about advocate art
I founded Advocate in 1992 with a group of illustrators who liked the idea of having an agent but not the other things that often came with that. It started out similar to an artist's co-operative but grew quickly into a sales, marketing, legal, accounting, promotional, art management, web hosting office. We call our ethos four "f.a.c.t.s"; Fairness, Ability, Creativity and Trust. It's about doing the right thing and being with the right people. We think our principles set us apart from conventional agencies, sticking to them has meant we have attracted the most creative illustrators and artists who in turn attract (with a little help) the best clients.
The people we represent are perfectly able to conduct their own affairs but like working with Advocate because we offer value to them in the services we provide. It's their choice to be with us, we have a high retention rate, most of the most popular artists in our group have been with us from the start. What we don't do is take control away from artists, we operate what we call a "transparent system". Of course we allow direct client contact with our artists and illustrators thus allowing creativity to flow without being diluted in translation. We also go beyond that too, treating artist and clients like the business partners they are. Business is all about relationships and we understand that often it is very important after the initial introduction for us to stand aside, only acting to assist if called upon.
We can also pool together several artists for larger projects, almost as if we are a design agency, supplying formatted work, scanned and ready to go, from up to 30 artists at a time. We understand that it is important not to specialize in one art buying industry. By having a handle on multiple markets our artists and Advocate can carry over fresh perspectives and new ideas from one to another. Besides, doing different projects makes life more interesting.
Artists and clients benefit from being more exclusive with certain companies - enabling artists to find "a home". Being everywhere can dilute an artist's "specialness" in the eyes of retailers, advertising agencies or publishers. So it is important that artists are not oversold in one industry, but diversify into as many art markets as possible!
We supply illustration to book publishers, design and advertising agencies, greeting card, fine art publishers, wrapping paper and bag companies, ceramic manufacturers and on-line content-whatever needs our sort of imagery. We are leaders in Kids, Seasonal, Decorative, Art and Photo Real. We have an on-line library which contains 100,000 images and helps us facilitate the very active re-licensing side of our business, generating a very important secondary income for our artists and giving clients the opportunity to get art fast.
We also exhibit at the international conventions Paperworld, Spring Fair, Surtex, BEA, Bologna Bookfair, Frankfurt and PG Live as well as attending a multitude of smaller shows. From January through to September we are at a show around every 3 weeks! There is no other agency in the world that takes space all these shows, in fact we are often the only artist agency exhibiting. It means that at the end of a trade show cycle we can say hand on heart that an artist’s folio has been seen in person by over 1,000 of the world's top art buyers. We understand the importance of face to face meetings and spreading the word, it means we can get careers off the ground or ramped up- fast or find an artist a perfect fit with that perfect client.
We also run a successful gallery in Surrey, England which we think is Surrey’s premier art gallery - a showcase for our artists and our face to the outside world.
Our offices are based behind the Gallery and the 2 floors above, the building is an old Bank which was completely refurbished to our spec into our "state of the art" Head Office. It's very a busy place with resident artists, internships, regular client meetings, the daily workings of a dozen Advocate staff and the "hum" from the Gallery - see the gallery links or the internship links for more information.
It is for these reasons that Advocate has become the largest illustration agency around, I'd like to think one of the most respected, but we understand we didn't get that way by acting like the biggest. Come and find out for yourself...
I hope we can work together soon.
We run an active internship program here at Advocate that we hope many students or career seekers will find very beneficial. We attract students in art history, design, illustration and related courses. We also employ bilingual agents so we attract language students as well.
We forge close links with many colleges and often invite students in for Q&A sessions where they can get advice on their portfolios. We were recently sponsors of the illustration exam question for the D&AD board and offered competition prizes including cash of £5000!
If you would like to see the inner workings of the leading artist representation agency, then the best way is to spend some time with us as an intern. You will share in our daily tasks such as folio management, site maintenance, project managing etc etc but no tea making I promise! You will learn how artists are briefed, what's hot and what you have to do as an illustrator to get work in the real world. We will give you a reference that will make a future employer cry, for the right reasons of course. Finally as a souvenir you get a sought after Advocate courier bag and we will pick up lunch and travel expenses if you complete the term. Minimum term is 10 working days - Maximum 30.
There is no mistaking that interns have become essential to the running of this busy agency. We get to spread the Advocate message around tomorrow's art and design professionals - internationally. We offer a recruiting platform (5 of our current staff were recruited from internships) and we get help, not cheap labour.
We also welcome international interns – if you have basic spoken and written English, we would love to hear from you. We would accommodate you in a local hotel, give you a meal allowance and even pay towards your travel! Interns must be EU citizens or have a valid work permit to work in the UK.
..LaB is a colLaBeration of art directors, editors and writers coupled with our talented illustrators to bring fresh childrens content to the market.
Over the years many of our talented illustrators have come to us with their own stories and ideas whether they be chapter books, novelty titles story or board books. LaB was founded as a channel to develop and promote these ideas. We are not a literary agency. We are not a packager. We are LaB.
...an art gallery that you won't feel intimidated to walk into; where you don't need to know anything about the "Art World", only know "what you like".
Advocate Gallery in Ashtead Village Surrey, grew out of Advocate Art and now stands as an independent art gallery. We specialise in the best of today's contemporary fine art and aim to be Surrey's premier art gallery. There is ample free parking and we have regular exhibitions, please come in and find out more.
advocate on tour
Meet Advocate at one of the following international exhibitions
February 2-6 2014 Hall 4 Stand E108
March 24-27 2014 Hall 25 Stand A159
Book Fair - London
April 8-10 2014 Stand A600
Surtex - New York
May 18-20 2014 Stand 416
Book Fair - Frankfurt
October 8-12 2014 Stand tbc