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Focal Points: Freda Scott

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As the proclaimed “Curator of Creativity”, Freda Scott has assembled a multifaceted powerhouse of talent featuring award winning photographers, illustrators, artists and copywriters. Throughout her career, Freda has emphasized the consistent supply and delivery of real, genuine artists who exceed expectations while adhering to budgets and deadlines. With such an accomplished and consistent roster of talent, Freda Scott remains one of the irreplaceable artist reps in an increasingly digital era of do-it-yourselfers.

Q&A

Q1. In today’s click-of-a-button access-to-anything society, desribe how an artist representative bridges the gap between clients and talent.

A. While the click-of-a-button exposes clients to the right styles of artists, there is nothing that can replace talking about the client’s needs and establishing a relationship. Most people have too much to do & in a pinch they will search for ideas or connections. But hiring talent is taking a risk that the contractor will accomplish & exceed expectations. Reps give the buyer information about how talent works & confidence that their project will be professionally executed.

Q2. How has the vision of Freda Scott Creative evolved since it’s launch?

A. Because my interest in this business has grown, I’ve come to understand how important it is to create long lasting relationships. And to continually present styles that are changing and growing. Nothing about this business is static. Styles change & I like to be one step ahead of the curve.

Q3. What makes Freda Scott Creative unique compared to other Artist Representatives?

A. The styles & variety of talent is most apparent. I think they feel I take responsibility and truly care about producing a professional project & make it fun.

Q4. What are some of the responsibilities or duties you fill in your day-to-day interactions amongst talent and client?

A. Lots of talk about budgets. It’s like an Arab bazaar! And I ask everyone what’s new in their world, what they like, how they like to be updated. So much talk about email, social media & how can buyers put their fingers on new looks.

Q5. How do you go about curating your artists? Do you look for something in particular or is it more of a trait or skill that the artist displays?

I get at least 10 artists contacting me everyday with links or samples to their work. It’s rare that I will reply without a referral from someone I trust. Most of my artists were known by creative directors that enjoyed working with them. I have to like them personally, I have to feel they have something to say that is compelling & different & they need to convince me that they have the stamina to continually renew their look. It’s something like finding a good mate-you have a list of what you want & check off their qualities that you know will make you happy. I always ask their clients lots of questions as well.

Q6. How has the present demand and necessity for an Artist Rep changed since years past?

A. Clients sometimes say they found a cheaper alternative to my artists because of the internet making so many artists more accessible. They usually add that their experiences weren’t very professional or the budgets weren’t respected. The landscape of a rep’s business changed dramatically after 2008. Many of us went out of business because there was less money spent on commissioned art. This cornered artists into dropping their fees & many reps weren’t nimble enough to reinvent their businesses. Many design firms & ad agencies stopped doing print. We survived because we addressed the newer digital marketing world.

Q7. What are the benefits of working with an artist representative such as yourself in comparison to working directly with an artist?

A. Reliability & having a colleague to discuss the many ways a project could look or be produced. A rep should have the experience to interpret the creative direction & guide the designer towards one or two best alternatives to accomplish the project. Sometimes a designer will tell me who they really want to work with but can’t for certain reasons, so I will present the closest styles of artists to the vision of that project.

Q8. If you were to compare artist representation to anything in the world, what would that be?

A. 1/2 animal trainer, 1/2 mom.

Q9. What is the most rewarding benefit that comes with being an artist representative?

A. Establishing a community of creative directors and match-making them with artists. And of course, choosing my own family of artists to talk with everyday.

Q10. Last but not least, what kind of results can potential clients expect when working with Freda Scott Creative?

A. Clients can expect to work with real, honest people – not divas. They can expect artists that enjoy stretching who are great thinkers & communicators. Above all, clients can expect that all deadlines will be met while staying on the agreed upon budget.

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Focal Points: Shannon McIntyre

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Shannon McIntyre is a seasoned photographer with an extensive track record for consistently delivering immaculate pieces of work for her various clients. Her eye for inducing and capturing emotion on film makes her work exude personality and attitude that is ideal for any ad or campaign, a major reason why Shannon’s clients continually request her for additional productions. While she may be a sharp-shooting ace behind the lens, Shannon’s kind and open demeanor instills a positive force on set that resonates with her subjects.

Q&A

Q1. How did a girl growing up on a commune in Tennessee discover a passion for photography?

A. My dad was an amateur photographer, and had a home dark room, pre-commune, so we had these big boxes of beautiful black and white fiber prints around us growing up. He also still had his Nikon F which we shot with occasionally. The commune had a dark room in the book publishing company and I remember hanging out in it when I was probably around ten, learning about the process.

Q2. What is your camera of choice? Your “go-to” camera for client shoots?

