It’s been about three years since we introduced you to the artist behind the artwork on the hit Netflix series “Grace and Frankie.”
With the show’s final season officially out, Arts Correspondent Angel Idowu figured it was time to go back to the artist’s studio in East Rogers Park for another visit.
For the last eight years, Nancy Rosen has created the artwork behind Netflix’s longest running original series, “Grace and Frankie.”
“When ‘Grace and Frankie’ call, it’s always a Hollywood emergency. I just go, they call, and my husband watches my head and it goes, click click click,” Rosen said. “That’s the thing about doing a painting for them. If it’s for an episode, it starts as one thing because they don’t quite know. It keeps morphing until it’s done.”
But those chaotic clicks were put on hold when the pandemic forced production to shut down after creating the first four episodes of the final season.
Rosen says this pause allowed her to work on personal projects, some she’d never have done were it not for the series.
“I did a whole series of dogs because I did the poodles for them,” she said. “So some asked me to do a dog portraits. Normally I say no, but painting the dog was so fun.”
But once production resumed, it was full steam ahead.
“Season seven, they hadn’t called me most of the season. Then all of a sudden this painting was as serious as a heart attack,” Rosen said. “I will miss that. Clearly this is it for me. I will do this my whole life. The beautiful thing is that as an artist you get to do this till, ya know. I love that interruption.”
When the show wrapped, Rosen received back items she’d lent to production to make Frankie’s art studio more personable.
“They either rented stuff from me, or commissioned. Like if I did a painting of Jane, that was for an episode,” Rosen said. “But these were paintings I loaned them. These are just in the background.”
In a way, the character’s studio is Rosen’s studio.
“It’s all my little stuff. I remember they said, ‘Can you send paint brushes and send squeezed tubes and oil bars?’ It’s all so authentic,” Rosen said.
Rosen reflected on memorable pieces from past seasons.
“Lily loved playing Frida. So she asked me to do a painting of Frankie as Lily as Frida as Frankie. They gave at the final episode taping — they presented Lily with the painting of Frida and presented Jane as “Countdrinkula.” That was pretty special.”
Rosen says the exposure from working on the show over the last eight years led her to be commissioned to create more than 800 pieces. While she doesn’t know what’s next, she looks forward to continuing the work that led her to this journey.
“It’s like a welcome wave that came into my life and went like this (motions) and then it’s gone. And it’s just left me with lovely wonderful feelings,” Rosen said. “I’d love to do more. I guess I like the interruption of what I get up and do every day. Today you’ll draw a toilet. When they called for a robot that is a woman that makes doughnuts but they’re really bagels with sprinkles. You’re like OK, I’ve never thought of a robot. I think that’s what I’ll miss the most.”
Rosen’s original artwork can be viewed on her website at nrosen.com.
Follow Angel Idowu on Twitter: @angelidowu3
Angel Idowu is the JCS Fund of the DuPage Foundation Arts Correspondent.