Annie Ralli - Artist
I started my career at the BBC where I worked as a scenic artist for 10 years. My work there involved painting backdrops and sets (at speed) in whatever style the designers requires, from photorealism to abstract and everything in between. The ability to adapt styles to suit commissions is a skill I now use in my work for advertising agencies, photographers, filmmakers, theatre companies, exhibition organisers and private clients. Trompe l'Oeil, bodypainting and 'in the style of' are specialisms. I also do original work, such as The London Series, for private clients.
I was born and raised in Bristol. I received my diploma in Fine Art (Painting) from Birmingham College of Art and after graduating joined Birmingham Rep Theatre as a props maker. I worked for a short time at a graphics studio doing silkscreen printing and design before joining the BBC Pebble Mill as a dresser. Soon afterwards I joined the BBC at Television Centre London where I worked as a scenic artist for 10 years.
My work at the BBC ranged from large backdrops and set work to small paintings. I painted ‘glass shots’ and ‘matt shots’ both in studio and on location. The programmes I worked on ranged from dramas (I Claudius) and game shows (The Generation Game) to children’s programmes (Dr Who and Saturday Superstore).
Depending on the project, I was required to paint in whatever style the designer required, from photorealism to abstract and everything in between. This ability to adapt a style to suit a commission is something I now use in my private work. I can paint in the manner of Rembrandt, Pollock or Monet – as long as I can study an artist’s technique, I can reproduce it.
After leaving the BBC I worked with Charles Settrington, a London stills photographer intrigued by trompe l’oeil. Complicated sets had to be built, sculpted and painted to achieve some of his shots. Everything was done ‘to camera’ so the backgrounds required painstaking attention to detail. Some of the shots required body painting on live models. As a result I developed a special expertise in this area, leading to more work with other stills photographers.
I have since worked with Terence Donovan, Robert Dowling, Tony Bowran, Jon Prew, John Mason, Chris Dreja, Herb Ritts, Pete Myers, Frank Herholdt, James Cotier, Graham Young, Ray Massey, David Montgomery, Kulbir Thandi, Chris Fraser-Smith and Tony May.
Other work includes backdrops and set work for films, TV commercials, window displays for department stores and shops, exhibition stands at the British Library and murals in private and commercial properties for clients such as Ottakers, Lord March (Goodwood and London), Lady Osborne, Ralph Feinnes, Francesca Annis and The Sultan of Brunei.
Education and Experience
Diploma, Fine Art (Painting)
Designer and silkscreen printer
Scenic artist (10 years)
The West of England College of Art
Birmingham College of Art
Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Mican Graphics, Birmingham
Costume department, BBC Pebble Mill
BBC Television Centre, London