A. To keep my photographs feeling spontaneous I like my equipment to be fairly minimal. On a client job I also want to shoot with the camera that I shoot with every day, that is second nature to me, and right now that camera is a Canon 5D Mark II. A new version of the 5D did just came out though, so my camera of choice might change very soon. Every photographer has their recipe, so to speak, to help them arrive at the look and feel similar to that in their portfolio, and for me the camera is a small, albeit, important, part of that recipe. Lighting expertise, retouching knowledge, an ability to get a quick read on people, many years spent shooting professionally; these are some of the other ingredients that I bring to the table.

Q3. What were some of the challenges you faced early on in your career as a professional photographer?

A. My youth. Ha ha! I was twenty three when I started shooting professionally, so, as you can expect, not everyone wanted to take me seriously. Now that I have some experience behind me, I think I might be biased against a twenty three year old too!

Q4. When you’re on a shoot, what separates a good shoot from a great one?

A. Whoever I’m collaborating with on a shoot. On a client-based job, I need to produce a product that works for the client, but also satisfies me creatively, which will in the end make a better image. The art director is the interpreter of this process, so it’s really great if we work well together and the AD has a good idea of what is possible within the confines of a shoot. When I have a good rapport going with my collaborator, he or she is able to give me ideas that I wouldn’t have thought of and vice versa. A wonderful synergy happens and everyone is happy.

Q5. What was your reaction when you first saw one of your shots in a national ad or display used by your client?

I would like to say that it was a glorious moment, but like most creative personalities, I probably thought something along the lines of ‘that printing doesn’t look so great’. I’m always a little bit critical, especially when it comes to my own work.

Q6. Tell us more about your portfolio entitled “Food And People”?

A. I’ve been shooting people since I started my career, but didn’t get into shooting food until a few years ago. I cook a lot, and while I’m cooking I have these moments of ‘ohh, look at that texture, or, what an amazing color, I have to capture that…’ I challenge myself to bring the same vibe of my people work–one of authenticity, spontaneity, a little bit sexy–into my food work. There is celebration in our every day preparing and eating of food–I’m always trying to capture that and make it fun to look at.

Q7. Knowing what you know now, would you change anything about your overall progression as a photographer?

A. I would have shot food a lot sooner.

Q8. Do you have a favorite shooting location? Somewhere you relish the opportunity to shoot at?

A. Each job calls for something different, so that place is forever changing. I try to find locations that have a sense of place without being too specific, an earthiness to them without being ragged looking, and are also simple and clean, graphically speaking. In general, my photographs are more about the subjects in them than the location, so the ideal location is a place that best frames and tells a story about the subject.

Q9. Who was your all-time favorite client to work with thus far?

A. DJ Stout at Pentagram (the client was Lands’ End, but they were not there). DJ has the curiosity of a kid at a photo shoot, with the knowledge of someone who has been working with photographers for a very long time. He is also an amazing designer and brings a lot of great ideas to the shoot. We all worked pretty hard during those shoots, and we got a lot of great images.

Q10. What exciting projects or assignments have you recently wrapped up?

A. I just finished a job with Anthem WW for Safeway. We shot lifestyle – a nature loving couple at home, and product in that environment too. And before that I worked on lifestyle and food photos for NatureBox. We did a series of images for them to boost their brand and had a great time shooting here in Oakland and in San Francisco.

Click below to see more of Shannon’s work:

view her work

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Focal Points: Shane Johnson

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An illustrator truly cut from a different “canvas”, Shane’s technique is a medley of vibrant, colorful, and action-oriented tones that breathe life into his pieces of work. Unlike the techniques of his contemporaries, his comic-book style approach is a refreshing change of pace that incorporates the traditional necessities of clients with a modern appearance capable of grabbing the attention of audiences both young and old.

Q&A

Q1. Your illustrative style is slightly different than the other illustrators of Freda Scott Creative. Describe in your words what makes your artistic style so unique?

A. My art style is inspired by comics and other forms of sequential storytelling so it’s more narrative and action oriented. Very little of what I do tends to be abstract or conceptual.

Q2. What served as a source of inspiration in your growth as an illustrator?

A. My primary inspiration is my love of comics, cartoons and movies. My other interests such as science, history and the outdoors also find their way into my work.

Q3. What project or client was your “big break”?

A. There are two individuals in particular. in 1997, a year after graduating from college I landed my very first freelance job Illustrating a ghost story collection for Hawaii author Glen Grant. His book provided me with my first published portfolio pieces and gave me the experience I needed to pursue illustration as a career.

In 2001 my friend’s father Tom Speitel was working as head of the Education Department at the University of Hawaii. Tom brought me on board as a contractor to work with his team creating distance education websites for the Department of Defense. We spent two weeks in Germany meeting with educators to help deliver their online curriculum. The experience inspired me to quit my day job and begin freelancing full-time.

