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Interview with contemporary art dealer Marcel Katz

Felicity Carter
Production / Direction

How do you challenge the perception of the traditional art buyer?

For the traditional art buyer, I push boundaries on taste, looking into new styles, mediums, artists. I push against their biases, searching for new possibilities.

For the novice buyer, I push against the perception of fine art being unattainable or extremely expensive. People often think art is out of their reach, but you really just need to know where to look. I can often provide that vision for people.

I think another way I challenge all art buyers is by creating immersive experiences at events and galleries. By being able to step into or walk through or experience art through more than just sight, the art is able to evoke emotion. By doing this, it creates a feeling and a connection to a piece or artist or style stronger than if the person just saw it hanging on a wall.

You're fresh from Electric Jungle, an event which saw the merging of art and music and even transportation, tell us about that...

The Electric Jungle was an incredible experience. It was the 3rd iteration of The Art Plug Power House, an event series I created to experience art outside of the traditional gallery setting. It’s something I can cut and paste and mold into different settings and environments.

The Electric Jungle was an opportunity presented by my partners at Lyft, who I’ve been doing cool campaigns with for a few years now. They approached me about 6 weeks ago wanting to create a cool experience for Miami Music Week in collaboration with the Brightline, an express rail system in South Florida. I was granted creative control over the project and wanted to create a unique, lively experience for people to travel down from West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale to Ultra and other MMW events in an immersive, creative environment.

We covered the train in Jungle decor, featuring details from our artists Lefty Out There and Tiago Magro, and installed a DJ booth with live performances during the rides by DJ Nano, one of Miami’s hottest resident DJs, and the dynamic duo, Black Caviar.

We look forward to creating an even better experience next year!

Coming up next is Rolling Loud, where we’ll be curating activation space for one of their major sponsors. I can’t share too many details, but I’m really looking forward to it. This is the hottest festival in the world at the moment and we’re going to create something special for it.

For more updates on our events, check out theartplugpowerhouse.com and @theartplugpowerhouse on Instagram.

Is it a lifestyle you're wanting to create? How are you going about that?

Yes, I consider myself the curator of my own lifestyle. One of the major reasons I sought out entrepreneurial endeavors was to, frankly, do whatever I want to do. I set out to create a career around something I liked and a lifestyle I wanted to live. This lifestyle entails creative freedom, connecting with smart and creative people, traveling around the world, and having fun in the process.

The way I go about doing that is a mix of planning and just doing. While I obviously plan things out, connect dots, and create some sort of roadmap, a lot of the process is just living that lifestyle I want to live and figuring out how to make it all cohesive as I go. I wake up and just do what feels right. As I work with artists and brands, creating exciting projects, I see the lifestyle manifesting in front of my eyes.

Which artists, old and contemporary have had the biggest impact on you?

That’s a hard one. There are so many great artists and people in the business that I’ve learned from and have had some impact on me.

Some notable ones would be Rothko, Warhol, Picasso, and Dali. Rothko’s exhibition at Tate Modern in London showed me how art can invoke emotion. One of my favorite quotes from Warhol was “good business is the best art.” Picasso was a man of many talents, which pushed me to learn different facets of the business. Dali was a madman and showed me that I really could be myself in this game.

Someone who I look up to in the business is Larry Gagosian. He’s paved the way for many dealers to create their own brand and a global network.

Tell us about your artist crew and what draws you to each one?

I have a pretty large roster of artists. There’s a huge range of styles, mediums, personalities, and backgrounds amongst the roster. I work with painters, photographers, designers, illustrators, sculptors. We are a fresh crew of creatives rapidly growing. I work closely with the list below but work in some capacity with 200+.

Some notable ones are:

Bertrand Fournier
CB Hoyo
Chad Knight
Francesco Vullo
Jonathan Ryan Harvey
John Paul Fauves
Kourosh Kenejad
Lauren Baker
Lefty Out There
Marius Spärlich
Matthieu Venot
Robin Velghe aka RhymezlikeDimez
This Is Addictive
Tiago Magro
Zevi G

Who's the latest artist to join the art plug roster?

We’ve had a handful of very talented artists join our roster recently. Two painters, Jonathan Ryan Harvey and Revolue, both have distinct abstract styles that I really like.

Kourosh Keynejad is a world-traveling photographer who documents his travels in very high-quality prints. Marius Sperlich is a German photographer who practices macro photography using live models. It's incredibly innovative, unique work that recently landed on the cover of Playboy Magazine.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I think I’d like to be doing the same things but on a much larger scale.

I want to be working with bigger artists from more diverse backgrounds. I want to be throwing bigger events. I want to be working with bigger partners and sponsors.

I really like the trajectory I’m currently on. A lot of pieces are coming together and falling into place for me.

I just want to continue to grow my business and scale everything to a much higher degree and keep this movement flowing.

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