Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Ron Rivlin, who launched Toronto’s Revolver Gallery to bring the world of Andy Warhol to Canada. On July 1, Revolver will showcase the country’s largest ever exhibition of Andy Warhol works and paintings, including portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Mao, and Mickey Mouse, as well as the artist’s iconic Campbell’s Soup Cans…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
A serial entrepreneur. I’m a master juggler, as I am the founder and CEO of six companies. Right now, my job consists of curating and giving Toronto the best Andy Warhol exhibit to ever come to Canada – Andy Warhol Revisited.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
Revolver Gallery opened its doors in 2012, and in retrospect it came about naturally. I grew up in Toronto, and then in the 90s I moved to the U.S. As a promoter, I developed a reputation for myself in the music business. There is a lot of crossover in the music, entertainment and art industries. Once I started collecting Warhol, I couldn’t stop. I thought to myself, “No other gallery out there is promoting Warhol. I can break new ground here and share his art with a broader audience. What do should I do with this?”
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
Honestly, I am doing what I love. This is my calling. With that being said, I don’t see my efforts with Revolver Gallery as a challenge. The best part of my day to day is that connection I have with other art and Warhol enthusiasts. You wouldn’t believe some of the stories I have heard about Andy and his work. Additionally, placing a work into a client’s collection is another upside for me, as I understand the passion. When I see that excitement in a collector’s eyes when we place a work, it really doesn’t get any better than that. Client satisfaction is very important to me.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
I would say that my work/life balance is pretty good. I work four days and take three-day weekends so that I can spend time with my kids and family, and to catch up on my music and movies.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Continuing to build my Warhol collection, and continuing to educate people on Warhol’s importance as an artist.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
When I started my talent agency in Toronto in 1998, I decided to move on impulse to Los Angeles. I didn’t know anyone and had to get settled as quickly as possible while maintaining business stability. I overcame this by hiring my friends Dylan and Louise in Toronto to handle all the inbound inquiries while I got everything organized in L.A. It took some time, but once I got settled business grew very quickly.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Success to me is being fortunate enough to pursue your passions for a living. I can’t think of any other currency more valuable than that.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Becoming the agent to some of my childhood music heroes.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
I am a fighter through and through. When I came to the U.S. from Canada, I had a backpack and not much else. I came a long with by being creative and pushing forward through adversity. My advice to the young minds today would be to listen to your inner voice, and let it be your compass. Throw everything you have at what you want and you’ll never be misguided.
Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
Sugarfish in Los Angeles. Best sushi in the city!
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
With my wife and kids, who I adore so much.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
New York. Well, just never a dull moment there. I think I was meant to live there.
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
Going Down The Road Feeling Bad by Grateful Dead – it’s the song that gets me going.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I have come to such a good place with Revolver Gallery and I know I am on the right path doing what I am doing. I’m so convinced that it’s almost impossible to answer this question as I honestly cannot wrap my head around doing anything else.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
We are committed to betterment and outreach in the bigger picture. Our exhibition in Toronto will give our visitors a choice of charities to donate to.
What to you is notable?
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone, hands down.