Auctioneer Spotlight: Travis Rizzo and Liezel van Heerden

 In Anatole Krasnyansky, Andrew Bone, Cruise Art Auctions at Sea, Dominic Pangborn, Linda Le Kinff, Peter Max, Rembrandt van Rijn, Scott Jacobs

Many of our Park West collectors develop friendships with the art teams over the course of their land or sea vacations. Here’s a chance to get to know them more as they share their favorite adventures in the art world.

Travis Rizzo, principal auctioneer, is from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. Before becoming an auctioneer, he completed studies in philosophy and psychology at Laurentian University. Liezel van Heerden is from Barberton, South Africa where she enjoyed a career as a realtor. Now, as international art dealers, they have both found the day-to-day excitement they were seeking, as well as each other.

Travis and Liezel Photo credit: Tavis Rizzo

Travis and Liezel celebrating their back-to-back birthdays together for the first time. Photo credit: Tavis Rizzo

Previous ships as Auctioneer: Carnival Cruise Lines Imagination, Celebrity Constellation, Holland America (HAL) Noordam, HAL Nieu Amsterdam, Princess Cruises Ruby Princess, Royal Caribbean (RCI) Quantum of the Seas
Current ship: RCI Oasis of the Seas

What do you like most about being an auctioneer?
Travis: I love seeing how happy people are when we help them. Art can be emotional for some people and I have heard so many stories over the years about the lives of clients and who they are all through art. Some of the friendships we have had over the years with the people we have met onboard have been amazing and long lasting. I would not label my career as a job, but rather an experience I will never forget.

Who is your favorite Park West artist and why?
Travis: I would say Linda Le Kinff is my favorite artist in the Park West family. The way that she uses line and the bold colors she creates is special to me. I happen to love Amedeo Modigliani and Le Kinff’s work has aspects of Modigliani in it that I cannot resist. Also, I have collected several artworks by Scott Jacobs, Andrew Bone, Anatole Krasnyansky and Peter Max.

Liezel: My two favorites are Peter Max and Rembrandt. I absolutely love the manner in which Max depicts the Statue of Liberty. While in South Africa, I often heard the saying, “Land of the free, home of the brave,” but at the time the words never really meant anything to me. It was only when I came to the States and experienced the opportunities and freedom of America that his works really started to resonate with me. Then, of course, there’s Rembrandt! I am mesmerized by the technical ability that Rembrandt shows in his etchings. Not only was he a master, but he also managed to capture the emotional aspects of all his subjects.

What is your favorite guest memory?
Liezel: We built a great relationship with a couple, and on the last night found out that it was his birthday. Needless to say, there wasn’t any time to get him something meaningful and special. We thought long and hard, and finally Travis suggested that I give him my Dominic Pangborn pen. When the guest opened his gift he found it rather ironic as he collected pens and had a special cabinet built in his office for his collection. A couple of days later, we received a photograph from him placing the Pangborn pen in his collection.

What has been your favorite port?
Liezel: By far, St. Petersburg, Russia. Travis and I celebrate our birthdays on the 18th and 19th of August. Travis surprised me with tickets to see the Russian ballet. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, he arranged for us to be escorted to a world-famous roof top restaurant in St. Petersburg. It was absolutely perfect, almost like a fairy tale, with the sun setting and beautiful ancient cathedrals in the background.

What is like to work on one of the largest cruise ships in the world?
Liezel: In 2010, I remember leaving my small town as an only child who had never traveled out of the country by herself. I have to admit that I was rather scared, yet super excited. At first the experience was tough, but I persevered and slowly started making my way to bigger ships. When I met Travis, our ship often docked with the Oasis and we dreamed about being auctioneers on one of the largest cruise ships in the world. With his guidance and training, we became an incredible team and our dreams turned into reality.

Travis: Liezel and I come from small towns on different sides of the planet. We both found each other through Park West Gallery and have grown with each other. We are at a surreal place right now in our careers. All the hard work that we put into growing and developing has started to pay off. This experience just keeps getting better and I don’t know how we are going to be able to top this at any point in our lives.

