As you can probably imagine, we attend A LOT of weddings and one of the things we enjoy most is watching a couple’s creativity shine through their choice of venue, decorations, favors, etc. Well, back in July we were able to see the peak of creativity at a wedding – there was a fabulous woman there who was painting live scenes from the wedding! Meet Trisha Strickland, the “Michigan Wedding Painter”. She is a live event artist with a specialty in wedding painting (she has over 300 weddings under her belt!) She isn't based here in Minnesota, but luckily for you brides out there, she does travel; and that, paired with how incredibly unique this is had us dying to know more. We were able to catch up with Trisha via email to learn a little more about what she does, how she got started, and what she loves most about her job!
Tell us about your business.
I am the sole proprietor of a live event painting business under the name “Michigan Wedding Painter”. In spring of 2012 I decided to paint at a friends wedding as a gift and their guests were asking me for my card that day! Since then I have painted over 300 weddings, bah/bat mitzvahs, engagement parties, birthdays, anniversaries, proposals, some station openings for a local news channel, and at an auction for a local college. I hear I may soon be on site for a baptism, as well! A good portion of my paintings are done at weddings, though.
How did you become interested in painting? What led you to the wedding industry specifically?
I don’t really know when I became interested in painting on a serious level. Its something I've always done and been reasonably good at. When you have a natural ability for something it becomes a part of your identity early on whether you want it to be or not, haha. Art was the thing that came easy for me so I took it for granted for a long time. I would do commissions that people requested but it wasn't until live event painting came across my radar that I felt I had a found a place to employ my skills, experience and personality as an artist. Being able to bring such joy to others for capturing such a special time in their lives is just icing on the wedding cake!
What do you love most about being a wedding painter?
What I love most about being a wedding painter is incredible people I meet! I meet people from all over from all walks of life, careers, backgrounds, cultures and it is such an honor for me to be invited into their personal circle during a fairly intimate celebration and treated like part of their family. I love seeing the personalities of the couple getting married show through their choices in décor and how they celebrate, seeing these rock-star wedding vendors put together show stopping productions, and learning about how families other than my own show love for each other.
Tell us about your most memorable and fun wedding/event.
I can not pick a most memorable and fun wedding; there’s something memorable about each and every one I've attended! I have seen enormous cakes lowered from ceilings, forty foot long dessert tables, a staged Star Wars light saber battle between bridesmaids and groomsmen-Wow, yeah. They're all fun! I will tell you about one that stands out for other reasons, though. Early on in my event painting days I had a wedding where it seemed like everything was going wrong. I stopped off at the wrong venue so I was running late to the right one. It was raining like a monsoon outside so I had to unload in a downpour. My easel fell onto the ground and broke. When I shut the hatch the water that had accumulated on top dumped onto my head. I trudged through guests with mascara running down my face looking like a drowned rat and leaving a puddle trail behind me. I had to ask around for some duct tape to hold my easel together and my blazer was so soaked I took it off and used my infinity scarf as an awkward shawl since I was wearing a cami top underneath. That painting, though, turned out to be my best to date and no one cared about my hair being plastered to my face or my tardiness. That was the wedding where I learned that even when everything seems to be going wrong, I can use that pressure to my advantage and make it right-not only right, but amazing. It was an invaluable experience.
Can you tell us about your packages and price point? And are you willing to travel?
Currently due to family obligations at home, I try to limit my services to one day paintings using acrylic paint on linen canvas. I do have more package options in the works for 2020, though. I am absolutely willing travel given I am available and travel costs are paid for by a client. I try my best to keep travel expenses fairly close to cost, though. My current prices vary depending on size and location but the starting point for my services is in the $800 realm.
Tell us one thing we might now know about you otherwise.
I recently started mixing my own paints. I didn't start doing that for any artsy bragging rights or anything-I’m always making concoctions and enjoy making homemade, custom things. I've been making homemade soaps, perfumes, lotions and various household cleaners for years now so I'm a little surprised that making my own paints and varnishes wasn't an earlier evolution for me. My kids jokingly call my studio a laboratory.