charismatic personality, combined with an exceptional talent for creating surfaces and textures. We have a great time in the warehouse that we share and it’s always a joy to bounce around ideas and discuss projects. His aesthetic is second to none.

What are you passionate about?
I love beautiful things. It is not to own them that inspires this passion, but how we respond to external influences visually.
I feel we are stimulated constantly. All of our senses are heightened and it seems that we forget to stand back and see what is really in front of us. I often wonder how "more beautiful" things can get, but they do. Composition, texture and most importantly simplicity are what really create that internal rush whether it be through film, ceramics or furniture. Everything is changing constantly. A lot of people resist change, however I embrace it. I love the flow of life and how we all live and experience it.

I am fortunate enough to say that I love my job and I feel very grateful that I am able to live and work creatively.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet?
Alexander McQueen

What dream do you still want to fulfil?
I have two dreams of which I have yet to realise. Firstly,
I should very much like to produce a botarget="_blank"dy of work for interiors magazine, Elle Decor Italia. I have always held such high admiration for this magazine. Simply beautiful.

Secondly, I intend to move into the realms of film or the moving picture. I should like to explore this medium. With no intention to work on feature films I should prefer it to be yet another way artistic expression. Creating work that touches people in some way.

What are you reading?
Oakzine - an international art and fashion journal of downtown NYC store, Oak.

images courtesy of glen proebstel & inside out; photography sharyn cairns (aura image - isamu sawa)