Auctioneer Spotlight

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Showing 35 comments
  • Steve & Cathi Whitmarsh
    Reply

    We had the pleasure of getting to know Travis & Liezel on the Oasis in September of 2014 on the repositioning from Ft Lauderdale to Rotterdam. What a delightful couple! Very knowledgeable and hard working and they made the crossing even more enjoyable! BEST WISHES to Travis & Liezel

  • Gerhard Frisch
    Reply

    He guys,I hope you remember us Eleanor and Gerhard Frisch.Travis we played Golf together in Warnemuende,Germany. We enjoyed your Friendship and also the info you both gave us on our pucheses.I still collect Peter Max and Eleanor is in different Painters. We wish you the best and hopefully meet again on one of our cruises.

  • Renee Ayala
    Reply

    Met this lovely couple. They were a joy to work with and even went out of their way to get the painting I wanted which I bought. Peter Max’s Monk in the Reeds.

  • Joe and Brenda Gambella
    Reply

    We had the pleasure of meeting Travis and Liezel on Quantum of the Seas in December 2014. Bought quite a bit of art. They both were wonderful and so knowledgeable of all the art work. They make a good pair and hope someday that we meet up with them again on one of our cruises.

  • John Groth
    Reply

    enjoy each day…my wife and I are celebrating becoming a 5 star mariner with holland america…an elite member with Princess as well…we have spent 45 years together…enjoy every day

  • John Groth
    Reply

    we have collected art from all over the world on so many ships and nothing but smiles come to our face each piece of art we own is a wonder to ourselves

  • Sandra Gardner
    Reply

    I met this extraordinary
    duo on the Oasis of the Seas this past July. They are a lovely couple and so very knowledgeable about a wide variety of artists. Their personal attention to my entire party’s needs, wants, desires was unmatched. I adore the purchases I made thanks to them.

  • John Gregory
    Reply

    I met triavis and liezel while on Oasis of the seas, jan 2015. They are both great people, knowleadgable in their craft. Able to talk to people and answers any questions one might have. It was a pleasure meeting them, and forming freindships with them. it was a highlight of the cruise. I also collected some art i never thought I would for I never knew the artist. The artist was Linda Le kinff I thank liezel and travis for showing me her work

  • John Gregory
    Reply

    I met Liezel and travis while on the Oasis of the seas, in jan 2015. They are good people, quite knowledgeable in there craft, and passionate about their work. Always willing to help people decide on what they should have instead of what they think they should have. I ended up picking up some art from Linda Le Kinff, an artist i did not know about, but glad I do now. I thank Liezel and Travis for showing me her work. I hope Park West knows what good people they have working for them. It was an honour to meet them and become friends. It was a huge highlight of my trip

  • Angelica&André
    Reply

    These guys are just amazing. So polite and they really care about all atending people. They make you feel so special. :]

  • Ilene and Ivan Ensler
    Reply

    The best part of our cruise on the Ruby Princess in December, 2013 was attending the art auctions on board and meeting Liezel and Travis! We don’t know whether we were more excited about getting to know this darling couple who were both so knowledgeable, patient, and helpful, or the many pieces of art we bought that week. Each time we look at the Le Kinff, Charles Lee, and other gorgeous pieces they helped us choose, we are reminded of their expertise and professionalism, and we wish them future success personally and professionally as they go forward in their careers and relationship!

  • Jordyn and Travis Simoes
    Reply

    We got to know Liezel and Travis on our Oasis cruise to the Caribbean in February 2015. These two certainly helped to make our vacation a memorable one for us. We truly enjoyed getting to know them and appreciated their insight into the art shown on the cruise. Their guidance helped us start a great collection and we cannot wait to have the pieces displayed in our home. Best of luck to you both!! Park West should most definitely take care of these two!

  • Tamara Verde
    Reply

    It was truly eye-opening working with Travis and Liezel. I have always loved whatever was pleasing to my eyes and ears. The more artistic and complex the more I liked it. But I never truly or understood art until my husband and my encounter with them on the Oasis of the Seas in July of 2014. The knowledge the two have combined made me grow to love art even more and won my husband over to the world of the Art Collector. I hope to see them again on another cruise and possibly increase my collection to include several different artists.

