Arcadia Fine Arts Gallery Interview
Arcadia Fine Arts Gallery was founded in 1998 with the goal of showcasing contemporary, representational artwork. They continue to preserve that tradition, today.
The beautiful painting shown above, “Collecting Apples” Oil, Gold and Silver leaf on Canvas, 24″ x 44″ is by one of the artists they represent, Brad Reuben Kunkle.
I first learned of Arcadia Fine Arts Gallery several years ago at the annual Los Angeles Art Show. The gallery’s booth had featured works by artist Francis Livingston. I was smitten and had to check out their website. I was not disappointed. The caliber of artists Arcadia Fine Arts represents and the haunting beauty of their work distinguishes their gallery above the rest.
It is an honor to feature an interview with Steve Diamant, President of Arcadia Fine Arts Gallery, in Pastimes For A Lifetime’s inaugural launch of its blog.
Q. How did Arcadia Fine Arts come about?
While I initially did not know what I was going to name the gallery, the one thing I DID KNOW is that I was not going to name it after myself as it appears most gallery owners do. I always knew that the gallery was NOT ABOUT THE OWNER, but rather about the works being shown.
Q. How did it acquire the name “Arcadia”?
I eventually called it Arcadia Gallery because in Greek Mythology, Arcadia was a place that that the ancient Greeks traveled to for beauty, art and poetry. I wanted the gallery to be that kind of destination.
Q. Are the gallery owners also fine artists, or have degrees in the arts?
I do not have a degree in the arts, but rather degrees in advertising and psychology. I am lucky enough to be able to do what I love. I have always had a love of painting and opening a gallery was always something I wanted to do.
Q. How long have you been with Arcadia? Had you owned or worked for galleries before coming to Arcadia?
I worked for another gallery for 14 years before opening Arcadia in 2001. I learned a lot at the other gallery about what to do, but just as importantly, I learned what NOT to do in terms of relationships and dealing with artists and collectors.
Q. Does Arcadia seek out the artists they represent or do artists apply to your gallery? What is the ratio of one to the other?
The truth is that we receive a substantially larger number of submissions from painters around the world than artists that we pursue. And while many of the artists who submit works are very talented, they are either not in keeping with what we show or too similar in nature to works that we already present at the gallery. The goal is to show, within the realm of realism, artists who are extraordinarily skilled, but also have a unique, individual style and are very different from any other artist we already represent.
Q. I understand Arcadia showcases contemporary, representational artwork. What criteria does your gallery use when interviewing artists for gallery representation?
We don’t really “interview the artist” as much “interview the work.”
There are three criteria that we use when reviewing works:
a) Does the artist display a high level of skill in the works? And while skill is important, it is only “half the battle.” There are plenty of highly skilled painters whose works are “lifeless” and have “nothing to say.”
b) Does the artist have “a signature style?” When we look at the works, while seeing “influences” is certainly ok, if the works are too “derivative” of another painter’s style or the artist’s teachers, then we are not interested. When I look across the room, do I know it’s a specific artist’s works? THAT’S what I look for.
c) Is the work different from anything else we have at the gallery? I never want one artist “encroaching” on anothers “territory.” We may have 5 still life painters in our roster, but stylistically, each is VERY different from the other.
That’s VERY important!
Q. On the business side, I see that your Gallery promotes its artists with social networking in addition to your beautiful website. Arcadia can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and You Tube and RSS. How is that working for you and your artists?
All of the media are working tremendously well for us….part of what we do is to “create buzz” for our painters, and these media certainly do that!
Q. What are the benefits and limitations of having gallery representation? One of my art students had asked me, “How does a gallery contract with an artist?” Is there a standard industry contract? Does it limit the artist’s ability to create and sell new work on his or her own?
Hopefully the gallery can expose an artist’s works on a much greater level to a larger amount of people. Most artists do not realize how much work the gallery actually does and the smart ones say “Let me stick to painting, which is what I do best and you guys do everything else.”
In addition, there is no “standard contract”, but I always recommend that any artist speak to to other painters that are represented by the gallery and see what they have to say.
If anything, a gallery should be able to help an artist increase their output by taking all of the time the artist spent doing anything OTHER THAN PAINTING and being able to spend that time on creating new works.
Q. In the You Tube interview by Arcadia, artist Daniel Sprick mentions he doesn’t consciously try to paint trendy subject matter, but instead conveys the feel of the time with color, lighting, and his distinct point of view. What advice can you give to my art students who wish to eventually sell their artwork professionally or obtain commissions?
PAINT WHAT YOU WANT TO PAINT AND NOT WHAT YOU THINK OTHER PEOPLE WANT TO SEE FROM YOU!!!!!! and earn and master your craft…learn how to masterfully paint and draw an apple BEFORE you blow the damned apple up in your paintings..by that I mean if you are going to become an abstract painter, you should know how to draw well first. And just as important, be yourself on the canvas..it’s fine to be influenced by other painters and styles, but when I look at your canvases, I want to know it’s yours and nobody else’s work!
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It has been a pleasure and a privilege to host this interview with Steve Diamant, President of Arcadia Fine Arts Gallery. I hope my art students will find it informative in their endeavors.
I encourage my students and fellow art-lovers to browse Arcadia Fine Arts online gallery and follow their Facebook page for inspirational posts.
© Linda Wehrli