Behind the scenes: Andrew Pike

Posted to Exhibitions on 09.08.2016, 09:27 by Susanne Roald with

During the installation of the exhibition #AlexIsrael, Astrup Fearnley Museet had a visit from Alex Israel’s collaborating artists, Andrew Pike who works with the sceninc art department at Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles. This is the man who transformed the white walls of the museum into dreamlike images of Los Angeles with hand-painted palm trees and pastel-colored sunsets. In this interview, we talk to Andrew about his exciting job, as one of the few remaining backdrop painters in the world!

What is your background and how did you become a scenic painter at Warner Bros?

My degree is in illustration. I was driving past studios in Los Angeles and saw guys painting the billboards and and wanted to inquire about the job. They told me they were scenic artists. I had never even heard of scenic art. I went and interviewed with Warner Brothers and showed them my portfolio. I've been here ever since.


How has your field of work changed since you first started?

Computers changed everything. We used to have upwards of 10 guys working in the department and now it's just me because pretty much everything is built in photoshop and printed. There is obviously some work that is best done by hand which is why I'm still here, but it's not enough work for a whole crew.

When did you start working with Alex on his artistic projects and how is your collaboration?

I started working with Alex in 2011. That's when we did the first Sky Backdrop. As Alex's ideas have evolved, so have our projects and it's been a great collaboration.

Please describe the murals in Oslo and how you worked on the execution of these large-scale murals?

Alex designed the murals. We projected the palm trees from images Alex provided at Warner Brothers and brought the patterns with us to Oslo. The palm trees were painted in the traditional scenic style. I had a photo reference for the Sky Backdrop and drew and painted this mural on-site at the museum with a large air gun. I painted this mural up until a certain point and then Alex and I worked together on the finishing touches.


The Making of #AlexIsrael - from install to opening


Behind the scenes: Making of the Sky Backdrop mural


Behind the scenes: Making of the palm tree mural

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