About Sky Art
Several major chapters make up the story of SKY ART.
The first chapter begins in Hollywood in 1978, when, after many years as a commercial artist, Karen painted a large scale backdrop for Braniff Airlines. Over the next five years, Karen earned a living as a scenic artist, painting sets and backdrops for use in television commercials, and became known as a freelance sky painting expert.
In 1983, Karen partnered with Gary Lloyd to form SKY ART Scenic Art Services; together they painted hundreds of stage cycloramas and backdrops, developing a rental backdrop business that specialized in sky images. During those years, Karen’s skies appeared in television commercials, on cassette covers, in motion pictures, and in fashion articles and magazine ads – some even graced the covers of TIME and other national magazines.
Gary and Karen’s list of commercial clients read like a Who’s Who: Walt Disney Studios, Elizabeth Taylor, McDonald’s, Toyota, IBM, ARCO, Chevrolet, Miller Beer, Mattel…and their painted backdrops provided the staging for numerous music videos behind star performers like Madonna, Sting, Michael Jackson and the Pointer Sisters.
Karen left Hollywood for New Mexico in 1988. She started a new company, SKY ART Karen Kristin, Inc., while Gary continued with the Hollywood business as L.A. Sky Drops. Over the next year, Karen supplied backdrops from her New Mexico studio to Gary for their Hollywood rental business. Then, when they parted ways as business associates, she cultivated Caesar’s Palace as a client.
In 1991, SKY ART Karen Kristin was contracted to paint the sky for Caesar’s Forum, the new shopping mall attached to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. This marked the actual transition from backdrops to murals, when, guided by the vision of interior designer Terry Dougall, Karen and her associate Chara Nelson, designed a spectacular sky painting…one that became a trendsetter in the interior design industry. For this project, Liza Callender, Alex Cowie, and Roger Zimmerman joined Karen and Chara to form a team that went on to paint numerous large scale sky ceilings over the next several years. In 1994, the SKY ART team expanded to include Marti Kyrk and Ric Sprynczynatyk, and travel for projects extended beyond Las Vegas to other cities and states.
Several years passed, and in 1998, the sky ceiling painting for the Venetian Grande Canal Shoppes in Las Vegas was awarded to SKY ART Karen Kristin; the team expanded once again to include Scott Buelow, Patrick McClinch, and Evan Scully, and to re-include Gary Lloyd. The Venetian project symbolized the creative culmination of the original SKY ART team, because in1999 some of the original team members formed a separate company in order to take on an international project in Tokyo. Meanwhile Karen took a yearlong sabbatical from sky painting and traveled to China, Tibet, South Africa and India.
Following her return from travel, Karen spent time in her own studio, and in 2000, began work on a commission for Swami Sai Baba’s Chaitanya Joti Museum. She and her on-site assistant Priscilla Oby traveled to India to install the murals and to continue on-site painting at the museum. As larger projects were again offered over the next few years, Karen reassembled members of the original team – Ric, Scott, Gary, and Marti – and took on new members – Jennifer Callender as office manager, Bruce House as painter and architect, Erin McCabe and Nikki Pike in paint station positions, and Amanda Willshire as freelance computer and design expert. The new expanded team completed ceilings at the Argosy and Boulder Station casinos.
Currently, the core SKY ART painting team is made up of Karen, Ric, Scott and Jennifer. Over the past few years, this team has completed projects at Barsana Dham in India, at several PT’s Pubs and Roadrunner Restaurants in the Las Vegas area, at the airport in Bismarck, ND (the hometown of both Ric and Scott), and at the Victory Church and the Mountain High Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado.
Recently, SKY ART Karen Kristin has moved from the Denver studio/office it occupied for many years and is now located in Cortez, Colorado. Over the next few years we anticipate many exciting challenges, including our biggest and most exciting project ever.