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Teen Artist Called Out For Refusing To Do A Live Painting During Older Brother’s Wedding

Ikhlas_Sabilly / Pixabay

There’s something beautiful about being able to use your talents for someone’s wedding. Being so closely involved in such a special day can make you feel so good.

Redditor throwaway_0065 is an artist. While the original poster (OP) doesn’t usually like to mix their art and family, they made one exception.

But now her brother is asking for the same thing, and OP doesn’t want to do it. This has caused a rift in her family.

While OP thinks she’s drawn a clear boundary, the arguments with family members has caused that line to become blurry. So she decided to ask the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit if she made the right choice.

Her stance is pretty well set.

“AITA for refusing to do a live wedding painting for my brother’s wedding?”

But her family isn’t taking no for an answer.

“I (16F[emale]) have one rule only; I don’t work with or for family, I’ve only broke it once for my sister but refuse to do it again for anyone else.”

“I’m an artist and I do a few gigs like live [wedding/ parties/ proms etc) paintings. I’m quite good at it to be honest, but I just don’t do it for family whether they pay me or no.”

“I’ve only done it once, for my sister’s (28f) wedding two years ago because she was like a second mother to me, my parents worked long hours and was rarely home, so she took care of me, she’s my role model and I love her with all my heart.”

“I also love my brother (25M[ale]) though, I’m not really close with him, he also took care of me from time to time, but he has made sure I know he resents me for it.”

“My brother is getting married this december, and he asked me for a supply list, I was confused and asked for what, he said his fianceé wants a live wedding painting like the one I did for my sister, so he’ll buy whatever I want no matter the price.”

“I did felt bad, but said I won’t do it because I don’t work for family. He just rolled his eyes and said ‘C’mon [OP], you did it for [our sister], why do you always have to make sure I know I’m not your favorite sibling?’”

“I just said I was sorry but I won’t do it, I offered to help in other ways though, I could make the bouquets for them or help them organize, but no painting. My brother just said ‘whatever’ and left.”

“He told my dad and my dad said it was my decision and they have to respect it, but behind doors he said I should just do it because it shows my clear favoritism.”

“I just said I couldn’t because my art is deeply related to my feelings, and since my feelings toward my brother aren’t fully nice, I won’t be able to do it right. AITA?”

On Reddit, the users of the board judged OP for refusing to paint at her brother’s wedding by including one of the following in their response:

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

OP has some clear standards for how and when she paints. While she made one exception for her sister, she had deep emotional connections there.

Her brother thinks she should do the same for him, but it’s up to her. And OP even offered to help with the wedding in other ways.

OP is NTA, and has made her position and reasoning very clear.

“You’re a businessperson and you know your needs and limits. You can pick and serve your clientele, same as anyone else.”

“And it sounds like you’re being really mature about it, a lot more mature than your brother. Good on you.”

“NTA. Stick to your guns.” – BudyDadGaming

“You are NTA. It’s your craft and you can do it for whoever you want. Your brother also seems like he’s using you a bit, since it doesn’t seem like you are his favorite sibling either and he doesn’t usually seem to act kindly towards you.”

“Definitely NTA.” – fastpitchfan78

“NTA, you’re 16, so to force you into anything like this is not cool. Plus, a live painting means you would be missing a lot of the wedding, so it’s also them being disrespectful to you, not the other way round.”

“It does show that you have favourites with your siblings though, so I kind of don’t blame him for saying that. But if your sister basically raised you, then that does make your relationship different, and he’s the one who needs to get over that.”

“Would a compromise be for you to do a painting of one of the photos? If not, that’s fine.” – Original-Winter9334

“NTA. My mother is a musician, and almost the first thing she said after learning I was engaged was, ‘Don’t bother asking.’ Turns out she later played at my brother’s wedding reception. And so did I.”

“Who cares? I didn’t. (Actually didn’t put it together until just now.)”

“We ASK people to be involved in our weddings, and asking implies they have the choice to reply how they wish. If there’s an a**hole here it is your brother making assumptions.”

“Might you look like an asshole to some who know you did a live painting at your sister’s wedding? Yes. Nothing you can do about that – except paint at your brother’s wedding if it is that big a deal what others might think of you.”

“Personally, I think you should stick to your rule and not let others’ assumptions dictate your actions.” – sinevigiliamentis


“I’m an artist and I choose who I work with. No one is entitled to your skills regardless of who they are.”

“You’re still young and as you grow, you’ll learn how to taper your attachment to a project to a degree, so that you can sell confidently to whomever you like without feeling like your heart went out the door on a canvas – which typically happens when we do pieces to that we feel emotional ties to for friends or family – but that comes with time and a level of objectivity that you haven’t had the opportunity to develop yet.”

“Therefore, you need to take extra care in who you choose to create for.” – shimmeringshadoe

That said, there was some debate about the nature of favoritism. Was OP playing favorites with her siblings? Sure.

She made a very clear case and stated her reasonings for it.

“eta import for the post; I thought what I wrote was enough:”

“My brother and I aren’t really ‘on speaking terms’, never been, we’re acquaintance more than siblings, I tried to win his grace for years, but was always met with hard looks and a few ‘don’t bother me now’, he also sent me away whenever I asked for help with homework or wanted to play.”

“He’s more open now, I admit it, but I still get nervous when I have to talk to him or be around him because he rejected me for so long I don’t know anything else. He has never spoke a bad word toward me (b word and such) but he has said that I ruined his childhood by being born.”

And commenters agreed, that her favoritism wasn’t the issue.

“Absolutely agree. Besides, who cares if it shows favoritism? It sounds like your sister fairly earned the title.”

“They are your siblings, not your children. You can have favorites.” – Green-Web792

“NTA and even if you were ‘playing favorites’ I don’t think it would be wrong either.”

“It’s one thing when parents play favorites because it really damages the other kids, but adult siblings can and often do have favorites.”

“Besides that, it’s your art, your job and most absolutely your choice.”

“Your brother sounds entitled, assuming you’d do it and not even asking. If he wanted to be treated like your sister he could have tried treating you the way she did.” – SuccessValuable6924

“NTA, especially with the edit. How can he claim favoritism when he was the one that pushed you away? That’s so hypocritical.”

“Sounds like he is just wanting the painting for cheap than the fact it’s you who did it. I’ve seen painters who get paid $4000+ to live paint during a wedding, so I bet he wants to save money.”

“Even if you didn’t have this rule, you’re still NTA for refusing to do it. I’m an artist too, and I also make art driven by emotion and connection.”

“It’s not as simple as ‘oh just paint or draw this,’ there is a lot of more complexity to that. Art block, for instance.”

“Just because your family/friends wants art from you (whether it’s a specific thing they ask or not), doesn’t mean you’ll do it or be motivated enough to do it.” – KingPiscesFish

“Are you showing you have a favorite sibling? Yes. Is the fact that you do have a favorite sibling understandable? Also yes.”

“Especially with the context of your edit, it’s clear that your relationship with your sister was and is very different from your relationship with your brother, and having different feelings for them is a natural result of that.”

“NTA” – _higglety

That said, not everyone really understood where OP stood with her brother, so she had to make it a little more clear.

“Eta: thank you for you advice on how could I fix my relationship with my brother, sadly I’m not looking for that so don’t do it anymore.”

And that’s OP’s choice to make.

Written by Ben Acosta

Ben Acosta is an Arizona-based fiction author and freelance writer. In his free time, he critiques media and acts in local stage productions.