by ASJAD NAZIR
A WEDDING trend an increasing number of couples are falling in love with is live painting.
Aside from having photographers, videographers, drones and all other modern technology, those tying the knot are hiring trained artists for weddings and receptions to capture that magical moment in a unique way.
Eastern Eye caught up with Leicester-based art talent Malika Gandhi to speak about her experiences of painting live at weddings.
What first connected you to art?
I love art and the spectacular art galleries in London, where I grew up, are what connected me to it. My art teacher at school also inspired me; it was where my love for art began.
Tell us, what led you towards painting weddings?
It all came about when I attended an Indian wedding in London and met an established artist painting the event live. I spoke to her and was instantly interested. There is something about weddings that brings happiness and joy to everyone’s hearts. In Indian weddings, there are huge crowds and vibrant colours, and in other cultures, weddings are classic and simple.
Tell us more…
I make abstract paintings, which bring out my own style when interpreting weddings through colours, texture, and brush strokes. I find painting brides in their fabulous attire immersing and fascinating with the flow of their garments, the intricate detail of lace, net, embroidery, and the cuts and stitching of the fabric. The groom’s attire is usually straightforward to paint and I concentrate on the tones. Painting background in abstract is fun. Then there is the love of weddings, so it was natural for me to join art with weddings.
Tell us about the process of painting a wedding?
I begin with painting the background first, and then add the bride, groom, and guests in the picture. Painting live among the guests is thrilling and engaging with them is even more special. I enjoy every moment as people inquire about my work and are generally appreciative.
Tell us about a memorable wedding you painted?
One of the weddings had a mandhvo (canopy) of flowers arranged to form a picture of Lord Ganesh. The guests attended the wedding in absolute silence and all the rituals were completed in time and with grace. I felt uplifted and calm while painting the scene. It was a memorable event for me.
What kind of wedding requests do you get?
I get all kinds of requests. Some are outdoor and some are indoor. Sometimes the bride just wants the focus to be on her with a hint of busyness in their painting. Some want the whole shebang of guests and that party feeling. I speak to the couple beforehand and get a feeling of what kind of picture they would like, what their interests are and how they want to be portrayed in the picture. I believe it is very important to know the couple and their interests to capture their essence in the picture.
What are the biggest challenges?
Timing can be a massive challenge for me as weddings are not lengthy as they used to be. So I overcome that by starting as early as 8am, painting the background, the mandhvo, or a garden.
Do guests interact with you?
Yes, all the time. They like to come over and chat with me or just pass a complimentary comment on my work.
Tell us more about some of the options available?
I offer services to paint the couple’s gorgeous event on the day, live. I also offer to paint at small gatherings such as the mehndi night or the raas garba/music night, and receptions. A bride loves her wedding dress, bangles, earrings and everything else. I offer a special unique abstract portrait of the bride in her wedding attire that can be in the form of a book or a canvas painting. This is usually done before the reception party and I would need a four to five-hour gap to complete this if the bride wants it to show. One of the newest unique options I offer is a visual journal from the couple’s engagement, mehndi night and music night, leading up to the wedding itself.
What inspires you as an artist?
It is the freedom of the art itself, the calm of the paint on the canvas that drives me to be an artist. Looking at the world through other artists’ eyes is inspiration.
Why would you recommend getting a live painter?
First of all, the bride and groom must love and appreciate art to really want a live painter at their wedding. I would recommend the future brides and grooms to hire a live wedding painter to bring their event out on a canvas, to keep forever and to always cherish this special day.
Visit Facebook: @Wedding Art By Malika and Instagram: @malika_gandhi_