With all the money you’ll be saving by having a small wedding, you might want to splurge on a painted masterpiece starring you and your wedding guests.

A live event artist will capture your wedding day on canvas, as it unfolds. When the night is done you will go home with an incredible keepsake of your wedding.

Artists all over the continent are hiring themselves out as live event artists. One of the higher profile event artists is L.A’s Greg Kalamar.

Kalamar, whose preferred medium is acrylic on canvas,  is hired to paint at 25 weddings each year. He’s also covered a slew of other events such as Hollywood after-parties (including the official Grammy after-party) and rock concerts. His client list includes Geroge Clinton, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden.

I interviewed Greg Kalamar to find out a little about the painting process. Here is our interview:

Is it always during the reception that you paint?

A: Although receptions are most common, I’ve also studied (painted) ceremonies and rehearsal dinners. Most paintings are created in three to four hours.

Is there a standard size for the paintings?

A: There are standard sizes such as 36×24 inches and 48×30 inches but I also create custom sizes as requested.

Do you usually create just one painting during the event?

A: Yes. There is usually not enough time to paint more than one.

How much does it cost?

A: $3,000 for a 36×24 inch canvas and $3,500 for a 48×30 inch canvas.

Do the couples have input on what you paint? If so, do couples usually tell you what they want painted or do they let you choose?

A: Yes couples have input both beforehand and during the painting process. It is common for me to take requests to add certain people into the painting as they pose, dance, etc.

How would you describe your style?

A: I study real life in real time. The style can be called “impressionistic” or “figurative”.

Do the guests interact with you while you are painting?

A: Yes. I get questions like; “You put my daughter in the painting… Will you put my son in as well?” And I might answer; ” Go over to your son and carry on a conversation with him for five minutes and I will study you both into the painting candidly.

How did you get into live event painting for weddings?

A: My friend’s wife asked me to paint at her brother’s wedding reception as she liked my works done of real life in real time.

How long have you been doing live event paintings for weddings?

A: Sixteen years. That first wedding painting was done in 1993 and still hangs on the couple’s wall today.

Do you think this is a trend that is going to grow?

A: I think it is a growing trend. There seem to be more and more painters working as the years go by.

What if the wedding couple doesn’t like the painting?

A: I would add to the painting in the studio to please them. It has never happened.

What do you enjoy about doing this? (I am also an artist and I would find this nervewracking because I don’t like people watching me paint.)

A: I like the challenge of working live. I also enjoy interacting with people while I’m painting. The interaction helps to accurately tell the story with paint.


Check out Greg’s website for more examples of his work.

For those of you who can’t afford to shell out three grand for a live event artist , there are lots of other options. Why not approach some of your favorite local artists? Although they might not market themselves as live event artists, they might be open to the idea and they might fit nicely into your budget. Another option is to approach your local art school and find out if a student would be interested in capturing your wedding day with paint.

Other live event artists to check out:

Laura Swytak

Gail Fitzpatrick

Miles Pelky

Paintings in this post by Greg Kalamar