Q4. Is your art digitally created or do you go by hand? Which do you prefer?

A. I prefer to start out with hand drawn pencils. These are scanned and inked digitally using a Wacom tablet and Manga Studio. I then add color and effects in Adobe Photoshop. Much of my work is also done as vector art in Adobe Illustrator if the project calls for it. I’ve come to appreciate working this way as it makes it much easier to make revisions. And I revise a lot before the client even sees it.

Q5. As an illustrator that works in a graphic novel artistic style, what are some of the pro’s and cons of today’s comics, in your opinion.

A. In general I think the bar is set much higher regarding the quality of comic art and writing compared to when I started collecting 30 years ago. It has become a more mainstream form of entertainment. The one weakness I see in the art is more technical or factual errors. This may be because younger comic artists tend to draw reference more from other media than actual life experience.

Q6. What’s your all time favorite comic? Why?

A. I would have to say Mike Mignola’s Hellboy series. The simplicity and dark atmospheric quality of his art and writing have always been kind of a standard to which I compare my own work and other comics.

Q7. What’s your most memorable piece of work? What was it for?

A. In 2004 I designed a mural for the Chicago Marathon. The mural covered three sides of a warehouse near the Kennedy Expressway. The client had me create dozens of runners tearing off their street clothes superhero-style to reveal their running clothes underneath. I have family in Chicago so my wife and I visited them after the mural painters were finished. We drove down the expressway and I snapped photos out of the car window. Part of the artwork was used on a billboard near Wrigley field and we went to see that as well.

Q8. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

A. My daughter says I have super daddy strength so let’s go with that!

Q9. If you could work on any project/movie/show in the world, what would it be?

I would love to illustrate anything combining my many interests. A sci-fi/ supernatural/ western graphic-novel perhaps.

Q10. Any exciting pieces of work we can look out for in the near future?

A. Yes, but I am sworn to secrecy.

Click below to see more of Shane’s work:

view his work

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Focal Points: Mark Rogers

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Mark Rogers is an iconic pet photographer with a career built on capturing the personality and emotion of everyday pets and animals. With an ability to connect with and capture the attention of his furry (and sometimes skittish) subjects, Mark is commonly synonymous with the likes of Dr. Dolittle when he’s behind the lens. HIs love for animals is transparently reflected in the immaculate work he delivers day in and day out.

Q&A

Q1. What inspired you to become a prominent pet photographer?

A. When I was 9 or 10 I started shooting with an old Yashika SLR that belonged to my grandfather. The first images I remember taking were of our black cat sitting in some azalea bushes and even though I’ve photographed lots of other subjects other than animals since then, but they’ve always been my first love.

Before I began doing this professionally I volunteered at an animal shelter and the passion for photographing animals really began there. I realized photos that captured the real spirit of these pets helped get them adopted faster and it all evolved from there. When you can blend your volunteerism with your profession and give back it’s pretty amazing and makes it easy to get up every day and work.

Q2. We all know animals are not the most “cooperative”. How do you manage to capture the remarkable photos you’ve shot?

A. It’s a not-so-precise mix of skill, luck and an ability to develop rapport quickly with them. Of course, it also helps to not be self conscious about making a total fool of myself in public – I’m known for barking, meowing, and even bleating like a goat to get a reaction.

Q3. What’s the strangest or most unique animal you have photographed in your career?

A. I worked with a gecko a few years ago in front of the Golden Gate Bridge for a promotional poster – her name was Godzilla. We were completely out in the open and about two feet away from the water’s edge.

Q4. Some say that pets are like people. Do you feel like you possess a special connection with the animals you photograph?

A. I do, but I think any photographer who’s able to bring out something unique and noticeable in their photos of any living subject has to build a rapport with their subject and be able to bring that ability into lots of different scenarios. Sometimes, you only have a few minutes to make it happen. Other times you have to sustain it all day long.

Q5. What tools are necessary for your pet photoshoots?

A. Tasty pet treats (and yes, I’ve tried most of them), toys, cheap jeans (I’m on the ground so much for this job I go through more pairs per year now than I ever did as a kid), squeakers and a lot of patience.

Q6. If you could safely photograph any exotic animal, what would it be and why?

A. An elephant. I love playing with scale, but most of the time it’s trying to make a small animal look heroic and monumental in front of a huge building or landmark. It would be really fun and challenging to do the opposite. It might also be nice to stand up for a change to be at my subject’s eye level.

Q7. How has social media and apps such as Instagram affected your business?

A. They REALLY help.

Q8. For you personally, are you a cat or a dog person?

A. I’m a Dat person – I really don’t have a preference. I have a dog and a cat at home and love being with both.

Q9. If you can have any one piece of equipment in the world, what would it be?

