Where to look for work

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The Stage

Scenic painters looking for work in the theatre industry should head towards scenery builders and scenic art studios. These can be found listed in trade directories such as "Contacts", published by Spotlight and "The British Theatre Directory", published by Richmond Publishing Company.

In the past regional theatres had their own scenic paintshops. One or two still do but "The Stage" has few jobs for scenic painters these days. Full time jobs are rare and you will need to find work on a freelance basis. There are a limited number of companies in the market place so make each approach for work count.

The Screen

One difference is that in theatre the terms scenic artist and scenic painters are almost inter-changable. A handful of the best painters paint only cloths but most painters paint cloths and three dimensional scenery. In film, painters paint three dimensional scenery and work for the construction departments. Artists on the other hand, work within the art departments and they paint cloths or "backings". I don't have much to offer as to how to break into this part of the industry. There are directories such as "The Knowledge", and online try www.mandy.com

Other Work

There are other areas of industry that employ scenic artists and painters. Scenery is produced for the fashion and music industries, for exhibitions and for conferences. Theme parks and museums are also worth exploring. Window displays are another niche with some of the more prestigious stores having their own in-house production staff. One of the growth areas in recent year are music festivals but this tends to be summer work.

Generally work is easier to find painting three dimensional scenery rather than cloths. Digital printers have replaced scenic artists in parts of the exhibition industry and in some other areas. "The White Book" is a good place to start for work off stage and off camera.