In every genre of life it is important to adapt, learn and evolve. The art world and artists have historically had one of the most uncertain and turbulent of journeys. Artists especially are renowned for having a brave chameleon attitude that moulds itself around social unrest, monetary restraints and personal challenge and expression.
With Brexit and international politics becoming oppressive and potentially closing doors that were once wide open for unity and sharing, it is interesting to discover that there is a group of artists in the UK who are working under the guidance of a lady called Marine Tanguy to deliver a united and professional platform for their own voices and art.
Increasingly creative groups are becoming more prevalent as artists realise that there is importance and solidarity in numbers and the benefits of sharing resources and networks. Marine however has taken this structure and formalised it into a limited company. MTArt offers the business structure of an arts agency with the personal and essential support for the artists and not for what they create. This celebration of the artist that enables them to continue their practice with no limits or boundaries to their creative development is admirable and essential.
The passion and unique energy of Marine is apparent when you speak with her about where she has come from and where she wants to go:
Raised on Ile de Re, a small French island, she has always looked up to individuals with the drive to challenge their environments for the greater good. Peggy Guggenheim for example was an inspiration: her forward thinking and reactive nature meant she could use her background to revolutionise the art market, defining and enabling a new generation of artists.
This inspiring role model shaped Marine’s own development as a supportive and passionate believer in art and in being a role model in terms of vision for her company. She firmly believes that a key element in management is the ability to over view the company, to take a vision and to dissect it by capitalising on priorities, targets and opportunities. Her passionate responsibility towards her artists and team is balanced by the benefits from the relationships that they have built. As a network they clearly look after each other. Reassurance and support comes from all sides and the agency now flourishes from its interactions that create different perspectives and enable both Marine and business to be much more flexible and reactive. With an impressive resume of high profile supporters listed on the website there is also a solid base for any development or adaptation needed.
The one element that is prevalent in all the articles and documentation you see and read about MTArt is that Marine and the team see art as a necessity. Necessary for mental wellbeing, a necessary tool for reflection, interaction and empathy, a catalyst for change. By striving to make art accessible, engaging and stimulating for everyone they believe the field is changing: less exclusivity more access. In this way their flexible business model is once again celebrating the core value that as long as the art is not compromised artists can push boundaries, challenge the norm and approach all audiences. Art is for everyone, art world or otherwise and the art market would do well to begin to embrace this mantra instead of tailoring sales purely through the old-school art world routes.
In addition to the necessity of art there is also the sense of community that is integral to the MTArt model. This is complemented by the tailored advice and directed strategy they offer their artists. As Marine says:
“It’s no secret that you must work hard to do well, and it’s difficult to work as hard as we do without being passionate about it. Of course, that isn’t enough in itself. This is why we have a team behind each artist each with a different skill: writing, research, digital, networking. Brought together, the accumulation of these is hard to beat… Our team takes financial, legal and logistical pressure off our artists. Our main goal is to allow them to concentrate on their work and thus further their practice.”
So how are these artists chosen? They are selected by the MTArt Board based on vision, technique and content. This means they must experiment and develop their practice whilst retaining an overarching goal. The artists MTArt manage cover a variety of mediums, approaches and researches. Marine advises any artist to not listen to trends and to ignore commercially driven logic. She is a firm believer that artists must build their own voice in the most meaningful way they can, always founded on intellectual grounding. Experimentation is essential but being true to yourself just as vital. Story and technique are key, if these are solid they surpass trends, not just in the UK, but also globally.
Not all artists have the luxury of such freedom, backing or support and therefore this may be a little idealistic as advice. It is no secret though that all artists would love to develop their practice with no constraints or societal worries restricting their creativity. It is hoped that more agencies or individuals begin to offer artists this style of strategic support as this will hopefully then become the ‘norm’: a return to the ‘Patron’ type of support that used to be so prevalent historically.
The MTArt board as modern day ‘patrons’ covers diverse perspectives and expertise and very importantly they are also international, with backgrounds from Saudi Arabia to France to Philadelphia. The network and experience they provide must be an obvious bonus for any artist wishing to reach or maintain an international presence.
This is especially important in the face of Brexit and the politic challenges the world is facing. Marine admits that it is undeniable that Brexit has brought a direct, negative impact on the economy. She believes that as MTArt is a start-up it makes them more flexible, more able to react quickly to situations and respond accordingly. A key area they are currently reviewing is the fact that Brexit has highlighted the shortcomings of the current assessment of the cultural sector and its relevance in contemporary culture. There is no escaping the fact that artists must accept the essential role in the bridging of differences and the destruction of preconceptions.
A huge step in doing this was MELT art week: Twenty events over sixteen locations in one week in October 2016. The purpose behind MELT was to create a platform for opportunity, much like the idea behind the company itself and was also created as an immediate reaction to the times, as a response to Brexit and the changes it incurred. Many of the projects have now been converted into long-term partnerships and the ultimate goal is to integrate art in every environment and, in doing so, to bridge divides between artists and businesses, private and public, urban and otherwise.
This success is refreshing within an art scene that is tried and tested and therefore a little tired in places within London. This new model for supporting artists is working and this is due to the diligence and bravery of Marine. By taking the bold steps to offer an alternative to the norm you can see why the work of Joseph Turner is her favourite. In her words:
“Though controversial in his day, his experimentation enabled his success and, in retrospect, marked him as innovator. Within the 19th century context, his pioneering use of pigment and depiction of light documented the industrial revolution, both factually and emotively. He took the industrial revolution and made it more accessible through the medium of art.”
So what is next for MTARt? Marine hopes that it is the ‘go to’ agency for the most exciting pool of artistic talent, a hub for the highest quality intellectual and visual content. Her ten years plan is to have built a diverse and happy network of creatives, innovators and thought leaders. She hopes to have an impact on a public level; sharing research and justifying the need for art both culturally and financially.
And how will she do this?
“It’s simple: Be mad - recruit mad people - invest in mad people - create magic..!”
With her mantra offering an interesting insight to the key to her success and business there is no doubt that Marine Tanguy is a force to be reckoned with in the Art World today.