Unique wedding keepsake: live painting
When Stephanie Torregrossa attends a wedding reception, by the end of the night she’s created more buzz than everyone’s favorite drunk uncle. Torregrossa, the owner of Torregrossa Fine Art & Live Painting, is one of a few live wedding and event painting artists in the city. She started a few years ago when a friend asked her to paint at her wedding.
“I was terrified,” Torregrossa said. “I didn’t like painting in front of people because I like to talk, and I thought I would get distracted and stop painting.”
Torregrossa’s set up is simple. She attends the wedding reception as a vendor, arriving early to paint the scene. This allows more time to focus on painting the bride and groom and guests, during the reception.
“Typically, the painting can either be a portrait with just the bride and groom during their first dance or another posed scene, or it can include family and friends,” she said. “I’ve got a bunch of different packages to work with different budgets.”
Unlike abstract paintings, which can lack tangible particulars, Torregrossa’s art is realistic, reflecting minute details like a flower’s crease, or a guest’s dimple on their cheek. She takes thirty minutes to an hour to paint the bride and groom, and then averages five to ten minutes per guests from a list provided by the bride.
“I put more detail in the faces of the bride, groom and guests and it is a more realistic memory,” she said. “People can point out themselves.”
If this unique souvenir is something a couple is considering, she encourages customers to research and review prospective artists portfolios.
“Make sure that their typical color palette and details are what you want to hang in your home,” she said.
Although a five to six-hour block of time is ideal, Torregrossa’s goal is to finish in the period provided. “I accept the challenge to do whatever painting they hired me to do in the time allowed,” she said. “I aim to have every painting done by the end of the night, although I do take it home to do touchups.”
Torregrossa, who recently became engaged, gets so much pleasure in capturing once-in-a-lifetime moments that cannot be recreated.
“It’s entertainment for your guests because they get to watch the painting come to life during the reception,” she said. “Also, it’s a special takeaway that they will hang in their home forever. It is original artwork, and more special because it was created when it was happening.”
Torregrossa, 26, and a Baton Rouge native, graduated from LSU in 2013 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Graphic Design. She quit her job as a graphic designer two years after college to become a full-time artist. She accepts commissioned work and also paints pets and birds, which she’s highlighted in several collections.
She enjoys the thrill of witnessing the special connection between the subject and client.
“That is why painting pets are so much fun because they love their pets,” she said. “Their reaction is priceless. If I could pay my bills on the joy of my clients and not money I would do things for free. It’s worth it.”
Photos courtesy of Stephanie Torregrossa