Alumnus breaks into gallery business

Art history graduate Mark Zadorozny debuts Mark Christopher Gallery in Parkdale area of Toronto

Zadorozny curating Dmitri Fedosseev’s exhibition “Bacchanali”.
Zadorozny curating Dmitri Fedosseev’s exhibition “Bacchanali”.
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Gallery owner and Queen’s art history graduate Mark Zadorozny took his passion for visual art and turned it into a career.

Zadorozny is the creator and director of the Mark Christopher Gallery, which is currently located in the Parkdale area of West Toronto. He first opened up the Gallery in 2013 after graduating from Queen’s in 2006, where he studied art history.

A Toronto native, Zadorozny found himself synthesizing the creative world that enveloped him as a child.

“I was surrounded by art my whole life and grew up around it, so working in the field was a natural progression,” he said. His grandfather, who encouraged Zadorozny’s artistic influences as a child, is still producing work at the age of 92.

During his time at Queen’s, Zadorozny deepened his knowledge of the art world while also developing his personal aesthetic.

“My education is the foundation and provides me with my gut feeling for my gallery work,” he said. “I have to connect with the work on many levels — such as composition, colour usage, style — and this all has to do with my schooling and art history education.” During his time at Queen’s, Zadorozny went on exchange to Venice to study Renaissance art, further helping him broaden his artistic knowledge. Following graduation, he completed a one-year Master’s program in art history at St. Andrew’s University in Scotland.

In 2007, after travelling for a year, Zadorozny became an active member of the Toronto art scene

— forming connections with local underground artists while also working for Bonham’s Auctions and Appraisers, an international auction house.

Zadorozny chose to take a step further by opening his own gallery last year. He now displays an exhibition a month and works full-time as its owner.

So far Zadorozny exhibited notable artists like Scott Christie, Curtis Amisich, Scott McDermid and Dmitri Fedosseev, among others he has represented through his gallery. He opts to display art that showcases a mixture of mediums, integrating photography, painting, sculpture and watercolour. His preferred style ranges from modern to abstract to realist.

Regardless, when it comes to selecting an artist to exhibit, Zadorozny follows his intuition.

“Any artists who I show, I hand select and I choose them because I really immediately like their aesthetic,” he said. “My art history background at Queen’s has helped me in the sense that it has given me the confidence to make decisions about artists’ work and sharpening my artistic intuition to distinguish between quality and non-quality.” Starting up an art gallery is an arduous process, he said, but he sees it less as work and more as fun.

“Most people who work in this business don’t like talk about collecting outside of work, but for me it’s just a part of my life,” he said.

“I’m always researching, or going to see shows and talking to artists or making my own art.” He added his favourite part is being able talk to and share ideas with the like-minded artists he meets along the way.

“The best thing is visiting artists, having conversations and dialogue with artists, going to studios and spending time with creative people,” he said. “It doesn’t feel like work when you enjoy it.”

For more information on the Mark Christopher Gallery, visit markchistophergallery.com.

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