Contemporary Realism and Modern Technology

Armand Cabrera

As an artist in the beginning of the 21st century one of the things available to me is ease of travel. I can paint anywhere in the country and to a larger extent the world because of relatively inexpensive travel.

I can drive to just about anywhere on the east coast in a day and in a couple of hours I can be anywhere in the country by jet. These facts separate my body of work from artists who were painting 50 or a 100 years before me. Many of these artists spent the majority of their lives in one place making only a handful of long distance trips away from their homes .

As a painter this allows me to build a career based on the quality of my work not just the subject matter where I live. Galleries, because they are mostly brick and mortar establishments have been slow to accept this fact of modern life. Many galleries only deal in regional subject matter and won’t even consider taking work based on scenes outside their geographic area.

I think this is to their detriment. My best selling galleries ask for my best work; they aren’t concerned with location as much as my other galleries and I think it is reflected in my sales for those galleries. What other galleries fail to realize is long distance travel is a fact of life for most people who can afford to buy paintings. If they take the time to use the technology available to them they can quickly build a following of collectors not based in their little region of the country and in fact the better galleries do this with blogs and newsletters and a strong internet and social network presence.

Artists have changed quicker than galleries and if galleries want to survive they must change too. Sitting in a gallery waiting for people to walk in and buy something is no longer a viable business model. This is reflected in the amount of galleries that have closed their doors in the last three years most of which failed to grasp the importance of information networks and social media.

3 thoughts on “Contemporary Realism and Modern Technology

  1. Hi Armand,

    Great post, and it really hits home with me. I live in Memphis Tn, and galleries here go out of business consistently because they are not open to excepting new ideas.

    Ive approached several galleries about showing my work, and I get turned down because my works not abstract or what they consider modern art. If it isn't abstract or have something to do with the Blues or Elvis, they wont show it.

    I was told by one gallery owner that realism is a waste of time, because it is undesirable and to old fashioned.

    I dont understand why they still feel this way. Its frustrating to say the least.

    Luckily, we have two large Museums, the Memphis Brooks Museum, and the Dixon gallery. Both of which are great. The Brooks Museum has a Beautiful Bouguereau on display that most people here don't even know about. They also have a great unfinished piece by Thayer, that really shows his working process. Our Dixon Gallery is great as well, They have a huge collection of French Impressionist work. They also have a Awesome Sargent.

    I wish the small Gallery owners would model themselves after the Brooks, and the Dixon, and represent all artist not just abstract modern art.

    All the Best, Jason

  2. Jason,

    Its unfortunate people are so narrow minded and small. You're a great painter, don't let anyone discourage you. When I run into people like that, I just go around them; they aren't worth talking with.

  3. Armand! I'm a gilder. It has been sugguested that I may want to offer gilding outside the metro area.
    I've worked locally for years. But now with blogs and websites, I find that I may aquire customers outside my area.
    I'm cautious to move forward on this. Reading your post is incouraging to get off the fence, and try it!

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