Making a Living with Live Painting

by Carolyn Edlund

It’s art, and it’s entertainment. These two artists combine painting with performance.


Artists Gabino Martinez and Sabrina Terence have both started live painting businesses.

Artists Gabino Martinez and Sabrina Terence have both started live painting businesses.


I recently spoke with two artists who have found a niche in the live painting arena. Their venues differ, but their approach is the same. Seeking bookings and publicity, Gabino Martinez and Sabrina Terence are performers – and as such, are self-promoters. This has paid off in gigs at live events and exposure to a large audience.

Gabino Martinez

Texas artist Gabino Martinez makes a living from live performances of his signature “speed painting” at birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and other events. He uses music and art to create a spectacle that “explodes on stage” giving a show that “will inspire and bring people to their feet.”


Marilyn portrait by Gabino Martinez, produced in a speed painting session.

Marilyn portrait by Gabino Martinez, produced in a speed painting session.


A self-taught artist, he specializes in large portraits, including celebrities familiar to most people. This enables him to engage with spectators and offer them something meaningful. Martinez customizes his live shows to fit the party that is booked, promising unforgettable experiences that people will talk about the event long after it is over.


Sabrina Terence

Describing herself as the “first female live painter DJ” Sabrina Terence combines her painting demonstrations at dance parties and clubs. Internationally based, she began as artist in Germany, but has worked in Miami, and is currently living in Dubai.

She explains her artwork, saying “My paintings are about energy, color, and feelings. I am spiritually bent and as a result of the continual exploration I feel while playing music, I am more creative with my art.”


Sabrina Terence, DJ and live painter

Sabrina Terence’s promotional materials emphasize her specialty as a DJ and a painter.


She acknowledges that keeping the energy going with the flow of the event can be a challenge. “As you can imagine, it is very difficult to focus on these two things at the same time,” she admits. “During my first live DJ painting, I had a very busy dance floor that required me to maintain the vibe while focusing on my painting; definitely not as easy as it sounds.”

Live painting performances are certainly not for every artist, but for these two, it’s a niche that works well. It takes a certain blend of talent, gregariousness and moxie to promote yourself as the artist/performer, and create memorable experiences for an appreciative audience.


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  1. The company I work for had an all-employee meeting in February – an announcement of Mission/Vision/Values. As the owner, CEO and others were talking, an artist was painting behind them. The speakers didn’t acknowledge the artist and the artist didn’t acknowledge the speakers. Of course, the paintings tied in to the Values they were laying out. It was a very surreal experience – and memorable. Incredible, even.

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