By Lucy Smith
A new contemporary art gallery in the Pacific Design Center is bringing sophistication and state-of-the-art technique to the Los Angeles art scene. With emphasis in narrative, virtual display and design, Cantor Fine Art Gallery compliments their artists with technological progression.
Cantor Fine Art is run by two members of the Cantor family. Father, Larry Cantor, has been in the gallery business for over thirty years, dealing mostly with 19th century American art. His son, Sam Cantor, brings an aptitude for web design, one aspect they believe will set their gallery apart.
Sam Cantor grew up surrounded by art and artists in his father’s gallery, but never thought that it would be his calling. “I was just kind of a gallery brat. I didn’t realize the profound effect it had on me until recently.”
After attending the Art Center College of Design and earning a master’s degree in art direction, Cantor then made websites and commercials for Nike and Coca-Cola at Wieden and Kennedy in Portland, Oregon. It was around this time that his father approached him for help signing new artists. Although his specialty is with the classics, Larry Cantor developed an interest in the contemporary art scene after attending Art Basel in Miami.
Fortunately (and coincidentally) all of the artists Sam suggested for their collaborative gallery were the top sellers. Over the course of a few years, he had been collecting clips of online of contemporary artists, taking note of their unique perspectives, differing skills and what made them an artist . “I had this weird addiction with collecting stuff,” he explained. “I didn’t realize what a valuable thing that was in terms of developing my taste level. I was able to train myself to know the artists that I wanted to represent.”
One artist that really stood out to Sam was Kerry Miller. Miller transforms literary illustrations into sculptural pieces, which both reflect the book itself and enlighten the audience with her creativity. Since her inclusion in the Cantor’s gallery, she has taken part in many exclusive exhibitions, including 3 museum shows.
Understandably, the goal of the Cantor men is to stand out amongst the booming LA art scene. Using Sam’s unique modern, digital skill, hours are spent working to have their website replicate the experience of browsing the gallery in person. The site will have a detailed artist narrative, a beautiful, intricate display of their work and even videos of the work being made. In an age with consistent technological advancements, Sam believes the art scene is not fully taking advantage, that many galleries are yet to adapt to the internet and digital age.
“The biggest problem I saw was a lack of design skills,” he commented. “With most user interfaces looking like something ‘from the 90’s’.”
Both Cantors saw a niche that needed to be filled in the industry—to make the web presence of the artists in their gallery as important as the show room. Digitalizing the gallery will also easily take it into the global market, giving the artists a wider immediate exposure.
The website “evolved from the need to tell the story about art in the best way possible,” said Sam. “The most important thing you can do in a gallery is to have a point of view. I wanted as many tools as I could possibly have online to tell that story in anyway that I could to elevate their work. One space in the gallery will be used entirely for photographing and staging art. We shoot all the artwork in 4k and have two different professionals come in and make it look amazing and natural. Our goal is to shoot art porn. That’s how it should be done and if you’re not doing it this way, you’re detracting from all the work the artist has put into it.”
The gallery will support LA-based artists. The Cantors understand that most of the focus for the US art scene is in New York, but they want to change that. “There’s no reason LA can’t have an amazing art scene. LA has been a city for design and architecture, but we are seeing more and more incredible artists make a home here in LA, and I am so excited to be part of this scene.”
The gallery is located in the Pacific Design Center on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. The galleries in the Design Center aren’t easily seen. They are mainly on the second floor of the building, but Cantor made sure to be in the public eye, renting out a prime first floor location. In the 70’s Lawrence Cantor had his own gallery in the blue building, so for him, it’s great to be back.
Cantor Fine Art Gallery will be having a show titled, “Please Touch the Art” on June 24th, 2016, featuring a few artists including Andrew Myers.
To visit the gallery, the site or to learn more about the Cantor team, visit http://www.cantorfineart.com/