A. Can I pick two?

1) A bionic third arm I could take on and off for shoots. I can’t tell you how often I find myself on the ground supporting my upper body at an awkward angle with one arm and holding the camera with another. That extra hand would be pretty useful.

2) A magic, non-loseable lens cap. I go through a dozen caps every year because I refuse to use those elastic leashes: dogs and cats either get scared of them or want to play with them.

Q10. Do you have any new or exciting pieces of work coming soon?

A. I just got word on a couple of really fun ones. I’m going to be publishing a book of dog photographs later this year and I just heard I’ll be working with the famous Grumpy Cat at the end of this month.

Click here to see more of Mark’s work

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Focal Points: Filip Yip

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A perennial artistic globetrotter, Filip Yip is a highly decorated illustrator who calls New York and Paris home. He has amassed an impressive clientele list in a plethora of industries ranging from food to motion picture studios. Filip’s multicultural team is shaped by individuals from the US, Europe, and Asia, making Filip Yip And Co one of the most artistically diverse branding teams in the world.

Q&A

Q1. You’ve consulted or assisted in the creation of numerous brands, which one has been your absolute favorite?

A. Richmond Tea, London. I loved the gig and company so much that I’ve become a cofounder of the brand.

Q2. What are some of the difficulties you face when creating a brand’s identity from scratch?

A. For starters, how much the client knows about it’s own brand attributes and ethos. Secondly, the willingness of a client to spend resources on the discovery process, market research, etc. And finally, understanding if there is a long term strategic vision about where the business is heading and the market it wants to capture.

Q3. Who was a visual inspiration to you when you first began your career?

A. Painters such as impressionist Gauguin, Van Gogh, Picasso, and Matisse.

Q4. When you create a brand’s identity, what is the message you try to deliver to their customers?

A. At top level, the look and feel should convey a clear attitude of the entity. If the visual concept has a hidden message, the discovery of such messages should further connect the audience with the organization. All in all, an experience should be shared between the two parties.

Q5. You have close connections with both New York and Paris. Is there an area in particular that inspires you more than others?

A. They inpsire me for different things. New York has the energy that vibrates any soul just by being there, although you have to live in the city for a while to overcome the negative aspects. Paris is unapologetically romantic. I met my spouse there and both of my kids were born there. It’s my portal to other parts of Europe.

Q6. If you could go back in time, what inspirational words would you give to your younger self?

A. Get high quality and relevant advice and mentoring from outside your circle and comfort zone.

Q7. Have you always aspired to be an established illustrator, or did you initially plan on a different career path?

A. I have been drawing since I was a toddler. I was educated as a graphic designer, then pursued further education in Advertising design in college.

Q8. What kind of emotional reaction, if any, do you have when you see your work either on shelves or on TV?

A. It was exciting maybe a decade ago. After getting used to the process, I’ve actually become more critical about the outcome.

Q9. Describe the most difficult aspect you face when designing a brand identity?

A. Finding out what the client knows about their own business.

Q10. If you could have any piece of artistic equipment in the world, what would it be?

A. It’d be an imaginary equipment. I’d need a machine that creates more time for me. There are so many medias for expression that I love, yet have no time to explore them because of opportunity cost.

View Filip’s work[/one_half_last]

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Focal Points: Carolyn Vibbert

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Carolyn Vibbert is a classical illustrator with an Americana-influenced perspective incorporated in her colorful pieces. Her clientele list includes various reputable brands such as Frito-Lay, Quaker, Chronicle Books, and Coors just to name a few. Carolyn currently resides in Portsmouth, NH where she continues her illustrious work with pen & ink imagery.

Q&A

Q1. How did you first get started in illustration?

A. Art School. My goal in art school was always to work towards a career in illustration.

Q2. How would you define your artwork?

A. Whimsical, stylized with an emphasis on energy.

Q3. What artist has had the biggest influence on your current artistic style?

A. The illustrator Jim Flora, best known for his jazz album covers of the 1940s.

Q4. Favorite city/location for art/artistic expression?

A. New York City, a blend of traditional elegance and contemporary energy.

Q5. What is the primary medium for your artistic pieces?

A. Pen and ink.

Q6. What do you want people to take away from your art when they see it?

A. “Looks like she is having fun!”

Q7. What was the oddest thing you’ve taken inspiration from?

A. My older brother’s test papers! His teacher’s highly energized swirl of the “c” (for correct) was something that fascinated me at the age of 3,I made that mark everywhere I could, even under window sills. To this day, my work incorporates energetic swirls and spirals.

Q8. All time favorite piece of artwork?

A. I have it on my studio wall, a Peugeot poster designed by Push Pin Studio’s Seymour Chwast.

Q9. What would be your ideal project to illustrate?

A. A miniature paper theater.

Q10. What advice would you give to aspiring illustrator?

A. Keep learning and moving forward.

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