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Life & Work with Greg Miller & Jodi Kolpakov

Today we’d like to introduce you to Greg Miller & Jodi Kolpakov, owners of Creativo Studios.

Hi Greg & Jodi, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Greg and I started working together as caricatures artists at Six Flags in 2011 and eventually moved on to working at weddings and other live events. Both were practicing artists and went our separate ways for a short time, where we studied art at universities in Missouri. After some time being apart, we regrouped and started making art together. After undergrad, I worked in a print + design shop focused primarily on wedding stationery and graphic design. Greg had started doing live wedding painting on his own during the lockdown era. After things started normalizing, Greg became more active with wedding paintings. He would bring it up more and more. Over time it dawned on us that we had the skills and resources to do everything art related in the wedding industry: Stationary (check), caricatures (check), event painting (check). Based on our background as caricature artists, we love making art and meeting people as it is. It was a one-in-a-million situation between the two of us. We had too much to offer couples to sit on our hands and not do this. Plus, they could save a mini fortune by contracting out one vendor for everything art-related. Aside from that, our spouses and we are all friends. Working as a team is so fun you hardly consider it work.

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
When Greg started wedding painting, it was maybe a month before the pandemic started. Great time to get involved in the in-person wedding business, right? We started doing some gigs here and there, but there wasn’t ever a good time to pull the trigger on going all in. It’s a lot of time and costs upfront to get started. As soon as it seemed like things were going to go back to normal, then there would be another lockdown. Greg was just trapped in that limbo for several years.

Other than that, there’s always exposure. Any growing business could always use more. Live wedding painting is blowing up pretty big on the coasts, starting in the midwest. Unfortunately, we’re a bit late to the game, so often, a couple isn’t going to go out of their way to hire a wedding painter because they don’t know it exists. We have to go out of our way to tell them that yes, it does exist, and yes, it’s possible.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Creativo Studios provides services & commissions for all things art related in the wedding industry. We do stationery (cards, signs, print media, etc.), live caricatures, and wedding paintings.

Live wedding painting is our specialty. Usually, a wedding is something couples want to share with loved ones and friends. But how does one share something abstract like love? Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words. If we can capture that love, those memories, that couple, that day – maybe everyone could see what that love looks like. So that’s our job. We strive to make a custom work of fine art, painted live for everyone to see at the reception.

The experience is unique. You could call it a form of entertainment. Throughout the evening, guests see colors and shapes move and evolve on the canvas. Slowly through the night, those colors and shapes start to resemble people they know, and guests will see a passionate work of art by the end of the night. This experience doesn’t just end on the wedding night either. Couples can revisit their special day as they will have fine art on their walls to last a lifetime. Some clients tell us they also intend to keep the paintings as family heirlooms.

What matters most to you?
What matters to us is being able to communicate a couple’s love and turn it into a vision to be shared with friends and family. But a little more than that too. We hope that with the help of an artist’s eye, we might be able to paint something beautiful in the couple that perhaps they didn’t see in themselves. Love is a work of art. It’s something forever. It’s something beautiful. In this case, a painting might serve as a reminder of that.

We put a lot of effort into building relationships with our clients. We get to know them and their story over wine or coffee, and then we have them fill out a personality inventory. This helps us to determine what qualities, as a couple, make them uniquely ‘them.’ Once we gather the information we need, we pre-plan everything. Serious painting is not meant to be a quick, spur-of-the-moment event. Location, composition, lighting, and color schemes are all critically important. We plan this and make a rough draft before the big day. We understand that weddings can be costly, very involved processes with much effort and time put into them. It’s our commitment to truly cater to our clients to enhance their big day and leave them with something they can display in their homes forever.

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