I'm going to offer hopefully a different view which with the above very important concepts expressed will help to fill in the rest of the picture about this. Too bad at this point
no scenic artists have posted.
Many decent programs that have a class or two specific to scenic artist
. I had a semester of it and the goal of the course was not only to teach the techniques but to by the end of it, or final exam was the same test that ACE uses to test it's scenic artists applying for membership. I would think that this ACE exam testing standard would be something to ask about in any program specific to scenic art.
1. Beyond that, I have met lots of art school people in having not found a real living, plying their skills in doing scenic painting. Artists and architects throughout history have done their scenic art for stage
be it Inigo Jones, or many more famous artists. A few weeks ago in stagecraft there was discussions about what to do with some famous artist's backdrops.
I would think that since most schools probably don't offer a lot of classes in scenic art, the student should balance her own education between theater design and construction with scenic artist
classes offered by the school as a given. Than also say minor in a degree in some form of art. Remember that while sculpture is more frequently done by the scenic carpenters, even experience in sculpure given a full program of art will be useful.
As for demand, both by way of IATSE
/ACE union and free lance, there is a constant demand for them in any scene shop, if not perhaps to a lesser extent, scenic artists as opposed to those with more general training.
1) What do scenic artists make per year? This would be years ago but I expect it's probably in the $10.00 per hour range for someone with only a year or two under the belt. I would think that standard no matter what part of the stage
you take part today as yesterday.
After that, and especially if they run the department, I'm sure any scenic artist
is worth that of a carpenter in a scene shop by way of pay. Granted there are a lot more artists out there looking for work as opposed to carpenters looking to scene shops for the same. A theater scenic artist
on the other hand
will without a doubt be trained thus more useful than the art school major. While some scenic artists might have gone free lance and in demand can ask much more, I would think the numbers of them that pull in a great income while free lance as only a scenic artist
would be in even less a percentage as those free lance as pyro
or designer. Too many artists in general flooding the market and working cheap is my assumption. A degree specializing in theater scenery will however set her apart from artists, given talent and ability to get it done and get it done right in a timely manner of course as necessary. Perhaps in adding to the art and theater, a student might take some form of computer art manipulation classes in that while I have not been in a scene shop for a few years, I'm sure they have in many ways advanced beyond the opeg projector
on a scaffold
and have more gone into the computer based one. If not now, they will soon I'm sure.
2) Moderate demand? Where I have worked in the past, there is a frequent turn over and constant influx of new artists coming in. Those that only want to do scenic art will probably need to find a big city and company, but after that as long as they can say for the fist few years as if a scenic carpenter deal with layoffs and low pay as a norm, they should eventually either get into the union or get constant work.
Further and beyond this theater scenic artist
use. With books like "Recipes for Surfaces" and "Decorating with Paint" came the household market of rich people wanting trumproy (sp) or what ever texture in paint. My parents just spent huge chunks of change in having someone rag roll
if not spatter
their walls. Something that by the end of even one semester of college, and some shows in practicing it I could about do in my sleep.
As with entertainment lighting going more and more architectural for design purposes, an alternative or side job a scenic artist
might look into is in working for a house
painting company for special projects they learned in school such as my parents had done. Given the money spent, and a higher skill level
needed to do so well for the budget, you would tend to be paid much more than the wall painter. This than when sent out with business cards and a resume in requesting a photo morgue and sample showing interview could lead to very much the financial security when not paid enough or working enough hours working also under someone's direction at a scene shop. On the weekends, one might become other than one of the masses in painting what's renoun for having been seen, instead they are the master in painting for someone's living room.
All elements of scenic painting between Hollywood and scene shop are in demand, much less it has filtered down to buildings and houses in needing people to do so.
I would say it's a good career as long as they at least at first don't rely upon all their income in the scene shop or movie set. After they become a master painter for the company or as free lance, perhaps they can devote more time to just doing scenery. Until than, intereior design classes might also be useful not only to budding designers but scenic painters.
In my normal stance about avoiding schools without graduate students, I think for a scenic artist
training program within say a medium sized graduate student program is needed. While the student needs the experience to design and work while within school, to a large extent, schools that don’t have graduate students that need more refined than basic classes don’t often offer the refined classes. If a grad student is able to teach the basic classes, the real instructors are than freed up to teach the more advanced classes such as this would be. Much less without grad students requiring a multi-program, there would not be these advanced classes in necessity. While you would want to ensure that while the school offers advanced classes, undergraduates have the ability to get these classes also, much less in general with the program, it’s not just the graduate students getting all the good positions, As with high school in ASM positions, understudying or assisting a Grad student on a production as the assistant designer say is also a useful stop gap between what you learn in class and learning the assistant trade and methods of reality.
I might also recommend that if at all possible, the scenic designer
get a teachers certificate and graduate school degree. While the bills later will be more, such qualifications and degrees will also help the career in getting more work anywhere or in perhaps after the apprentiship, advancing beyond the one of the masses part of it sooner. Stay in school as long as you can.