About The SAA – a trade organisation for illustration agents in the UK
In 1992, The Society of Artists Agent’s (SAA) first meeting was called in response to the Art Buyers Association request to co-ordinate a re-use policy for illustration. Twenty of the most prestigious UK illustration agents agents attended, despite the preconceived animosity that might be expected in a group of competitors, the outcome was overwhelmingly positive. It was agreed that there was more to be gained working together and bit-by-bit, the organisation took shape. A governing board was elected with a collective remit to promote and safeguard best practices within the industry for illustration agents, illustrators and clients. Once these principles were established, the SAA published their own directory, "Originals", which was distributed worldwide, they collaborated with Transport for London on a poster competition and developed an online Hub showcasing the artist’s portfolios. At the heart of the SAA there has always been a keen interest in combating unethical contracts and in 2009, after working closely with a group of contract lawyers and the AOI, they unveiled their new contracts for Agents, Artists and Clients to utilize better working practices.
Our aim is to promote the use of quality illustration and encourage the very highest standards of professionalism for the mutual benefit of clients, illustrators and agents. We aim to encourage the commissioning of illustration, respecting its history and appreciating of its constantly evolving nature. We aim to nurture new talent as well as promoting established artists throughout the world. New membership from like-minded agencies based in the UK is actively encouraged.
We challenge fee erosion, inequitable contracts and business practices and we are strongly against artists undertaking unpaid work of any kind. We meet regularly to exchange views, discuss industry-wide concerns, advise and support each other. Together with the AOI, the we formed Pro-Action, Visual Artists in Business Campaign and Liason Group and in collaboration with other like minded bodies we continue to actively campaign to protect the rights of artists, particularly in the area of copyright and intellectual property.
As the group of leading illustration agents in the UK, we invite creative graduates nationwide, to attend portfolio surgeries. This programme gives students an insight into what agents and commissioners look for in an illustrator’s portfolio and advised them to tailor their work, giving them a head start in industry. Many of our members have strong links with University Course Leaders, often giving talks and offering work experience to students. Some of our members are on the board of the AOI, many are involved in their educational events.