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Paint, splatter, and Rothko, oh my!

posted by Amy Bobeda on Mon, Mar 26, 2012
in Costume shop , Our shows

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Two men (other than Justin Beiber) pull at my heart strings: Jackson Pollock and Dexter Morgan. Once I got kicked out of the MoMA for standing too close to the Pollock they had on display, and I’ve seen every episode of the first two seasons (my fave) of Dexter five times. It wasn’t until our production of Red got underway that I realized just why Jackson and Dexter were the men of my dreams: splatter. Whether it is blood or paint or paint that looks like blood, I love me some splatter, making the Red costumage my favorite of the season.

Before the boys went anywhere near painting in rehearsal, we had scenic painters Lisa and Anya suit up in Tyvek suits (just like Dexter does) to do a “paint-splatter analysis” as they painted the faux Rothko’s that dress the set. After getting a sense for our “goal paint coverage,” we gave the boys suits of their own and let them go hog wild in rehearsal. This way, when we got to painting in costume, they would spend less time attacking each other with their brushes like preschoolers and more time focusing on the actually act of painting a canvas — giving the most realistic look to the clothing.

When the time came, Lisa and Anya prepped the paint studio, and the boys went to town.


It took two paint sessions with the boys, and a third in which I did a “paint by numbers” technique of painstakingly going over each paint blotch on their clothes with a stronger pigment and sealer to insure the paint stays colorfast. Like many things in theatre, if we want the paint to stay on their clothes, it won’t. If we want the paint to wash out, it stains.


So, here’s hoping your appreciate for splatter is as great as mine.




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