Artists enhance locally filmed movie, television projects

Fans of the locally filmed show “Necessary Roughness” know John Stamos has joined the cast in a recurring guest role.

They might not have known to look for Peggy Everett, Nancy Franke, Jim Seitz or Pascal Bouterin. The artists, whose work is represented by Huff Harrington Fine Art in Buckhead, are among those whose pieces have enhanced sets of the USA Network series. Both the artists and gallery are compensated for their use.

“We’ve had a very long and lovely relationship with ‘Necessary Roughness,’” gallery co-owner Meg Harrington said. “They sure do give us a lot of business and we are delighted about that.”

The show’s set designer got in touch several years ago, when the pilot was filming in a home near hers. When it was picked up, the show moved to a studio.

“We had to recreate the house for the studio,” Harrington said. “Some of the pieces had sold. We had to get creative to recreate the set. It’s really fun to see them on air. Every time an artist is chosen, we send them a cute little note, saying ‘You’re on TV now!’ I know the show is popular. It’s a really interesting venue to display art.”

It’s also a less obvious result of Georgia’s ever-booming film industry.

“I came to Georgia in 2006 from New Orleans and the film business seems to have followed me,” artist Grahame Menage said. “It’s quite amazing. In theory, I should never be out of work.”

The Georgia Legislature enacted tax incentives for filming projects in 2008, resulting in a steady stream of big- and small-screen projects. Menage, who has done interior work in clubs, hotels and restaurants around the world and counts Ted Turner and Arthur Blank among his past clients, has worked on the sets of locally made movies including “Joyful Noise,” “American Reunion,” “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” “Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor,” “Madea’s Witness Protection” and “42.”

These days he’s been working on “Kill the Messenger,” which has filmed in numerous metro Atlanta locations.

“Being on location is generally, by nature, tough,” he said. “You’re at the mercy of the elements.”

This summer’s incessant rain hasn’t helped. For a prison scene, he created a charcoal mural that was promptly washed away by a downpour.

“It’s enjoyable when you get it done against the odds,” Menage said.

He generally doesn’t get to meet the famous people who work in front of artwork he creates, but he’s always eager to look for his influence once the movies come out. He’s particularly glad to have worked on “42,” which starred Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford in the story of baseball great Jackie Robinson.

“I was proud to work on that,” he said. “I think it’s done very well.”

Moviegoers will have a number of opportunities to look for the dramatic mural that artist Amy Rader created for Vanquish nightclub in Midtown. “Last Vegas,” with Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline and Michael Douglas; “Million Dollar Arm,” with Jon Hamm; and “Let’s Be Cops” with Nina Dobrev, Jake Johnson, Andy Garcia and Damon Wayans Jr. have all filmed there.

Fans of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” may also have seen Rader’s craftsmanship in scenes filmed at the Viande Rouge steakhouse in Johns Creek, too.

“It makes me feel good for the different business owners,” she said. While restaurants and clubs tend to stay busier on the weekends, filming generally takes place during the week, she noted.

“I’m happy people are making a little money,” Rader said. “It’s a bonus that all the filming has come to the area.”