Meet Jackie Collins

**This transcript was generated using AI and was not professionally edited. Please excuse any errors.*

Gianna Andrews  00:00

Hello and Welcome to Studio Sundays. It's your host, Gianna Andrews. This week's conversation that I had with our spotlight guest was super interesting. Jackie Collins started her career as a professional dancer. And She now runs one of the most reputable artists agencies in the US. She works with artists all over the globe. And it was just really fascinating to get a behind the scenes view on what her daily life looks like. She has a love for both New York City and Los Angeles. And it was fascinating to hear the role she plays between facilitating relationships with brands and professional artists, I sure learned a lot from this conversation. And it was just really inspiring to talk with such a successful entrepreneur and businesswoman. I think you'll really enjoy it. So let's dive in. Okay, well, thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me today. I really appreciate it.

Jackie Collins  01:02

No worries. Happy to be here.

Gianna Andrews  01:03

Yeah. Okay, well, first, I'm just gonna give you a quick rundown of the podcast what I'm doing here. And then we'll just dive right into the questions for you. So my name is Gianna, I'm a full time artist. I started my career basically, by having this really horrible injury, I broke my back. And it opened up space and time in my life to create. And so I just started posting on social media, my story, my art. And just by sharing my story is kind of how I got to where I am today, I started writing a weekly newsletter called studio Sundays. And I've been doing that for the past year. And then it sort of felt like it was time to maybe bring in some other voices because they know my audience is full of artists, creatives, entrepreneurs. And it's been really fun. And I've really enjoyed interviewing other people. And I benefit from it, I think my audience does as well. And then it just naturally kind of blossomed into like, wow, we need to record these conversations, because they're really great. And just like the transcript isn't quite giving, giving it what it needs or deserves. So that's how we got to where we are today.

Jackie Collins  02:10

I love that. I feel that attention span wise, it's really nice to have things that people can listen to, because I think some people struggle with reading or some people are commuting, and it's easy to have something to listen to. And I think this platform is really valuable. Awesome.

Gianna Andrews  02:29

Okay, well, let's just start out by kind of talking about what does a typical day in your life look like? You're a business woman, you are running Fillin Global, and working with artists, you're traveling all across the country, what does a normal day look like for you and your life?

Jackie Collins  02:48

Okay, so the one thing I really do love about what I do is that no day is the same. No, one consistent factor is that my dog wakes me up at around seven o'clock. It's like she has an internal alarm. So I usually don't set an actual alarm.

Gianna Andrews  03:09

Your dog is so cute. By the way, I saw her on Instagram also.

Jackie Collins  03:14

I also have a daughter, and she is a teenager now so she can wake up by herself. But she doesn't let me take her picture. So there's more dog content on Instagram. And then generally I'm walking a dog making coffee, and I am somebody that often jumps into work. Possibly right away, I'm looking at emails that might have come in late at night, emails that could have come in from the UK, you know, because they would land in my inbox early. And I might just go ahead and answer them just to clear my plate. To alleviate this when I sit down on my desk a few times a week, I take Pilates from nine to 10. And that is an amazing time where I put my phone away, and I don't read any emails, and I get that space to ground myself and start my day. And I would say out of the five days a week, maybe I'm home two of them. And the other three, I'm generally going into the city meeting with my team. And we often have breakfast lunches, coffees with potential clients, potential artists. And that's what makes it different and exciting. Yeah. And then in terms of projects that we're working on, they can span from anything to, you know, a new inquiry for an illustration for a magazine to a company that wants us to cover, you know, 12 floors with murals. So every project is different. Every project is exciting. And you know, My day consists of half, you know, maybe being on a zoom about an existing project than maybe we're speaking to an Artist that might want representation later in the day. So that, you know, keeps things fresh and different.

Gianna Andrews  05:08

I feel like that's maybe the best part about kind of running the show or running your own business is that it is dynamic. And so you get to be involved in lots of different facets.

Jackie Collins  05:18

Yes and then listen, there's also like arduous things like meeting with our accountant, you know, tax season. Yeah, discussing our insurance policy. So those are the other things that, you know, the responsibility lies on the business owner as well.

Gianna Andrews  05:36

You co-founded Fillin Global, several years ago, back in 2015, I believe, what was the vision behind that? And how did you decide to found your own Artists Agency? I think I saw that you were maybe working for an artist agency prior to founding Fillin?

