Revisiting Theatre Scenic Art
A few years ago I enjoyed a multi-production stint at a local theatre. I have (during my varied art career) had the pleasure of being scenic artist for multiple productions at various theatres here. Since I started teaching graphic design my colleagues and students only get to see one side of me. They don't know that I paint with real paint and brushes as well as computer software. I love both worlds but I gotta tell you - I miss the theatre from time to time.
This morning I was browsing through some of my digital photos and came across a few to share. In the above photos every painted surface is my work. I did not design the sets. Several good friends who are set-designers conceived the actual floor plans and what would become the flats and fly-ins. They hired me to paint everything and turn it into 'brick and mortar New Orleans', 'Singer-Sargent-esque portraits', and 'creepy Brooklyn florist-shop interiors'.
Those not practicing art sometimes think special tools and exotic (and expensive) paints are necessary to create. Not true. Just today I discovered an artist using found objects to create cool face sculptures using toilet paper rolls. All the paintings above, including the portraits, were painted with common hardware store brushes and donated interior house paints. Most theatres aren't flush with money and large budgets and depend upon donations for most of their productions. Which means we artists have to be very flexible and creative to give the directors and set-designers what they want without compromising the integrity of the finished product.
I'm not saying that a portrait I would paint for a commission or myself would utilize flat-wall interior paints, but for the purpose of viewing something from 25 feet (or better) away and is not intended* for archiving, it works just fine.
I hope you enjoy this glimpse into an one area of my past art adventures. When I dig out the film shot photos of previous works I'll post them. In the meantime - Enjoy life and be creative!
*while most theatre sets are repurposed later some things do get saved. I understand the 'portraits' for Mame are now in the private collection of the lead character. They should last a very long time because house paint is acrylic too.
Posted by Sandra Van Winkle