Toronto Local: Rina Kazavchinski talks art, inspiration, and ecommerce

Rina Kazavchinski is a Fine Artist and Digital Illustrator in Toronto. She specializes in bold and bright abstract pieces with a lot of heavy texture. She also creates body positive digital illustrations, captures many Toronto landmarks and local queer spots in the city as well as custom couple and pet digital portraits.

Original abstract art is her favourite style of art and she uses it to express herself and to connect with people through colours and emotions. She creates original work in acrylics, digital portraits, custom commissions, and more. She has been painting and drawing since she was a child and was keen to turn that passion into a business as a professional artist. She creates art with vibrant colours. You can find Rina's original art on her website, Etsy, and social media but also exclusively featured on The Kuration Gallery, a Canadian digital art gallery and business that supports shopping local. Her work was also recently included in the Flamingo Market's Valentine's Day Gift Guide 2020.

Rina has worked for nearly a decade in the corporate world, mostly in digital marketing, but a couple years ago decided to put her creative pursuits and art back into her life. She started creating again and took the leap into entrepreneurship: building her website, her social channels, and her client base all from scratch. Rina shares her advice for all aspiring local artists and entrepreneurs in Toronto.

Hey Rina! We're excited to learn about your business. Start us off: how did you get into art? When did you first begin?

Ive been painting all my life. I sold my first painting when I was 12, and then continued to paint and draw for years after that. I grew up in a family of artists and was surrounded by it all my life. However, I stopped creating art for about 15 years after going to University and pursuing a less artistic career. In the past 2 years, I’ve taken it up more seriously again and have seen a lot of success and happiness!

"The Future of Optimism" and "The Future is Bright" by Rina Kaz

What is it like being an artist in Toronto?

It’s pretty fun being an artist in Toronto! There a lot of opportunities living in Toronto. It’s a great city for art. Back before the pandemic, I was lucky enough to display my work at several in-person local art shows and markets. Those markets really helped me network with fellow artists and prospective buyers. Before the pandemic it was really important to live in the city to be close to all the action, however since the pandemic, so much has moved online. It’s easier to live somewhere else and continue to be involved with these art markets, virtually or digitally. That said, I really miss the human interaction of the in-person shows. I really look forward to being able to get right back to it when the pandemic is over.

Rina Kazavchinski starting a new acrylic painting

Why did you choose to build your website on Shopify?

I decided to build my site and sell my art on Shopify because I’ve worked with Shopify before. During my day job, I run digital marketing campaigns for clients. Shopify has been seamless, easy to use, and I love all the functionality of it. I built the website myself from top to bottom in a span of 1-3 months. I really recommend it.

What’s a mistake you made early on in your career, and what did you learn from it?

Not following my heart. I always knew that art was my passion but I was afraid to go after my dreams and was scared of being a "starving artist." Due to this fear, I ended up pursuing an entirely different career. Now, I'm finally being more true to myself and my heart and have seen a lot of success by following my passions finally!

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?

I was told to make your work accessible to people of all income levels. Create different types of product lines so people can support you regardless of how much money they can spend.

"Purple Poppy Fields" an original acrylic floral painting by Rina Kazavchinski

What is your biggest inspiration?

I find my inspiration through every day life - mostly through my own emotions and what I am going through at the time. I use art to express myself. I am inspired by all the ups and downs that life can bring. I am also very passionate about meditation and I find myself getting most inspired after a meditation session. Meditation makes me feel more calm and at ease and able to think more clearly.

"Childhood Dreams," "California Drive," "Remote Peak" (blue, sold) by Rina Kazavchinski

What advice would you give to someone launching their own business?

Just do it! It doesn't have to be perfect. Start with one thing that you can accomplish for your business and go from there. You can spend months, or even years, perfecting your website or logo but you have to just jump in and adapt to the changes as you learn or else you will never start!

What are some of your favourite spots in Toronto?

Before the pandemic, I used to love going to Hair of the Dog. In my opinion, they make the best caesar in the city. I really appreciate having activities like the outdoor skating rinks available in Toronto, too.

Toronto Church & Wellesley's Popular LGBTQ+ Restaurants & Bars Art Print Giclée by Rina Kazavchinski

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Thank you to Rina Kazavchinski for this peek into what it's like to be a local artist in Toronto. Putting your beautiful work out there and using social media and e-commerce to sell your original art is important for any business owner. Rina shared the importance of following your passion and selling art in a way that is accessible to all. You can find her work displayed at the Turnpike Art Collective and Flamingo Market. Follow Rina Kaz Art on Instagram to see the newest pieces she creates and stay up-to-date with her latest deals and offers - there's a great first date commission available for Valentine's Day!

Samantha Lloyd

Samantha Lloyd is the co-founder and CEO of Metaranx.