I woke up this morning and realized that its my birthday! Well not “my” birthday but AGM‘s birthday!
Fifteen years ago this week, Anna Goodson Management was born. I admit that I didn’t know all that much about the illustration industry back then but I made it my mission to learn everything I could. There was a lot of trial and error which is really a great way to learn things. It was mainly through my mistakes that I learned the most. I was always very ambitious and wanted to be the best, most respected agent/rep in the industry or the world for that matter. Back then however I was a complete unknown. Even in my own city, no one had heard of me or of the agency. So lets just say I had my work cut out for me.
My mission was to help artists make a living doing what they loved. So many of the early artists that I took under my wing, where complete unknowns when I began representing them. It was an awful lot of work to represent complete unknowns but also a great challenge. I made it my mission to promote new and up and coming artists. Over the years there have been so many great stories and great illustrators that started their careers being represented by Anna Goodson Management. Here are but a few…
I took on Marcos Chin right out of school. He was desperate to find a rep. No one in Toronto would take him on because he was a complete unknown. He was just starting out and have very little money. He was working on the floor because he could not afford a desk. After representing him for several months, I remember him calling me to tell me because of my hard work and efforts he could now afford to buy a table and chair. I went on get, negotiate and manage one of the biggest contracts of his and my careers, the Lavalife advertising campaign.
Nathalie Dion was just starting out barely making ends meet. I met with her and saw her book and immediately wanted to sign her on. She called me back to tell me she didn’t think she was interested in having me take her on. I had to basically convince her to let me represent her. Today, Nathalie is swamped with work. Back in 2008, we negotiated with BBDO Dubai to have her illustrations grace the billboards of a big designer shopping mall called The Walk. The every popular “Baby Books” from Urban Babies Wear Black to the most recent Sporty Babies Wear Sweats are a huge success. Nathalie illustrations are just about everywhere, from magazines, to book covers to advertising. Its been one hell of a ride that just keeps going strong. Nat is not only a wonderful illustrator, she has also become a close personal friend, whom I love dearly.
Katy Lemay, fresh out of school was actually stalking me to take her on. Her style was so different back then. She use to pick stuff out of the garbage, clue it together and have it photographed. It use to take about a week before we could get a final done. To say she was “struggling” is a complete understatement. She bugged me so much that I finally decided to take her on, at least stop her from stalking me. Katy Lemay and her work has evolved so much since back then. Her illustrations have graced the pages of so many reputable magazines over the years, such as Harper’s, Runners World, The Boston Globe, Elle and many others. Her illustrations have been seen as well in many annual reports, corporate brochures and advertising campaigns. Katy and I go back to the very beginning and I cherish her friendship and devotion after all these years.
I remember Isabelle Arsenault coming up to me at an Illustration contest to ask me if I would have a look at her portfolio. She was just graduating and wanted me to take her on. I liked her spunk and more importantly I loved her work. Her portfolio back then was kind of all over the place but I saw her potential. She went on to do other things and I have remained a fan.
Pablo Lobato was a complete unknown. An illustrator living in Argentina, trying to get work with no avail. Pablo couldn’t even get jobs from the local magazines. I actually don’t remember how we first got in touch. I don’t remember if I contacted him or he contacted me. All I do remember is that as soon as I saw his work I was totally blown away and thought he was a genius. My heart started pounding and I could not wait to take him on. It was such an exciting feeling. I remember emailing him and telling him that I had to get his work into Rolling Stone. I just saw it there. Of course everyone wants to work with Rolling Stone but I knew in my heart that he would get in. I hounded the art directors there non stop. No, I didn’t personally know any of them, so I was cold calling. I just kept telling Pablo that I would get him in. I didn’t know how but I would. Well finally the day came and they called. I remember we were all screaming in the office. Pablo was beside himself. I was going to make him a famous illustrator. I kept telling myself that and I kept telling him. One day I got a call from Prince’s agent, or the artist formally know as Prince. They wanted to buy an illustration that Pablo had done for a newspaper. They wanted to buy all the rights. I struggled to come up with what I thought was a fare budget. When I told Pablo, he could not believe it. He told me he told his mother and that she cried. This I remember was one of the happiest days of my career. Today Pablo is a regular contributor to Rolling Stone, The New Yorker and many many other reputable magazines around the world. I am still his biggest fan and consider him a genius of our time.
There are so many more geniuses in our agency today that you need just have a peak at their portfolios to see for yourself.
Looking back , I want to thank all of the artist that I have had the honor of representing over the years. Weather you are still with us or not, thanks for your trust and for believing in me. It was always a great honor to represent such talent. I want to thank all the clients who have worked with us and trusted us over the years. We really appreciate all the work you send our way. I want to thank my staff, MJ and Sylvie, could not have done it without you. I want to thank Darren and Jane who have become my extended family on the other side of the pond.
And last but most importantly, I want to thank my family for all your support and love. Everything I do, I do for you.
Last week my 6 year old daughter told me that she wanted to grow up and be an agent just like mommy. I said “great, you are going to take over Anna Goodson Management” and she replied ” No mommy, I want to start my own agency and call it Sacha Goodson Management. ”
Here is to the next 15 years at least, don’t want to have to compete with Sacha Goodson Managment.