Interview with Marine Tanguy
Where did you grow up?
I grew up on a small island called Ile de Re on the west coast of France. My whole family has been there for hundreds of years and is still there. I grew up on a bicycle, in the back of my mother's classroom (she is a primary teacher) and eating fresh pastries.
Why and when did you move to London?
I moved to London when I was 19 years old. I had dropped out of my first degree (Hypokhagne and Khagne - a French version of classics with philosophy) and I was looking for more flexibility, both in education and work. I was also drawn to the amazing cultural scene of London, a lot more contemporary than the traditional Paris.
Does your city and surroundings influence you as a creative and individual?
Massively - London has such an incredible energy! I fuel my ideas from the brains, ambitions and creativity of Londoners that I am lucky to encounter or work with.
When you decided to create MTArt?
I created MTArt in June 2015. I co-owned my first art gallery in Los Angeles at age 23 and had managed a London gallery called the Outsiders at age 22 and I felt that the gallery model wasn't enough anymore to support, leverage and work with contemporary artists. The big Hollywood agencies of Los Angeles for actors and musicians inspired a new way of thinking for me: what if, I could concentrate my time building the name of my artists over just their works? The phrase Don't Invest in Art, Invest in Artists was born then with the idea of building the first visual artist agency in the world.
What do you struggle with the most in terms of working and living in a city like London?
The lack of public art projects. I feel the story of this city deserves to be narrated with so many more artistic projects- there is a deep lack of these projects for all citizens. This is something we are particularly concentrating on. How can all our artists inspire everyone? From September to November 2017, we had 72 photographs outside of London Bridge Station welcoming commuters with the art of our artist Jennifer Abessira engaging with the history of the area and its cultural integration. This was also the subject of my TEDx talk and our most recent academic paper.
The responsibility of the council in every city is to provide a solid foundation of design, art and cultural facilities, is that evident in London?
It is starting to be. The 1960s and 70s were fantastic in London as there was a real desire to rebuilt and inspire everyone after the horror of the war. I feel that the recent tragic attacks and Brexit have re-inforced the need for an art that speaks to everyone, blends our differences and unites us more strongly. It's getting there..
Do you think it is also the responsibility of the designer/creative to improve the quality of peoples lives in their city?
Yes - absolutely. It should be everyone's responsibility, why not adding value with what you have? It sounds mad not to want to.
Can post-Brexit London survive as Europe's cultural and financial capital?
I really hope so. I works towards it by injecting the most inspiring public art projects and the best artists concepts in this city. I also choose, as a French national, to keep my company there. We will need hands, brains, hope, content and a little creativity. Let's hope and work towards it.
Can you tell us about any current or up-and-coming artists that you are particular excited about?
All of ours MTart Artists. We review 200 portfolios of artists every month and only select the most innovative techniques, socially engaged content and most inspiring visions. I am inspired by every single one of ours and I am proved to be right given their recent successes!
What is the one thing you can’t live without in London?
If you could add or change something about London, what would that be?
More art projects!! I can't say it enough.
Describe the perfect day for you in London.
Everyday! That is, the very fact that everyday is different is why I love London so much.
Sometimes people relate a specific smell to the city they live in or the place they grew up, does London evoke a personal smell to you?
Hmmm.. that's a difficult one. Something sour, strong, intense and inspiring at the same time. Perhaps a very seductive perfume like Bulgari.
What is your favourite time of the day?
6pm - when the day has blown me away and I look forward to the night.
If you weren’t living in London and could choose any city to live in where would that be, and why?
New York! Where I am writing this interview from as we are about to open this show: MTArt: The Voice of a Generation. New York was my crush when I was younger, the same incredible energy and a sense of pushing the limits of everything that you do!
London by Marine tanguy
A selection of places in London - recommended by Art director Marine Tanguy. See all of Marine's favourite places here