Start Here 2017-11-15T13:02:03+00:00

It’s Time to Honor the Past and Face the Future

Dear Artists:

You are here, in this moment, because some brave representational artists resisted the pressures of conformity.

For several decades in the mid- to late 20th century, they faced ridicule and had trouble selling their work in a world enamored with modernism. These women and men refused to follow the money, to give in to pressure from people who accused them of living in the past.

They knew that their methods, passed down from generation to generation, were hanging on by a thread; if not protected and passed along, the knowledge and achievements of thousands of historical artists would be lost forever.

These lone voices knew that modernism would ultimately lose its shine, that collectors would finally see the emperor wore no clothes — that little skill was required to create the art currently in fashion.

Gradually, pale rays of light broke through the clouds as a few younger students began embracing this unpopular art. They, too, risked mockery, but as they pursued their passions, more youngsters got on board. Following their training, they too became teachers and influenced even more young people.

When we started Fine Art Connoisseur 12 years ago, we knew of fewer than 10 places where one could learn these realistic techniques.

Realism almost died.

It survived only because of a few very strong-willed artists who were willing to keep it alive in spite of being outcasts in the modern art world.

Now we have got ourselves a movement: There are more world-class representational artists alive today than at any time in history.

Chronicling a Movement

When founding Fine Art Connoisseur, we planted a flag for realism. We believed in it, and we exposed it to the art world for the first time. There were no significant shows. No significant voices. Contemporary realism had no voice.

Because we believed this art needed to be embraced by collectors, we started as an early promoter, and we too faced ridicule. In fact, a major auction house cancelled a large advertising contract, never to return, because our voice was making people uncomfortable. They did not want to be associated with our insistence that there could be something good and viable that went beyond modernism and beyond historical representational painting. After all, we were frequently told that the world had moved on and was not interested in what was done in the past.

We too became an outcast. We too struggled to stay alive, finding it difficult to find advertisers who believed in our mission.

Had we been owned by a large corporation, our efforts would have been discontinued early on. But we made a decision to continue, without profit, for many years in order to print what we believed.

In spite of our efforts, and in spite of the efforts of ateliers springing up around the globe with a huge following of students, we felt we were still not doing enough to ensure that future generations will know the work of these well-trained and passionate painters.

We believe a larger effort is needed, one that not only rallies the members of this movement together, but works toward training even more people, keeping the standards high, bringing new people into the movement, and having a unified effort to see collectors embrace it.

Even today, too few galleries exist supporting this movement. They too are rebels.

It is our goal for people to look back on those galleries, and these artists, as rebels that not only held this movement together, but saw it become the next major art movement embraced at the highest levels by art institutions and museums, galleries, auction houses, and, most importantly, high-end collectors.

It is our belief that this could go in one of two directions. Without proper guidance, without proper unity, and without getting more people learning and painting, this movement could quietly fade away, and the “Art Illuminati” would never notice.

Of course, the better option is that this movement gets noticed, continues to thrive, and we carry our flag across the borders of the art world.

When that happens, today’s young students and their teachers will reap giant rewards in the future, becoming as big as today’s modern stars, selling for tens, or even, possibly, hundreds of millions of dollars. But more importantly, embraced by and hanging in museums that need pieces reflecting this important movement in art.

We have a plan.

You’re about to learn about what we believe is the most important moment in the continuation of the realism movement.

A Secret Meeting

Six years ago, Peter Trippi and I decided to do something to take this movement to the next level, so we gathered about 20 influential master artists, along with influencers from all over the world, to join us for a private, and very secret, meeting at the Harvard Club in New York.

Peter and I shared our dream of creating an event that would become the beacon of light and focal point of this movement.

But, sadly, arguments ensued.

Artists argued about who should be allowed in.

It seemed everyone cared only about their own interests, and it became very frustrating.

What started as a meeting to unify people turned out to be exactly the opposite.

Peter and I left the meeting discouraged and wounded. How could we create unity and grow awareness if it was “every man for himself”?

Though we had the heart to do something great, we didn’t want to put ourselves in the position of playing referee. We felt the timing and conditions were wrong, so we did not pursue this vision.

Frankly, the timing just was not perfect, and timing is everything.

Despite our attempts to keep it secret, word of this meeting spread, and others who saw the value of this movement decided that the academic world needed to discover and embrace it.

About a year or so after the meeting, Professor Michael Pearce of California Lutheran University started TRAC, The Representational Art Conference, which we supported and believed to be a wonderful step toward our vision.

