Joseph Francuz(1953 - )
Los Angeles native Joseph Francuz knew he wanted to be an artist as a child and happily succeeded. Joe graduated from Otis Art Institute in June 1975 and was working as a scenic artist by September. One year later, Joe was painting scenic backgrounds at JC Backings. Joe apprenticed to some of Hollywood’s finest Journeymen scenic artists, including MGM-trained Harry Tepker and Bob Oberbeck, and perspective virtuoso Ben Resella. Joe worked with Ben Resella for twelve years, becoming a Journeyman Scenic Artist. Joe became a lead artist when Ben retired.
Joe’s motion picture credits include Chaplin (1992), My Stepmother is an Alien (1988), Stuart Little (2002), Rocky 2 (1979), Star Trek 1 (1966), Star Trek 2 (1982), Star Trek 3 (1984), Ghostbusters (1984), Men in Black (1997), Jurassic Park 1, 2, and 3, Independence Day (1996), Cocoon (1985), One from the Heart (1981), Mystic River (2003), Hook (1991), and The Terminal (2004). Joe’s television backings include Dallas, Knot’s Landing, LA Law, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, On Golden Pond (CBS live production), and many others. Projects for theater include David Copperfield’s Magic Show, Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show, and The Three Tenors at Dodger Stadium. Joe also painted backings and murals for Disney World, Epcot Center, Tokyo Disneyland, MGM Studio Theme Park, Universal Theme Park Florida, Universal Studios Fire Wall (Phoenix Project), and the Paramount Parks Top Gun ride.
After 31 years at JC Backings, Joe worked at Marian Westall’s Hot Pepper Studio, primarily painting murals painted in oil for Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruise Lines. Following years of painting with water-based paint, it was a pleasure and challenge to work in oil again, as oil paints were Joe’s, first love.
As a Scenic Artist in the industry for 38 years, Joe is now retired and lives in Prescott Valley, Arizona. He currently is painting his work in oil and watercolor, as well as photography.
Francuz, Joseph (scenic artist). 2013. Interview with Karen Maness for the Art Directors Guild Oral History Project, July. Isackes, Richard M., Maness, Karen L. 2016. The Art of the Hollywood Backdrop, ReganArts
Joseph Francuz, Texas Performing Arts Visiting Guest Artist 2023, restoring MGM backdrop from The Law and the Lady (1951).
Joseph Francuz at J.C. Backings, lead scenic artist on Chaplin (1992) translucent backdrop.
Texas Performing Arts, Photographer Robert Silver, Courtesy Francuz Collection