Central Illustration

London commercial art agency looks to US market with limited edition prints


Reaching the ripe old age of 30 this year, London-based illustration agency Central Illustration is reaching out to American clients with two limited edition screen prints and a brand new US-focused website to represent a host of its illustration talent stateside.

While they regularly work with advertising agencies such as Wieden + Kennedy, JWT, M&C Saatchi and Ogilvy, and with editorial clients including New Scientist, The Telegraph, Future Publishing, the Folio Society, Bloomsbury and Time Warner, they haven't—until now (this week, in fact)—been proactive in encouraging US commissions.


“Despite a small percentage of our illustrators having existing active representation in the States, the majority of Central Illustration artists have nobody pushing them in what is the biggest commissioning territory,” says managing director Ben Cox, who is in New York this week to meet with art buyers and potential clients. “The global nature of the internet has led to work coming into Central Illustration from all over the States. The geographical distance is evidently making little difference to American clients who are keen to work with a more international roster of commercial artists. We want to encourage this trend,” Cox says.


Busy New York art buyers are notoriously difficult to track down. To get their attention, Cox sent out teaser screen prints designed by London-based Telegramme Studio to a carefully filtered list of art buyers. The charming print combines the quintessentially British cup of tea with a New York-style manhole emitting steam. “We sent out the teaser prints to the people we wanted to meet and followed up with phone calls,” says Cox of the old-school, internet-free approach. He's now got got a busy schedule of New York meetings and believes the city holds the key to increasing American interest in the illustrators his agency supports.

He hopes building face-to-face relationships with US-based clients will establish confidence in the agency's accessibility and ability to provide the level of service one might expect from a local agency.


What the various creative folk who have agreed to meet Cox this week don't know (yet) is that he will leave them with another cute screen print (again by Telegramme) numbered in an edition of 50. In this print, a classic Manhattan is decorated not with a cocktail umbrella, but a good ol' English brolly. Cheers!

The 40-plus group of artists that Central Illustration now represents in the US includes Neal Fox, Brian Grimwood, Carol Lawson, Clare Melinsky, Ian Bilbey, Jessie Ford and Nishant Choksi. Check out Central Illustration's website for more information and to order your own New York-themed screen print.

Images courtesy of Central Illustration