Tuesday, June 9, 2020


By Eva Fydrych

Mark Jeremy Gleberzon / MJG Gallery

Pink Louis by Mark Gleberzon

"Online art sales will be new future for selling art."

Mark Jeremy Gleberzon is a mixed-media artist working in painting, photography & collage-assemblage works. Today, we invited Mark to share his thoughts on Toronto's art scene, inspiration and creativity, the business side of art, and his own artistic journey so far. Enjoy the interview and don't forget to follow Mark on Instagram for your daily dose of beauty and inspiration!

FASHION STUDIO: When did you start painting and how would you describe your artistic journey so far?

MARK: I started painting (more) full time around 1993 after a few graphic design studio stints upon graduation from the Ontario College of Art (Design University). My artist journey is still continuing as I love the creative process itself. I never committed myself to one definite style or series because I love working in painting, photography and collage equally.

FASHION STUDIO: What do you consider your biggest success so far?

MARK: Success is certainly relative. A client brought to tears when I’d explained the meaning behind a particular painting they liked to which she/they immediately purchased it was pretty great. That’s happened a few times. A member of the Kennedy family purchased two small paintings of mine at an art show in NYC, so that too was pretty cool. And once a blogger mentioned my Chair series in her design column, after seeing them in a design show (also in NYC). The story got picked up and forwarded to a number of other blogs to which I was kept very busy with orders for several months was also pretty exciting. I was creating works which went to the states, Europe and Australia.

No Dumb Blonde (Photo courtesy of Mark Gleberzon)

FASHION STUDIO: How about your biggest challenges and how do you overcome them?

MARK: My biggest challenge is insecurity. When I’m presenting my work in a show or exhibition or even on Instagram, that’s makes oneself pretty vulnerable to fears of criticism and dislike to your work. I think also worrying about not getting into a rut or pushing myself enough at times can also prove frustrating.

FASHION STUDIO: Could you tell us a little bit more about Toronto art scene and your favourite shows / artists / galleries?

MARK: Toronto has a pretty varied art scene on account of the wide diversity of people here in the city. Toronto (and Canada for that matter) haven’t really been recognized as a great city to source great art in many ways. Many artists have to look outside of Canada to find success. But yet we always remain Canada-proud.

If I can be critical, there’s a condo boom in our city. Along those lines there hasn’t been equally great develops in the art scene to allow for more art spaces and studios. In fact, on account of increased rent costs and the condos, many galleries have had to move outside the downtown core which has been sad to watch. I’m lucky to have several close friends who are also artists. So we get to enjoy our successes and commiserate when times prove tough like they are now, during COVID-19. The AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) has hosted some wonderful shows which have been more inclusive of women, people of colour, indigenous and LGBTQ artists. I used to own my own art gallery, MJG Gallery.

Loves.You.Me. by Mark Gleberzon

FASHION STUDIO: How do you market and sell your art? Are there any useful tips you could share with emerging artists?

MARK:  Much of my income is made from sales at (indoor & outdoor) art shows and fairs, here in Canada and the US. Although I did participate in a show in Tokyo, two years ago. I have a website www.markgleberzon.com and a continually updated profile on Instagram @mjggallery.

It’s important to try to be strategic as to which shows to offer your work in as I think it affords confidence from prospective buyers you’ve done particular shows. Or at least to be on people’s radar for a future purchase or commission. But as the challenges of COVID have very quickly shown, us artists need to keep an ongoing web presence on platforms including Facebook and especially Instagram. Maintaining a website of current work. Some artists are now posting videos of themselves working in their studios or setting up for an exhibition which I think will further instil interest in who they are and the work they do. Online art sales will be new future for selling art.

FASHION STUDIO: What inspires you? How do you stay creative?

MARK:  I remain inspired by seeing what’s around me. I go to museums & galleries, travel as much as I can and read up on the art scene, online, a lot. I’ll enjoy talks with other artists where we’ve exchanged ideas to improve our work. I have a few series of works which originate from personal experiences. For example, my Chair series came about from a particular chair I took from my parent’s house when I moved out. It’s not a very handsome or comfortable chair but as I started to capture it in my work, I realized the chair was a connection to my parents, especially my mom Ann. 

Beyond that, I source lots of reference from magazines and probably have 200 art books featuring specific artists I love or art movements I admire. I experiment all the time, using new materials in my work. I love my assemblage pieces which incorporate my painting techniques, photography and weird bric-a-brac. Experimentation always keeps ideas fresh! And Instagram proves an unending resource as well.

FASHION STUDIO: What is your ultimate goal? What would you like to achieve with your art?

MARK: I love the creative process, especially experimenting with different media. So I hope to always keep going beyond the work I’m currently doing. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a goal, but I’d love to do a collaborative piece with another artist to create a larger-scale work like a public sculpture or installation. Some notoriety would always be welcome but I hope I can look back and say, “yeah, I’m happy about what I’ve done”.

Baroness by Mark Gleberzon

FASHION STUDIO: Why do you think art is important and what role does it play in our culture?

MARK: If I’m going to get existential here, art is vital to any great civilization. When people stop being creative, it’s a means to an end. Many great eras and cultures are represented by the work artisans left behind. Art has recorded our history in a visual way. And it continues to evolve either in the way it’s made, be it employing traditional & academic techniques to utilizing new media and materials and processes to make it.

I think the question of what makes great art may not ever be answered. But I think, at least, more people have been given opportunities in creating art like never before, especially outside the traditional or expected presentation of men but further by women, indigenous people and those in the LGBTQ community. The language of art, I think, has gotten more appreciated by a much wider audience than ever before.

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