Today’s extra special Do What You Love interview is with someone I hugely admire and have been working with behind-the-scenes for 18 months – Lilla Rogers, one of the top art agents in the world. Together we have created Make Art That Sells, PLUS a very special new project which launches next week (details revealed below!) As part of my birthday giveaway we are giving away a FREE place on Part A of this exciting course. See the end of the interview for details! THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED! WE WILL ANNOUNCE THE WINNERS HERE ON THE BLOG NEXT WEEK.
Lilla is the founder of Lilla Rogers Studio, a visionary art agency that represents artists from around the world. An accomplished illustrator and painter herself, she has been in the business for over three decades. The Studio’s client list includes Crate & Barrel, Pier One, Land of Nod, Chronicle, the New York Times, Moda, Blue Q, Crate & Barrel, Paperchase, and hundreds more.
The Studio represents some of the most sought-after artists worldwide and has licensed their artwork on a huge variety of products, such as bathing suits, teacups, scrubs, bathmats, puzzles, piggybanks, clocks, paper lanterns, children’s books, wall décor, and much more.
I talked to Lilla about how she got here, where she is going, and what is behind her mission to ‘create brilliant careers for talented artists’.
1. How are you leading a life ‘doing what you love’?
What’s so great about my work is that I get to do such a vast array of things, such as working with my brilliant artists and Studio Ladies who I adore, strategising promotionals, discovering new technologies, selecting the very best next artists to represent, finding lucrative new art markets and clients, studying trend and creating trend reports for my artists, and schmoozing with some of the best art directors in the business. I had to create the job for me; it wasn’t out there waiting for me! Plus I’m the kind of person that needs a lot of freedom in my daily life. I like to work various hours – sometimes I work really, really hard and sometimes I take more time for myself. I wanted a ‘job’ where I could work at home while raising my kids, whilst having very rewarding creative work.
2. What is your mission statement?
To create brilliant careers for very gifted artists.
Some of Lilla’s illustration jobs
3. What was you a-ha moment that pushed you to realise your passion in life?
Some pivotal events:
-In my early twenties: I was a middle school art teacher in Pennsylvania but after 3 years I knew I had to leave and take the risk of trying to make it as an artist. I gave up tenure and moved from the East coast of the USA to the West coast. I was scared but determined.
– I was studying painting at the Art Institute in San Francisco, but when I saw what was happening in illustration at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, I fell in love and switched gears – and schools – and pursued an MFA in Illustration.
– Although I was living in dreamy San Francisco, I knew I had to move to New York City to make it as an illustrator, which I did. Scary, but it all worked out and was a dream come true
– After a decade as a very busy full-time freelance illustrator and a teacher, one day one of my students said, “Why don’t you become our agent?” and it was like a bolt of lightening hitting me. I felt as though it was an inevitability; it was as if I had no choice. It was just meant to happen, even though it didn’t make sense and wasn’t part of my “big plan”. I loved the idea and dove right in. My illustration business boot-strapped the agency in the beginning! I can’t tell you how happy the business makes me! I’m very challenged and never bored.
– Recently, after about 18 years as an agent and as my kids were getting ready to leave the nest, out of the blue I was offered a book deal and an e-course deal. Working on these are my new passions! It’s as though everything I know has led me to this point, and now I can help tons more artists on a larger scale.
5. What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
When you’re type A, you like to give 110%, which is great for achieving success, but can wear you out at times. The challenge is knowing when to give 110% and when to give less. I do like delegating to my staff. I trust them. And I constantly prioritise, make lists, and organise. I must continually balance my worklife with other facets of life. Now I’m at the point where exciting opportunities come along very often and I know I can’t do them all, even though I would love to! It’s a great problem to have, and I’m grateful.
6. What is the best advice you have received?
Get more help!
7. What keeps you awake at night?
That varies over the years. But as a mother, worrying about my kids can keep me up.
8. And what gets you up in the morning?
Having to get to my trainer and yoga three mornings a week, and driving my daughter to school! But I know what you mean. What gets me up in the morning is the variety of very cool projects that I get to work on. I’m at the point in my career where I only work on what I do best and what I really want to do.
Filming for Make Art That Sells
9. How has the experience of creating the e-course Make Art That Sells been for you? What do you want your course to do for the people who take it?
I absolutely am in love with creating this course (see below for your chance to win a free place!). After three decades in the business of helping artists achieve amazing art careers and getting them work they never knew existed I have so much to share. My mission has always been to help creative people succeed, and this allows me to do so on a massive scale.
I particularly love inspiring artists and creating course content. Let me give you some examples of the juicy awesomeness in the course:
* Every week there is a professional level assignment tailored for a particular market, and I review all work and provide critique to a handful – this is shared in class so everyone can learn from each other
* Interviews with art buyers like Anthropologie, Chronicle, and PaperChase sharing what kind of art they buy and how they find it. Amazing, right?
* Interviews with my highly-sought-after artists sharing what their day-to-day life is like (and some tricks of the trade!)
* Terrific, fresh assignments specifically geared to help artists land new work
* Weekly videos with me in my Studio showing you tons of great products and inspiration
* A ton of downloadable PDFs full of helpful information like time management for creative people
* Really fun and inspiring mini assignments on Mondays to get you ready for the big assignment on Wednesday and lots more.
10. What is next for you?
Get ready to freak out (in a good way!)…
After working on this intensely for some time, Beth and I are incredibly excited about our second collaboration – next week we will launch…
…a Global Talent Search for hot new art talent!
We’ll provide a series of art challenges over the course of several weeks, and there will be several rounds of judging.
The winner wins a two-year contract for representation by Lilla Rogers Studio, plus a number of awesome licensing agreements!
This is sure to blast an artist’s career into the stratosphere. We already have some of our art director clients wanting to get their hands on our winner! We formally launch on May 14 but you can get on the waiting list here to be the first to hear!
11. Anything else you want to add?
I hope my story inspires others to go after what they really want.
All images courtesy of Lilla Rogers. Find out more about Lilla on her website, or connect on Facebook or Twitter. Find out more and register for Make Art That Sells here, buy her book ‘I Just Like To Make Things’ here or get on the waiting list for the Global Talent Search here!
GIVEAWAY! One free place on Part A of Make Art That Sells (online course begins June 3 2013) – prize worth £379 (over $500)!
We are giving away a free place on our brand new online course ‘Make Art That Sells’, which begins on June 3 2013. If you would like to learn how to make more commercially viable art while staying true to yourself then this course is for you. After three decades in the business Lilla has so much to share and she does it generously throughout this course. You will get professional level creative assignments each week, tailored to a particular market, and Lilla will review every single piece of work submitted. She will also offer critique of a handful of pieces each week and share this in class so everyone can benefit. If you are serious about a flourishing career in art, this is for you!
TO ENTER: Check out the course here and leave a comment below this interview saying which of the five markets covered in Part A is most interesting to you and why, and tell us why this course would be so great for your art career right now. Please leave your full name and country in the comment box along with your response.
DEADLINE: The deadline for entries is 12 noon GMT on Saturday 11 May 2013. THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED! WE WILL ANNOUNCE THE WINNERS HERE ON THE BLOG NEXT WEEK.
NOTES: The winner will chosen at random from valid entries and will be announced next week! If you have already registered for the course and win, then you will have your class fee refunded. Do What You Love’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative. This competition is open to anyone from any country over 18 years of age. Thank you and good luck!