Tag Archives: MJG Gallery

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Meet MARK GLEBERZON of MJG GALLERY- he’s exhibiting @ this weekend’S INTERIOR DESIGN SHOW in TORONTO

What a fabulous morning I had, schlepping around the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, strolling down the most fashionable interior designer aisles of this year’s INTERIOR DESIGN SHOW. Thanks to artist and artist’s representative MARK J. GLEBERZON of MJG Gallery, now an online gallery showcasing the works of  exciting local artists, my photographer Gabriella and I were given carte blanche to play among the chi-chi furniture and decorating & design booths on the main floor of the Metro Toronto Convention Ctr. (I’ll be posting a full show blog later) and I videotaped this quick interview with Mark from his booth at IDS …..

I recently asked Mark to share his thoughts about being a working artist in Toronto and the move from a storefront gallery location in Leslieville to a virtual environment (his proposed rent increase was just too outrageous). Here’s what he said…..

Mark, after moving your bricks’n’mortar MJG Gallery in Toronto to an online gallery, have you found you’re reaching a wider audience for your art and the artists you represent?
I haven’t yet found an increase per-se in inquiries or sales since I closed my gallery (see below) but I’ve always tried to make my presence known online, one way or another. Many people thought when I closed my gallery that was that. I always tried to explain I will always continue offering my own work – which I’d been doing for nearly twenty-five years – as well as promoting other artists I’ve worked with over the past four years and do so using the internet more and more. I would like to think doing shows like IDS as well as continued participation in other gallery and trade shows, including possibly doing the Affordable Art Fair in New York City in a few months, will continue getting me and the MJG identity noticed by a broader audience. Also, making sure to continually update my Facebook page, release periodic newsletters, Twitter feeds and Instagram posts are important to let people know what I’m up to, what’s new and reach out to new contacts.20140927_13435720130919_192411What was the best (or most interesting) experience you encountered as a gallery owner?
I can’t think of a specific event but I suppose being told mine or another artist’s painting was a client’s first art purchase ever is always a nice thing to hear….popping their art cherry, if you will !

What was the downside to running a storefront gallery in Toronto?
First and foremost, the actual costs of maintaining a gallery are always the bane of any retailer. On top of rent (or mortgage if you own the space), there’s electricity, heat, internet, phone and many other expenses. In my case, there were also my art supplies which were rather costly. There’s certainly the ebb and flow of sales that occur in the gallery but any ‘free’ money is almost always rolled back into the business. Plus, being in the physical space, somewhat isolated (as was my case, where I didn’t have an assistant) one can be feel locked away from what’s happening outside the gallery. I found trying to visit other gallery openings and art-related events and sometimes just plain socializing was extremely difficult when you’re beholden to your business and trying to be there as much as possible. Retail in general is not for the faint of heart. You really have to be dedicated to what you do and feel confident in for what you’re selling.20150515_154635You’re exhibiting at this year’s Interior Design Show, a very prestigious expo where you’ll meet many interior designers & decorators – do you anticipate making new connections and expanding your art business?
As I often say, it’s making ONE new important contact that’s always key with any of these shows. Yes, I always enjoy working with clients looking for one painting just as much as with those looking for a larger purchase, but it’s always important to continue reaching out to more and more people. IDS (see Mark with a new client in his IDS booth today, below) is a show that can potentially introduce me to those in the interior and design industries as well as architects, film industry folk and others. In a recent home show, I met someone who was the building manager for two downtown condos. Eventually, she and the Condo Board oversaw the purchase of nearly two dozen works from several artists including those represented by my gallery. With the closing of the physical gallery, I hope to be able to direct people to myself, the artists I work with and the services I provide, including art consultancy via shows like IDS. My hope is to match clients and designers with artists and their work as well as coordinating personalized commissions. I always make it a point that when I meet someone at a show like IDS, I follow up with them immediately. They may not need me right away but at least the connection was made. 20160122_12392012508773_1093056450726160_7721469165704664034_nAs a working artist, what inspires you and how do you separate your own work from the business side of representing other artists who entrust their work to your online gallery?
It’s always a fine balance when you’re both a working artist and representing other artists as well. I always did my best to bring as much attention to my gallery and the roster of artists I represented as to my own work. That’s why I tried to balance my participation in self-representing shows (incl. the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, the Artist Project and RAW to name a few) along with gallery-exclusive or home decor shows (incl. IDS, Love Art) as much as possible. A gallery owner needs to assure a relationship of trust between them and the artists they work with and it’s easy to break that trust if an artist feels you’re compromising them or their work. Luckily, it seems all of the artists I worked with in my gallery space, are just as happy to continue working with me as I shift online. Now as far as my own work is concerned, I’ve developed several series of art – both painting and photography (see below) – and I’ve decided to make 2016 the year I explore others genres. I may find inspiration from what’s going around me or simply (and usually) thru sheer desperation to try to develop my own voice in the visual world. 20150515_153659 20150515_154848 20150515_153630Any advice for emerging Canadian artists?
I think in this day of insta-everything, an artist needs to make their presence known by making the Internet their friend. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and other services are terrific and often free ways to get work noticed. If you’re working with a gallery, make sure that gallery’s hanging and consignment arrangements are as fair with ‘newbies’ as with the more established artists in the same space. NEVER sign an exclusivity clause unless one really feels secure the gallery owner will direct a lot of attention to your work. It’s easy to get trapped thinking – or being convinced – that getting ones work hung ‘anywhere’ will lead to good exposure or sales. Try to be as strategic as possible and feel secure that “Yes, this is somewhere I’m proud my work is being shown”. And don’t always be willing to do things for free. Many people feel they have the upper-hand offering exhibition opportunities to new artists, offering little compensation. That’s not fair…it’s taking advantage of people.

