With the belief that "it's never a bad time for a good idea," Utopia has been going strong, and representing some of the finest talent in photography, hair, makeup and styling in the business, for 16 years. And with a high talent-to-agent ratio, the agency has been and always will be a boutique agency, focusing on the long-term success of the talent. I had the opportunity to chat with Utopia owner Carolyn Bodner about why she decided to open her own agency and what it's like to work with so many creative minds at once.
How long have you been in the business? Was there a specific experience or inspiration that made you want to open your own agency?
Utopia is 16 years old; I am not really sure where the time has gone. As for the experiences that have led me here, I had been in this industry for many years prior as a stylist, fashion editor and creative director - it was what I knew. When family commitments required me to limit my travel, it seemed like a logical next step.
You work with photographers, art directors, stylists and hair and makeup artists. Do you find it challenging to bring all of the creative minds together on a project for a cohesive vision?
Not usually. The nature of this business is that of collaboration. Artists are accustomed to sharing and tailoring their visions. On commercial projects, there is usually a brand image which the artists need to adhere to. On editorial projects, where there is more flexibility, artists tend to work with others who share a similar aesthetic.
Are there any new artists you have on board you're particularly excited about working with at the moment?
Wow, that's a leading question. Actually, I am constantly excited by new work, whether generated by new or existing artists.
Can you talk about some exciting projects coming up at Utopia this spring and summer?
Lino Baldissin is working on a new campaign for Viva La Fleur through Elizabeth Arden. Elliston Lutz has a video for Guess Kids currently on Taxi TV and is working on the next season's campaign. Dennis Golonka's magazine Un-titled Project has been getting an amazing response with a new issue on newsstands in May. Michael Dwornik's ECCO campaign has been painted on buses across Europe and Asia. David Gubert just returned from Cape Town with Glamour, having completed three great summer editorials. And Lisa Loftus has been working non-stop with Target for the summer and fall 2012 seasons.
To learn more about Utopia, visit the agency website utopianyc.com.