Something old, something new, something borrowed and something … painted? Wedding traditions are changing and a local artist is ready to help capture a married couple’s special day through live event paintings.
Kristen Catalano Schenck was born in New Orleans and raised in the parish of St. Charles. She is now raising her family here and she launched Kristen Schenck’s Nola Live Painting in 2016.
“My PawPaw was a professional sign painter and artist,” he said. “Art was something I was always close to and something I loved from my earliest memories. I remember that during my high school years, between school and gymnastics, I drew gymnasts and other people ”.
He said he remembers taking his drawings to his PawPaw while relaxing in his recliner.
“He criticized my work by offering advice and suggestions on how to improve my drawing and shading skills … although at the time I don’t think I appreciated what I was being taught,” said Schenck with a laugh.
Schenck said she can remember watching in amazement as he drew cartoon characters for her.
“He created beautiful images in seconds that took hours to draw at the time,” he recalls.
His interest in art increased significantly while attending Archbishop Chapelle High School, Schenck said.
“I have had wonderful instructors who inspired me to go beyond what I thought were my limits,” he said. “At this time I was able to greatly improve my pencil and charcoal skills. In the following years I did various jobs that had nothing to do with art, but I never lost the desire to create and draw. I have been commissioned to design murals for businesses in the New Orleans area, have drawn T-shirt designs for other entities, and have even painted blackboards for the Ursuline Sisters.
Live event paintings were something Scheck said she was always interested in.
“I bought a tripod twelve years ago for this very reason, but I’ve never used it,” he said. “It wasn’t until a friend who heard me talk about my desire to paint live multiple times offered me to paint her wedding. In the same week, another friend who worked for a wedding venue asked me if I would like to paint their open house. That’s how it really started … I painted those two events and fell in love with them.
Most of Scheck’s live paintings contain hidden things, such as butterflies or other symbols honoring people who have died.
“Painting live was the most fun and exciting adventure,” he said.
Scheck has painted hundreds of weddings and live events, including the Tri Centennial Gala for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. She said the flexibility of her job allows her a lot of time with her two children.
“It allows me to really be at home with them,” she said. “When the live paintings slow down for the summer it is the crucial time for me to create works of art for sale at the Destrehan Fall Festival.”
The wild animal paintings he creates for the festival and live event paintings have little in common, other than Scheck’s affinity with them.
“I love both, but they are totally opposite,” he said. “It’s funny that I do it for a living because my mom always says that when I was little and I sat in church I drew the back of everyone’s head… it was something that came naturally to me at a young age. “
For information on Scheck’s art, email [email protected] or visit her Facebook page looking for Kristen Schenck’s Nola Live Painting.