Last month we welcomed Column Arts Agency and founder Will Astbury to the Society of Artist Agents.
Interview with Will Astbury
Q. What drove you to establish Column Arts Agency?
I dreamt up the idea for Column Arts Agency in Manchester in January 2011. A self-employed journalist and marketer at the time, I had been helping artist-friends to do their tax returns. I’d been doing my own for years and I’d always been meticulous when running my business and doing my own accounting.
I realised that many creatives didn’t want to deal with the business side of their lives. Artists want to make work, they hate having to find new projects, negotiate, and calculate finances. So I thought my model of business model would work for other people, as it had worked for me.
I tested the idea on my creative chums. They loved it and advised me on what else they needed.
After meeting-up with everyone for loads of brews, I had a pretty firm idea on what I wanted to do. I was going to offer a bookkeeping, PR, ‘work-finding’, representation, and business guidance services to artists with the main ethos being about ‘support’.
I decided to call the agency Column because for me it reflects the idea of support and strength, and also newspaper Columns and design measurements.
And that’s how the agency was born. After four-and-a-half years, Column is now based in a barn near Birmingham in the West Midlands. We have grown our roster to 13 incredible artists and offer animation services too.
Q. What is the Agencies speciality?
Column are a full service illustration agency offering a range of services and styles including;
- Editorial Illustration
- Character Design
- Typography Design & Hand Drawn Fonts
- Wall Murals Including Live Performances
- Fashion Illustration
- Pencil Drawings
- Pattern Design
- Vector Illustration
- Graphic Illustration
- Children's Book Illustration
- Print Designs
- Animation & Motion Graphics
- Packaging Design
Column Arts Agency have a unique ability to curate engaging interactive illustration exhibitions, and of course animation.
Q. Why did you decide to join the SAA?
I didn't know about the SAA before I was asked to join by Harry Lyon-Smith from Illustration. I took a look through the website and was really impressed.
The SAA are passionate about fighting for the rights of artists and upholding the standards of the commercial illustration industry. If this industry is to have true commercial longevity and provide genuine careers for illustrators, then we need the SAA to maintain commercial and legal standards.
Basically, it was a no-brainer.