Vanessa originally studied for a Fine Art degree at Leeds University. For a number of years she combined working at the Royal Academy of Art with having a studio and producing her own artwork. In 1994 she studied Scenic Art and Prop Making at Central School of Speech and Drama and went on to work full time as a Scenic Artist.
She has painted scenery and backcloths primarily for theatre including work for The National Theatre, The Royal Opera House, English National Opera, and Regents Park Open Air Theatre. Other scenic work has varied widely and has included adverts, corporate parties, theme parks, murals and children’s television.
She joined the Guildhall School in 2000 and has also taught Scenic Art part- time at Central School of Speech and Drama. She recently completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
What is scenic art all about?
Scenic artists paint all of the scenery for theatre, film and television. Utilising a vast array of artistic and creative skills, scenic artist can recreate any surface, texture or finish required for a design. The work of a scenic artist can range from more detailed fine art tasks to larger, broader processes such as a paint effect on the stage floor.
Scenic artists can work on almost any material, switching from painting large scenic canvases to breaking down steel work depending on the needs of a production.
Skills learnt include texturing, wood graining, marbling, spraying, stencilling, scaling up, signwriting, blending, colour matching and trompe l’oeil to name but a few…