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By Brian Robin

Fun Facts from the Paint Shop

Wielding a paint brush—and other items—is only the first stroke for a Scenic Artist at the SCR Paint Shop. Yes, they are the one who paints the sets that set the scenes for SCR’s world-class plays.

A good portion of the Scenic Artist’s job is “faux finishing.” That’s a fancy term for making materials look like other materials. They are artists in every sense of the word.

Our final stop behind the curtain takes us to the Paint Shop. Here are some fun facts:

  • At SCR, Scenic Artists work off-site, at our Santa Ana production center. Carpenters from the Scene Shop transport items to the artists in pieces for painting. After they are painted, they are transferred back to SCR’s stages.
  • The large majority of water/non-solvent-based paint used on our sets—and available in California—is made of organic material.
  • The paint our Scenic Artists use isn’t the same paint you use on your house. Scenic Artists use a line of paint specifically designed to maintain its color when diluted/thinned with water.
  • Many of the metallic paints we use actually have metal in them—very fine metal particles.
  • To create special textures, Scenic Artists often use unconventional items to paint with. For example, they’ve used feather dusters, individual feathers, straw brooms, string, mops and even bubble wrap as paint brushes.
  • Blue paint is the color most resilient to mold or decay. Blue pigments are more often synthetic, as opposed to natural.  

About the author

South Coast Repertory

South Coast Repertory is a Tony Award-winning theatre is known for producing classics, contemporary hits and world premieres, for having the largest new-play development program in the nation and for advancing the art of theatre in service to the community. 

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