  • Tamara Verde
    Reply

    It was truly eye-opening working with Travis and Liezel. I have always loved whatever was pleasing to my eyes and ears. The more artistic and complex the more I liked it. But I never truly or understood art until my husband and my encounter with them on the Oasis of the Seas in July of 2014. The knowledge the two have combined made me grow to love art even more and won my husband over to the world of the Art Collector. I hope to see them again on another cruise and possibly increase my collection to include several different artists. The two of you make a great team.

  • Paul and Mary Colli
    Reply

    How nice to see Travis and Liezel in the Spotlight! Meeting you and your team was one of the highlights from our Quantum trip in December, 2014. As we enjoy the lovely pieces of art you helped us acquire, we wish you all the best and hope that our paths cross on a future cruise.

  • Katie Colli
    Reply

    Travis and Liezel are awesome! I am so happy that they are in the spotlight. Working with them made everything so fun and easy. I love everything that they have helped me acquire and will acquire in the future. We have kept a great friendship since my vacation in December, 2014 on the Quantum of the Seas. I wish them all the best and hope our paths cross again.

  • Terry Gripp
    Reply

    My wife and I have been on several cruises and VIP events. Travis and Liezel stand out in our minds two of the best in Park West. They have great knowledge of the art work, they were always fun to be around. Honestly, we would plan a cruise around what ship they are working on.

  • Charlotte
    Reply

    I went through PW training with Liezel and worked with Travis. I loved reading every word of their spotlight. Congrats on your success guys!

  • greg utas
    Reply

    I have had the pleasure of meeting Rizzo on many numerous occasions and met Liezel on my last cruise which was to St. Petersburg. The Riz has made me feel welcome as always and if you ever need an art consultant, he would be my recommendation. Congratulations on your continued success, and an extra eh! in case you have forgotten the word Eh!

  • Debbie Fisher
    Reply

    My husband and I (and our friends) met Liezel and Travis on our Oasis cruise at the end of January. We immediately fell in love with them! They’re terrific! Very warm, friendly and knowledgeable! We’ve purchased artwork from Park West before – but it was never this much fun! We’re hoping to see them again – either on or off the cruise!

  • Phyllis & Ralph Mollerick
    Reply

    It was on the Oasis of the Seas, when we met Liezel and Travis during the first week of March, 2015. It was a learning experience of fine art when we poured over the masters, such as, Peter Max, Tarkay, Krasnyansky, and several more, that on the final day of our cruise we pulled the ‘trigger’ and bought the art. What joy; what excitement; and with their help, we now are looking forward to the treasure of art delivery.

  • Debbie Spearing
    Reply

    We had the distinct pleasure of meeting Travis and Liezel on Oasis of the Seas in Feb 2015. They are an amazing team and we had definitely had the best art experience at sea with them. We have been collecting art for 8 years and always on a cruise, so we have met a lot of different art directors. Travis. Liezel and their whole team were so professional, knowledgeable and lots of fun, and they made a dream of mine come true when I personally got to meet one of my favourite artists, Marcus Glenn. Thank you for a truly memorable trip. You guys rock.

  • Debbie Spearing
    Reply

    We had the pleasure of meeting Travis and Liezel on Oasis of the Seas in Feb 2015. They are a dynamic duo who are extremely professional, knowledgeable and fun to hang out with. They made a dream of mine come true when they organized for me to personally meet with my favourite artist, Marcus Glenn. Thank you so much, to both of you and your team. We had an amazing trip. You guys rock. Baie dankie. Ons sal julle nooit vergeet nie.

  • Steven and Joanne Sordillo
    Reply

    We met Travis and Liezel during our cruise on the Oasis of the Seas the week of Feb 28th, 2015. While attending the art auctions it quickly became evident that they are very knowledgeable and passionate about what they do. The auctions where a lot of fun and a highlight of our cruise . We are novices when it comes to art but we were treated as well as the more informed and experienced art collectors. We always had our questions answered and our requests fulfilled in a timely manner minus any high pressure sales techniques . We hope to take future cruises and plan to seek them out before booking. We are grateful for the time they spent with us and the knowledge they imparted upon us.
    Last, but not least, we were impressed by their follow up. The last night of our cruise we finalized our purchase and we asked for the biographies of two
    artists. We found them on the door of our stateroom before we left.
    We are looking forward to receiving our new artwork. Best of luck and future success to them both.

