Interview With An Agent: Anna Zieger
last updated 02 August 2023
Interview by Rachel Moffat
Our agents move mountains, working with our artists to make dreams come true. In this blog series, we sit down with our experts and give you an insight into their story and their passion for all things Bright.
Join us now as we interview Bright Agent: Anna Zieger
Where did your love of art come from?
My love for art actually didn’t come until later in life. I was originally more of a words person and books have always been my number one love. So, my real love of art actually came when I interned for Bright many years ago. For the first time I was surrounded by artists and designers, people who valued and saw the beauty in the visual arts and storytelling. I’m now good friends with designers and illustrators and they have shown me how beautiful life can be if you go into a book shop and choose the nicer edition, or a title with some beautiful illustrations.
It also depends on what you mean by ‘art’. There’s illustration, but I’ve always been a massive fan of visual storytelling in different types of media and how that is created and composed.
Tell me about your journey to Bright. What interested you when you were younger and how did that effect your career journey?
I’ve always been fascinated by creative people, that’s something that I’ve always had. I grew up in Germany and when I finished school I came to London to do an international internship. That’s when I found Bright. I wanted to get some professional experience before going to university and couldn’t have chosen a better place to do so.
I quickly became someone that did a bit of everything. It was supposed to be a three-month marketing internship but by the time I left I’d had a chance to work in almost every division at Bright, including assisting the Agents. I then stayed with Bright for six months and utterly fell in love with the business. Afterwards, I went back to Germany to do a degree in Media, English and Film, which was my gateway back into the publishing industry.
I finished university in 2019, began looking for jobs in 2020 but, as we all know, finding a job then was a little difficult. However, I always stayed positive and returned to the UK again in 2020 to work in magazine publishing. I had such strong, fond memories of Bright that I decided to reach out to Vicki a year later. Serendipitously, a job had just opened up for an Associate Agent to work with Lucie in educational, which was where my agenting experience had begun.
I started three days later. I was staying with a friend of mine at the time, in the midst of the Suffolk countryside, and I remember Bright sending me a courier with a laptop from London that very night. That man had to ride through wind and rain on his little Vespa to get me all set up. I’ll never forget him.
How was the transition, going from working as an Intern to working as an Agent?
To be honest, it felt very natural. It was exciting to see how much the company had grown, not just in numbers but in character, workflow and operations. What I love about agenting is that we do a little bit of everything. We work with the marketing department, with accounts, invoicing and then, of course, with the artists.
I would say that I got an important insight into everyone else’s work as an Intern. It was helpful to see how other people work and I think – I hope – it’s made me more empathetic to what people may need from me, and how important each department really is. The Agents are often the face of the company but there is so much important work going on behind the scenes.
Now that you are an Agent, what do you look for in an artist?
I love a good character – there is so much story you can portray with a strong character – and I love a bit of humour. I also love strong colours and contrast. Something that is unique. My favourite artists all have very distinct styles that you could easily pick out in a crowd. I also discovered that I have a weakness for non-fiction, natural history art. I love those books.
What’s your favourite piece of art that you’ve seen recently?
There are too many to choose from. The lovely Tika and Tata Bobokhidze have recently created a set of new artwork that is absolutely stunning. They are incredibly talented and bold with their colours.
I’ve also taken on a couple of new artists that I am very excited about. One of them is Dahlia Mouton. She has such a unique style and there are so many brilliant pieces in her portfolio, but one that I love is this female warrior on a chess board. It’s such a unique and strong piece.
Those are just two that come to mind but there are genuinely so many more! There is something new to discover every day.
Aaron Cushley for Guvna B & Emma Borquaye’s Where Grandad Lives
Tell me about a project that you really enjoyed working on?
Again, there are so many… I was really excited about a project we booked with author and rapper Guvna B and Emma Borquaye who wrote a lovely story about loss and how to deal with grief as a child. It’s called Where Grandad Lives and is the first picture book I ever booked.
Another set of artwork that comes to mind was for a campaign challenge we did last November. The artists were only allowed to use cold colours and I just remember that all the pieces were so unique and beautiful. Lots of cold blues and greens.
The other was the Grimms’ Fairytale campaign, a collaboration between the UK and international markets. The responses that we got back were overwhelming! Growing up in Germany these stories had been a big part of my childhood but seeing all of the artists, no matter where they were from, sharing these gorgeous pieces of artwork about stories they had also grown up with was a wonderful thing. I actually learned about some new stories as well.
When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your time?
I love travelling. I have family in Ireland and Germany so I travel a lot. And I love exploring. I recently moved to Oxford and will spend my weekends walking around, trying new coffee shops and pubs.
I’m also a huge film and book lover. Bookshops are my happy place, I definitely have a book buying problem! I love going to the theatre too, especially whenever I’m in London. And music! Music is really important to me, I have a big weakness for film music.
Essentially, anything evolving the arts. But no matter what I’m doing, the best evenings always end with a trip to the nearest pub. There’s nothing like talking to people over a pint of Guinness – that’s the Irish in me.
Can you Spotify or Apple Music and tell me what the last song you listened to was?
This could go very badly. I was actually listening to AnnenMayKantereit, which is a brilliant German band! Before that I was listening to Starman by David Bowie.
What has been your best day at Bright?
It must have been a random Tuesday, one of those days where the projects are all running smoothly, the artists are all happy, and I remember one of my clients sending me a really lovely email saying how easy it is to work with us and how lovely the artist was. It’s days like that, that really make me appreciate the work we’re doing and the industry we work in.
Second to that would be the Christmas party! It’s always nice to see the artists that we haven’t seen in a while and sharing some funky dance moves on the dance floor.
What has been the biggest hurdle in your career?
COVID! That’s the easy answer, but I hate giving COVID that power because I do feel like I got through it really well. Nevertheless, it would be amiss to not say it had a huge influence on the start of my career.
What do you know about the industry now that you wish you could have told yourself when you first started?
That it’s much more versatile than I thought. Growing up in Germany we often had very beautiful but traditional children’s books, they weren’t like the titles that we’re producing now. It is lovely to see an increase and growing variety of different voices in media and the inclusivity that is so important to share with our children at a young age.
That’s why I think I love non-fiction as well. I started in educational and I believe that nothing is more important than teaching children a love for books early on. We work with so many wonderful clients, for example, Barrington Stoke in Scotland, who make accessible books for children with dyslexia and other learning difficulties using different coloured paper, and that wasn’t really around when I was growing up.
There’s a whole new generation who are finding their way back to reading and that is lovely to see. It’s so important to have that escapism every once in a while. Nothing can quite give you that like books.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Don’t forget that your art has value. Art can be a really lonely job sometimes, I think COVID really made people aware of how isolating it can be. Feedback can feel really personal, but it doesn’t have to be. Share your work more, show it to people, benefit from shared knowledge and experience. Mostly, be proud of your work.
A final message?
Don’t close yourself off to new possibilities. Just be open to things, share that extra piece of artwork, reach out to that extra person because it could change your life. Be brave, be open, be you.
To work with Anna, get in contact here.