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How and Where to Get a Really, Really Large Painted Backdrop...Quickly!

20’x 280’ Seamless Muslin Painted Sunset Nearly Stretched Wall to Wall in NJ Warehouse

Oliphant Studio Begins Work on a 20'H x 280'W Custom Painted Backdrop in Rose Brand's Warehouse

Here at Oliphant we paint very large backdrops in a very short time. That is our claim to fame and we take pride in always doing a good job. The actual painting area in our New York City studio is about 20’x 45’ which is pretty small compared to the size and number of drops we produce, but we always figure out how to get the job done.

So I felt pretty discouraged when production designer Stefan Beckman called during February’s Fashion Week. He was producing the Hermes Launch party and he wanted a 20’x 280’ seamless muslin painted sunset (similar to the paintings of artist Ed Ruscha) and he needed it in a week. Once installed the drop would encircle the room representing a twilight sky behind a turn of the century wharf. It sounded like a great job but I had no earthly idea how I could pull this off in a week. So I did what I often do when I have no idea how to do something; I called my friend Josh at Rose Brand.

For the last 35 years I have bought all of my fabric and many of my painting supplies from Rose Brand. I have probably spoken to Steve and George, and now Josh, more often than my own family. So I start moaning about how I didn’t know if the drop would even fit in my studio much less get painted on time. When Josh explained that the unpainted fabric alone weighed over 300 pounds I knew I was beaten. Even if we had the floor space and the time, we couldn’t possibly move the damn thing. Suddenly Josh said, “Why not paint it here? We have the space and we can provide an employee to use our equipment to move it.” It was the kind of generous offer that you get from a friend; usually in a close knit community. I accepted his offer and had an awesome experience.

The Massive Backdrop Nearly Stretched Wall to Wall in the Warehouse, Including Most of the Sewing Room

We showed up in Secaucus, NJ (which by the way is easy to get to) on Friday night and finished the job on Sunday night. We had Leo, a wonderful Rose Brand employee and everything we needed: sinks, cleaning equipment, food, etc. The best part was knowing that if I ran out of something, say Pthalo blue or bogus paper, all I had to do was ask Leo and I had it in 3 minutes. I loved the whole place. It is an unusual combination of both huge and cozy. I felt like a welcome member of the Rose Brand community, which made a hard job not only fun, but a huge success as well.

The only downside was coming back to work in my comparatively small studio. It took me a week to get over the claustrophobia. Now I’m just waiting for another unspeakably huge job. I know exactly who to call.

Thank you Rose Brand,

Sarah Oliphant

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