About

What We Do!

Our mandate is to express and share our evolving vision of the world through art, in all its forms, and to encourage others to do the same. Apart from being an artist ourselves, we also aid fellow visual artists to develop and manage their own creative careers by offering them a supportive hand with research, consultations and coaching.

Create Art!

Our mixed media drawings often explore identity, but sometimes there’s really just for fun.

Take a look at our Portfolio for our most recent completed work!

Projects :

We paint on canvas, on wood, on paper and we can paint on your walls!

To look at some of our work, check out the following project in our Portfolio!

Pay Attention!

For a commission, contact us with your inquiries and expression of interest!

Our writing projects are under development.

In the meantime –> Sign up to our newsletter!

Assist Artists

The information and opportunities the art world has to offer are bountiful. It typically consumes copious amounts of energy and time to peruse them, especially for those who do so without assistance.

We are determined to regularly and methodically keep a lookout for prospective venues and upcoming submission deadlines that best suit your aspirations. Allow us to attend to some of the clerkish work, so you can better focus your engaging verve elsewhere, without ever losing sight of your attainable ambitions.

Price – 100$ / month

Together, we will progressively assess where your art practice stands, how you would like to develop and improve it, and devise both efficient and effective ways to succeed in doing so. Sometimes two heads are better than one.

Price – 32$/h

*** 20$/h (if combined with monthly research)

Sometimes a fog sets in and you need someone to brainstorm with. For those sporadic moments when a little extra brainpower, a few new ideas, a couple of tricks of the trade could help you on your way, give us a holler!

Price – 32$/h

*** 20$/h (if combined with monthly research)

These services may include…

  • One-on-one meetings (in person, by phone or via Skype)
  • Assessment of your work, practice and needs
  • Fine-tuned lists of upcoming submissions of interest
  • Personalized tips, tricks, tools and information
  • Aid with improving artist and project statements, CV, and submission packages
  • Website analysis
  • Oodles of well-deserved encouragement!

(Prices and services are liable to change.)

Biography

Gigi Retzo is a self-taught Montreal-based artist.

Although originally born in the same city she currently practices in, most of her life was spent abroad. Three continents, six countries, more than a dozen cities and over twenty-five moves after her birth, Gigi finally settled back into the first haven she was uprooted from.

Symptomatic of her innate curiosity about the inner workings of the world and its people, or as a direct consequence of coping with her lifelong volatile environment, she has always been attracted to philosophy and psychology. This led her to studying literature and linguistics in Stockholm, Sweden, which inadvertently introduced her to the likes of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Eric Bern, Dale Carnegie, Daniel Goleman, as well as numerous other great thinkers, both historical and contemporary, who helped shape her evolving reflections on psychotherapy, neurology, transactional analysis, and mental health, entre autres.

After obtaining a French BAC in Literature (2006) from the Lycée Français St-Louis, she pursued her thirst for knowledge about the human psyche through further reading, additional training and taking on a variety of assistant positions in several fields of work, including but not limited to hospitality, teaching, real estate, optometry, law, and the visual arts.

With an unusual and eclectic set of experiences, as well as an impressive ability to adjust and discern patterns around her, Gigi now uses painting, drawing and writing mediums to explore and illuminate that which defines, unites and divides us in this day and age.

Artist Statement

Gigi Retzo, a Montreal-based artist, moved around a lot throughout her childhood and early twenties. Born and raised in a world of chronic departures, in an age when the internet and social media were either inexistent or yet to become mainstream, and when cell phones were the size of toy trucks, goodbyes usually meant forever. Accepting short-lived relationships and taking on a chameleon-like skin in order to adapt rapidly to new cultural contexts was a way of life seemingly bereft of choices and freedom. Affective survival was imperative. And, the key to surviving was to develop the ability to discern patterns and adjust- observe, learn, evolve, repeat. An exhausting exercise that proved both detrimental and fruitful.

Consequently, along the way, Gigi underwent an ongoing exploration on what it meant to be an individual and a member of society. What influences us, be it family, education, religion, politics, taboos, mental illness. How we perceive ourselves and each other, through labels, stereotypes, and pre-conceived sets of conclusions. Why that came to be. As well, as wonder how to break away from the walls we’ve built around ourselves in a desperate attempt to feel safer; walls that ironically keep us apart and at risk of collapse.

