top of page

Selected Scenery 

Behind the scenes...
One of my many artistic pursuits has been painting backdrops and scenery for theatrical and stage productions, television, museums, and all sorts of interesting "uncategorizable" projects. As the Scenic Painter, I am usually one step in a long process and I often don't see my work after it's out of my hands. Scenery- whether it's created for the stage, a museum, a commercial- is usually built and painted offsite and then packed up into a truck and loaded into the performance space or venue.

I began to dabble in Scenic Art while an undergraduate at Alfred University working on my BFA in Drawing and Painting. I was an unofficial Performing Arts minor and if I wasn't in Harder Hall (the art building) I was probably down the road in the Miller Performing Arts Center! I began painting scenery "full time-ish" after moving to Philadelphia in 2011. Over the years, I have worked  routinely with companies such as Opera Philadelphia, Opera Delaware, Opera Baltimore and First State Ballet (Wilmington, DE). For several years I was the Scenic Charge at the Fulton Theatre in Lancaster, PA. Up until the initial COVID-19 Lockdown in March of 2020, I had been working for HBO on the set of Mare of Easttown (produced by and starring Kate Winslet), which was set and shot in and around the western Philadelphia suburbs.

Working as a Scenic Artist has brought me to many other kinds of projects, too! I've painted and created scenery for museums, churches, hospitals, partners such as the DARPA Robotics Challenge, the Holocaust and Humanities Center in Cincinnati, OH; Ronzoni Pasta, the John James Audubon Center in Audubon, PA , the Philadelphia Mummers Parade, Comedy Central, The Friends Experience- and, most recently- the Icon of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship (December 2023).

Again, it's rare that I see these completed projects once they leave my workshop (and even then, it's rare to be able to get proper photos) so I don't have pictures of everything that I'd like to share with you. In fact, I often work on projects that I don't even have PERMISSION to share (I've had to sign more than one NDA in my time!). However, you will see a wide range of projects that I hope you find interesting, including some murals, illustrations, and other cool stuff :)
 
Scroll down to see some Post-Pandemic highlights from my work as a scenic artist, or check out my full portfolio of scenic projects, murals, and other projects.


 

2024 Highlights

I can't yet share  any information or photos on my most recent scenic projects, nor the upcoming ones. Please check back again later this year!

2023 Highlights

2024.01 Icon of the Seas. Surfside Playscape.jpg
SURFSIDE PLAYSCAPE aboard Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas. Designed by Extreme Engineering. 2023. Photo credit unknown: it was forwarded to me by a teammate.

The ship was built in Turku, Finland, in 2023. The ship was then dry-docked in Cadiz, Spain for a little over two weeks for further work before she was ready to make her first trans-Atlantic Voyage. This is where I got on board: I spent 15 days working with a hand-selected team of 4 other artists, 1 engineer and 1 welder from all over the US to construct, paint, and detail this Playscape in the ship's Surfside neighborhood on Deck 7.  Click here for more pictures of this project in process. Click here for more information on the Icon of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship as of 2023.
JH406138.jpg
Verdi's RIGOLETTO. Designed by Jefferson Ridenour for Opera Delaware and Opera Baltimore. in 2023.
Photo: on stage at the Stephens Theatre in Towson, MD, courtesy of Moonloop Photography.

Click here for more pictures from this project!
-5362710265362434335_edited.jpg
Verdi's LA TRAVIATA. Designed by Jefferson Ridenour for Opera Delaware and Opera Baltimore. 2023
Photo: on stage at the Stephens Theatre in Towson, MD, courtesy of Moonloop Photography

Click here for more photos from this project!


 
PXL_20230726_162510184.jpg
Faux Potatoes for Optical Sorting Machine

I am frequently hired as a subcontractor for various fabrication, event, and production companies. This was a project I did for USA Services, Inc.: outside of Philadelphia. You're looking at one of 240 3D-printed plastic potatoes that I had to paint for an optical sorter at an agricultural museum.


Click here for more photos from this project!
PXL_20230127_213830732.jpg
The F*R*I*E*N*D*S Experience: The One Near Philadelphia. King of Prussia Mall, King of Prussia, PA

The F*R*I*E*N*D*S Experience is a touring exhibition of replicas from various sets of the classic NBC sitcom, Friends, where fans could come and experience the set and behind-the-scenes trivia. Whenever the set is retrofitted to a new venue (in The One Near Philadelphia- a space on the third floor of the King of Prussia Mall), modifications have to be made. This is when an artist like myself comes in to paint any additions and modifications, repairing damage that occurs in transit or and normal wear-and-tear, and sometimes just painting a whole bunch of things black or otherwise "disguising" them with paint so that they "disappear."


Click here for more images of this project!

2022 "Emerging from Pandemic-Era" Highlights

PXL_20220915_201109946.jpg
Hosokawa's THE RAVEN. Designed by Jennifer Hiyama for Opera Philadelphia: Philadelphia, PA. for Festival O22 
 
I worked on this with my friend Keith Hockins for Opera Philadelphia's Festival O22, a very tentative step back into the realm of live performance.

"Edgar Allan Poe's haunting poem inspires a two-part evening of immersive theater, the centerpiece of which is Toshio Hosokawa’s The Raven. The classic elegy transforms into a chilling monodrama for mezzo-soprano (Kristen Choi, Rigoletto 2022) and chamber orchestra, led by conductor Eiki Isomura, inspired by the supernatural elements of Noh theater. Before taking your seat on the stage of the Miller Theater for The Raven, journey through Poe’s verse as you travel through the theater with a performer as your guide. A collaboration between director Aria Umezawa and the Philadelphia-based Obvious Agency, this interactive discovery of grief, love, and the afterlife will transform how you encounter Hosokawa’s music."
-Opera Philadelphia


Image: scenery suspended over the stage at the Miller Theatre in Philadelphia. Click here for more images of this project!
i6C4THwY.jpeg
Mozart's THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO. Designed by Jefferson Ridenour for Opera Delaware  in 2022.
Photo: on stage at The Grand Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware. Courtesy of Moonloop Photography.

This was my first BIG project since the beginning of the Pandemic: in the spring of 2022. It definitely felt daunting after having been "away" for over two years, but the muscle memory came back pretty quickly.

Click here for more pictures from this project!

2021: Pandemic Era

PXL_20211105_192341771_edited.jpg
Foam Fists for SLACK Interactive Exhibit. Fabricated by Sparks Marketing Group.

During the 2021 Pandemic year, I was asked to paint these 48" tall sculpted foam fists (as well as resculpting a cloud.....not pictured here!) Collaboration with my friend Sarah Ganek. Click here for more pictures from this project!

2020: What I Was Working on When the World Shut Down

IMG_20200212_171530.jpg
HBO (aka MAX) MARE OF EASTTOWN. Starring and produced by Kate Winslet.

I worked as one of MANY on the scenic team ked by Scenic Charge Nell Stifel on the set of Mare of Easttown: an HBO (now MAX) mini series starring and produced by Kate Winslet.


I had been working on this show  part-time for about 5 months when the World Shut Down. On Friday, March 13th, 2020, we were sent home for "2 weeks," which became "6-8 weeks," which became "TBD." I never ended up going back to work on this project- by then my Houses of Lansdowne project had turned into a full-time business of painting house portraits for the next few years!

Click here to see a handful of the sets on MARE OF EASTTOWN that I worked on in various capacities. 
 

For the Rest of my Pre-Pandemic Work.....

Circle.jpg

ERICA HARNEY, ARTIST

Original + Custom Paintings, Murals + Scenery

bottom of page