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.