Though TRAC primarily had an academic focus, which was only a piece of what we had originally envisioned, it played a valuable role.

Sadly, TRAC announced after four years that it would no longer continue.

A Critical Time in the History of Representational Art and Realism

Peter Trippi and I were equally disturbed over the discontinuation of TRAC.

So, after learning of the demise of TRAC and realizing that the timing is right for the conference we originally envisioned, we have a major announcement that combines the best of both worlds … our original vision, and TRAC’s academic vision.

We believe this announcement has the potential to be historically significant, and to catapult realism into a major player in the mainstream art world.

Today, we are announcing…

The World’s Second Figurative Art Convention & Expo (FACE), to Be Held at the Biltmore Hotel in Miami, Florida, November 7-10, 2018

The dream of the representational art movement’s moving to the next step has become a reality.

The convention will focus on the cornerstones of our beliefs … to educate, to inspire, and to engage artists in a community. Further, it will become a major driver in seeing the art world embrace various forms of realism again.

We are modeling the FACE event after our popular Plein Air Convention:

  • Like our Plein Air Convention, this gathering will be focused around an important art movement and have a serious mission to help artists elevate their painting skills.
  • Like our Plein Air Convention, this event will be fun, vibrant, friendly, entertaining, and upbeat. Not stuffy. Not political. Not exclusionary.
  • The content will be mostly about figurative art … drawing and painting the human figure and the human head. We will offer extensive painting demonstrations as well as engaging speakers.
    • The conference will focus on museum-quality art and will not address the world of commissioned portraits, which is a completely different area and well-covered elsewhere.
    • The conference provides an opportunity to be hands-on. We’re setting up models and studios, which attendees can access to practice what they have just learned. (Additional fee required. Click here for further details).
    • Much like field painters at the Plein Air Convention, we will appoint “studio mentors” — well-known, accomplished artists — to work with people who are drawing or painting from live models, offering help and critiques. (Additional fee required. Click here for further details).
    • We will also focus on how we collaborate to grow as a unified force to educate and inspire collectors.
    • We’ll have an Expo Hall filled with relevant vendors offering discounts on art materials. You can buy direct from each vendor.
    • It will be a non-political environment. No awards competition, no nepotism, no “old boys’ club.”
    • We’ll work hard and play hard. We’ll learn and grow together, and we will unify the “players” in the realism movement.
    • Most important, it is your own conference, dedicated to various forms of realism in the areas of the figure and museum-quality portraiture.

World-Class Artists Announced as Faculty

You’ll have an opportunity to learn from some of the top museum-quality figurative artists in the world and some of the top minds in the art and museum world. You’ll meet and talk with people you’ve only heard and read about.

Faculty who joined us in 2017 included:

  • Juliette Aristides
  • Steven Assael
  • Ryan Brown
  • John Coleman
  • Jacob Collins
  • Nilda Comas
  • Max Ginsburg
  • Daniel Graves
  • Lee Hutt
  • Michel Langlais
  • David A. Leffel
  • Jeremy Lipking
  • Sherrie McGraw
  • Graydon Parrish
  • Jordan Sokol
  • Michael Mentler, studio mentor
  • Greg Mortenson, studio mentor
  • Patricia Watwood, studio mentor
  • Peter Trippi, Editor of Fine Art Connoisseur
  • Eric Rhoads, Founder/Publisher of Fine Art Connoisseur

A Special Pre-Convention Workshop for Fine-Tuning In-Depth Skills

FACE will offer an optional pre-convention workshop that will allow you to go in-depth with top artist Casey Baugh.

Planting a Flag in the Middle of the Modern World

Miami has become one of the most important art towns in America as home to Art Basel. We selected Miami because we want to send the signal that realism is just as cutting-edge, and very much a part of the contemporary art movement. We selected the Biltmore because it is a thriving, classically designed hotel in a modern world — a metaphor showing that strong realistic work can thrive, too.

Plus Miami offers a chance to escape chilly fall weather. The Biltmore offers the largest and most beautiful pool in Miami. Add an extra couple of days to escape the cold and work on your tan.

Studio and Model Use

We will provide a studio space and models on model stands for those who wish to paint on the property. Studio space will need to be reserved at the time of convention registration, as space is limited. Your Studio Pass fee will cover access to the studio for the entire conference and access to the models during the times they are available, late afternoons and evenings. Some models will not be clothed, and only adults with studio passes will be allowed into the studios out of respect to the models. See details.

