ARTIST, Educator & Author

The Art of the

Hollywood Backdrop


In almost every feature film of Hollywood’s golden age, painted backings have convinced moviegoers that what they are seeing—whether the fantastic roads of Oz, the presidents of Mount Rushmore, or ancient Egyptian kingdoms—is absolutely real. The Art of the Hollywood Backdrop reveals the hidden world and creators of these masterpieces, long-guarded as a studio special effect.

The Art of the Hollywood Backdrop


 The Sheffield Education Center and The Barton Springs Conservancy are hosting an exhibition celebrating Barton Springs.   I am honored to have my piece REST selected as a part of this exhibition.  As many an Austinite can attest, once you encounter Barton Springs, you become wrapped in it's solace, beauty, and grandeur.  Barton Springs is the jewel of Austin. REST is my love letter to it.     Join me on Friday, May 12, 2017  5:30-7:00pm for an evening of live music, art, and to experience this wondrous place.  No RSVP Required.  Free and open to the public. The Sheffield Education Center2201 Barton Springs Rd. Austin, TX 78704  

Oscars weekend at the Getty

Join me in celebrating Academy Awards weekend at The Getty.  Come for an in-depth look into the research from The Art of the Hollywood Backdrop, and an introduction to the scenic art masters responsible for some of cinematic history's most iconic images.   Saturday February 25th at 1:00pm.Free and open to the public.  Event is ticketed.  Book today!   Please plan ahead for traffic and the wait time for the tram ride up to the museum. 


We are beyond thrilled that Good Morning America Anchor Lara Spencer selected The Art of the Hollywood Backdrop as one of her 2016 GMA Holiday "Must Reads"​A huge holiday gift.  So grateful.

Austin Chronicle Gift LIST 2016

Painters are responsible for many of film's most iconic scenes: the soft fog behind Maria and Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, the New York City skyline behind the Ghostbusters, and even the out-of-this-world atmospheres in Interstellar. The artistry of large-scale backdrop paintings has been overshadowed by the glow of digital imaging, but a renewed appreciation for artisanal creations has spurred their use again. In partnership with the Art Directors Guild, co-authors and UT professors Richard M. Isackes and Karen L. Maness celebrate the legacy by creating the first, and what will likely be the major, archival document of Hollywood scene paintings. "It's very exciting to have the opportunity to correct this vacuum in the history of cinema in Hollywood," says Maness.​ See full article here


News & Events


News, Events and Glimpses 'Behind the Scenes'


Scenic Art


Fine Art


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See Karen In Person


Rust Red Studio

Opening it's doors to the public for the East Austin Studio Tour: November 12-13 & 19-20,  11am - 6pm


See Photos of My Studio!

More About the East Austin Studio Tour


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Karen Maness

© Karen Maness 2016