Artist setting the scenes at Disney parks

May 7—Most of what Larry Macri does on the job, he can't talk about.

As head scenic painter for Buena Vista Construction Company, Macri's contract doesn't allow him to detail the overnight work that helps keep things magical at Disney's Orlando area theme parks.

"It's a lot of marbleizing, wood graining and faux finishing. Techniques that make things look aged or weathered," explained Macri, a 62-year-old graduate of New Castle High School and Slippery Rock University. "We do a lot of props, things like barrels and stones, and repairs."

What Macri can talk about is his personal art, which includes commissions for private individuals and major corporations, and his work with the painters' union, where he will soon begin teaching others to become scenic artists.

"I'll be teaching people with no skills in scenic to be scenic painters," Macri said, noting that not everyone with artistic talent "can adapt to scenic skills."

Macri, who's been with Buena Vista for two years and previously worked in a similar role at Universal Studios, explained that scenic painters must create things in a specified way, rather than using their own artistic licenses.

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"There's a process for everything. It's our job to make things that are metal look like wood, or make wood look like metal," he explained, adding that Disney "really is the most magical place in the world. It's very rewarding work.

"I love my life. My worst day is my best day," Macri said, crediting his high school art teacher, Pat Zona, for "pushing me all of my life to become who I am today. I've been able to take my art way past a hobby to something that actually feeds my family."

Personally, Macri is completing a three-part series of works, "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil," and recently had his art featured at a luxury apartment complex in Orlando.

"It's those things that get me in the public eye," Macri said, noting his almost 90-year-old father, Charlie, remains his "most loyal patron."

"Promising things are happening," he said, joking that no matter what, in Lawrence County, he'll always be known as the guy who did the overpass mural in Mahoningtown.