Art Curator: the Link between Artists and Viewers

Liza Zhurkovskaya, best known as “Curator on the Go”, is a curator, art advisor, and art gallery owner from Canada. She talked to us about her way to her own gallery, and her connection with the artists.

Marie Jund
MOOI — Inspiring women

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Liza, aka “Curator on the Go”

My favorite part of the job is meeting new people. Learning new life stories, sharing experiences. I learn from every single person I help. I grow as much as they grow. I believe in the power of knowledge sharing” smiles Liza.

Liza Zhurkovskaya, best known as “Curator on the Go”, is a curator, art advisor, and art gallery owner from Canada. She has been working in the industry since 2015. Her goal is to welcome everyone to the art world and help people collect, buy, and commission art stress-free.

She opened her own virtual gallery during the pandemic and hosts her own podcast, Curator on the Go Podcast.

Connecting the Artists with the Viewers

Art was with Liza front the very first day. As a kid, she was making art in many forms. She wrote poetry, sang, danced. Her parents were always very open to her trying new different things.

Born in Russia, she went to art school there, where she was drawing 3 or 4 hours a day, trying out different mediums. A great experience. She moved to Canada 12 years ago, where she completed her undergrad in Art History.

During my studies, I was going to museums and art galleries a lot, meeting artists. After finishing my undergrad I thought I should consider getting some education in curation because that was what excited me the most. The part where I can connect the product of love that the artist created to the end viewer, who will buy the piece and put it in their home. Creating this connexion between two people” she ponders, looking back.

She has been curating shows for artists, organizations, galleries and non-profit ever since.

An environment both competitive and supportive

The road there was bumpy and unexpected.

Working in the Art World is nothing like a 9 to 5. I do a lot of things at the same time, I have multiple projects going on simultaneously, I work with artists, with organizations, I have clients” Liza explains.

She has a creative brain, so many ideas, trying to accomplish as much as she can. To the point of sometimes overworking herself. “I have to tell myself to slow down sometimes”.

The road is also very competitive. When you start doing a lot of things on your own, “other people or organizations are going to see you as a competitor, and not going to allow you to come, or to collaborate”.

But at the same time, it’s an environment allowing you to work on yourself, to grow at your own speed. “It’s your life, it’s your road, eventually, you will get to wherever you want to get” she smiles.

Liza has a lot of support from artists. Back when she started out in Toronto, there weren’t many people working with the artists directly, so she worked as a consultant. As an advisor, a sort of coach helping them figure out what road to take as an artist, how to approach galleries, how to create a brand and be successful on their own.

I created my own brand, and I helped artists decide what they wanted to do too, and how to do reach their goals”.

You never know who is going to buy

As for finding the artists, Liza smiles: “that’s not hard at all”. Today, with social media, we are submerged with talents.

My main source of inspiration is Instagram. I can spend hours on it, and sometimes I just try to shut down my phone, because I can just scroll forever. I comment and engage with my followers, and find new talents”.

For her gallery, she selects her artists based on their talent, on the clientèle she already has, the one she’s trying to grow

I see the potential with us growing together. Helping the artists reach new levels in their career, and bringing benefits to my clientele too, with bought pieces increasing in price later”.

The clientèle is diverse, and there’s never one particular type. “You never know who’s going to come in and buy a very expensive piece”.

You have kids that come to art fairs and buy little pieces and become little collectors. Doing it for the experience. And you have more seasoned profiles, collectors who take time to understand and follow the artist first and then buy.

Some people will buy impulsively, some people will buy just because they need another piece of decor. For some people, it’s more aesthetic, how the piece looks like. For other people, there’s more research and personal connection with the artist”.

Allowing yourself to reach for your dreams

For Liza, opening up her own business, and not being afraid to do so, feels like her biggest accomplishment.

Before the pandemic, I was always hesitant about opening my own gallery. I thought I’m not going to make it. I’ve only been doing that 7 years, people are doing that for 30 or 40 years, they are so successful, I’m so small”.

And then during the pandemic, it just changed. She was at home and decided she shouldn’t be worried about what other people thought. She should try. And see what would happen.

A lot of people dream about something and they are not going to make it because they think ok, I will continue working on this job and maybe, maybe not… Feeling confident and allowing myself to make mistakes, that’s how I got to where I am right now”.

She stills worries about not having a physical space. “A lot of collectors would like to see art in person. Even though I show a lot of art via zoom or I do photoshops presentations of the work. But I will probably get there. Or who knows, the art world will move to digital”.

The power of intentions

As for the future, Liza feels like it’s very hard to predict what is going on and what will happen with the world right now. One thing is for sure: she wants to grow.

I’m always astonished by the success of really big art platforms, like Artsy. How successful they are. Those are the platforms I try to learn from, use as an example of what you can reach”.

She’s not sure yet whether she wants to open a physical gallery or not. But she wants to continue developing her platform, to be able to reach more people.

Every day, at sunset time, Liza sits on her balcony. It’s her favorite moment. Just to look at the sky, to write some ideas. And write intentions.

I really believe in the power of intentions. I started a “100-days journal”, where you write 10 most important ambitions that you want to get in 100 days, and every day you should rewrite those wishes, and what you’ve done throughout the day to start accomplishing them. It’s a really great exercise, you track your own progress. And you’re so excited if something comes to fruition and your wish comes true, and it keeps you on track” she smiles.

That would be her parting wisdom: it all starts with you. Set your goals, depicted the road that you need to go through to get there. “And be yourself!.

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Marie Jund
MOOI — Inspiring women

Freelance journalist, Digital Content Creator. I write about travels, careers, everyday joys. Founder & Editor of MOOI https://medium.com/mooi-women-publication