Academy Awards (R) Governors Ball Décor – reflecting fresco experience.

by Andrew Brosseit, 2004

76th Academy Awards (r) Governors Ball - decor design by iLia FrescoThe Governors Ball for the 76th Annual Academy Awards (R) occurred over a month ago. For I LA Design Services ( & Fresco School ( this is not an event easily forgotten. For over three months the interior decoration of the Governor’s Ball has been the sole priority of this Los Angeles based art firm. Whether it was the creation of over 27,000 sq. feet of hand painted “trompe l’oeil fresco” décor to line the ceiling, or the large hand painted in verdaccio grisaille mural depicting an orchid in bloom, the time spent and their dedication to this project was unparalleled.

Among many benefits, experience with Buon Fresco technique provides artist with better understanding of the planning, organization and production of the large art commission especially when the project has to be completed in stages or sections, as well as when the scale of the project requires the team of artists.

Kodak Theater Ballroom Model for 76th Academy Awards (R) Governors Ball

Kodak Theater Ballroom Model for 76th Academy Awards (R) Governors Ball

The project began in October 2004 in the mind of Ilia Anossov (fresco), the lead artist of and the founder of the Fresco School. He had done work on previous Academy Award projects, but this was the first time he was asked to contribute to this Event on this large of a scale. Based on guidelines provided by the event producer Cheryl Cecchetto whose Sequoia Productions has staged 15 Governors Balls and the Academy, iLia and project manager Yunmy Parks of Sequoia, began to form the ideas. They began to take shape first in the form of a pen and ink rendering and later in an intricate scale model.

Kodak Theater Ballroom Rendering for 76th Academy Awards (R) Governors Ball

Kodak Theater Ballroom Rendering for 76th Academy Awards (R) Governors Ball

The work on the actual interior began shortly after the approval of these designs. Among the most time consuming aspect was the hand painted ceiling. Fortunately, much of the work was done on the floor of studios and was transferred to the Kodac Theater upon completion. Initially, the large strips of fabric were painted the blue background color. This was followed by the painting of trompe l’oeil medallions and lunettes along the center dome and main ceiling panel. The initial outline was painted in sweeping white and gold brush strokes. Later, antique verdaccio color was used to create the striking appearance of depth.

Working on the Ceiling Detail - 76th Academy Awards (R) Governors Ball

Working on the Ceiling Detail – 76th Academy Awards (R) Governors Ball

Other parts of the ceiling could not be completed at the studio. The molding around the base of the smaller chandeliers, around 54 in all, had to be completed at the Kodak Theater. Two full days had to be spent painting these remaining designs upside-down, with the fabric already stretched by set decorator Nelson Sosa and his team across the ceiling.

One of the most impressive aspects of the design had to be the large Veranda backdrop that occupied the entire end of the immense ball room. This painting totaled 2000 sq. feet. It was modern and airy, yet had levels of complexity of the Old World Chinoiserie. Scattered across the foliage of the trees, tiny white flowers reflected the light from above. These flowers became a glowing source of light and ceased to be simply a painting. The trees, themselves, seemed to retreat back into the distance adding to the dynamics of the composition.

Orchid Backdrop by iLia Fresco - 76th Academy Awards (R) Governors Ball

Orchid Backdrop – 76th Academy Awards (R) Governors Ball

The rest of the decor was a symphony of light and shadow. The mirrors placed symmetrically around the interior caused the observer to imagine a coldness and depth existed beyond the exterior walls. The large bouquets of roses echoed the shape of the chandeliers hanging from above. And a hand painted dance floor with hand painted gold organza stage surrounding the orchestra added a finishing touch to the ambiance of the ball.

“We wanted to create a modern-day palace, which is very fitting for the Governors Ball,” said Cheryl Cecchetto.

The combination of these features added to the overwhelming success of the Governor’s Ball. As the guests arrived that night one could hear them whisper to one another of the masterpiece that had been created. It was difficult for one to image that you were still in downtown Hollywood. For a short time, the work of Ilia Anossov and transported guests to another world, a world to remember.

Kodac Theater Ballroom at the 76th Academy Awards (R) Governors Ball

Kodac Theater Ballroom at the 76th Academy Awards (R) Governors Ball

by Andrew Brosseit, 2004
images courtesy of AMPAS (c), Sequoia Prods,

about the Artist:

iLia Anossov (fresco) is one of the few artists in the world considered a master of the art of fresco painting. His fresco work includes paintings, installations, objects, sculptures and his signature fresco “stacks”.

iLia has been widely exhibited in Russia, Europe and the United States including 7 museum exhibitions and over 50 solo and group exhibitions. Commissions include large-scale fresco installations and murals in private homes and public areas. His internationally featured Malibu Fresco project appeared on the covers of premier magazines including Architectural Digest (AD) USA/Germany/Italy, House & Garden UK.

iLia’s creative mind and artistic excellence has been in high demand for prestigious events and productions. One of his most notable commissions was the design and creation of the interior décor of the 76th Annual Academy Awards® Governor’s Ball. Over 27,000 sq. feet was hand painted in t”rompe l’oeil frescoes”. iLia’s work has graced such events as the 73rd Academy Awards® Governor’s Ball, 9th Annual SAG Awards Governor’s Ball, 50th Annual Emmy Awards, 11th Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards and many others.

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