Once upon a time there was an illustrator. Somebody started to take out his folio and seven other illustrators thought they’d like that somebody to take out their folios too. Eight illustrators became eighty illustrators, the somebody became several people, the whole lot became the Central Illustration Agency.
Ben co-owns and runs the agency, and has been representing artists since 1998. As well as taking a strategic hold on things he still likes grabbing a ringing phone and is as happy dealing with commissions as he is handling special projects.
Like everyone at CIA Ben comes from an art school background and initially managed an illustration gallery before becoming an agent. He heads a creative CIA team who as well as collaborating with the bold and the beautiful of the global commissioning market, also create regular in-house projects to challenge and bring together the agency's international stable of artists, most notably our recent collaborations with charitable organisations such as the V&A Museum of Childhood and Graeae Theatre Company. He loves his wife, cooking and the Wales Rugby team.
Our Senior Agent Tess is here to help provide just the right artist for your project. Equally happy visiting your agency or handling your enquiry from CIA HQ, she can guide you through artist selection, pricing and licenses.
Tess is a practising artist who graduated from Bath and within moments of arriving at CIA jumped into the business like she’d been an agent all her life. There’s little that Tess doesn’t know about illustration, in fact she knows a good deal about most things and when she’s not absorbed in visual art is travelling the world or bingeing on live music. Often both at once.
Acclaimed artist and founder of CIA back in 1983, Brian is a full-time artist and remains a heavyweight influence on the look of British illustration.
Brian still keeps an enthusiastic eye on the agency’s progress while continuing to work as one of the UK’s most iconic illustrators. Nestled for most of the time in his garden studio in East Sussex, he swings into Shoreditch a couple of times a month to see how we’re all doing, check out new artists and add a dash of dandy to the general proceedings. He’s invariably had a call on the way to town and needs to get his brushes out as soon as he arrives, but it’s rather nice having some art being made right here at the agency now and then. Brian has earned his place in creative society by the merits of his expressive, ideas-led illustration and has also recently received an Honorary Degree from Nottingham Trent University. He also plays base with the Butchers of Blues, has a suite named after him at Raffles and enjoys a pint or three of Harveys whenever he gets the chance.
The multi-talented Lavinia is our third agent and also the official spokesperson for CIA being the author of all things social media.
Given the many tasks Lavinia handles at CIA we can safely call her all-singing, all-dancing - because she also sings and dances. Not that she makes a song or dance about it. Continuing the CIA model she’s an art school graduate, certified foodie and aficionado of all things stage and screen.
Someone has to balance the books, but even the CIA bean-counter is a rather wonderful fine art painter and cultural know-it-all.
Quite what we'd do without her is anyone's guess. With all this agenting going on, someone has got to do the math and Sarah's the financial brains of the operation - left to our own devices we probably wouldn't have any lights on right now! Fielding all the money questions with the patience of a saint, Sarah had us all summed up years ago and keeps us firmly on the straight and narrow. When she's not knackering out calculators she's a regular cultural sponge and can often be found in some theatre, museum or mosh-pit.
We're very proud to have the inimitable Hugo looking after CIA's French operation from his base in Place Saint Georges.
Everyone here loves Paris and each time we make an excuse to visit Monsieur Weinberg it's like hanging out with an A-lister! Everyone knows Hugo and Hugo knows everyone - and not only the movers and shakers of the creative industry, but more importantly the Maitre Ds in all the best places to eat. If you're in France and need to see the best in international illustration and fancy a spot of foie gras and a glass of sauternes afterwards, he's your man…
We are happy to annonce that our friend from many years back, Art Director Morten Saether now is working as an agent for us in Scandinavia.
He is based in Oslo and happy to help you with any questions regarding illustrators from the CIA.