Parents in business: Marine Tanguy of MTArt Agency

2019 Natwest everywoman Awards. JW Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel, Mayfair, London. 3rd December 2019 Photograph by Steve Dunlop

Name & Age

Marine Tanguy, 30 years old, founder of MTArt Agency.

Tell us about your family

I met Will McQuillan when I was broke, insecure and a little bit of a mess 5 years ago. I had a difficult time with my first business partner and I was deeply hurt by the ordeal. Will told me he wanted to be my best friend, and he really is. I am a better person because of this relationship, and I am so grateful to Will for this. My dad was violent to me as a young girl and the very fact that I can give an amazing dad to our son Atlas fills me with joy. Ultimately, my family has enabled me to give people a lot more as I feel so much happier and grounded in my life.

What did you do before coming up with your business and how was it making the transition?

I was a young gallery manager in London and an investor based in Los Angeles asked me to open an art gallery there with him. This is where I was lucky enough to meet Michael Ovitz – his vision and brain really inspired me. He had built CAA, the most powerful talent agency in the world and here, I saw a more interesting way to develop the careers of visual artists. This is why MTArt Agency is currently the leader in the talent agency world for visual artists. 

When did you launch and how did you get started?

I launched MTArt Agency in 2015. I couldn’t even afford to rent a bedroom, let alone an apartment. I used to go around to artist studios on my bicycle and ask them to trust me and that we could build their careers in a really exciting way – they did. 

What has been your favourite thing about running your own business?

I learn so much every day. I learn to appreciate people more; their diversity and I am becoming a better person for it. I really like the person MTArt Agency has made me and I am lucky to be working with so many incredible people.

How do you fit in work with your family life?

I am lucky to have a great team at work and a great support friends wise. If you have amazing people on board, everything is doable.

Have you had a “I’ve made it” moment?

Nope. And I frankly couldn’t care less about that. We are building a collective vision for our artists and the sector, this isn’t about ‘I’. However, one of the most special moments of 2019 was winning the at the 2019 NatWest everywoman Awards. I cried. I love my artists to the moon and back and I wanted to show that me having a baby didn’t mean that my artists would not be at the forefront of my life anymore. The very fact after just 3 months of me giving birth, I won this award – meant the world. It meant that it was possible to be a great CEO while being a loving and present mother. 

What has been your biggest challenge so far? How did you overcome it?

When I started in the sector, I received a lot of cyber bullying and quite horrific attacks. It was really tough and I didn’t know how to handle it. I guess people saw us as a threat and they were clearly right – market shares wise : ). 

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I want MTArt Agency to have offices everywhere in the world and to be known to represent the most exciting artists of our time.

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