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Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Marybeth Clark, Associate Artistic Director

September 17, 2008

Graffiti Art Thank You by Scenic and Lighting Designer Stefanie Christensen.

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 7:00 pm

Have you seen West Side Story yet? If you have, you might be wondering about the fantastic paint job on the set. I am not just talking about the realistic brick or the aged concrete that make up the back alley look of the city. But also what is layered on top of that. All that fantastic GRAFFITI!!!!! And let me tell you, we had the best time creating the layers of words, symbols, shapes and pictures all over the stage and set out of spray paint and chalk.The paint job started as most things do, with a great foundation created by guest scenic artist, Jessica Hyatt. She spent every day for a week painting the different elements that made up the urban playground seen onstage. After we moved the whole set into the theatre, then came the first layer of graffiti. I think that was the hardest layer for me, putting that first blemish on the beautiful paint job that Jessica spent so much time on. But once the first mark was made, there was no stopping the gang. We had actors, crew members, designers, staff, Resident Actors, TheatreWings apprentices and even our Director onstage shaking cans of spray paint like maracas and leaving mark after mark after mark everywhere. And that was just the first step. Once the air cleared from the fumes, in rounds we brought in designers, actors and crew to go over the first groups work to create graffiti with the same kind of tension and rivalry that is seen in the show. And yes, that really is the back wall of the Sottile Theatre as our backdrop, and yes, we did spray paint right onto the wall of the theatre. I am not sure, but it is quite possibly a stage debut for the wall in a theatrical production.Finally once the theme was established, we brought in the expert, a real professional graffiti artist. He pulled art in with him from right off the street. He is a local artist who works at Artist and Craftsman on Calhoun Street named Abdul and he is fantastic. He researched logos and graffiti from the 1950s, translated slang into Spanish for the Puerto Rican Sharks and did a great job of putting it up on stage. A very special thank you to everyone who pitched in and made this a wonderful, colorful work of art. And if you have not yet seen it, you only have 4 shows left so don’t miss it!

 

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(A Closer Look At The Graffiti Art)

 

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(A Grander Scope Of The Set With Graffiti Art)

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