Any other comments you’d like to share?  MJG is poised for a fresh, new start in 2016. Although the format of the gallery has changed, I’m looking forward to new opportunities that already seem to be coming my way.IMG_2468Mark can be reached via MJG Gallery’s website http://mjggallery.com/  and you can follow him on Facebook (MJG Gallery); Instragram (#mjggallery), and Twitter (@mjggallery)

 

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STROLL WITH ME THRU THIS WEEKEND’S RIVERDALE ART WALK

What a beautiful sunny afternoon in Toronto…perfect for strolling the aisles of this year’s Riverdale Art Walk, visiting artist friends (like the fabulous Kelly Grace, above) and meeting new talented painters and sculptors. You still have another day to visit yourself – on Queen St East in Jimmie Simpson Park (details at bottom of this blog). Joining me on my artful trek was Erena, my BFF who is also an art collector who appreciates discovering new talent. I introduced her first to Sheila Thompson (below), a fibre artist whom I first met at the Artists’ Project a couple of months ago.

20150606_133532 20150606_133541www.sheilathompson.ca

Next, I was inspired by the beautiful, photographic quality of Marsha Strycharz‘s still-life paintings (below)

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I really liked the contrast in style exhibited by fine art photographer Felicity Somerset (below) who offered framed prints of industrial rust and weathering close-ups, as well as the delicate hummingbirds and flowers featured in her packages of notecards.

20150606_134119 20150606_134130 20150606_134433www.felicitysomersetphotography.com

Mark Glebersen is one of my Toronto art heroes – his MJG Gallery is fast becoming the go-to gallery in Leslieville and here he is (below) representin’ with some colourful, joyful pieces….

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As I watched visitors entering photographer Lorie Slater‘s tent, each and every one of them smiled, pointed to familiar scenes and spent a lot of time guessing locations of the subjects she paints. Behind Lorie (below) is a graffiti of Felix the Cat located in an alley near her home…she told me she took the photo only a day or two before someone painted over it so she was pleased she captured the scene before it was too late.

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Loved the crows featured prominently in Katherine Palmer‘s paintings (below). You could almost hear the caw-caw!

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I first met painter Karola Steinbrecher up at Schomberg a couple of years ago and fell madly in love with her chicken pictures (below). I find something very comforting and cheerful in her work which makes me feel a little guilty about eating KFC! That giant rooster on red background (below) is going to be MINE!

