Pauline's house - Art by Hala Tawil
Hello Pauline, we’re delighted to have a chat with you today. Art From Future is an Art/Tech startup founded by a woman. Therefore, it was obvious for us to collaborate with you - a very inspiring business woman in tech.
Hello Jessica, thank you so much for having me today. I am delighted to have the opportunity to discuss with you. It is very meaningful given I'm very admirative of your work, that we share similar values, work ethics and I have seen you start from scratch this innovative platform that is Art From Future.
Thank you so much Pauline. It means a lot coming from you.
Could you start by telling us about yourself and your background in the tech industry?
I have been in tech for 11 years now. I’ve worked in startups and in big corporations such as Cisco and Google now. And I am also an entrepreneur at heart. I'm always trying to brainstorm new ideas for business that will make a difference, for end users and for communities at large.
I ended up working in tech because when I was young there were no ways to communicate with people around the world other than through the phone which was really pricey then. When the Internet became available to consumers, it just changed my world. I was able to interact with my loved ones, my relatives in the States, which before that was really complicated. So we could just exchange emails that would get instantaneously to them. Whereas before, it was the phone or actual letters through the post office, which was really really slow. I love tech in that it helps connect people together and also it helps have a broader access to information and to spaces you won't necessarily come across that easily if there were no ways to connect through any type of tech.
"The Googliness which is basically the culture around being inclusive and being supportive really was true in my experience."
Recently, you started a new position at Google. How do you like it?
I started working at Google a year ago, I just celebrated my Googleversary like we said. I'm very fortunate that I started during the pandemic. We were not in lockdown at that point last year, but they just reinstated curfew, and I feel very fortunate that I joined Google then because despite how hard it is to onboard a new company during a pandemic, Google had a very facilitating process. The Googliness which is basically the culture around being inclusive and being supportive really was true in my experience. Even though it was hard joining during a pandemic, the Google culture made it easier. It did make it slower in terms of onboarding for not having the interactions with your peers on a regular basis being in the offices, and not being able to meet your customers as soon as I wanted because I'm in sales. So having interaction with customers is usually my day-to-day. And I have just recently been able to get back to doing in person meetings and business lunches. It makes such a huge difference.
I really like it, there’s a culture of people who are very diverse. There are people who have tattoos at the office, people who have shaved heads, blue and pink hair, people who are very conservative in their attire and I love that diversity. I love that there's a space at Google for that type of diversity which is something I had not known to that extent before.
I also love the obsession for innovation, you can really feel that energy, that enthusiasm for always looking for the next thing, and how do we improve a product, a solution, a process... That being said, it's a big corporation so it comes with its pros and cons.
Let’s talk about art! How would you define your relationship with the art world?
I’m a creative and observant person, I’m very sensitive to art in all its forms: painting, drawing, sculpture, architecture, music, fashion. Art is inherent to uplifting experiences and life in general. It’s also a form of communication, of meditation, it can also be very soothing and therapeutic.
"I love to look at artists’ work online and discover talents that change from what is curated in museums. Though my collection is very modest, I love each piece for its aesthetics and also because each has a specific and very personal story."
You have a few art pieces in your collection including a limited-edition print by Hala Tawil. Could you share your art collecting/buying journey with us?
I grew up going to museums frequently with my family, discovering the likes of Leonard de Vinci, Degas, Monet, Kandinsky, Renoir. At the time, I liked ancient art, my favorite was the Ancient Egypt exhibit of the Louvre which I found fascinating, it’s later that I started appreciating abstract art which I still love to this day. Then, having an art collection of my own felt inaccessible, both what was exhibited in museums and pieces in traditional art galleries were and felt out of reach.
My collection actually started accidently! Several years ago when I was visiting some of my relatives in the Bay Area, I noticed a painting they had which I loved. I asked questions about it, and it turned out that the artist, Micha Tauber, was based in Paris. When I came back to France, I visited the gallery where Micha Tauber’s work was and still is exhibited and started following her journey on social media. I ended up winning a painting of hers which I still can’t believe to this day! That’s how I got my first piece. My second piece is actually a drawing from you Jessica! During the pandemic last year, I discovered your work more and more through the Instagram platform, and I love the women portraits you made which resonated a lot with me. I love to look at artists’ work online and discover talents that change from what is curated in museums. Though my collection is very modest, I love each piece for its aesthetics and also because each has a specific and very personal story. Unintentionally, my collection is only composed of women artists!
What do you look for when buying art?
When buying art, I look for something that is going to resonate with me and bring me joy. I’m intentional in having a space for it in my home, practically, if I don’t have a space where the piece can live and I can appreciate it, I’d rather that piece find another home. I also look for subjects that I’m sensitive to, what the artist is expressing in their work is important to me: what’s the message conveyed, the feeling, the story of that piece or collection.
At Art From Future, we want to inspire women around the world to start building their art collection. We believe that everyone can own high quality art. That’s why we find the most promising young artists before anyone else, and we connect them with their audience. Could you tell us why you chose the artwork “Morning routine” by Hala Tawil?
Aesthetically, I really liked the lines and colors chosen by Hala to create this piece: it reminded me of the colors of a sunrise. Also, “Morning routine” leaves room for imagination, I love the airyness given by the floating bodies. Both agitation & calm are cohabiting in the scene and I loved that this duality brings mystery. I was touched by Hala’s process and the themes she explores in her work: feminine isolation, desire, dissociation.
"Art doesn’t only exist in museums! There are many artists out there who are so talented and worth discovering."
What advice would you give young women wanting to start buying art?
Art doesn’t only exist in museums! There are many artists out there who are so talented and worth discovering. Always be curious and don’t hesitate to reach out to artists. One of the benefits of today’s digital world is that most artists showcase their work online which is an amazing opportunity to know them more.
If you had all the money in the world, which artwork would you buy?
A piece from Sonia Delaunay for sure! Probably also one of Cézar’s sculptures. Some figurines, masks, statues of Ancient Civilizations.
Thank you so much for your time Pauline.