Through her art, Gigi uses mixed media, including acrylic and watercolour paint, India ink, lead, wax, coloured crayons and markers, oil pastels, and wood, to paint or draw, or both, concepts and interrogations she has faced that feel representative of the struggles many of us undergo these days, regardless of where our roots lie: the meaning of identity, the external and internal factors that hinder our development or push us to reach out to our true potential, the fluctuations in our desires and values, the intangibility and fluidity of our emotional existence, our ability to alter even our most deeply rooted paradigms in light of new realizations and resounding truths.

With the help of words, repetitive motions and details, symbolism, abstract geometry, figurative elements intertwined with strokes of surrealism, as well as contrasting and bright colors, Gigi’s practice focuses on dualities and alludes to a long-lost innocence. It delves into contemporary debates about what is “I”, “You” and “Us” in an increasingly globalised world riddled with shallow connections, boundless information at our fingertips, stress and unsteady futures. Her artwork sheds light on psychological and philosophical dilemmas that envelop us and encourages people to question what defines them, to open their minds to differing plights and perspectives that surround them, and to become more pro-active about breaking down barriers that stifle progress.

Curriculum Vitae

Group Exhibitions

2019

(coming soon) 12th Edition, Les fenêtres qui parlent, Montreal, QC – Sept 12th-15th

Festival des arts, 12th Edition, Maison culturelle et communautaire de Montréal-Nord, Montreal, QC

Expo Pop-Up: March, Art Cible | Atelier Galerie 2112, Montreal, QC

Expo Pop-Up: February, Art Cible | Atelier Galerie 2112, Montreal, QC

Art Fairs, Markets & Symposiums

2019

(coming soon) 1st Edition, Symposium de l’espoir, Montreal, QC – August 10th-11th

(coming soon) 22nd Edition, Symposium de peinture de Prévost, Prévost, QC – July 26th-28th

Salon du disque et des arts underground, 10th Edition, Under the Snow Festival, Montreal, QC

Memberships

2019

Member, RAAV, Montreal, QC

Member, ELAN Quebec, Montreal, QC

Member, CARFAC National, Montreal, QC

Member, Un Itinéraire pour tous, Montreal, QC

Education

2006

BAC in Literature, Lycée Français St-Louis, Stockholm, Sweden

2003

Grade 9 & 10, Western High School, Fort-Lauderdale, FL, USA

Workshops, Training & Certificates

2019

Getting Media Attention, CBC | ELAN Quebec, Montreal, QC

Take It or Leave It: Contract Negotiation for Artists, YES, Montreal, QC

Artistic Applications: Common Mistakes and How to Avoid them, YES, Montreal, QC

Building a Project around Oral History, COHDS | Concordia University, Montreal, QC

Emotional Resilience While Performing Traumatic Narratives: Part II, COHDS | Concordia University, Montreal, QC

Ma fiscalité, je m’en occupe, RAAV, Montreal, QC

2017

Miser sur son intelligence émotionnelle, Groupe MP-Plus, Montreal, QC

2013

Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies: The First Step in Entrepreneurship (93%), Coursera | University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA

The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness (100%), Coursera | University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

2004

Certificate of Proficiency in English: Council of Europe Level C2, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England

Professional Experience

2012 –present

Visual Artist Assistant & Consultant, Artzy Retzo, Montreal, QC

2016-18

Paralegal, Manon Dion Avocate, Montreal, QC

2013-15

Art Consultant & Administrative Assistant, Amaxis Inc., Montreal, QC

2010-11

Secretary, St-Joseph Optometry Clinic, Montreal, QC

2009-10

Administrative / Optometrist Assistant, The Rockland Eye Clinic, Montreal, QC

2008

Assistant Governor, Hotel Lord Berri, Montreal, QC

2006-08

Administrative Assistant, Coldwell Banker | Real Estate, Cabarete, Dominican Republic

2006-07

English Teacher & Teacher’s Assistant, Torre Alta Montessori School, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Volunteering Experience

2019

Mtl en Arts Festival, Montreal, QC

Halte-Femmes Montréal-Nord, Montreal, QC

MURAL Festival, Montreal, QC

Comité de mobilisation citoyenne, Fête des voisins | Un Itinéraire pour tous, Montreal, QC

Papier 19 | Art Fair, Montreal, QC

2016

Papier 16 | Art Fair, Montreal, QC

Collections

Private collection, Quebec, QC

Private collection, Montreal, QC

Private collection, Windsor, ON

Testimonials

– bilingual –

“Je suis très satisfaite du travail de Gigi, car j’ai toujours des appels de dossiers très intéressants selon la demande que je lui fait. Elle fait des recherches selon mes besoins spécifiques pour exposer mes toiles. Je suis contente, car je cherchais exactement quelqu’un qui puisse m’envoyer l’heure juste sur les expositions à venir.”

