Tom Cole, ed Space Race book for Nobrow
This month we have the pleasure to talk to Lucy, site Steph and Alex, the girls behind the success of the boutique agency "The Artworks"
Please give a short summary of your company history and provide a bit of information about yourself and how you got into the business?
The Artworks is a long established agency founded in 1983. Current agents are Lucy Scherer, Stephanie Alexander-Jinks and Alex Gardner. Lucy came into the business through publishing and law, Stephanie through illustration and PR and Alex through illustration. We all have very different skills which when combined make the perfect team for any artist looking for representation. The Artworks is a very small agency and always has been. This is a deliberate thing, it’s like a family, and we are very close to our artists some of whom have been with us since the agency started. We are very focused on the future at this agency, either with the direction of our existing and established artists or seeking out the new talent fresh from college through our Startworks programme.
Sarah Gibb, Beauty and the Beast, Orchard
How would you describe your day-to-day role as an illustrators’ agent?
It starts early with a cup of tea and a chat about what we know is happening in the day. We do all of our website promotion and social networking in-house so there is a lot of that to keep on top of now. There is always a lot going on and the momentum of work is kept at a high pace because the phone is always ringing with new jobs or emails coming in so we have to be ready for that too. We speak to all of our artists all the time either on the phone Skype or email whichever they prefer. Many of them live locally so they come in for meetings about their work and what direction they want to go in and sometimes just to say hello.
Rob Ball, Pie and Mash shop, E17x17 exhibition
Kate Forrester, McDonalds Campaign
What are the commercial advantages for artists represented by your agency?
We have long-standing relationships with clients across all areas, this means that we can support our artists in any direction they would like to go and advise them of how to get into areas they might not have considered. There are many examples of this where by working on their folios with them and expanding their diversity our artists have been extremely successful in areas they might never have tried. Our clients trust our opinion so if we have faith in our artists they do too. Being with a small agency like ours means you get noticed and you are not competing with others who work similarly to you. It’s a rule of ours that we don’t take on artists that clash with existing ones. It’s tough enough as it is out there!
Chris Wormell, Adnams Campaign
Chris Wormell, Anchor Butter
What other benefits can an artist gain from being represented by you?
Exposure, reputation, guidance and support. It’s a team effort though.
Andrew Davidson, CD cover for Alex Clare
What are the benefits of networking within the wider artistic community?
Feeling part of something is very important, as unless you are with an agency or work in a studio it can be a very lonely business. It’s also crucial to know what is happening in the industry too so an artist can be sure that they are doing the very best for their career.
We would never encourage our artists to follow trends as such, rather to make sure that they are in fact the “trendsetters”.
Kate Forrester, card design
Debbie Powell, card designs for Lagom
How do you help your artists to recognise their market and help them adapt to new ones?
We have regular meetings and if necessary we set them projects to allow us to break them into markets they would like to try. The relationships with our clients is the key though and they allow us to work with them in order to help our artists break into those markets. Our artists have a great reputation so it makes things a lot easier.
Daniela Terrazzini, private view of Foyle’s exhibition ‘Life of a Picture’ 2013
What do you consider is the main role and responsibilities of the illustrators you represent to help you to build their career?
Professionalism, keeping their work fresh and making sure they stay in control of their style and not allowing it to become diluted. Never take anything for granted and stay positive and enjoy it.
Andrew Davidson, Rolex Masters 2012
What advice would you give to an illustrator looking for an agent?
Do lots of research as there are so many brilliant ones and they are all so different. Take a look at the kind of work they do and choose one that you think fits with your work. The more research you do the more likely you will find an agent that wants to find you!
Lindsey Spinks, Cinema scene – self promotion
Laurindo Feliciano – our most recent addition to the agency