I was recently interviewed by Design Assembly - one of New Zealand's top design blogs about Use New Art. I thought I'd share the interview section of the article here for those who would like to know more about what we are up to in the studio. See the original post here
GA: Hi Kelly, can you tell us where the idea for Use New Art came from?
K: When we launched UNA studio it was never our intention to grow to be an artist agency. Initially, we were focused on creative consultancy and illustration with other expansion plans in mind (that still may come later). Use New Art grew pretty organically. I previously worked as an account manager representing artists and, to some extent, always act as an agent naturally anyway, linking people with creatives and making connections. We really wanted to expand outside of our personal skill sets and offer our clients the creative options to achieve basically any outcome and so, after a while of linking creatives to clients, we decided that we may as well do it officially as an agency!
GA: How did you meet your business partner Andrew Archer? And how do you work with each other on a day-to-day basis?
K: I had known of Andrew’s work for years and, at my previous job, I tried to recruit him to an artist roster many times which he declined as he was always busy and didn’t need another agent! After I left that job we became friends through mutual interests and mutual friends, and then one day he asked me what I was up to in life and if I wanted to work together. We have different roles in the agency, we both generate ideas and creative concepts together, but to date Andrew has been primarily focused on the illustration component. I’m surprised he doesn’t have RSI by now! I am more new business focused, marketing and growth and do a lot of the creative consultation in-house with other agencies and clients. I still illustrate, but more by special appointment, for style specific briefs or on large projects that need a few hands. We always have a meeting with each other at least once a week to discuss the projects we are working on, new business, ideas for growth and general creative ideas, and each morning we have a little catch up, but generally we have very different projects on the go.
GA: How much of your time do you spend working on the business now vs illustrating and designing? Has this been a conscious decision?
K: These days I probably only spend around 20% of my work time illustrating, although I have started my own personal projects in my spare time as I still love it. While I do occasionally miss the solid drawing time of my past (my back doesn’t) I really enjoy using my creativity in different ways. Client interaction and helping people with their own creative problems, generating ideas and not necessarily having to realise them with my own hands is really satisfying. I find it’s inspirational for my personal work. After so many years working as a freelancer it’s nice to step back and consider taking my illustration back to a slightly exaggerated hobby status — just using it for special clients, or to break up my other work.
GA: What’s your top tip for designers, illustrators, and creatives working for themselves?
K: Get a good accountant, get your paperwork and licensing sorted, ask for what you’re worth and don’t be afraid to say no. Self-promotion is also extremely important these days so don’t shy from it.
GA: Who are some of your favourite illustrators that you are representing on Use New Art at the moment and why?
K: Ooh, I feel like it’s impossible to choose favourites because I like them all for completely different reasons and am also slightly envious of all of their skills! I do really love Eero Lampinen though for his magical imagination and the childish happiness his imagery gives me.