Marc Séguin Interview
Being a Canadian Artist, what were some of the difficulties you faced breaking into the US market?
Starting over again. But it’s also very challenging to “start” again. And you MUST be part of it if you want to break it. No other way. The physical
presence is important. Americans are very protective, but they’ll listen to someone that makes the effort to be on their “grounds”.
Do you think it is crucial to have an art agent? In your opinion, what are some of the advantages? Are there any disadvantages?
The system works that way. You have to use the existing “plumbing”. In this case it’s Galleries. They have an outreach through contacts and fairs that is otherwise almost impossible as an unrepresented artist.
The disadvantages are somehow lost in the system: exclusivity and the 50% they take on everything. But then again, if they work for their half, I’ll get mine.
You are currently working out of Brooklyn, New York. What influenced your decision to move away from Montreal? Has the move furthered your career in a way that could not be done in Montreal?
At first, it was a survival decision. I needed to get out of a certain comfort zone. I needed stimulation and challenge. I wont use the word “easy”, but going to the studio every day in Montreal, having a show every 18 months or so, had become predictable.
Although surprised by the outcome of my move and the positive reactions the work got, I believe that the risk I took was immensely beneficial to the work itself. And that alone, would have been worth every effort and fear.
Your first solo exhibition was in 1996. In the last 15 years, what are some of the most important lessons that you have learned regarding the business aspect of being an artist?
That it is indeed, a business. I still consider myself a romantic artist, but it has become (romanticism) a very private thing.
It’s very simple: I make an object, called and agreed on as Art, with social implications, references, wanting it to be meaningful, intelligent and sought after. This is where I stand alone. The rest of it falls into codes that we understand as being a “market”, quite public.
Once you understand some of these codes, it’s your decision to play along or step out. The art, in my case, remains the same.
What was the hardest part of getting your work in the first exhibit?
Having someone convinced. Not as much as I, but close enough to give you a break.
Throughout the years, your painting style has been consistently improving and always complemented by refreshing subject matter. How do you choose the themes for your series?
It’s an organic thing. Un-planned. Instinctive. Some ideas occur over reading, listening to music, drinking… when they bear a “psychopathic” insistence, I give them more thoughts and sometimes they become a painting or a series. In all cases, all themes have to be emotionally intelligent, dense and present.
Are you planning a move back to Canada in the future?
Not in the immediate future. I have not yet thought of it. One thing for sure: If it ever feels easy again, I’ll find a way to sabotage New York and start something again, somewhere else. Out of respect.
Originally from Ottawa, Marc Séguin lives and works between Montreal and New York.
Since his first solo exhibition in 1996, his work has been presented in Madrid, Barcelona, Venice, Berlin, Cologne, Brussels, New York, Chicago and Florida while participating in international art fairs such as the Miami Basel. He is currently represented by several galleries including Corkin Gallery in Toronto as well as Envoy Gallery in New York.