Meet Prop Stylist: Dane Holweger / by Stacy Scarsella

A set is a place full of magic. With a set you can transport an audience into your mind’s eye and usher them into a new world. If there’s anyone who knows just how beautifully complicated and rewarding this is, its Dane Holweger. Dane has the talent and charisma to make whatever project he’s apart of pure magic. On and off set Dane is always creating. Whether it’s working on his “fixer” house or making memories with his family, Dane Holweger is an amazing creative force to be reckoned with.

What was a pivotal moment for your career?

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Getting the phone call to do sets / styling for the cover of O Magazine, shot by the legendary Brigitte Lacombe. It was the first issue to use an exterior environment - a farmers’ market which I built and dressed. Ms. Lacombe asked me to be in the background of the shot to act as someone shopping at the “market”. I was flattered, but Oprah kept turning around to ask me what produce looked good (she’s clearly a method actress). The photographer requested emphatically that I stop talking to Ms. Winfrey! Okay, YOU try to ignore Oprah when she asks you a question?!!! Oprah was lovely, by the way.  One of my favorite stories from the shoot - we purchased $1500 worth of produce to dress the shot that might have easily gone to waste but with Oprah’s blessing my assistant was able to deliver it all to Alexandria House, a womens' shelter in Los Angeles.


I think the most important step in my career path this far was being embraced by the creatives at Conde Nast's beautiful and groundbreaking parenting magazine, Cookie. I worked with their brilliant Home Editor, Kiera Coffee to style many of their kids' room and nursery stories. And I was then brought in to style most of their celebrity covers and the accompanying fashion/shelter stories. I was subsequently hired to help the children's home furnishing store The Land of Nod achieve a similar look during their rebranding. 

what has been your favorite set to work on? Why?

A gypsy pageant wagon scaled down for kids that my assistant Todd Davis and I built for an editorial children's fashion story. Only regretted the project for a split second as we, with the help of the photo crew, hoisted the beast over a barbed wire fence.


Not shooting?!! What’s that like? JK - I love to get away to my “fixer” house in the mountains above Palm Springs. It’s still design “work" but I’m my own client and can take big creative liberties. It’s my Zen place. I also recently restored a '50’s canned ham travel trailer. It’s only 12’ long but sleeps four - which is perfect for my son and daughter, my husband, me and our dog. A favorite camping spot is near the beach north of Santa Barbara.


What is your favorite park about being on set?

I absolutely love the ideas that happen in the moment on set. They are always very organic and generally feel a lot less contrived. Sometimes my best props are ideas rather than physical pieces.. Collaborating with the art director and photographer is magic.

What does #CREATEMOMENTS mean to you?

It’s not a hash tag I am familiar with but I love the image it evokes. I’ve always summed my job up as "makin’ pretty”. I would now add to that, "creating moments". Helping a still image find it’s story visually - as simple or involved as it may be.

what is one thing your fans may not know about you? 

I’m a shooter myself. This past year I photographed and prop styled a cook book by Little House on the Prairie actress Melissa Gilbert-Busfield called Prairie Cookbook. Melissa was a trusting collaborator and an enthusiastic fan of the finished product.

what advice can you provide for future stylists?

Love your photographers - let them know you have their backs and that you want to help them realize their vision however you can. And a pet peeve… A Pinterest account doesn’t make you a stylist. Boards full of someone else’s beautiful work mean you may have great taste and that you might be a fab curator. But the process required to realize your OWN ideas is hard work.


Check out Dane in action:



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