During a NYC heatwave, on a 95 degree day, I painted a backdrop for Victoria’s Secret. Who said the fashion world is glamorous? The temperature inside the set shop where I was painting was literally as high as it was outside.
My first step in this project was painting and “aging” the brick wall. The bricks are just a sheet of material, too even for what the set designer wants. I used plaster to fill in some of the grooves, followed by a transparent layer of slightly darker paint here and there to mimic weathering.
The aging is not as easy as you may think; in the set shop it will look one way, but in the photo studio with lots of light it will look different. And you never know exactly in advance how it will look; this is where experience comes in.
The second step was to measure and draw a grid for even spacing of the vinyl letters. Then I transferred the letters on to the wall. It required a lot of rubbing since the wall was textured.
The last step was the application of dulling spray on the letters; sheen is something the photographer does not want in a backdrop.
Of course once the models stand in front of the wall, few people will focus on the letters…
Some days I get to paint backdrops in super fancy photo studios (my favorite is the one at Chelsea Piers). And some days I get to paint in more humble environments. As long as the client is happy…