Do you ever have one of those moments when you ask yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Artist David Beynon Pena has a great idea, and although he didn’t invent the concept, he’s doing very well with it. Pena has found a niche: individuals hire him to come to their parties and paint the scene alla prima, forever recording special celebrations with a unique interpretation that only an artist can provide. I can only imagine how attendees must be pleasantly surprised to see an artist working at any one of these celebrations.
A Marriage of Art and Entertainment by McKenzie Graham
While cell phones snap images of fleeting moments, life is happening on the other side of the lens, and the photographer can only watch as it passes. That explains part of the benefit in hiring professional photographers for big events–brides and grooms and guests can enjoy the day, uninterrupted. Some couples and event planners take an unique approach to recording not only a moment, but the mood, atmosphere, and personalities of the guests, as interpreted by an artist. “That’s the challenge and excitement of live event painting,” says David Beynon Pena, protégé and friend of presidential portrait artist (and contributing editor of The Artist’s Magazine), Everett Raymond Kinstler. On weekends when Pena’s not painting commissioned portraits, he attends weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, birthday parties, and corporate events and captures festivities and festive spirits on canvas.
The idea may seem like a new one, but Pena actually took a cue from another artist. “I remember seeing The Cocktail Party, 1956 by John Koch at the New York Historical Society,” he says. “Koch threw parties in his elegant apartment overlooking Central Park West for celebrated friends in the New York art world–and painted them into his pictures.” In the same way, couples, their families, and significant guests find their way into Pena’s captivating event paintings on request and by chance–still leaving the overall composition up to Pena. “What I paint,” says Pena, “is just as important as what I leave out.” ~MG
Fortunately, it wouldn’t be taboo for others to pick up this idea as well. In fact, I think it would benefit our culture at large if it became commonplace to see artists at events, recording the atmosphere while adding to it at the same time. Finish reading A Marriage of Art and Entertainment in The Artist’s Magazine, so that you’re in the know on the cool projects that other artists are doing in your community and beyond.
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