Monday, March 11, 2013

Kira Nehmer: Rear Projections and Final Reflections

It’s the eve of my last day of work with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  It’s been a really great week.  I’m sad that I don’t get to finish the work that I’ve started on The Unfortunates, but I’m still learning new products and techniques on my second to last day, so it’s been a fulfilling week. 
At the beginning of the week I was out at the warehouse starching, cartooning and starting the large translucent drop.  It’s going to be a really challenging, fun project, and I’m glad that I got to touch it a little bit.  We spent about an entire day cartooning, which was good for me.  I tend to be a little slow when it comes to cartooning, so I appreciate getting to work on that skill.  I helped lay in some of the initial paint, but they are already well on their way without me after today.  I can’t wait to see photos of it finished!   
I’m ending the week working with Gabriel (the OSF charge artist) on two light boxes that are made out of Rear Projection screen.  I don’t remember ever painting on RP before.  We’ve been spraying them using tinted sealer.  Gabriel masked off our image with liquid frisket, another product that is new to me.  I’ve been extremely happy with the results- I’ve never used a product for masking that looks so organic.  It has a screen printed quality to it that works really well for the piece.  It has been a bit difficult to remove, however, so something to keep in mind for the future.  I probably won’t be able to finish this project by the end of day tomorrow, but I’m happy just to have worked with new products and with Gabriel. 

I had a meeting today to talk about my experience here and they asked me if I would recommend it to other artisans.  At the end of everything, I would.  Like any job (or life, for that matter) this experience has been full of ups and downs.  There were days when I really missed home, both my home shop and my home life.  There were days when I felt frustrated that I had to prove my skills to a new group of people, or that I didn’t know where a tool was, or that I didn’t have an understanding friend in my corner.  At the beginning of this I pointed out that self-examination is difficult.  It’s exhausting, really!  But I’ve learned so much.  I discovered that communication will always be the hardest part of the job in the theatre.  Learning how to work with co-workers is probably just as important as the scenic skills you pick up along the way.  I’ve discovered that simply being reminded of a product or technique can be just as important as learning how to use that product, how to execute that technique.  Simply being around other artists keeps one growing as an artist.  This shop is quite a bit bigger than the Rep, so I felt like I was constantly surrounded by people, constantly talking about scenic art and there were times that I wished I could just put my head down and do work, but I realized that the dialogue in itself was contributing to my growth as an artist.  It makes for long, exhausting days, but it’s been worthwhile conversation.  I’ve especially enjoyed working with OSF intern Erin.  She is so eager to learn and to hear about all of our experiences. Her enthusiasm is contagious and has been a reminder for why I’m a scenic artist and why I work so hard for theatre companies.  I look forward to working with her and so many others in the future.  Turns out that my co-worker’s prediction from week one was right: I am sad to say goodbye.  I’m happy to be going home, but I will think of OSF as my home away from home, if they’ll have me.  I have made some good friends here and I hope to keep in touch, both personally and professionally.  I am really grateful to have had the opportunity! 

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