Maggie Smith Kühn: “I love knowing that my work is important to so many families”

Maggie Smith Kühn painting during a wedding (Source: Maggie Smith Kühn)

Generally, couples hire wedding videographers and photographers to document the most important day of their lives. However, while footage and images of weddings are undoubtedly special, they often get forgotten with time. Taking a case in point, couples who got married in the 90s usually have their wedding videos on VHS tapes. To watch them today, they would have to use a VHS player: a device that very few houses still have. Alternatively, they must convert them into a digital format. As time goes on and technology rapidly advances, these formats will continue to evolve.

So, how can you document your wedding day in a unique way that will never get old?

A painting by Maggie Smith Kühn (Source: Maggie Smith Kühn)
A painting by Maggie Smith Kühn (Source: Maggie Smith Kühn)

Maggie Smith Kühn is a live painter who spends hours at wedding venues, painting newlyweds as they say “I do”, have their first dance, etc. The Georgia-based artist happily travels across the country or overseas to attend weddings and create meaningful art that will bring joy to not only brides and grooms but their friends, family, future children and grandchildren. Unlike the aforementioned VHS tapes, Kühn’s artworks can easily be passed down through generations. What is more, time will only make them more and more significant.

Although Kühn began painting years ago, her work has recently begun trending online. That is, the live painter has currently amassed nearly 1 million followers on TikTok and over 150,000 on Instagram. Now, Kuhn has spoken to Sip of Culture to discuss her work and what being a live painter truly is.

Maggie Smith Kühn with her work (Source: Maggie Smith Kühn)

Q. When did you first begin live painting and where did you get the idea to do so?

I started live painting in high school – I would bring my sketchbook to house parties and paint my friends. It was good practice for me, and a way to entertain people. I liked the attention, and the happiness it brought to everyone. 

By college, people were asking how much I charged. And then when everyone started getting married, they asked me to try painting their weddings and I just loved it.

Q. Why weddings?

Weddings are so full of joy and hope, and the paintings will get passed down as an heirloom to future generations. I love knowing that my work is important to so many families.

A painting by Maggie Smith Kühn (Source: Maggie Smith Kühn)

Q. What is a day in the life of a live painter like?

Hectic! I always have 5-9 paintings I’m working on at home during the week, so on a day “off” I’m painting in pajamas, emailing brides, packing my bags for the weekend, and making social media posts. During the weekend I travel all over the country, paint 5-7 hours, catch a wink of sleep, and then fly to the next place. Full chaos! 

Q. What do you love most about the live painting process?

I love the reactions of guests and the couple while I’m making the piece. I’m so used to creating that I forget how magical art-making can be. The people around me keep me in the moment and let me in on the wonder of it. 

A painting by Maggie Smith Kühn (Source: Maggie Smith Kühn)

Q. Taking the previous question further, what are its biggest challenges?

The hardest part of live painting is the physical toll on the body. I’m typically standing 7-9 hours, hauling my gear for miles, using my arms all day, and then sleeping very little when I have to travel in tight schedules. During the week, I am a complete homebody because I need extra rest. I also do lots of stretches and workouts specifically tailored to keep my shoulders healthy.

Q. Do you have a favourite painting? If so, what makes it special to you?

I could never pick a favorite! They are all my children haha, but there is always a special attachment to the last completed piece. Every artwork has an “aha” moment for me, they all help me grow. 

A TikTok by Maggie Smith Kühn (Source: Maggie Smith Kühn)

Q. How can someone book you for their event?

My website has a tab called “investment” where people can find my prices & packages. If they click any package actually, my cal comes up and they can even see if their date is available and book through the site. I try to make the booking process as simple as possible now that the demand is so crazy. 

To view more of Kühn’s work, follow her on Instagram @watchmaggiepaint and TikTok @watchmaggiepaint.

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