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When Claudia and David Monaco met working together at Vogue, she on the editorial team and he in the art department, who knew they would soon own an agency together, representing some of the top photographers in the industry? A couple decades later, Monaco Reps is still growing with an impressive roster of illustrators, stylists and hair and makeup artists on board in addition to photographers. One of the reasons for their great success? The dynamic staff, constantly working to improve and keep modern an agency that stayed strong through the recession and is more distinct now than ever. I caught up with agent Brian Flink to talk about how he got started at Monaco Reps, some of his favorite projects to date and his recent knack for cooking and baking.
You work as an agent at Monaco Reps. How did you get started in the industry?
I've studied photography since age 12 and was obsessed with Rolling Stone magazine. In my high school yearbook, when asked where I would be in 10 years, I said working as a photographer for Rolling Stone. Flash forward 10 years, and I was working at Glamour instead.
While working in the publishing industry, I realized I wanted to be more hands-on with the photographers. I have a real passion for the art as well as the artist. My business exposure also left me with the understanding that money is very important, but you can't make money if you do not have a good product. Claudia and David Monaco were very inspiring to me, as they're known for hands-on branding of artists and their portfolios. They are artists who share the same rationale as me.
Monaco Reps works with a wide spectrum of artists. Is a there a particular group you work with more or connect with on a higher level than the others?
I have a unique position here at Monaco Reps. Because I have major experience in the editorial world, I have the ability to connect the photographers within the editorial industry. So I represent our editorial photographers more than our advertising photographers.
I also founded the styling division. I spent the first six months at Monaco Reps meeting with many artists to devise a highly curated group of fashion stylists and hair/makeup artists who were all vastly different. They all are so passionate about art and what they do. All are highly creative, and I can see them being huge stars in their fields, if they aren't already!
And finally, one thing that tapped into my passion, dating back to my Rolling Stone dream, was taking over our entertainment roster. As a pop fanatic, it's a perfect way to indirectly work with brand/celebrity/entertainment outlets that pique my personal interest and connection. Scott McDermott is our big celebrity photographer, and I’m constantly working on something with him.
Can you talk about one or two of your favorite projects you've worked on at Monaco Reps?
This is a tough question. I have memorable projects, like pulling off an insane Snooki shoot for her new book cover. But my favorite projects tend to be broader. Since day one, I have been working with the Monacos to rebrand the agency with a look and feel that encompasses our broad range of artists but also feels accessible and current. I brought Brittany Raynor, our multi-media manager, along with me from Glamour, and she has helped bring our blog, Look Here, to a whole new level in both design and traffic. This was very exciting, and I love to see projects I've worked on get many hits.
But my baby, the styling division, is the current passion project. We have always been known for our photographers, and the Monacos have an incredible reputation among the creative community. It's been a challenge and goal for me to make known we have a highly skilled set of stylists who are also incredibly seasoned in the industry, all with editorial and advertising expertise. It's starting to pay off, and I find it very exciting.
I came across some of your blog posts and was particularly drawn to articles about Momofuku Milk Bar's Compost Cookies and baking brownies. Do you like to cook and bake often? What are some of your favorite places to eat in NYC?
I love this question. One day, in a grocery store, I really began to scrutinize ingredients on products such as bread and decided I needed to cook from scratch. It's healthier. I haven't purchased a loaf of bread for more than 16 months because I make it all myself.
At this time last year, when I was in a creative rut and needed something to pour my soul into, I decided to launch a food blog. I called it "Bakin' With Brian," and it primarily deals with my love of baking, bacon and being aware of what I put into my body. I shoot everything with my iPhone and even had my high school prom date come on as a contributing writer. The blog has been suffering in 2012 because I've been so darn busy. But hopefully, by just talking about it, I will get my act together. I have tons of photos and recipes I've whipped up, but finding a few hours to write a cohesive piece can be rough. If only I had a personal assistant!
As for favorite places to eat, I have to plug three specific restaurants. My partner and I have a tradition of doing anniversary dinners at one of two places, Bobo or WD-50. Then there is Mario Batali's Otto Enoteca. They have a truffle pizza that is to die for.
To learn more about Monaco Reps and see all artist portfolios, visit the agency online at monacoreps.com.