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Rob Croxford!!! Who doesn’t love this guy’s work? Great sense of fun, intellectually stimulating, conversation starters, locally themed…and affordable. Bravo, Rob, another great show for you.

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Another fave of mine is Ian Busher (below) – in fact, I have one of his pieces hanging in my place right now. I thought Erena would enjoy meeting him and seeing how he works in the different mediums.

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I love discovering new artists I’ve never seen before…like Roberto Centazzo (below) who works in marble mosaics. Stunning to view in person, sorry my pics don’t do them justice. His elephant mosaic is made completely from stones found down at the Leslieville lakeshore…wow!

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Sculptor Jeremy Guy (below) exhibited some of his more manageable pieces at Art Walk – I hear he has a sculpture garden with huge, over-sized pieces. Jeremy’s work is very tactile and you are encouraged to actually touch the artwork here.

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Walking into Jessica Masters‘ booth (below) was a very calming experience. Her soft pastels beckoned me in…I felt as though I could escape right into her pictures, onto the sands of Maine and chase the seagulls. A lovely talented lady with charming stories for each of her pictures.

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The uber fabulous Kelly Grace (below) was well-represented with her tiny perfect portraits as well as some new works (bottom pic). She was trying out a new hair ‘do which made me jealous…I so need a cut’n’colour!

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Atten…shun!  Brian Harvey strikes a pose between two of his Toronto streetscapes (below). Brian and Stewart Jones (who didn’t participate at this show) are two of my fave Toronto streetscape painters – each offers up pieces with great personality & atmosphere, and a colour palette that matches perfectly their real-life locations. Brian told me the diner was actually a New York City view, but the green-toned alleyway was a view not far from his home.

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Lois Shaw posed alongside one of her large format paintings of giant chili peppers…what a fabulous foodie picture! Can’t you just see this painting hanging in some classy Italian eatery? Lois has actually been commissioned to paint something just like that for a client’s new kitchen and needless to say, it was a big hit.

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Dog-lover Zoey Zoric (below) offered some striking poochie portraits that attracted a lot of 4-legged as well as 2-legged fans. I got to meet a lovely collie who came in for a drink of water and a cool-down with Zoey who was also promoting Happy Tails Rescue organization – they rescue, foster and adopt out small furry friends. If you’re looking for a new pal, drop in to her booth on Sunday and pick up some information or visit their website: www.happytailsrescue.ca

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The last booth I visited was that of Kari Serrao. Love love looooove her farmyard animals with their soulful eyes staring back at me. Another booth that made me think twice about my steak and eggs, bacon, lamb chops…. so Erena and I went for sushi after visiting show…thanks, Kari!

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Tomorrow looks like a nice, sunny day but go early as there is some rain coming in towards the end of Sunday. Check out the official website for details: http://www.artistsnetwork.ca/

Thank you for supporting Canadian artists!

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JOIN ME FOR A QUICK VISIT TO MJG GALLERY IN TORONTO

I always enjoy dropping in on Mark Jeremy Gleberzon who runs the charming MJG Gallery at 1028 Queen St East, Toronto. His current multi-artist show offers some stunning works that intrigue, engage and arouse the senses, and Mark showed me some of his own work that I just love. He’s getting these new pieces ready for next month’s Riverdale Art Walk and I have my name on one of his miniatures (below). Very groovy and reminiscent of my fave 60’s art style.

20150515_154731 20150515_155238_001 20150515_154853So this month’s show at MJG Gallery is called Distant Roadside and features the work of Ian Busher (below)…

73x50-300x199 IMG_1315-211x300Richard Ahnert (below)

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20150515_154149 20150515_153747Ian’s blue bunny (above left) looks a bit scared next to Richard’s stalking hungry fox…LOL

Julie Himel‘s work is available in miniature as well as larger paintings….I love the series with the little fishies (below).

20150515_153739 20150515_154349 20150515_154201And the fourth artist featured is Daniel St-Amant, someone new to my eyes. His large format work (below) features canvasses with tire-tread (apparently Daniel drives over and distresses them) then paints over the pattern left behind with Canadian wildlife. Wow…isn’t the polar bear awesome?

