Ketubah As Fine Art: Part II

Today is Part II of a 2-part series by Ketuv, the website behind fine art ketubahs. Yesterday, the ladies of Ketuv discussed the importance of personalizing ketubah art to fit a couple’s style, history, and home. Today, Part II is all about how to commission an artist to create your perfect memento of your marriage.

Whether you go with a Ketuv artist or not, here are some tips on choosing an artist and finding a style.

There is no special formula to finding the right artist. Look around. You don’t have to know about art to have an experience with it. When you like something, listen to yourself. Try to notice what about the work you like. Is it the color? The composition? The content? The medium (that is, what the artwork is actually made out of)?

Collect images of the artwork you and your partner like, and look at all the images together. Is there a pattern emerging? Are you finding that you’re more attracted to abstract work, or something more realistic? Are you finding that you like collage work, or pen and ink? Detailed work, or something simpler and more elegant? Colorful or black and white? Once you find your artist, these images and what you like about them will be invaluable information.

Remember, when you are considering commissioning a specific artist, you should imagine that your ketubah, while made especially with your ideas in mind, will look stylistically somewhat like the other work in the artist’s portfolio. That is, if you ask an abstract artist to draw a realistic portrait of you and your partner, it probably isn’t going to work out. When you like an artist, go with their strengths and you will get the best results.

Text
This can sometimes be the trickiest part about commissioning an artist to make your ketubah. At Ketuv, we feel that “ketubah artists” might not always fit the bill for the kind of artwork you’d like to hang in your home, which is why we created Ketuv in the first place. In our custom process, we take care of the text, and the artist takes care of the artwork.

If you’re going with an artist friend, or any artist that can’t provide the ketubah text, several ketubah companies, including Ketuv, offer text-only ketubot. You should also be aware that while many ketubah companies copyright their texts, Ketuv’s texts are open source and available for use, whether you work with us or not.

Communicate!
Let your artist in on the details of the conversation you had with your partner, and share your little folder of inspiration images, taking him/her through your vision for your ketubah. In one case, a couple even sent me a crude version of what they wanted, which they sketched out themselves in crayon!

Once you and the artist feel secure that you have come to an understanding regarding the content and style of your ketubah, you’ll have to hammer out the nuts and bolts:
1. The price of the artwork
2. How much time the artist will have to complete the artwork
3. How many updates the artist will provide for you before you receive the finished product (i.e. Will s/he have to send sketches? Photos of the work in progress? How many?)

Even if the artist is a friend, it might be best to write this down somewhere, just so everyone is clear.

This may sound like a lot of work, but we believe that you and your partner can figure out the basics of what you’re interested in over the span of a dedicated afternoon. It might also be fun, an opportunity to literally “visualize” your relationship. Don’t forget that your artist will also bring something to the table. You don’t have to have everything figured out in order to start the conversation!

What’s more, you’ll be investing in an heirloom, a symbol of your love that will stay in your family for generations.

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Your love is unique. We think your ketubah should reflect that.

With the plethora of generic printed ketubahs available on the Internet, couples with a discerning eye have a hard time finding something that speaks to them. We formed Ketuv to provide couples with a fine art option in ketubahs, and to create an opportunity for innovative artists, with dynamic careers outside of the commercial and Judaica spheres, to create fresh, quality ketubah art.

Founded by artists Arielle Angel and Maya Joseph-Goteiner, Ketuv is committed to creating new opportunities for artists in the marketplace, with the ultimate goal of allowing artists to pursue their craft sustainably and with integrity.

Ketuv is also committed to honoring the diversity of the Jewish people, as well as people influenced by the Jewish tradition. While providing quality wedding and anniversary ketubahs for Jewish couples of all denominations, we also pride ourselves on offering progressive options in wedding artwork for same-sex, interfaith, non-denominational and non-Jewish couples.