Jackie Collins  05:55

So my business partner of about a decade, Tommy Feinstein and I were working together representing photographers in the industry. So we were already interfacing with, you know, brands, advertising agencies. And at the time, we only had photographers to show and we realized that the industry was moving in a lot of different directions that people were starting to really respect, like the art of murals and street art, and combining street art with brands. And Tommy had a background in actual street art, he will tell you, he was a bad kid. And I had a lot of friends that were illustrators and creative artists, and we just said, why don't we start this new company and expand our offerings, and then we sort of have something more exciting to bring to the table. And I'm pretty happy to say that I think as far as a visionary, you know, look ahead. The amount of artists used in collaboration with brands has only increased in the last 10 years. So obviously, the company started off slow, and we were like, still getting the word out there. And maybe we had a collective of under 20 artists. And now we have 60 plus in various different styles, because there really are so many opportunities out there. And, you know, we're growing artists reach out to us all the time. We are, you know, kind of particular about who we add, because we don't want to outgrow ourselves. But also we feel that we like to balance out the styles across the roster. But that's how we started. And, you know, we've had also a lot of different Navigating on how we operate through the inception and pandemic, and post pandemic,

Gianna Andrews  07:56

A lot has changed in the last nine years, like rapidly, so I'm sure about something to always navigate. And why do you think it is that brands now are working with artists more than ever before?

Jackie Collins  08:10

Well, I think one factor is definitely money. I know firsthand that if you are a brand, let's just say Coca Cola, and you want to produce a photoshoot with three people, two dogs, and an elaborate set behind you that can cost anywhere from $300,000 to $600,000. But if you want to pivot and say, Hey, let's do an illustration campaign, you're talking about one artist behind a tablet screen computer. And then you know, obviously, their creative fee and usage and that would be much less. So I think that part of it is budgets. And then also part of it is just being innovative, like getting people's attention, and then the increase in likes of tick tock and Instagram and social media and websites like just having something like flashy and creative and potentially, you know, changing illustration and art is easier to work with and like just constantly doing photography.

Gianna Andrews  09:25

Right? Yeah. And it seems like too, as brands enter or brands are basically needing social media in order to spread their message, their branding and kind of stay relevant in this day and age having that single artists to collaborate with might add to their storytelling and like and personality and also like relatability of the brand potentially more than like a fad.

Jackie Collins  09:53

Yeah, and I think more so than a photographer like artists who have social media followings. themselves. And then you're right. Like the artist has a personality and a persona and their own audience. So like, you know, maybe Coca Cola has an audience, but then you're working with an artist on my roster, Jason nailer. And like, you have an insight into his life, what colorful socks he's wearing in the morning. And you know how his day unfolds? And it sort of brings the attention to a different audience.

Gianna Andrews  10:26

So you live in New York City right now, is that correct? I do. And have you always lived there?

Jackie Collins  10:33

I was born and raised just outside of New York City, and have been living in New York City for over 20 years. So I think that makes me a true New Yorker. I do spend a fair amount of time going out to Los Angeles, I hope to keep increasing the amount of time that I'm out there. In 2019, I went six or seven times, and then obviously in 2020, my suitcase was very sad and stayed in my closet for about 1416 months. And I really did appreciate that reset. But we just got back from visiting Los Angeles, and it truly does, like inspire me in a different way. And we have a fair amount of artists that are based there. So I really like to FaceTime with them. And we're trying to increase our clients on the West Coast.

Gianna Andrews  11:25

Yeah, that makes sense. So you're kind of going there. And also, I feel like it's just such a different vibe of a city with the warmth and the palm trees. And it must it's a nice balance to New York. I imagine right now. It's pretty chilly there.

Jackie Collins  11:39

And I truly do love both. I'm not to one or the other. I think they both have some really magical pros and cons.

Gianna Andrews  11:49

Have you always been drawn to art? Or have you ever dabbled in creativity yourself.

Jackie Collins  11:55

Um, so actually, my background is, as a performing artist, I grew up my entire life dancing. And I was a professional dancer here in New York for seven years. And I felt very fulfilled by it for five of the seven years and spent the last two years feeling like there was something else I wanted to be doing. And usually my analogy is, if I was sitting in the audience, while they were doing, say, like a tech rehearsal, my brain was always thinking about how it could run smoother and like, what they should be doing differently. And I just think that like, there's a part of me that has more of a producer hat. And I knew I wanted to stay immersed in the arts, but I think that I wanted to be on the other side. And I wanted to be able to be like, you know, working in a strategic way. I love to write, I wanted to have a job that incorporated writing. So I went to grad school at NYU, and got my master's. And from there, my path has ranged from working as an executive director of a dance company to representing musicians that were scoring, ballets, and then commercials. And then that led me into representing photographers, and then now artists.

Gianna Andrews  13:22

Wow, that's so interesting. So you really had, you had your start in the creative field, which is kind of the origin and then found your director hat or so to speak. And then that led you to kind of helping other artists reach their full potential and dreams which is really a cool thing.

