Interview with Marine Tanguy
An advocate for artists since a young age, I managed my first gallery at age 21, opened my first art gallery in Los Angeles at age 23 and finally created my current business in 2015, MTArt Agency, breaking from the gallery model to promote better the artists I believed in across the globe. MTArt is the first artist agency promoting influential visual artists and specialising in talent management: building, growing and accelerating careers. I was recently awarded Forbes 2018 30 under 30 Europe: Art & Culture. I am a writer and frequent speaker on contemporary art. My talks include two TEDx Talks on how to transform cities with art and how social media visuals affects our minds.
MTArt is an artist agency, not an art agency. What difference does this make to the artists you represent and the work they produce?
I believe that we have concentrated most of our time and resources on art versus artists over the past hundred years. While most galleries and art platforms sell art to hung on walls, MTArt Agency believes that the visions of our artists can do a lot better than matching your sofa at home! Once we sign an artist, we support him/ her financially and partner up this artist with many great companies, institutions and public bodies. Examples of past collaborations with our artists include Network Rail, the Mayor of London Fund, King’s College London University, Aston Martin etc We believe that the vision and name of the artist is the core value of their reputation and building this name visibility across all platforms is key. As real estate is becoming more and more expensive in cities, your lounge walls are becoming smaller but your needs for art in urban spaces, train stations, retail stores and digital platforms is even more accentuated. It’s bringing back artists to the centre of society rather than a mere decorative luxury.
Even art lovers sometimes take public art for granted. How can we change this mentality?
By measuring and understanding better the positive impact and demand for public art initiatives. My last academic, alongside data analyste Vishal Kumar, proved the value of public art initiatives not just in our core feelings and social experience but deriving instead some data on how much value people had attached to these projects and thus translating social cohesion via artists in economical metrics (Using a hybrid contongent valuation (CV) and wellbeing valuation (WV) survey approach (Bakhshi et al, 2015)). We also insist on being transparent in the methodology of implementation of these projects - for instance, we are currently working on the arts strategy method of Euston Business Regeneration District taking all actors of the community in account (council, business regeneration district, urban planners, artists, locals etc).
As the curator of a roster of artists, MTArt has significant influence over which work gets seen, and therefore which ideas the public is exposed to. How do you ensure your roster represents a range of world views, as well as your own?
We were the first company in our space to refuse picking artists based on taste and subjective factors but instead pushing forward a series of selection metrics. Every month, the agency reviews 200 portfolios of artist. Artists are chosen on innovative techniques, inspiring content and strong vision. My investors, artists and our team gather together to take the final decision and our artists are put through a test of minimum 6 months to see if they can truly benefit from the support system of MTArt. It’s important to be fair in this decision process and not just say: I didn’t like the look of your works.
Visual art clients range from local governments to corporations. In your experience, are these different types of organisation aiming to communicate similar ideas through the art they commission?
Yes. Ultimately, everyone wants to do the best and convey the most inspiring meaning with the art. It’s very rare otherwise. Art as a language shows that although we wear different outfits to work, we can all relate to some of the major art causes. The process is similar for all and the role at the agency is to select the ideal ‘match’ between the story of the commissioners and the artist so that the dialogues becomes authentic and powerful.
What would be the absolute ideal situation with regards to public art? Should there be an installation on every street corner?
Yes!! Art should be everywhere. That doesn’t mean tones of flashy colors everywhere but why not thinking of our daily environment as an inspiring landscape? Surely that’s a lot better than having a few ‘visually inspiring times’ on Sunday afternoon and a non inspiring routine otherwise.
Do you have plans to explore distributing visual art in the digital space, as well as the physical world?
Yes, my next TEDx talk: https://www.tedxlausanne.com/events/tedxlausanne-2018/#speakers engages the need for the industry professionals and artists to partner up more strongly with digital platforms. We have already integrated live streaming, augmented reality and virtual reality to our agency. We find progress exciting and cannot wait to add valuable visual content to all these progressive technological tools.