Mathilde Soubie: “We’re trying to make a star!”
Ambitious and forward-looking, Mathilde Soubie, co-founder and president of Studio Artera, brings us the details of a new structure disrupting the functioning of the art market: artists’ agencies.
Hello Matilda. Can you describe to us your first relationship with art, as well as your background?
I developed a passion for art and especially for the visual arts quite young, it came naturally to me. After my baccalaureate, I thought a lot about the future of my studies. I was torn between taking an art history course or a business school preparation course. My heart told me to do art history, but reason and the people around me pushed me to join a prep school, then EM Lyon.
I did my final internship at the Palais de Tokyo, in the company’s sponsorship team. After this, I was hired at the Paris Opera. After three years, I really miss the world of contemporary art. I can’t see myself launching a gallery, I wanted to think of something a little different and it would suit me 100%. It was then that I had the idea to start a talent agency in the visual arts field.
In order to set up Studio Artera, did you identify a specific need in the market?
I have identified two needs. First, the artists, who often find it difficult to make a living from the sales of their galleries and, for many, want to break out of the shackles of the white walls and undertake larger-scale projects. Then also the desire of companies, structures of all sizes, to join forces with artists to tell new stories and uncover their DNA.
Can you tell me a little more about how your agency, Studio Artera, works?
We position ourselves as a talent agency in the visual arts sector. We are looking for those we consider to be the most promising talents in the contemporary scene; these on different media: painting, photography, sculpture, digital art. Once we sign these talents, our role is to bring their art closer to the public. We create collaborations between artists and our companies, between artists and our communication campaign brands, but also between artists and our public structures to design public art projects in urban spaces.
What values drive you?
First, “beautiful”. How to restore the place of beauty in our cities which tend to get grayer? The beautiful inspires, evokes a certain joy and I think our society needs it today.
We also use the word “courage” a lot: we encourage our artists to create new projects, to go beyond themselves. The brands we work with are also bold: they associate themselves with talent that sometimes goes outside the box.
How was the selection process for your artist?
We have several criteria. First, artistic talent: how does an artist manage to adapt a medium and do it with excellence. The second criterion is the artist’s thought, what he wants to convey. Third, the artist is in tune with the times, he offers works that are a little different, not things that we have seen, that is very important. Finally, the fourth criterion is the artist’s personality. We need to work with artists who want to break out of the traditional arena of the art market, undertake projects that are larger than themselves, and move beyond the framework of classical exhibitions.
What sets your agency apart from an art gallery?
It’s a very different way of working: where galleries will reach several dozen people per day, we can reach millions with our projects. We don’t bring the same to artists.
I think the agency model will grow in the art market, we often say we want our artists to be headliners. Galleries are great at the art market, they do a very good job but we try to get out of it all and make a star!
Can you tell us about your project, future and past? How do you see your structure developing?
We are very proud of our collaboration with the Prada brand, which is our first major project. Artist Itchi intervenes in their Printemps Haussmann boutique in Paris. His role is to design pieces on location, which are then given to customers who come into the store. All the customers who pass by get to leave with a masterpiece, such as a memorable image of their visit.
Recently, we also released a collaboration with Le Barteleur, a liquor brand designed by Itchi for limited edition cases.
We also worked on public art projects, notably a very large fresco in a city hall, in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, with Caroline Derveaux. I haven’t disclosed the location yet but it will be out soon!
We see ourselves as a large and structured agency. There are many independent agents in the art market. We want to grow, recruit, have more artists, bigger projects. We recognize that there is a huge market, which has needs on the artist side and on the client side. In ten to fifteen years, talent agencies will have the same place in the market as actor or sports agencies. We want to be the pioneers and pioneers of this trend.
More information about website from Artera Studios.
Interview by Inès Dezauzie