Since 1962 I have been based in New York City painting and designing for the theater. I began my career working for the nMetropolitan Opera, and my work has taken me to Europe, Africa, and cities across the United States.
I am now retired from scenic painting, but I have finished a memoir, titled "The Sounds of South Africa", available for purchase at Amazon. It is about my time working for the theater by contract in Johannesburg, South Africa and having ten wonderful years with my partner, Pieter.
Contact Edward Haynes Bellow to find out more about his memoir.
A Life in Scenic Painting
When I was nine years old, my older sister took me to the opera. I was instantly thrilled by the experience and began listening to opera on the radio from my home in Texas. As soon as I was able, I moved to New York City and soon began working at the new Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center. During my time in New York, I learned a huge amount and worked with some of the best scenic painters and designers in the industry.
A Passion for Performing Arts
It has been a pleasure and a privilege to spend my career working in the performing arts. My favorite project was doing scenic painting and design for a production of Prokofiev's "Cinderella," with Margot Fonteyn in the title role, which toured the Eastern and Southern United States. I have also designed for the Harkness Ballet, the National Ballet, and four American premieres of modern European operas, as well as for a number of off-Broadway plays and one Broadway musical. In 1989, I won a Vita Award in South Africa for my work on the scenery, costumes, and lighting for a production of Shakespeare's "Richard III."
Over the years, my work has evolved tremendously. My style has been described as conservative, and my work is characterized by realistic elements. Creating a compelling set is often difficult, but there is nothing like the satisfaction of seeing the finished product. "Richard III" was my most abstract work.
From 1982 to 1992, when I was with my partner, Pieter, I worked in Johannesburg, South Africa. During this time, I worked on set and costume design contracts and taught technical and design requirements for stage scenery to students, which was soon moved from the Market Theater to a University class room with drafting tables. All of the students had experienced some theater in their townships. My memoir, "The Sounds of South Africa," was inspired by this and other events plus life with Pieter. It documents a violent time in the country's history, and the title is a quote from Pieter. Upon hearing gunfire in the street outside our apartment, he remarked, "Do you hear the sounds of Africa?"
I have had the privilege of teaching at various universities in the United States and South Africa, and I enjoy working with students. Many of my former students and assistants have gone on to successful careers in the theater, including one who now works as a technician with Cirque du Soleil, exactly what she wanted. I take great satisfaction in seeing my students thrive in this field.
Member of the United Scenic Artists of America since 1966
Thank you for your interest. We look forward to hearing from you soon.