Artists must provide their own easels and easel lights. Some room lighting will be available, and models will be lit. Studio mentors will be available to work with you, make suggestions, and offer critiques. No photography or video, please. Studio and model access requires a Studio Pass for the duration of the convention. Passes are sold on first-come, first-served basis and limited based on space and model availability.

Let’s Not Forget the Importance of Sculpture

Sculpture is an important part of the realism movement and is–of course–intimately linked to painting through its concerns with design, composition, form, and space. We are collaborating with regional members of the National Sculpture Society to provide demonstrations of their artistry. Details coming soon.

Why Your Attendance Is Important

You are part of the movement, and the fraternity of artists, galleries, and schools in this movement. We will be able to share strategies about your role in building the movement to see that it has a solid future and is embraced by the buying public. You’ll not only get a grasp of your role and how you play it, you’ll learn from top artists, who will share ideas and techniques that have made them some of the world’s best-selling and most collected artists. You’ll not only improve your skills as an artist, you’ll meet and share time with the icons of painting and grow as an artist.

Why You Need to Book Your Seat Now

Do the math. There are thousands of artists who will want to attend this event. In fact, we’ve already pre-sold 27% of the seats to #FACE17 attendees before we even opened #FACE18 up to the public! Plus, Miami in November is a big draw. This conference represents the best of figurative painting in a unique, modern, and lively format, and it will draw curiosity from a lot of people who have wanted something like this event to occur. We highly recommend booking quickly. Plus, there is a special early-bird price. The price will increase over the coming months, and payment plans are available. See checkout for details.

Limited Attendance

Tickets will be sold be on a first-come, first-served basis, and once we are sold out, the fire marshal will not allow us to add more people at the venue. Hotel rooms are also limited — a special rate is offered that will be available only through the special conference link provided to registered attendees. You must be registered to hold a hotel room and reserve the special rate for the conference; you will be asked to provide your registration number. Our first Plein Air Convention was the same size, and that event is now attended by close to 1,000 people annually. We believe this convention has the potential to grow just as much in the future.

Our Unique Iron-Clad 100 Percent Money-Back Guarantee

Expect to be totally satisfied with the content of this conference. If not, we will refund 100 percent of your registration fee, plus 100 additional dollars. If, after the first day, you’re not completely thrilled with the content and the event, simply request a refund at our registration desk and we will cheerfully refund 100 percent of your registration, give you an additional $100, and send you on your way to enjoy Miami on your own.

Your Investment in Yourself, Your Career and the Future of Realism

You owe it to yourself to invest in your future, in your career, and in becoming the best you can be. This event will help you fine-tune and hone your skills, improve your taste, and enhance your ability to boost your career. Additionally, you’ll be moving the realism movement forward and playing a role in seeing that it has a strong future for generations to come.

Full Conference Price $1,496

Today’s price through July 4, 2018: $996 (Save $500)
Price as of July 5, 2018: $1,096 (Save $400)
Price as of September 4, 2018: $1,296

Payment plans available. The sooner you sign up, the lower your per-payment rate.

Note: In the event of sellout, a waiting list will be created. If seats become available, they will be offered based on the date of joining the waiting list.


For those who feel they deserve the best possible experience, we’re offering a limited number of VIP memberships. You will become a Diamond Member of the FACE event, giving you special privileges.

As a VIP, you’ll have the following:

  • Reserved seating during the convention and workshops (workshops are an additional fee).
  • You’ll receive a special FACE VIP collector’s pin.
  • You’ll be invited to the special VIP cocktail reception in the Al Capone Suite with Publisher Eric Rhoads and Editor Peter Trippi to rub elbows with your favorite faculty members.
  • You’ll dine with Eric Rhoads and an intimate group of faculty members on one of three nights.
  • You’ll dine with Peter Trippi and an intimate group of faculty members on one of three nights.
  • You’ll have access to our special DIAMOND VIP break session, with special snacks and goodies.
  • You’ll receive a special welcome snack plate in your room along with a complimentary bottle of wine.
  • You’ll receive a special preview of the Expo Hall one hour before opening to the crowd.
  • You’ll receive a VIP ribbon for your badge.

Special VIP Price (in addition to registration) *$797

* You must be registered and paid in full before you can upgrade to the Diamond Member experience.


We will refund 50% of the registration fee for cancellation on or after August 7, 2018

No refunds on or after September 5, 2018

  • Cancellation today – 8/6/18 = 100% Refund, less a $50 processing fee
  • Cancellation 8/7/18 – 9/4/18  = 50% Refund, less a $50 processing fee
  • Cancellation on or after 9/5/18 = 0% Refund