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Meet the Art Department- Monica Marsh

Monica Marsh

North Hollywood, CA

Prop Fabricator, Set Dresser, Burning Man Artist

Years Active: 15

How did you get your start? What was your first job/gig?

I've always been interested in creating art, but I got my first start in high school designing the set for a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream using cardboard, tissue paper, and spray paint. From there, I explored many forms of art from illustration to sculpting to animation. My passion for creating interactive art grew when I joined a group of artists at the Burning Man Festival. We are The Grand Hotel at Ashram Galactica--with a bar, lounge, themed hotel suites, and yurt. I created the concepts and designs for the hotel suites and jazz lounge while also decorating the main bar area and yurt. This experience guided me to the world of set dressing and prop fabrication where I joined the props team for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Did you go to school or have any formal training that helped prepare you for your career?

Yes, I took all the art classes I could take in high school, studied illustration at San Jose State University, took all the art classes offered at Santa Monica College, and then finally got my Bachelor of Science degree in Set and Exhibit Design at the Art Institute of California Hollywood. I also learned a lot of of hands-on experience at the Burning Man Festival.

What are some of the challenges you’ve had in your career? How did you overcome them?

Having no confidence in myself is a big challenge. But I always have to remind myself that I am good enough. I have the instincts, the education, the life experience, the talent, and the drive to create the art for my work and for myself. If something doesn't work out there's always a lesson to learn and an opportunity to apply those new skills to the next project. But in the end, you have to believe in yourself.

What has been the highlight of your career/favorite project you've done?

Being part of the prop install team for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. Knowing that millions of people will see my work and be immersed in the world of Harry Potter because of my work makes me feel very grateful to be a part of this industry.

What is your advice for those starting out in the Art Department?

Be prepared for long hours and cheap coffee. You're going to get dirty, covered in paint, get glue in your hair, rained on, sunburned, and you're going to love it.


Photos in Interview (above):

Prairie Wind Chapel, Burning Man Festival, 2015 Running Universal featuring Jurassic World 5K, Universal Studios Hollywood, 2019

Prairie Wind Chapel, Burning Man Festival, 2015

"Medical Oddities Skulls", House of 1000 Corpses Maze, Halloween Horror Nights, 2019

"Shanghai Suite" at The Grand Hotel at Ashram Galactica, Burning Man Festival, 2007

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