Interview with Vanessa Murrell and Martin Mayorga, DATEAGLE ART

By Katharina Wenzel-Vollenbroich
Interview with Vanessa Murrell and Martin Mayorga, DATEAGLE ART Interview with Vanessa Murrell and Martin Mayorga, DATEAGLE ART

We have spoken with Vanessa Murrell and Martin Mayorga about what they're up to with DATEAGLE ART, our recently announced partner, and their vision to help upcoming artists thrive. 

Could you tell us a bit about both of your backgrounds?

MM: Vanessa studied fashion and I did graphic design, and we both got involved into working in our respective industries shortly after graduating. Vanessa explored with fashion print, costume design, styling, and assisting in various magazines, and I also had experience with publications, given that I previously worked in a publisher. At that point, we arrived to London and we both felt the urge to work within the arts in such an enriching city, as it was always a great source of influence for us. Based on each other’s skills gained from our respective industries, we decided to adapt these into our platform. In that sense, we started to visit and meet artists, gallerists, collectors… all out of a strong curiosity to untangle what was happening here now, and in matter of months we built up a network of people whom we could share our views with.

VM: At that point, we realized that we were growing quite quickly, and it was natural to build up a team of writers, who have complete freedom of writing in our platform; or a series of projects which were quick and easy to understand, given today’s short attention-spam, and also out of a personal interest for our family and friends to feel welcomed within the arts- which can sometimes be an unwelcoming place to find yourself in. Martin and me weren’t brought up with an art’s upbringing, our families barely had any knowledge of art, and I only remember visiting my first art’s museum in my arrival to London. In that context, we grew up with no notions of specific “art terms” and we wanted our platform to not include these elevated terms but engage with a wider audience. I think that our eyes are well trained due to our educational backgrounds or previous job experiences, and the fact that we don’t have a historical or fine art background makes us push our curiosity further, striving to give emerging art visibility to people whom may have never connected with the arts previously. 

What made you start up DATEAGLE ART in 2017?

VM: The lack of authentic art content in the Internet. That’s been our main goal since day one. Our platform is transparent, and the artist is the one who controls it’s content on our site. It’s very important for us that the artist has complete authority over their content, in that sense, to the contrary of many magazines which publish articles without considering the views of the artist, at DATEAGLE ART, the artists have complete control at the time to publish their interviews, playfully reversing authority positions and resulting in purely honest content- through the lens of the artist. Also, coming from a fashion perspective, there are an incredible number of fashion blogs which connect with the public through a personal approach, and when we started to research about the arts scene, we only found established newspapers and magazines that wrote and displayed images based on the entire voice of the company, but no individual voices were accessible.

MM: In that sense, we started DATEAGLE ART with the idea of blogging about art, specifically about the art that is less spoken about in mainstream press, emerging arts. When we visit artists, they usually feel confortable with our company, and that’s very important, because when they feel good, it’s when good content comes up. Our intimate approach, using film photography to document their personal spaces is something we are proud of as well. We don’t try to invade their spaces, but subtly capture them. We try to engage with their work through a conversational approach and as a result, our audience feels welcomed to engage with it as well.

How important do you think it is to promote the work of emerging artists?

VM: We think is very important to build up an archive of artists that people can enage with, research about, and go back to. I grew up in a small town in Spain and had no access to museums or galleries in my city. The only way to research about art was going to the library where I could find historical archives, or look through the Internet, where I could mostly find articles and interviews of established or even dead artists. So, having a platform that archives what’s happening in today’s times feels quite generous and rewarding. For us, the term “emerging art” doesn’t apply to young graduates or to a fix set of characteristics, but it applies to a broader spectrum of artists. We don’t judge our selection of artists depending on age or years from graduating, so if their work is good and feels exciting, that’s it. 

MM: DATEAGLE ART is our authority and it’s our choice in terms of who we want to “promote”- it’s not based on advertised content from galleries, payed submissions prom artists or similar approaches. Our artists are 100% selected on the basis of quality and potential of the work. We give them visibility through our interviews and studio visits, our Mix! playlists which are lists of music that artist’s send us and are free to stream on our site, though the 5x5’s, based on interviewing to five artists from a group show and democratizing their position by asking them the same five questions. We also promote their work through the writing of our team, and last but not least, through our social media. Having said this, we are not only interested in promoting them, but also in encouraging their development through re-visiting them, having conversations, mentoring, and working with them in various projects throughout time. 

Apart from supporting emerging artists, you’ve also started offering PR services advice to young galleries. How do you see the connection between small, emerging galleries and emerging artists?

MM: That’s right! Besides our online content from DATEAGLE ART, we’ve opened a creative studio where we offer services to emerging galleries, individuals or collectives. Our clients are based in people whom we support and we’re actually the first creative agency that only focuses in offering services within the emerging arts. One of the reasons we decided to set up our creative studio was in order to economically sustain our content, given that it’s free and accessible to the general public, and we gain no income through our platform, and we didn’t want to add submission fees or advertisement as it’s not a way income that we support. On another hand, it’s exciting to have conversations with galleries and collectives that share our vision in terms of emerging artists; therefore we felt it was quite natural to apply our skills to work with the people who inspire us.

VM: Our services are divided in two sides, one is visual imagery, where we offer photography, videography, graphic design and animation, etc., and the other side is the social media, PR and press. We really appreciate what emerging galleries are doing, it’s brave and risky to represent or exhibit artists and believe in their potential at such a young stage of their careers and want to join forces with these galleries or platforms and work together with them. We’ve been involved in a video production at Tanya Ling’s studio, which gave an intimate insight into her practice and studio, prior to being demolished; along with a Podcast production with Sid Motion Gallery, in which we uncovered the themes and topics behind their group show “Play on Repeat”. Overall, it’s an amazing experience to work with clients that share our ethos and identity.

