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Meet Amanda Knehans

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Knehans.

Amanda, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up on the east coast and developed an interest in visual art through my participation in the fine arts and theatre programs offered at my high school. After studying technical theatre and design in college, I moved to the west coast to pursue an MFA in stage design from Cal State Long Beach. Studying under the mentorship of my design professor had a deep impact on my development as an artist. I was pushed to develop my own visual language and personal storytelling style. This emphasis on storytelling is what feeds my love of theatre.

After grad school, I transitioned into work as a freelance scenic designer, and eventually, also began working in film as an Art Director. No matter the medium through which a story is presented to an audience, my goal is to help the audience understand and relate to a story on its most basic, human level. In order to do this, I push myself to have a personal response to the text, relating to it through associations, and transforming it into a visual metaphor for the stage or camera. As a designer, I want to create thought-provoking work that will inspire growth and resonate with my audience on the most personal level.​

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Pursuing a life in theatre and film always has it’s challenging, but I have been very fortunate to find consistent work and a supportive community of fellow designers and artists. Even so, I have never been a person who enjoys being the focus of attention, so I still struggle with putting myself out there. Running an art department or leading a crew of technicians to implement a scenic design can be intimidating, but I find that if you emphasize teamwork, place value on the individuals and keep the focus on the task at hand, then the project will succeed.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am a Scenic Designer for theatre and an Art Director for film and television. My goal as a designer is to support a story by creating environments that have a unique visual language that help propel the audience to a deeper understanding of the story. I want the audience to think intellectually, while also having a visceral, unconscious reaction to the work. I like to play with visual metaphors and layers of association to create thought-provoking designs that resonate with my audience on a personal level.

What were you like growing up?
I was more of an introverted child growing up. I spent a lot of time on my own reading and drawing. If I wasn’t doing that, you could find me exploring my neighborhood and playing with my dog and cat.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Derrett Sanders, Dagney Kerr

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