For the next installment of our Women Working in the Arts series we are excited to share the story of Liza, founder of @curatoronthego. She is a Toronto based independent art curator and fine art agent who we recently connected with via PxP Contemporary. After reading about her business, her background in curating, and the exciting projects she has been working on, make sure to check out her top picks from our gallery on Instagram or Facebook!
Tell us a bit about your background as a curator. What kind of work interests you?
Art has always been my passion; as a young girl, I attended art classes, and any time my family travelled, I was excited to visit local museums and art galleries. When I moved to Canada in 2010, I chose Art History as one of my majors and decided that I wanted to work professionally in the art world.
After working in a few local art institutions, I completed my MFA in Criticism and Curatorial Practice. The program gave me the opportunity to work on larger curatorial projects and meet many amazing local artists, which was perfect for me. My thesis exhibition focused on themes of storytelling and community engagement. When there is a story behind the artwork, it brings value to the piece, and creates a conversation between the artist, collector, and their respective friends and family. I believe that people love art that challenges them and makes them think.
Now, I work directly with artists and help them thrive as art entrepreneurs. This year I helped ten artists who were stuck in their careers and were seeking artistic direction. I mentor artists on how to build a prosperous and thriving art business, and educate them on how to work with art dealers, pricing and market their works, organize exhibition, conduct sales, and more.
Name one woman artist - either contemporary or from history - who has had an impact on you.
I try not to have role models. People tend to copy those who are more successful, and I believe having my own unique story and voice is what is important to me and what I value most in other people. However, I’ve been working with one local artist for the last five years, and she has inspired me to believe in myself, dream big and work smart. Her name is Jessica Gorlicky; she is a Toronto-based fine art and performance artist and has toured around the world speed painting, and making outstanding emotional art, including an international street art movement. Not only is she a talented artist, but also a skilled businesswoman, entertainer, and inspiration for many emerging artists.
What is one piece of advice you would give to emerging artists?
Invest in yourself.
Artists need to invest in their careers. That includes supplies, studio space, and if they work from home, they should make sure to eliminate any distractions. Artists should invest in their career development, like traveling to other countries, exhibiting at international art fairs and shows, and using helpful technology, such as mailing lists, to grow their network. As well, do not be afraid to rely on professionals like accountants, lawyers, and mentors to help you with behind-the-scenes tasks; it will help you to dedicate as much time as possible on art production. Lastly, it’s important to have a clear mindset, and a set of goals for a successful career. If you are not willing to invest in your career, who will?
Do you have any exciting projects, collaborations or exhibitions coming up that you’d like to share?
In August, I hosted my first Career Recharge Seminar Event for local artists as a platform to get advice and learn from art and non-art professionals, and also as a place to network and share their stories. The event has inspired me to host more art seminars in the future, and to build new platforms for artists, such as online courses to share tips and tools, and guide artists to create profitable art businesses when they are unable to hire an agent or curator, and do what they love.
In October, I am curating a solo show of one of the artists I currently represent Matt Pine (www.mattpineart.com) in Toronto.
You can find me at www.curatoronthego.com or on Instagram @curatoronthego.
By Alicia Puig