OR the Living Master Disaster… ARC bestows the title of Living Master on artists is considers to outstanding examples of their core philosophy. That philosophy reflects the dictums of the mid-19thc French Academy.
These Academic Salon paintings display a high degree or craft or technique but little else. There is virtually nothing to distinguish one painting from another except for the subject matter or the narrative.
In other words these paintings all look alike with no real artistic emotive content. So the major prerequisite for becoming a ‘Living Master’ is to produce work that fits the Bougie criteria of ARC’s founder Fred Ross.
Many, if not most, of these Living Masters work in the same indistinguishable style. If ones wishes to join their ranks working in the same manner is part of the entrance criteria.
When the Art Renewal Center started in 1999 there were only a few ‘Classical Realist’ Atelier teaching this singular technique. Now 20+ years later they have help foster hundreds. ARC lists on its site over 75 Realist Ateliers. Some are valid but most are purely still based offering nothing more than training of a singular Academic Technique.
ARCs’ mission is to expand the number of artists working in that genre. The result is that there is very little to distinguish one one from another without reading their name in the corner.
Art Renewal Center has expanded the number ‘Classical Realist’ practitioners exponentially greatly outpacing the demand for their work.
You have a far greater number or artists competing for the same buyers. With the exception of a few that break out of the mould and separate themselves for few can make a living selling their work alone. Thus, many open their own Ateliers and turning out yet more Bouguereau wannabes, so on and so forth.
As one can see, this is a self-fulfilling prophecy and hence the Living Master Disaster.