Jackie Collins  13:41

Yeah, and something that's really important to me now and in the future, is to develop a way to mentor artists that are transitioning out of say, performing, and or let's, I mean, even just say, if you're a visual artist, and something happens to your hands, and you can't, you know, and like helping those artists transition into other careers that can be equally fulfilling, and maybe they don't know about, like, how to develop a CV and how to have a LinkedIn profile and like, you know, protecting them with opportunities to work on the other side of their performing or creative career.

Gianna Andrews  14:24

Yeah, like a mentorship program or something because I know that specifically, I have a close friend that is a dancer, and it is the short timeframe where your body can actually do those things. And then it's like, what's next after that?

Jackie Collins  14:38

You hear it to football players, and everyone's always feeling sorry for football players because they have to retire at 36. But they've been making millions of dollars for a decade, so it's a little easier on them. And I don't think people realize that ballerinas Just as an example, sacrifice their entire lives and livelihood to devote, you know, their time to this craft, and maybe their career ends in their mid 30s, or sooner if they sustained an injury. And unfortunately, they don't make as much money as a football player, and they do need to have something else to fall back on. Many of them maybe didn't go to college, many of them maybe haven't been networking in other industries, and I would love to bring all of my network, you know, to them and help,

Gianna Andrews  15:36

That would be amazing. So is that kind of a future project you're planning in with Fillin? Or would that be like a separate mentorship program?

Jackie Collins  15:43

It's separate, I actually have a friend who was also a dancer with me, who shares this goal, and we are planning on doing something together. That

Gianna Andrews  15:55

would be awesome. I think that would really help a lot of people. I love that. So you're, you're kind of constantly working with talent, and looking at plenty of artists, what is the biggest mistake you see artists making? Right now?

Jackie Collins  16:08

Um, that's an interesting question. Something that I feel could potentially be a mistake in terms of like, once you're embedded in a project that, you know, we feel really strongly about at Fillin, if an artist is resistant to adapt to a creative direction. So let's just say you're working for a beauty packaging project, and they give you a creative brief and the artist, you know, we will negotiate that there's two rounds of revisions. But let's just say maybe they're not hitting the mark, and the client isn't happy. Like, our job is like, you know, we want to make a client happy. And if an artist resists and is like, well, that's not true to my style, and no, I will, you know, and pushes back too much. I feel that that's a mistake. If you want to work commercially, if you just want to make fine art that you sell, and you show and it's not for, you know, a brand or directed by someone, then all all for you know, your creative vision 100%. But I think artists have to understand, and many of them come to us saying like, I want to work commercially, I want to work with brands, but then you have to adapt to the ask like what they're asking for.

Gianna Andrews  17:29

Yeah, you really have to like put your own ego and self aside to be like, let's just make sure if a client is 100%, happy, and not it's not about making yourself

Jackie Collins  17:40

necessarily win is a key word there. Yes,

Gianna Andrews  17:44

It's definitely difficult. And it probably takes a certain type of artists that can succeed in that type of role and industry.

Jackie Collins  17:52

The thing we like to be involved in is in between, because we want to protect the artists integrity as well. So we're always there for the artists, but we also work for the client. And then that's why we try to find that beautiful in between where everybody stays happy.

Gianna Andrews  18:08

What are qualities you are maybe not looking for in artists around the world, since you have to be highly selective on curating Fillin and you know, your clientele.

Jackie Collins  18:22

I mean, I often find that a lot of clients when they come to us, like whether it's in the you know, brief of the description of what they need, or in maybe their contract, like a lot of people will, will really be hesitant to work with an artist that is like very openly public politically, or like using profanity, which again, all for it, if that's like your message, your fine art, but it generally doesn't lend itself very well to the commercial world. So we kind of take that into a factor and we really like to interview all of our artists on Zoom or in person, because personality matters to us because we want the process to be smooth. So if we do feel an artist, potentially, is very strong willed or has, you know, too much control over you know, the way their designs go, then we just know it's not going to work in the commercial world. Sometimes there's one decision maker, sometimes there's seven who really need to be somebody that can be easy to work with.

Gianna Andrews  19:31

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So are you connecting artists as well with galleries? And are you representing the fine art side? Is it just focused on commercials?

Jackie Collins  19:40

No, that is probably about 5% of our business is selling fine art or placing fine art. Like we have some relationships with some of these like, you know, membership clubs in New York and Los Angeles, that we might, you know, place art to be home. We have a few relationships with interior designers, we have been contacted by hotels, we've placed our in the background of a TV show. But that's a very small percentage of our business, we actually encourage artists to all do that separately from us and you know, look for gallery representation and show their work and sell their work online. Our main focus is brand collaborations, indoor, outdoor murals, digital projects, you know, whether it's from a website, social media, or like, major print campaigns. Interesting,

Gianna Andrews  20:34

And what do you love most about your job?