  • Mark and Susan Cole
    Reply

    Went to the auction on Ruby Princess March 2014 just for fun. Bought several pieces. Travis and Liezel were awesome to work with. Liezel you’re a sweetheart. Best experience we’ve ever had buying art.

  • Christi & Stan from Oklahoma
    Reply

    We met Liezel and Trav on the Oasis of the seas in February, 2015. We have collected with Park West before….and always wanted a Peter Max, but could never pull the trigger….now we own 3! Plus a BUNCH of other beautiful pieces thanks to Travis and Liezel! They made us feel like we were the most important people on the ship….even tho we knew they had tons of other people to take care of, they spent quality time helping us make our choices. We appreciated their knowledge and time…and can’t wait to share another Angry Orchard!
    Christi & Stan from Oklahoma

  • Billiemae Price
    Reply

    My husband and I met Liezel and Travis I believe their first time on a Princess ship. It was the Ruby. We were on there for a cruise when the Park West team came on to remove all of the artwork and inventory and get ready to be the auctioneers the next cruise. We enjoyed our conversations with them. They were in the room when we bought many of our artwork pieces but one I am sure they may remember is the Chris DeRubeis. Hopefully they remember us and wish them happiness in work and personal life.

  • Jeff Pierce
    Reply

    Great meeting both of you. This cruise was our 3rd trip with RCI in a year and a half and our first on The Oasis. Loved every minute of it. Thank you so much for all your help with our art collections. Especially finding an original Metlan for our collection. We look forward to seeing both of you again in the future.

  • Bob Bandanza
    Reply

    My wife and I just cruised for our 30th wedding anniversary on the Oasis on Oct31st. We completed a VIP cruise this past February on The Quantum. We invested a great deal on that cruise and had no plans to purchase Art on this one. Well we met both Travis and Liezel and once again found us participating in the auctions. We purchased add’l Tarkay’s water colors and paintings added an add’l 4 Nanos including the last Foxy! And as we thought we were done, Travis did a convincing job persuading us to purchase a very rare and
    Unusual Mouly, what a find. We truly enjoyed our time spent with both Travis and Liezel, Travis extremely knowledgeable on the artists and their works. I commend them both on their “sofistication” and passion for what they do. We truly look forward to meeting them in the future.
    Sincerely,

    Bob and Pat Bandanza

  • Tom & Sharon Whitrock
    Reply

    Park West has to hire the best people to represent and be the face of the company around the world, but they would be hard pressed to top the team of Travis and Liezel. The expertise, personality, enthusiasm, and personal attention they bring to the entire purchasing process for each customer makes the entire process fun and rewarding. Travis told us he was our personal Park West representative going forward, until we find someone we like better. We look forward to holding him to that.

  • Kathleen and Jeremiah Cich
    Reply

    We recently traveled on the Oasis of the Seas and were so fortunate to have met Travis, Liezel, and the entire Park West team. Travis and Liezel went to extraordinary lengths to ensure we were thrilled with the art we invested in. They spent a great deal of time working with us which couldn’t have been more appreciated. We are thrilled to have met them and look forward to our paths crossing again in the future!

  • Sue and Marty Junkulis
    Reply

    We met Travis, Liezel and their entire art team on our RC Oasis of The Seas cruise in January 2017, and immediately fell in love with their art presentations. My husband and I have been on many cruises and purchased art, but Travis and Liezel’s auctions out shined all of them. We now have a new artist, Donna Sharam that we have started collecting and in addition we are considering a piece from the Marcus Glenn Collection. Travis and Liezel always went out of their way to make sure we were going to be happy with our choices and we have now added an original piece from Peter Max, who we love. Thank you Travis and Liezel for making each art auction enjoyable.

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