Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Staff Spotlight - Amy Gethins Sullivan

Posted by Billy Christopher Maupin
At Barksdale Theatre and Theatre IV we are very fortunate to have an incredibly talented and dedicated production staff. One of the wonderful individuals who works on this staff is Amy Gethins Sullivan. She is our Master Scenic Artist and has been since 2005, when this Richmond native returned to accept the call from Barksdale/TIV. She began her tour of duty with the dual setting of Barksdale's The Drawer Boy and Theatre IV's Bunnicula--on the same stage--AT THE SAME TIME! Now that is a task!

This is after Amy was "overhire" as a scenic painter for TIV's 1999 production of The Wizard of Oz and the 2001 production of Peter Pan. Greig Leach was Scenic Designer. Even after working on those ginormous shows, she came back!

Going back in time a bit (think of the Wayne's World doodle oodle time warp-not to be confused with The Rocky Horror Picture Show, mind you), Amy graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University (sotto voce) in 1984 in Painting and Printmaking. She then did what any college graduate with an art degree would do: waited tables (at Strawberry Street Cafe), worked at the Video Fan, and took classes at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Incidentally, the owner of the Video Fan while Amy was the store manager there, is now a co-owner of Artworks, where Amy just had a nice, month-long run displaying her children's portraits. That show ended this past Sunday. A large part of Amy's work outside of the theatre is painting these strikingly beautiful children's portraits (see one to the right). It kinda makes me want to run out and adopt a kid right now, just so Amy can paint a portrait of him being he or her being she.

OK, so back on the timeline (think again of Wayne's World doodle oodle time warp, still not to be confused with The Rocky Horror Show, mind you): after doing these "jobby-job" things moved to Northern Virginia, where she heard about Scena Studios needing a painter. So she hopped into her red Volkswagen Bug with paintings in tow, not even having a proper portfolio at this point (I love this image...actually...I love it so much, I think I'll say it again:) She hopped into her red Volkswagen Bug with paintings in tow, not even having a proper portfolio at this point and landed herself a job painting with a brilliant group of artists ("the best," Amy calls them), led by Diane Hackler. With Scena she painted for the Boston Ballet, the Washington Opera, and Disney on Ice (among others)! Oh, and my favorite: she painted the King Kong ride/exhibit for Universal Studios in 1990 that retired just last year. It was up for 15 years! It was a 3/4 scale set that was built and painted in NOVA and then shipped down to Florida. How cool is that!
Then Amy decided to be a stay-at-home mom with her four children until that call from Barksdale/Theatre IV! And we are so glad she came back!!!

So come on down for First Friday's next week where you can see Amy's artwork on display in the lobby of the Empire Theatre!

--Billy Christopher Maupin


Anonymous said...

I always notice how beautifully your scenery is painted. The trees and everything in Into the Woods were gorgeous. Wizard of Oz must have taken forever to paint. Thanks for letting us see the face of the woman responsible.

Anonymous said...

How did Mr Maupin's handsome face get turned into a plant? Uh oh, everything they told us about in Little Shop of Horrors is coming true. The plants have eater Billy Christopher!!

And by the way, we went to see Little Shop after reading your blog. You were RIGHT!! Jason Marks is da bomb. And Haley Roberts was GREAT. And she has the smallest waist in the world.

Thanks for sending us the good advice aobut what to see. WE LOVE SPARC!!!

Anonymous said...

My daughter was an intern last year w/ Amy. She learned so much with her that when she went off to college this year she felt she had an advantage on the rest of the kids. When I showed her this blog she printed it so she could use it in her portfolio. Thank you for Amy, she made a difference in my child.

Anonymous said...

Amy, you are a beautiful person, even if you’ve been put through the ringer and are totally worn out. Your dedication is amazing, and your artistry is some of the best I have ever seen. Thanks for your commitment and your talent. You are an inspiration to everyone you meet, and you brighten everyone’s world.

Anonymous said...

I love Amy, my daughter also worked with her and everyday she came home telling me what she had done. It seemed that everyday on the set with your Amy was a new lesson. She did not just use her for simple jobs, she wanted her to get the chance to paint something she would be proud of when she saw the show, the show was Beauty and the Beast.And we did go to the show and then my daughter said "I helped paint that", she saw her work on stage.