Over the last few years, Los Angeles has been quietly revamping itself with a burgeoning art scene that has attracted new artists from all over the world and bloomed more than fifty new galleries across the city. But one particular gallery capturing the most recent attention, combines a father/son team with a long established name in the Los Angeles art community and a cutting edge approach to showcasing artists on today’s global stage.
Renowned fine art gallerist, Lawrence J. Cantor and son, Sam Cantor have joined forces of expertise and together, they’ve opened Cantor Fine Art, located on the second floor of the Los Angeles Pacific Design Center. While the LAPDC is already a prime destination in itself, Sam Cantor gave Examiner an inside look at how the new Cantor gallery is advancing LA’s art scene to a whole different level.
Perhaps the most important distinguishing characteristic of the Cantors, is the criteria they use to select the caliber of artists represented by the boutique gallery. “We are very picky about who we choose to work with but not in the sense that we’re only looking for established names,” explains Sam Cantor. “Rather, we represent a wide range of emerging to mid career contemporary artists with the common thread of what makes good art. Does it tell a story? Is it important? Is it beautiful? How much craftsmanship does the artist bring to the work?”
Contemporary artists such as Kerry Miller, Michael Mapes and Andrew Myers, are among the Cantor gallery’s up and coming “superstars.” All masters of their own craft, Sam explains how each artist embodies both the traditional qualities and unique edge of the gallery itself. Kerry Miller brings back the stories from a hundred year old books by turning the illustrations into intricate sculptures – essentially creating treasures out of trash. Andrew Myers creates relief sculptures out of screws. Artist, Michael Mapes, creates multi-media portraits by putting together pieces of old photos and other found objects, and then encases them as “specimen” collections in cabinets.
But perhaps what truly distinguishes Cantor Fine Art from other galleries, is how the father/son team has turned showcasing artists into a cutting edge art of their own. In fact, even way back in the 90’s Lawrence J. Cantor was among the first gallerists to emerge art on e-commerce platforms such as eBay. “My dad was using floppy discs to upload images of art to be auctioned on-line,” Sam explains. “At that time everyone thought he was crazy, but he knew it would eventually take off.” Inheriting his father’s forward thinking mindset, Sam earned a Masters in Design, Communication and Art Directing, and went on to establish his own successful career designing websites and digital branding for major corporations such as Nike and Coca-Cola. But also like his father, Sam saw the huge void between the art world and the digital world, and decided it was time to jump in.
“Having first hand experience seeing how nearly all luxury items are being advertised in today’s digital, global marketplace, I quickly recognized how far behind the art world still is. In fact, many of the most prominent galleries still have flash based websites,” says Sam. “The reality is that today’s artists need to spend 80 percent of their time promoting themselves on-line in order to sell their art and they should be spending that time creating their art. My dad and I finally decided to combine his traditional art world knowledge and my technology expertise to bring something really different to Los Angeles.”
In addition to being a retail space open to visitors, Cantor Fine Art also has its own studio devoted to photographing the artwork to showcase on their website. Using 4k videography and advanced professional photography, Sam captures each piece with a 3D effect that reveals the intricate details and makes the on-line experience as close to visiting the gallery in real life. “We’ve invested a lot into representing our artists in a digital space and growing their audience to a global scale beyond Los Angeles,” Sam explains.
In just a few short months since the gallery opened its doors, the Cantor’s contemporary approach to contemporary art has already elevated their artists to new levels of success. Kerry Miller’s pieces that sold for $800 just a year ago are now selling for $16,000 and her work has been included in three museums and one permanent collection.
To find more about Cantor Fine Art, the gallery’s featured artists and future events, go directly to the official website: www.cantorfineart.com