You support artists online using numerous formats — podcasts, video content, articles, etc — which method do you think is most fundamental to promoting emerging artists?

VM: Probably the interviews and studio visits are the most fundamental aspect for us, as that is our initial approach to an artist, in which we meet and converse for the first time. It probably comes after several that this relationship may develop into a podcast, video or even into a curatorial project. Having said this, we also enjoy producing video content, as there’s something interesting in sharing the studio moments of an artist with our public, as gestures can say much more than words sometimes.

MM: The Mix! is quite interesting as well. You learn a lot about artists through the music they listen to, and it surprising sometimes. It’s a dynamic way to understand better an artist, aside from the context of their work. It also feels quite exciting to play with the limits of private/public and there’s something almost revealing about being able to listen to the music that plays in the background of the studios of these artists, in a complete different context, maybe while eating, studying, working or having a shower. We’ve had artists letting us know that they listen to the music of other artists now, and it may even influence their practice or decisions. We’ve also had all sorts of interaction with this project, as it transcends the limits of the “art world” and incorporates itself into life quite naturally.

Which emerging artist excites you the most right now?

VM: It’s very difficult to choose! I would say that there are several artists that excite us at different levels. We visited artist Simon Linington over a year ago for an interview, and discovered that he used to write a lot of short stories, which he had never published or shown publically, but it was more of a private enjoyment. At this point, we have published ten of Simon’s short stories, which are very linked to his way of thinking, and that’s a strong excitement for us on a personal level, as we’re openly displaying a very personal piece of the artist, which can sometimes reflect more about him than looking at the finished works in an exhibition context.

MM: Then, there’s artists such as Harrison Pierce, which combines theatrical aspects, with music, science, or psychological aspects, and it’s quite moving when some artists approach their work with such an experimental manner, without thinking on the commerciality of these pieces, but on the richness of the concept. To the contrary, one of the latest artists we visited was Rene Gonzalez, and he was speaking about his commissions, and how he embraces commerciality. He is not as conceptual as some of his peers because he is very much aesthetic-driven, and he was speaking about how there is a reason on why there are trends, and in response, he embraces these. It’s quite fascinating when artists are not tied up to the romantic view of the artist, but accept that their works are a commodity and are able to share that with us.

What do you make of the London art scene today? How do you think it compares with other major European art hubs like Berlin and Paris?

MM: We believe that London is the most vibrant city for the arts in Europe at this stage, probably in the world. It’s amazing to live here, surrounded by projects and non-exhibition spaces, galleries, museums, and the richness that London offers in music, theatre, dance, or the accessibility there is to attend lectures, conferences, and all types of discussions and events surrounding the arts. The arts education is fascinating here as well, and there are several alternative art schools such as School of The Damned or Turps, for those who don’t want to approach their practice with an academic context. Then there’s places such as The Royal Drawing School, which only focuses on the specific medium of drawing, and has a great quality of artists in their program. City and Guilds Degree Show was a highlight this year, there’s such a great quality of students coming out of there, mostly based on the individual tutoring and the availability of large studios, so in this context, they seem they are not driven by the economic input many other educational systems have, which select too many students in the course and are then not able to offer them enough space or mentoring to develop their career.

VM: We’ve recently visited Berlin and Paris to get a better understanding on what’s happening around us. Paris is historically so rich in the arts, with the backdrop of Matisse, Picasso, Monet, the impressionists… personally, it’s too much of a ‘romantic’ weight for us, and it seems as artists feel quite overwhelmed by this heavy history, almost as if they can never fully re-write it to those standards. On another note, Berlin felt as the ideal place to work, given the low rent, big living room spaces which serve as studios, huge variety of galleries… although in this context, compared to the London scene, it felt as there weren’t as many challenges for artists, and it was easier for one to accommodate their practice without pushing it further. London feels exciting because there are strong confrontations, such as small or shared studios, high rent, constant re-development, bad weather, gentrification, huge competition, pressure… yet it seems that artists respond to these challenges in a satisfying manner, by embracing public art and site-specific works, such as Recreational Grounds, by opening up a gallery in a tube station, such as Antonia Marsh’s Soft Opening, by opening a gallery in a window space, such as Vitrine Gallery or Glass Cloud… With such limitations, one adapts and finds ways to exhibit and develop, and that’s why London is so enriching compared to other cities, although we must say that an exciting city in the arts seems to be Lisbon, and we’d love to explore what’s happening around there though our platform!

How important do you feel it is for platforms like ARTPIQ and DATEAGLE ART to work together to support emerging art?

VM: Being on the same page with other online platforms is not usual, so once you find this, and you know more about each other, there’s a point when you realise that together means stronger. We both support emerging artists in many different ways, and that’s important. Artpiq has a great selection of artists online, many whom we’ve previously interviewed or shown interest in our platform. You provide accessibility to collectors and even support first time buyers, a concept many established galleries would never offer… Moreover, you’re involved in residencies and encourage their development, and both Artpiq and DATEAGLE ART work within the same target audience within different cities and it is great that we can share our values and support each other’s projects.

MM: Joining forces is joining different artists together, and helping them in much more ways that only one of us could do. I think the artists will appreciate that support, and also, it’s a bridge between London and Dusseldorf, England and Germany and most important, the UK and the EU.

Where do you see DATEAGLE ART in ten year's time?

MM: With a very much expanded network of people, and projects. Hopefully still exploring the arts scene in London and being involved in more public projects!


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Interview with Vanessa Murrell and Martin Mayorga, DATEAGLE ART Interview with Vanessa Murrell and Martin Mayorga, DATEAGLE ART

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