Marine Tanguy: Collecting Art – The Smart Way

For my first article with Haute Living, I wanted to talk about my life obsession and full-time dedication: Collecting the works of the most talented up-and-coming artists of my generation.

How on earth does one grasp such an obsession? Where does it all start? 

It requires a love for brilliant brains and people. They are difficult, at times irrational, and they will challenge you, push your limits psychologically, and most importantly, they are different, original talents. They inspire me and can influence change. Yes, I am a sucker for huge potential and for wanting to push through the limits of humanity. These artists definitely push these limits daily.

Here’s a story: One of the business encounters that made a lasting impact on me (a famous collector himself) once told me: ‘I collect brilliant brains and I line all of them up, in books, with  art, through people.’ His collection has all of them – Rothko, Picasso, Lichtenstein – all there conversing together in these huge rooms, having one of the most brilliant artistic dialogues of all time.

I wanted that. I wanted to surround myself with the most brilliant people of my generation. The works are just a tangible glimpse into how amazing life gets when you are with the brilliant creators and brains.

I collect talents, brains, visions, success and hunger.

Every month, I review between 100 to 150 artist portfolios, from sound art to video art to sculpture, painting, installation art and more to reach this talent.

The truth? It happens very rarely, and this is why it is so wonderful when you encounter this mix of innovative techniques, intellectual content, ambition, vision and hard work. It’s priceless. Buying a work, must, of course, incur a price, but it will become invaluable through the length of the artists’ incredible careers.

That is, if you invest in the right ones.

So how do you dissociate the brilliant artists from the average?

  1. Content: A lot of artists exaggerate the content they put forward. Question them relentlessly. They say they challenge their mediums. Don’t nod; say ‘How so?’ Challenge and question, because if you are in front of a brilliant talent, he/she can answer all of these questions perfectly, without feeling any stress. He/she already had to go through all this questioning when experimenting to create an innovative body of works.
  2. Question Their Career: Don’t look at the price or who they are with. Look at how he/she got there. Sure, some of them are born in a world where it’s easier to make art and to be exhibited in the right places. But just take another listen to the speech of Meryl Streep last week at the Golden Globes and you will see that the lasting stars are the ones who had to struggle for success. Once they manage to open one door they were able to open ten. The others, whose first door was so easily opened, struggle to get the second door open.
  3. Understand Their Personality: Do you have it? Do you feel electricity in the air when the artist discusses their works? Not as a perfect salesperson but more as someone who cares deeply about them? Learn to differentiate between the socialite and the real talent – the socialite can get by people pleasing in a shiny world. Real talent breaks through.
An example of Scarlett Bowman’s art

My example for this month? Scarlett Bowman.

Scarlett is passionate about materials, especially the ones we would never think of as luxurious or worth looking at. She makes you appreciate, consider and respect discarded textiles and objects. How does she do it? She created a unique way to blend composite with these materials to create an abstract, textured expressionist 2D painting. She is smart and her works are now included in many prestigious collections and she experiments everyday in the studio. I have boundless faith in her to continue to create timeless work.

An advocate for artists since a young age, Marine managed her first gallery at age 21, opened her first art gallery in Los Angeles at age 23 and finally created her current business, MTArt, to promote the artists she believed in across the globe. MTArt is the first artist agency promoting influential visual artists and specialising in talent management: building, growing and accelerating their careers.