Jackie Collins  20:38

I think my favorite part of my job is literally like riding the subway and seeing an ad that we worked on. Oh, that's cool. Oh, that was us. Or watching a TV commercial. Like we did a New York lotto campaign, and you know, sitting at home watching TV with my family, I mean, like, hey, we did that.

Gianna Andrews  20:59

You really get to like seeing it out in the world. And that just must be such a fulfilling feeling to know that the hard work that went in behind the scenes, people are actually getting to enjoy it.

Jackie Collins  21:09

then really, like, I mean, I love facilities, facilitating relationships for artists and seeing them like, you know, pleased with an outcome of a project or excited to work with a certain brand or, you know, just watching the project, start from a little pencil sketch to, you know, the final product is really fulfilling.

Gianna Andrews  21:32

Yeah, and I feel like that's such an important role you, you facilitate as well, because with artists, I know, it can just be hard, like, they don't always want to vote, we don't always want to focus on the business side of things and like negotiations, and all of that can can get really like overwhelming and almost stop. People from wanting to stop artists from wanting to pursue that commercial route or working with brands.

Jackie Collins  21:57

Yeah, when we first have conversations with the artist, and we want to tell them like, well, this is what it's going to look like if you start working with us. And, you know, my favorite story is to tell them, we want to take a lot of that admin busy work off your plate, and that sometimes projects have an email chain of like, 132 emails before the actual first design is submitted. So we're on those 132 emails, and the artist doesn't need to be or instance, like Jason nailer is on a lift painting a wall that's 20 feet high, he doesn't want to be responding to DMS, he just writes to them, like, here's Jackie, you know, and then I get to alleviate that back and forth. And like, you know, discern if a project is right for an artist before they even have to spend much time on it,

Gianna Andrews  22:56

You can't literally physically can't be creating art and doing the admin and responding to emails.

Jackie Collins  23:03

Some like it, and some artists really like to be very involved. And I usually tell them, you have to link, relinquish a bit of control, if you want to have an agent speak on your behalf. So you have to be comfortable with that. And I usually say if you don't think you're going to be then maybe an agent isn't for you. But if you want nothing to do with, you know, vendor setup and emails back and forth and creating a timeline, then we are the agency for you, because that's what we're good at. And that's what we do all day long.

Gianna Andrews  23:33

So what can we expect to see from you and Fillin, in the next year? And what are you excited about working on?

Jackie Collins  23:40

So we are doing a very exciting project this late spring, early summer with a fashion parent company here in New York. So I can't say much more. But that will be exciting, because we will probably be able to tap into 10 or more existing Fillin artists. So I really love when multiple artists work on a project. We have another relationship with a gaming company called level 99. And we have murals inside their spaces, and they're opening a new space. And they will come to Fillin for some of our artists, which is exciting. And I'm really hoping to have more animation and like movement projects this year. Interesting. Feels like the ask is out there and that people are doing more animation. So I think that will be fun. And we just recently signed some very exciting artists like a mural artist based in Spain whose work is phenomenal and I'm just excited to see what potential projects could come. I'd like to work with some more fashion or beauty brands that my daughter will then think that my job is cool.

Gianna Andrews  24:57

We're always trying to impress them or Is that Gen Z?

Jackie Collins  25:02

I think Gen Z

Gianna Andrews  25:04

Okay. Right on the edge of Gen Z. Yeah, that is a whole new breed that we are figuring out how to contain. hard, very hard to impress. Well, it sounds like you're up to some really awesome things. It's been interesting just hearing about your job and how you found your path. And thanks so much for sharing today about everything

Jackie Collins  25:24

I think I'd love To visit more cities. Yes.

Gianna Andrews  25:27

Yeah. Do you have any top cities on your bucket list?

Jackie Collins  25:31

Um, we are thinking about going to Minneapolis because there's a good amount of business there. And I know I need to go to San Francisco. But for some reason, I always seem to land in Los Angeles and never make it up that way. But we'd like to come up there as well.

Gianna Andrews  25:48

It is a ways away like it's probably much faster to fly and then try another flight. Yes. All right. Well, best of luck with all of your future endeavors and projects, and it's been really nice to connect today.

Jackie Collins  25:59

Yes, thank you for asking me, for sure.

Gianna Andrews  26:01

All right. Have a great weekend. You too. Thank you. Bye.