Monika Blichar and I met in 2009. She young, I with grown kids – and yet there was an instant connection. Both of us were starting on new career paths, spurred on by the loss of our mums. I called her to see if she would allow me come to one of her early art events at the Vancouver Aquarium and sell print copies of my magazine’s first print collectible edition. 50% of the proceeds would be donated to that night’s charity. The answer was yes. It was a great evening and I managed to snag a few words with her during the pauses.
Our personal and business connections continued to grow over the next few years. Blichar is someone I always look forward to having a cup of coffee with. She brings tons of energy, a positive focus and is always ready with new ideas, inspiration, support and sound advice. She has proven herself to be not just a talented artist, but a wonderful supporter of the local art community, a great mentor to budding entrepreneurs and a savvy business woman with several growing businesses under her belt. The last few months have seen her hold the fifth annual Art World Expo in Science World, take a group of painters to France and celebrate the fourth anniversary of her Diamond Dolls networking group. In October she will launch the first Toronto edition of Art World Expo.
What will 2016 hold for Monika Blichar? A few of the answers are below, but you can be sure there will be surprises as well.
8Q Spotlight Monika Blichar
What is your current career(s) – paid and unpaid?
Owner – MAB Ventures Inc. Arts & Entertainment Agency, MAB Art Studio & Boutique Gallery, Art World Expo, Diamond Dolls Network and Social Savvy Gals.
Can you share an interesting thing (or two) about your journey to reach this moment?
My passion for creativity started when I was really young. I was always involved in art, music and karate. As the years went on, I found myself wanting more and more to grow as an independent creative. I found it difficult to be in rigid situations or environments that did not allow for new ideas or innovation. I also found it frustrating to live the promoted ‘mainstream’ life which left me with a job that I did not truly love doing, in addition to also having to work almost full time freelancing in order to pay off my student loan and new mortgage. After a series of losses in my family, I took the leap and quit my full time job in 2009 to pursue my arts business. I thank my lucky stars every day that I had the faith in myself to just go for it, and today, I am reaping the rewards of venturing out of the day to day grind and enjoying my life and business as a result.
What 3 things would you like people to know about you to give them a sense of who you really are?
Highest moment so far?
Expanding nationally and internationally as a business owner has been my high so far! This summer I took a group of 10 people to South West France where we painted, got cultured and toured the area. I created “Painting Dreams International Art Tours” as a way to explore other areas and arts of the world from a conversation in our studio while teaching a painting class. The vision came to life not even a year later. I’ve also expanded Art World Expo and am venturing out to Toronto’s Hard Rock Cafe to host the first Art World event there on October 2, 2015. Being able to work and travel at the same time has been amazing but even more incredible has been the ability to provide for my family this way as well. We also bought our first house in North Vancouver this year and we are thrilled!
What are you working on right now? In the next 6 months?
I have a number of brands that I am working on; each are related but unique. We are recruiting artists, sponsors and advertising partners for Art World Expo Toronto and Vancouver as well as our 2016 Painting Dreams International Art Tours to France and Poland next year. We are also working on building teams for Social Savvy Gals and Diamond Dolls Network locally and nationally as well as expanding our programs at MAB Art Studio & Boutique Gallery.
Who and/or what inspires you?
When I was in Poland this summer, I had the opportunity to visit my family; grandparents, cousins, nieces and nephews. I also had the opportunity to tour Poland from a tourist’s perspective as we are planning to expand our tour there in conjunction with the celebration of Wroclaw – European Capital of Culture 2016 (www.wroclaw.pl). I have visited Poland and the city where my family is from many times, but this year, I was even more inspired by my own ability to fully realize the true potential that we all have in following our dreams. My family came from one of the most destroyed city’s after World War II and the Nazi invasion. We immigrated to Canada after being in a refugee camp in the 1980’s and suffered a great deal due to our language barrier, financial problems, as well as break down of the family structure. This year, as I was touring and back to our native homeland, I felt a sense of inspiration even though our family history is buried in the historical rubble of Poland. I found myself inspired by the vision of what can be and what we collectively can do together to create success for ourselves but also those around us.
How do you personally define success?
Success is doing what you want to do, when you want to do it, no limits. Without team work, collaboration and cooperation this is not possible. True success and freedom come from working WITH others to achieve the common goal of following our dreams.
If you could collaborate with anyone on a project who would it be and why?
Guy Laliberte – Cirque du Soliel. I love his story, what he has done for the arts and his business sense.
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