Interview: Mary Nguyen- Taking the Art World by Storm

In the gallery of Emmanuel Fremmin on 27th Street in Chelsea, the crowd buzzes with subtle energy as the host graciously welcomes guests into his contemporary space with a calm, collected smile. The tousled hair and cool blue eyes are enhanced with a chiseled bone structure and boyish charm. Across the room, the statuesque, exotic Asian beauty captivates not only with her stunning looks, but with her wit and charm. Meet Emmanuel Fremin and Mary Nguyen.We sat down with Mary to chat about life, love, art and all that matters.

What are you passionate about?

My children, food and my company, artstrong; to give birth to an idea, bring it to life and to nurture it and watch it grow and expand, that is a fantastic and powerful feeling. Whatever your destiny might be it is not based on your past circumstances, you can make your destiny, your story into anything. It might sound cheesy but it is possible. You have the control over who you really want to be. 

What motivates you?

Fear of failure, to me, failure is not trying at all. If I allow myself to never try my hardest and give it my all, well then failure is inevitable in any aspect of your life. Do everything 150% percent. Live and live hard!

How did you come up with the idea for artstrong? 

It was born out of a necessity. Emmanuel has had a gallery for 5 years. After we started dating it was a natural thing for me to help him. Doing art fairs is a big part of the gallery; wrapping and unwrapping each work of art, packing, unpacking. Not only was it time consuming, repetitive and laborious but also we were dismayed at the amount of waste left behind from each piece. Each gallery has between 20-30 pieces and some fairs have over 100 galleries.  We were determined to create a product that would satisfy the need for the ultimate packaging and storage solution and desire to save time and money, benefit the environment and look chic!

How long have you been in business?

We launched 3 months ago during Art Basel Miami 2011.

How is artstrong different?

artstrong bags are the most durable bags in the marketplace. Created with 5X the protection of normal bags, artstrong bags start with two layers of polyethylene bubbles sandwiched between one layer of fire retardant metallized polyester film and one layer of white polyethylene. Then we use shock-absorbing polyethylene foam that is filled with thousands of air cells that are resilient, anti-lint/dust/static free. The inside is lined with a superbly soft technologically innovative fabric that resists scratches and snags. Finally, our bags are sewn at the edges and reinforced with tough nylon to provide the most secure edges. 

It has actually never been done before. We mean it when we say we’re artstrong!  We believe in America, that is why we manufacture and buy all of our products for our bags in the USA. And most importantly we care about the earth and protect the environment.

It can also protect anything, from your TV to your art piece…whatever you deem to be precious. That is why our motto is “protect what’s precious”.

What upcoming Art events are you working on?

We have launched artstrong bags 3 months ago at Red Dot in Miami. We have done the Affordable Art Fair LA, Art Palm Beach and we are invited to be the official sponsor of the Armory Show. It has been an amazing ride and to be affiliated with such great company is humbling. We strive to be the best at what we do and believe in working with only the best associations.

What five adjectives would you use to describe yourself?

Passionate. Driven. Creative. Optimistic. Hard worker.

You are a busy woman: artstrong, mom, boss, friend & girlfriend…how do you make time for yourself?     

I don’t…but I am trying to find a way. It is a constant struggle. 

You work closely with Emmanuel on a daily basis. How do you separate your work life from your private life? 

Yes we work and spend a lot of time together and the key in our relationship is, we always respect each other. I respect him for who he is, his knowledge in the art world, and he respects me as a businesswoman. And we have our stolen moments, we share a deep love and understanding of one another and that is what keeps us very close. Also he is French and they are very romantic…it helps. =)

You have traveled the world. What are your favorite places and things?

Asia is has a special place in my heart. Emmanuel and I went to Vietnam two years ago. The food, people, and the country are so textured. It is exquisite. When you travel the world and see people, you appreciate life, and you know it is short, so we should all enjoy those little moments, that’s all we have.

One of my favorite books of all time is East of Eden by John Steinbeck. This story is spectacular. The essence of the message is life can be anything you dream of, whatever the path that you were born into, forced into or expected to be on does not dictate who you truly are. Your future can be anything that you want it to be. Amazing message!

My favorite quote of all is “To err is human, to forgive is divine” by Alexander Pope. We all make mistakes, and everybody deserves a second chance in life. Allow them to correct their mistakes… but only a second chance.


Visit Mary and Emmanuel at in New York City visit them at both The Armory Show and SCOPE NY March 7th-11th, 2012 at SCOPE Pavilion, 57th St & 12th Avenue.

Kimberly Fisher Boone

Kimberly Fisher is a Freelance Writer and On Camera Host based in New York City. Kimberly's work has appeared in over 38 publications including Huffington Post, JustLuxe, Luxe Beat Magazine, Ocean View Magazine, Pursuitist, Sherman's Travel, Sunset Magazine, and USAToday. Her travels has taken her to sipping champagne cliffside in Portofino, shark feeding in Tahiti, yacht racin...(Read More)

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