1. So who is is Annelien Bruins, and where did she come from?
I grew up in the Netherlands and moved to London when I was 21. I lived in London until I moved to the US last year.
2. What is Tang Investments?
Tang Investments is a full-service art advisory firm operating out of New York, Miami, Hong Kong and London. We provide our private and corporate clients with transactional advice (i.e. buying and selling of art) and advice on the management of their collections of art and antiques. We have a very practical approach to art advisory: we believe that art is an asset due to the legal and tax implications that the ownership of art brings with it. We believe that collections of art and antiques should be managed professionally in order to maintain and enhance their condition and value, like for example real estate.
3. How did you get involved in managing private collections, and what made you want to join Tang?
Soon after I moved to London in the early 2000’s I started working with two private collectors. I managed their collections of art and antiques for a long time which was not only an invaluable experience, it also made me realise I love the art advisory field. I joined Tang Investments because it is a young, international firm with incredible potential. We share the same philosophy about the fact that art is an asset that should be looked after and maintained professionally, much like real estate.
4. Your company offers a variety of services to emerging artists, what are they, and why are they important?
I see a lot of art on a daily basis and although there are many talented artists out there it is becoming more difficult for them to obtain gallery representation: the art world is very competitive. I realised that where traditionally an artist relies on the gallery brand to promote his or her work, these days an artist needs to work hard even to get gallery representation. At the same time, a number of artists are successfully promoting themselves and sell to a loyal collector base outside of the gallery system. Some of these artists require hands-on advice on branding and marketing, particularly online. Tang Investments set up an artist agency, Katapult, to provide artists with opportunities for sales and to provide practical advice on branding and marketing, with the goal of having a better chance at obtaining gallery representation. Additionally, an artist’s body of work needs to be managed professionally in order to maintain its value over the long term, in the same way that a private or corporate collection needs to be managed. We provide such advice, including advice on pricing.
5. If you could define the ideal relationship between an artist and Tang Investments, what would it look like?
There are a number of ways in which we can work together with artists. Some artists are very good with branding and marketing themselves (or they have one or more galleries who does this for them) and with them we would work on sales and collection management only. Other artists can benefit from branding and marketing advice in order to help them achieve (more) sales and obtain gallery representation. For us, the key to a relationship with an artist is mutual trust; allowing the artist to focus on his or her art and allowing us to take care of the business aspects.
6. Where did your passion from the arts come from?
I studied art in highschool and college so I found myself very lucky when I had the opportunity to work with private collectors on the management of their collections of art and antiques, giving me an opportunity to learn about the art advisory field at the top end of the market.
7. It’s 2020, where are you? Tang Investments? Your artists?
Our goal is that by 2020 Tang Investments will have grown to a 50 people art advisory firm in the US. By that time we will be firmly established in not only the US but also in our European, Asian and Latin American markets. Katapult artists will continue to be successful in selling their work to private and corporate clients and they will be included in museum collections all over the world.
8. Today, generally speaking, the model is artist meets gallery, gallery promotes artist, artist gets in museum and goes to auction, makes big bucks… should this change? If so, how?
There is no longer a set route to success which makes it difficult for artists to make career decisions. The art market has become very competitive because there are more artists competing for gallery representation and sales than ever before. Additionally, the art world is now so international that artists have to be much more proactive in the promotion of their work. Tang Investments set up an artist agency, Katapult, in order to provide artists with opportunities for sales but also to provide hands-on advice on branding and marketing, particularly online. Our philosophy is that having a strong personal brand will help an artist to obtain gallery representation and make more sales.
Finally, your message to artists everywhere would be…?
A large part of being successful is forming relationships with people who share your ideas and goals and who you can trust to help you promote your work.
Borbay — Thank you for a fantastic interview Annelien. Please check out the following urls: