ANY QUESTIONS?

ABOUT THE COURSES

Who are the courses aimed at?
Students have tended to fall into several groups. Some are arts graduates who have decided to pursue a career in scenic painting. Others want to pursue a related area such as theatre design and feel the course will broaden their knowledge base. Some students have already started a career in the industry and want to improve their skills. Or they might be keen amateur painters who just want to improve their abilities.

For some, Fine Art graduates for instance, this is their first experience of painting scenery. Some Theatre Design graduates and have had limited experience of scenic art already. Some have taken degrees in other areas of the arts such as product design, Illustration and Textile Design. One or two have taken less arty degrees, Stage Management for example, and some have no degree.
How many students per course?
All the courses are restricted to five places. This allows each student a good amount of supervision and enough space to work.
How do I apply?
If you would like to book a place on one of our courses, please send email requesting a place. The email should have the following information.

1) Your name
2 An address for your invoice.
3) A mobile number so we can contact you.
4) Course Title and Date.
Will this help me get work?
There are no guarantees of work. Breaking into the scenic art world is no easier than breaking into any other industry. However many people who have taken the course have gone on to find work within the industry. We do discuss the best way to look for work, and great emphasis is placed on the preparation of a CV and portfolio.

Here are some of the scenery companies where students have found work.
All Scene All Props, Set UP Scenery, Souvenir Scenic Studios, Factory Setting, Capital Scenery,
Shakespeare's Globe, Cardiff Theatrical Services, Spur Creative, Clockwork Scenery, Object Construction, Chris Clark Studio, Millington Associates, The Royal Opera House, ITV Studios (Mr Selfridge) Rocket Scenery, Fisher Productions, and Richard Nutbourne Scenic Studio.
What tools will I need?
All tools are included so you don't need to bring any. It goes without saying that scenic painting is a messy business so wear old clothes and shoes, or bring overalls. Tea and coffee are provided but you’ll need to bring your own lunch.
Are there any entry qualifications?
There are no entry qualifications as such. You just need to be interested in painting scenery.

ABOUT PAINTING SCENERY FOR A LIVING

Scenic Artist or Scenic Painter
In the film and TV industries there is a clear distinction between scenic painters and scenic artists. Put simply, scenic artists paint backdrops and scenic painters paint 3D scenery. A scenic artist might spend their day painting a city scape and a scenic painter might be wood graining a courtroom. In the theatre industry, the job description of a scenic artist and a scenic painter are more blurred. You are more likely to be asked to do both kinds of work.
What is a scenic's role
Scenic artists and painters are part of a team of people who take the designers ideas and make them work on stage. They are able to understand and use a wide range of visual languages and to produce what ever the designer requires. Unlike a fine artist a scenic artist is recreating somebody else's ideas but at a different scale. They work from a detailed 1:25 scale model and recreate the work of the designer life size. Its a highly skilled job.
What are working conditions like
You don't need to be especially strong or robust to work as a scenic artist, but at the same time, it is a job that can be quite physically demanding. Sometimes the set is assembled in the workshop and the scenics are asked to work from ladders or scaffold towers. More often scenic elements are laid out flat on the floor which means that you may be working on your hands and knees.
Is it creative work
Well, yes and no. Scenic painting is a creative job but like any job there are repetitive tasks to be done. A set for an opera house is big, really big, and if the back wall of the set is a brick wall for example, that means lots of bricks. A good scenic painter will stay focused and deliver the quality even when the job is repetitive.
Can it be a full time job
While there are full time jobs in the UK for scenic painters, these are thin on the ground. If you decide to look for work in this area you should assume that for most or all of your career you will be self employed, and offer your services as a freelance painter. You will become a good networker, and become comfortable with the business of approaching companies for work. You will learn how to keep your own books, and to file tax returns. This is all fairly straight forward.
It goes without saying that scenic painting is not a nine to five job. Workshops generally start work at 8am and work until five or six but if a show is due to be finished at the end of the week you may be asked to work long hours to get the work done. Each workplace is different.
Is it a rewarding job
I've been painting scenery for nearly thirty years and I still find it a rewarding job. I've been fortunate to work on some exciting projects. I've painted scenery for films, TV productions, the music industry and the event industry. I've worked for artists, designers, musicians. I even painted one job for a sultans birthday party! However I most enjoy painting for the stage. I love the scale and the immediacy of the work, seeing something I've painted nine metres high and 15 across, right in front of you, that had started off as a model. I enjoy working with designers, understanding what they need form me and coming up with the goods.
While scenic painting will not make you rich, it can be a rewarding way to make a living with a paintbrush.
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