It isn't often that we feature artist agents around these shores. Every time we do, incredibly inspiring companies such as Friend + Johnson remind us why we should never stop.
Every artist represented by Friend + Jonhson works differently, but the company was started with one simple purpose: to treat all artists with respect, sincerity and enthusiasm. The agency's profile here on Creativepool is extremely colourful and lively, and we have no doubts it reflects the true nature of the company itself, working with wonderful artists from all over the world to make sure the creative industry is each day a better place.
For this Company Spotlight, we are learning more about the ins and outs of running an artist agency and what makes Friend + Johnson so incredibly special, from co-founder Simone Friend herself.
How was your company born and where are you based?
Our company was started in Dallas Tx and we currently are based in Chicago, San Francisco and Austin.
What was the biggest challenge to the growth of your company?
Always working to develop our roster and include new talent that is ahead of the creative curve.
Which was the first huge success that you can remember?
We connected Geof Kern and the amazing Creative Director Georgia Christianson when she was at Neiman Marcus. She knew how to collaborate and use Geof in a way that allowed him to be extremely creative. She gave him a terrific amount of freedom to conceptualize wonderful campaigns with her. This Neiman Marcus association lasted for decades and with many different creative teams there.
What’s the biggest opportunity for you and your company in the next year?
To expand further into animation and motion production.
Can you explain your team’s creative process?
Every artist we represent works differently. Many of the artists have some sort of design or creative backgrounds. All of the talent we work with are terrific collaborators.
How does your team remain inspired and motivated?
Our inspiration comes from the amazing creativity of our artists. We love the process of building a successful career for each and growing with them as their style evolves over time. Matching an artist with their dream client is always motivating!
How has COVID-19 affected your company?
It’s been really challenging. One of the biggest challenges for us has been figuring out the most effective way to solicit work for our roster while we are all working from home. Operating only in the digital world vs the personal meetings we loved having prior has required us to think outside the box on new ways to stay in front of creatives.
Which individuals do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?
John Jay is one of the people in our industry that has inspired us with his amazing design and art direction. Additionally, he has had a long evolving career over decades. He always challenges himself and always stays relevant as a creative.
What is one tip that you would give to other aspiring creatives looking for work?
Don’t mimic other styles. Find your own vision and continue to produce imagery and artwork that inspires you.. don’t try to produce work you think others want to see. Don’t let others deter you from your style and vision. Be a leader and know that if you create things that inspires you it will inspire others.
What’s your one big hope for the future of the industry?
Respect for and understanding of the value of what each person brings to a project. I would hope that there would be a resurgence of the respect for an artist’s copyright protections.
Do you have any websites, books or resources that you would recommend?
Friend and Johnson, Inc. (of course!)
- fotograf magazine
- the gourmand magazine
- mousse magazine