When it comes to capturing the special moments of your wedding day, photos are a tried and tested way to treasure the memories, but we love the idea of creating something a bit more special and unique to give a beautifully unusual creation. There’s no risk of a bespoke painting being buried in a drawer and forgotten about – and we wanted to find out a bit more about the process and passions of our live event painter, Anthony Galati. here’s what he had to say…
What exactly is live event painting?
I will set up my easel, get out my brushes, paints, and palette, and translate the whole experience into a single freeze frame image in the form of an oil painting. As you, your closest friends and family are having the time of your life, I will be there with you at the venue the whole time, painting away, capturing a moment in time to be cherished forever.
What kind of couple does this service most appeal to?
It’s perfect for a couple that has all of the staple vendors booked, and still feels that they need to add something really unique for their big day. If you have an appreciation for fine art, this is an excellent way to incorporate that interest into the most important day of your life. If you love the idea of remembering your big day in a way that goes beyond a standard photograph, this is right for you.
How is a wedding painting better than a photograph?
Couples will often say that overall, the painting brings them right back to the night more than any of the photos did. Part of this is because I take most of my reference photos using ambient light, which is the actual light that you see when you are in a room. Most photographers shoot the majority of their photographs with a flashlight source unless they are taken outside on a bright day. Flashes will change the way that a scene looks by adjusting the direction of the light source and shadows, and washing out the coloured uplighting with white light.
Furthermore, I am able to choose what to paint and what to leave out. I include only what makes the scene better, and can leave out or move what takes away from it. This may include things like large black speakers, invasive stage lighting fixtures, or air vents in the ceiling. All of this will add up to a gorgeous heirloom that may be handed down for generations. In addition to these things, watching the creation of art is great entertainment for your guests!
How does it provide entertainment for guests?
Guests are welcome to come over to the easel and ask questions about the process. Everyone is free to come back as many times as they like throughout the celebration to see what’s been added and if anyone that they know has been added to the piece. People also enjoy filming me and posting it on their social media.
How long does it take?
Many pieces have taken over 400 hours to complete. This is because I work in an exceptionally realistic style, and the images are extremely complex. They are essentially a combination of the three main historical areas of realism in art: figures, still life and landscape. There are several people to be included, at times very intricate architectural elements, often unusual and extremely intense colour spaces, and it must all fit in a scene with cohesive perspective.
What is most often the couple’s favourite part of the artwork?
The highpoint is usually the couple’s faces and the intricate details of the bride’s dress. I always paint the couple’s faces to be very specifically recognizable and extremely detailed. Sometimes the smallest brush that I have is too wide for certain things and I have to use just the corner edge of the bristles. The couple loves to pick out the other people in the picture as well, and finding the different family and friends almost becomes a game.
How do you choose which part of the day to be portrayed in the image?
It’s all about making the couple as happy as possible. The first dance is a popular choice, however, I generally paint whatever the client prefers. If they are unsure, I typically recommend the reception over the ceremony for various reasons. It will tend to make for better composition as well as a better experience for guests to be able to see the picture as it is being worked on. The only exception to this would be something like a traditional Indian ceremony, which is likely to last much longer than an average western style marriage ceremony. Whichever part of the festivities they prefer, the most important thing is that we will want to make sure that the couple is the main focus. After all, it’s their day!
Can you explain the process?
Together we will go over the specifics of what will be in the scene in an effort to make the best possible representation of the day or night, based on the couple’s preference. Aside from choosing what part of the night to depict, some of these things are: which family members and friends they would like to be included in the image, what location and point of view I will have in the room, and whether they would like to be portrayed looking at each other or towards me.
Beforehand, I will work from photos to get a head start on the background. This way, the guests have something to look at as soon as they come in when the party starts. I look at photos and the colours and activity happening while I am there that day, and use photo reference to finish paintings in my art studio after the party has ended.
How far in advance do you recommend that couples book with you?
If you are very interested in having me paint at your wedding, I always recommend booking as soon as possible. Unlike some other services such as photographer or DJ teams, there is no one else available to fill in once I am booked for your date. I generally prefer to begin preliminary work on a picture 6 weeks ahead of time, but there have been times that I have booked events much closer to the date than that.
What creative experience did you have before becoming a wedding painter?
I have been painting with oils for almost three decades. In the past, I had worked in a graphic design studio, made signs by hand, and did commissioned portraits of people, pets and houses. My personal artwork focuses on the figure and plane air landscapes of New York City. I have shown in several states across the U.S., won awards for my art, and have sold to private collections as far reaching as The United Kingdom and Singapore. I’ve taught private and group art lessons and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Temple University.
We loved finding out more about Anthony and his painting process, it sounds like such a fun way to capture a moment and Anthony is truly passionate about what he does. You can see his 5 Star Wedding Directory listing here and find out more about what he does.