Courtney Atinsky, Proprietor of Built By Atinsky and San Francisco Surface, is a Set & Scenic Designer, Carpenter, and Fabricator. But creating beautiful spaces wasn’t always her vision… “When I was a child, there were two things that I really wanted to be. The first was a prison guard. The second and maybe more realistic goal was to interview stars for movie junkets in Hollywood or to be an E! correspondent.”
Courtney got her wish, to a degree. Setting her sights on a job in the entertainment industry, she was lucky enough to already live in the right place. “I grew up in Studio City, California, where I was surrounded by the magic of movies, television, art and music.” When she moved to San Francisco in the late 90s, Courtney began working in film production and was hired as a Stage Manager for Custer Avenue Stages.
Today, she’s shifted gears a bit with her two businesses. “Built By Atinsky and San Francisco Surface combine a common stream of art, installation, set design, carpentry, surface fabrications and rentals. San Francisco Surface was a concept that was formed because our area lacked a rental company that could source, fabricate and manipulate existing smaller surfaces for tabletop photography.”
Courtney’s certainly settled into her line of work, dreams of hosting for E! far behind her. “I love getting my hands dirty,” she said. “I really enjoy the process from design to completion, from the people I hire as carpenters or scenic to the photo crews I work with on set. It can change from day to day or week to week and I enjoy the constant change.” It’s not all fun and games, though. “It is a double-edged sword,” she admits. “I struggle with running two small businesses and being a bit of a workaholic. Just ask my girlfriend.”
At Poppy Creative, we’ve been so happy to collaborate with Courtney on many of her projects, including recent photo shoots with Qlik and Tiny Prints. “I’m lucky as I’ve had the chance to collaborate with some of my very talented friends and colleagues…It’s always great to see the outcome of what we’ve built and the enjoyment of watching the environment be brought to life,” Courtney said. Her artistic icons include Daedalus, a skilled craftsman and artist from Greek mythology (he created the first Labyrinth); Julia Morgan; Frank Gehry; and Santiago Calatrava.