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I am Carla Risch Chaffin.

Scenic Design is my art.

Scenic Artist


“I love making something from nothing. It thrills me every time to look at a blank backdrop or flat, and then to create an entire environment by the time I’m done.”

Posts about Carla Risch Chaffin

Where to See Carla Risch Chaffin

Public Art
This artist does not currently have any public art on display.

Carla on Scene Design

"When I have a clear idea of what is needed for the production, I create drawings and paintings that the show is built from. When I’m also the charge artist, I am painting and creating the actual scenery that is used."

"I first taught myself to draw as a very young child in order to keep myself preoccupied during church sermons. I remember having read a book on how to draw flowers and I drew thousands of flowers during those sermons. What I’ve learned along the way is, that I’m not considered ‘normal’ and that’s really, really OK."

"Designing for theater is a collaborative art, usually involving lighting, sound, costume and prop designers as well as the director. Research and clear communication through drawings and photos with the others involved is crucial to the planning and creative process."

"The first full-length ballet I designed and painted for BalletMet was "Beauty and the Beast." Before that, I had been charge artist for many shows and designed a few small shows and scenes for the ballet, but when I was asked to design a full-length, world-premier work it was the scariest ‘Yes’ I ever uttered. The show went on to be critically acclaimed and toured nationally and internationally. "

"The best advice I’ve been given: Some days as a scenic designer you’re an artist, and some days it seems like you’re a plumber — on those days, plumb like an artist."

"I’m often asked how long it takes me to paint a 30’ x 60’ backdrop and what I use to paint it. I staple and stretch the 30’ x 60’ raw material on the floor and use many specialized tools to create the different effects needed. I use acrylic and casein paints, applying them with one-inch to six-inch brushes that I attach to the end of bamboo poles so I can paint standing up. I also use a variety of sprayers. It usually takes me five days to paint a backdrop, depending on how much detail is required."

"Fun fact: I spent 10 years of my youth in the harness racing business as a groom/trainer, and I used to be in an alternative rock band called The True Believers."

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