Notmany artists can sell enough work to successfully sustain a big gallery spacein downtown San Diego. But Tim Cantor's work is so technically proficient, andits surrealistic contents are so interesting and compelling, that he's had apermanent home for his oil paintings at 527 Fourth Ave. for a little more thana decade now. A few years ago, he and his wife, Amy, even opened the doors to asecond gallery in Sausalito, in Marin County.
Likemost of Cantor's work, “Beauty's Privilege,” the piece on CityBeat's cover this week, has a detailed emotional story behindit. His imaginative, surrealistic imagery is never done off-the-cuff; instead,the introverted, soft-spoken artist lets his emotions and thoughts drive thecontent of his pieces.
“Beauty'sPrivilege” came to him after his aunt, who was also an artist, died. He pulledout an old canvas she had given him and went to work.
“Iwas just kind of depressed about how she left the world,” Cantor said. “So,that painting evolved from those emotions—kind of like beauty coming out oftragedy.”
Cantor writes a poem for each of his paintings. In the poem thataccompanies “Beauty's Privilege,” he indicates there was something he said tohis aunt before she died that he now deeply regrets. But rather than wallow indespair, he uses the incident to learn a lesson.
Inthe poem, he writes, These despairs have ushered intosight / An appreciation for life / Opening my eyes / To a better existence that savorsevery day / And a life that has no time for angry words / And wasted rage.
Cantorwas introduced to art at an early age. At 5, his father gave him an old antiquewooden box filled with his great-grandfather's painting supplies. By 15, he wasoffered his first big-time gallery show, and he's been a sought-after oilpainter ever since.
Theartist and writer paints every night. He goes into his studio at about midnightand typically paints until 7 or 8 a.m. Currently, Cantor is working on hissecond book and painting a new collection of work to correlate with a big bookrelease and opening next spring.
“Thisnext show will probably be my best show of all time,” Cantor says. “I'm reallyexcited for this one.”