20150515_154307 20150515_154322You can read all about these four artists and their work on the MJG Gallery website here: http://mjggallery.com/distant-roadside-april-30-may-17/

Mark was kind enough to show me some of his work featuring his grandmother, an elegant lady who exudes style and glamour. Look at her, isn’t she wonderful?

20150515_153808 20150515_153659Nana looks awesome (above) with her pink flamingos! Bravo, Mark, what a lovely tribute to your grandmother.   We also had fun playing with some of the more unusual metal sculptures at MJG, like this super cool robot (below)…it actually plays “Lara’s Theme” (from Dr. Zhivago) out of its head. Aaaaargh! No wonder Mark looks a wee bit nervous. One of us, one of us….

20150515_154635 20150515_154700If you want to spend an hour or so in the company of someone who really loves art and loves being an artist himself, Mark’s your man. Drop in and tell him Glenda sent you. Lots to see…and thank you for supporting Canadian artists.

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GREAT ARTWORK SHOWCASED @ “LOVE ART FAIR” in TORONTO THIS WEEKEND.

There was such a crush of art aficionados at the VIP/media preview last night at the LOVE ART FAIR http://www.loveartfair.com/toronto/ taking place this weekend in the Heritage Court of the Direct Energy Centre at the Exhibition Grounds in Toronto.

20150416_195430I was thrilled to run into artist friend Stewart Jones (below) who left the city for the wide open spaces of Wellington County last year  (http://www.stewartjones.ca/ )  …….

20150416_193547….and Mark Gleberzon of MJG Gallery (below) in Toronto who was busy chatting with media and fans ( http://mjggallery.com/ ).

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20150416_194321One of the first booths that stopped me in my tracks was The Art Shop, a Dutch gallery representing a variety of artists whose work encompasses several mediums and styles (pictured below)  http://theartshop.nl/en

20150416_192835 20150416_192756 20150416_192844 20150416_193135Then I found the Forest Rain Gallery from Singapore representing numerous exciting contemporary artists from China and South Asia (below).  http://forestraingallery.com/

20150416_194121(0)BBAM! Gallery from Montreal offered some amusing (and sexy) paintings that would look fab in any “man cave” http://www.bbamgallery.com/

20150416_194530 20150416_194533 I enjoyed meeting the lovely senorita who managed the Galeria Standarte (Madrid) booth. She was so enthusiastic about her artists showcased here in Toronto, her joy was infectious. Aren’t these fabulous? http://galeriastandarte.com/

20150416_200835 20150416_200840 20150416_200901 20150416_201103 20150416_201125akasha art projects inc. is a great gallery and framing studio located at 511 Church Street in Toronto. Mark Gleberzon had previously told me about them and after meeting the ladies at the show and seeing their framing  work, I must say, this is a must for all art collectors looking for unique framing.  http://akashaart.com/

20150416_194705 20150416_194712 20150416_194808I really liked the work of Peter A. Barelkowski and Frances Patella (pictured below) who proudly showcased their work….so nice to speak directly with individual artists like these. Please check out their portfolios at   www.peterbarelkowski.com  and  www.francespatella.com

20150416_201914 20150416_201934The Workman Collective booth http://www.workmancollective.com/ hosted three handsome artists (below) – Joe Sampson, Adam Colangelo and Michael Toole. The gallery is located at 1655 Dupont in Toronto so I definitely recommend a visit there to see their stunning works in person if you can’t make it out to the LoveArtFair.

20150416_202104 20150416_202125I really liked the work represented by Maine-based Carver Hill Gallery, especially Rose Umerlik (Pics 1+2 below) and Megan Hinton (3rd pic) http://www.carverhillgallery.com/

20150416_203125 20150416_203129 20150416_203148Fibre artist Sheila Thompson showcased a beautiful felt piece, complete with porcupine quills (pic 2) and photographer Lori Ryerson posed proudly under one of her large format photos (pic 3 below).

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So many cool artists are represented here…I wish I had lots of $s and a ton of wall space! I really recommend you visit this show and I thank you for supporting the Canadian and international artists!

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http://www.loveartfair.com/toronto/