– Mariane Vincent | ArtbyZaima.com | 2019-02-11

* * * * * * * * * * *

“Gigi Retzo worked for me as my assistant and colleague in my arts management consulting business a few years ago, before she set up the Artzy Retzo initiative. It was a pleasure to work with her during this time.

She is an exceptionally quick learner, very organized, diligent, and efficient. She went well beyond her duties and I trusted her with high-level initiatives and decision-making on a regular basis. I always knew I could rely on her abilities and intelligence to interface with clients in a professional and productive manner. Visual artists seeking assistance in managing their practice have a lot to benefit from having her on their team.”

– Archita Ghosh | Linkedin.com/in/Archita-Ghosh | edFilms.net | 2018-06-20

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“Une belle équipe, qui travaille avec sérieux et engagement. Une collaboration qui a porté fruit. Merci Artzy Retzo!

– Anne Billy | AnneBilly.com | 2018-06-18

* * * * * * * * * * *

“Amis, artistes, collègues,

J’ai le plaisir de témoigner de mon excellente expérience professionnelle aux côtés de Gigi Retzo. Nous travaillons ensemble depuis déjà plusieurs années et son apport à tout ce qui concerne l’aspect bureaucratique de ma pratique est pour moi d’une valeur inestimable. Gigi s’implique à tous les niveaux et son aide m’est précieuse pour, entre autres choses, la recherche d’opportunités, l’envoi de soumissions ou l’amélioration de mon site web.

Elle s’occupe de façon remarquablement efficace et bienveillante de toutes les démarches relatives à ma carrière (recherche de lieux d’exposition, de résidences, ainsi que de possibilités de subventions et soumissions). Gigi est très fiable et responsable et c’est un grand plaisir de travailler avec elle.

Ses connaissances du milieu local et national et sa compréhension de mon travail et de mes aspirations font en sorte qu’elle sait faire les choix judicieux quant aux lieux et aux projets qui favorisent le rayonnement de ma carrière. Disposant d’une vaste banque de données informatiques et d’un sens inné de l’organisation, Gigi a toute ma confiance pour s’occuper des démarches administratives liées à ma pratique. Grâce à ses services, je peux prendre le temps (considérable!) alloué à ces tâches et l’utiliser plutôt au travail en atelier!

Son implication dynamique a également contribué à l’obtention de plusieurs expositions solo, notamment à la Galerie d’art d’Outremont (Montréal, QC, 2014), TRUCK Gallery (Calgary, AB, 2015), à la Maison des arts de Laval (Laval, QC, 2015), au Centre d’exposition de Mont-Laurier (Mont-Laurier, QC, 2016), à la Harcourt House (Edmonton, AB, 2016) et à Arnica (Kamloops, BC 2017) et d’autres sont prévues pour cette année. J’ai également participé, au cours des dernières années, à de nombreuses expositions de groupe au Québec et au Canada.

Le dévouement dont fait preuve Gigi envers ma carrière me permet de me consacrer à temps plein à ma production tout en profitant régulièrement d’occasions de montrer mes œuvres dans des lieux qui correspondent entièrement à mes ambitions.

Je recommande Gigi Retzo avec chaleur et enthousiasme à quiconque vise à développer sa carrière professionnelle tout en passant le plus de temps possible en atelier.”

– Sonia Haberstich | Haberstich.com | 2018-06-01

* * * * * * * * * * *

“To Whom It May Concern,

I write this letter of reference happily on behalf of Gigi Retzo. I began working with Gigi as my consultant and representative last year. I have to say, to date I have had absolutely no occasion to regret this arrangement.

A year ago, my career as a visual artist could well be described as “comatose”—a group show here, some interest there maybe, little else. Working with Gigi has changed all that for me. This year I have three solo shows and a festival—and, as I write this, it’s still only March. It’s good to be alive!

I am writing all this to you as an accomplished, published writer and editor, who knows very well how to put together an application dossier. Sure, I can send out a dozen applications in a month. But what about the next month … and the next? It’s hard for an artist to keep making time for this kind of administrative work.

[…] Beyond keeping up a consistent volume of applications, her keen, critical sense for evaluating my situation and assessing what my career needs to move to the next step is simply invaluable. In that regard, I have to mention that she also possesses a formidable database of artist opportunities—exhibitions, grants, residencies, etc.!

Accordingly, should you have the opportunity to do business with Gigi Retzo, I urge you strongly to give her your closest consideration.”

– Edwin Janzen | Edwin-Janzen.weebly.com | 2016-03-16