Like to Paint? Make Up to $4,000 per Wedding as a Live-Event Artist

live painting
Sestovic under Creative Commons.

Are you a talented painter who’s tired of selling prints on Etsy for $30 each? Well, you don’t have to be a starving artist any longer.

If you love weddings or other exclusive events, and don’t mind painting in front of hundreds of people, try your hand at being a live-event artist.

What Is a Live-Event Artist?

Exactly what it sounds like: You’ll paint at events, capturing special moments and scenes live.

The trend started in the wedding industry: Couples would hire an artist to come to their weddings and paint the scene in front of them as it happened. Live-event artists typically paint the couple, the gorgeous venue surrounding them and some of the guests, too.

Most of these paintings are not exact portraits of the bride and groom but, rather, an interpretation of the event as the artist sees it. These paintings are mostly abstract, and capture the movement and excitement of the scene.

Live-event artists also work other events, like galas and birthdays.

How Do You Become a Live-Event Artist?

If you’re interested in becoming one, here are some steps you can take:

Step 1: Hone Your Artistic Skills

Painting in front of an audience is much, much different than painting in a studio or your own home. You’ll need to interact with guests while you work, and you’ll also have to be able to concentrate and complete a painting in a short amount of time.

To prepare for this type of gig, try painting a landscape in your backyard or local park within a certain time frame.

You can also offer to paint a friend’s event for free to practice mingling with guests and see how your paintings evolve over the course of the occasion.

Step 2: Market, Market, Market

This is a relatively new job. It’s your job to educate the market on why they should hire one — and choose you.

You’ll need to create an incredible website, showcase your portfolio — remember all those events you worked for free? — and create social media accounts for your business. You should also attend wedding trade shows and network heavily with other members of the service community.

I would also recommend producing a video like this artist. That way, prospective clients will be able to see what it’s like to have you at their event.

How Much Do Live-Event Artists Get Paid?

Having a live-event artist at a wedding is a luxury for the couple, so you can usually charge a premium price.

Live-event artists typically get $2,000-$4,000 for an event. Some even get paid to go to various locations and get reimbursed for travel.

If you’re just starting out, see what other live event artists are charging in your city.

Pricing also varies depending on the type of materials you use and the size of the canvas. So, factor in your own costs to ensure you make a profit.

The live-event artist market is growing, and more brides are exploring this option as a unique way for their weddings to stand out. If you love to paint and don’t mind performing in front of an audience, this could be a fun and lucrative job for you!

Your Turn: Are you an artist? If so, would you be interested in live-painting at an event?

Catherine Alford is an award-winning personal finance writer, motivational speaker and mother to boy/girl twins. She shares her adventures at