So often people want to know the story behind the photographer or the creative on a project, but what about the art producer? Art production is such an interesting job to say the least. The people I know in this position come from such rich and diverse backgrounds and rarely do they follow the same path to become one. Understanding this, I thought it would be fun to host a series of interviews with art producers that doesn’t just address how to get their attention, but instead celebrate the art producer for who they are, where they came from and what is important in their life.
Thank you Kellie Bingman for agreeing to be part of this series. Nikki is a Freelance Art Producer who has the unique experience of doing integrated production before there ever was such a thing. She is up for any challenge and is not afraid of outlandish requests. You can find more about her at her profile on FreelanceArtProducer.com so be sure to check it out and consider her for your next project.
Here is what she had to say:
What did you “want to be when you grew up?” Are you surprised where you ended up?
I knew I wanted to work in a creative field, particularly advertising, but I just couldn’t figure out where I’d fit in. I read all the books about the different roles in advertising but none of them seemed right for me. After years working as a marketing director in the non-profit arts world, I went to work for a well-known photographer as marketing director/rep/producer. It was through working with our clients, the advertising agencies, that I learned about the role of an art producer and finally found my role in advertising.
Growing up, what were you creative interests?
I have always loved arts of all forms and in particular, photography. It truly is my passion and I never grow tired of it. As an art producer, I am fortunate to be exposed to so many talented artists. There is always something amazing to see and be inspired by.
Do you have a personal aesthetic that comes through in the photographers work you are drawn to?
I’m drawn to a wide variety of styles. I like images that evoke some sort of emotion, whether subtle or powerful, from humor to awe. I love gorgeous, sumptuous images but I’m also a fan of quirky, left of center images. Bottom line is, I’m inspired by work with a point of view, a distinctive style and superior craftsmanship.
Are your talents being needed in ways that you didn’t expect?
I have found myself becoming a teacher and a mentor over the years. I’ve taught young art directors and account managers what their roles are on a photoshoot, I’ve coached the art producers I’ve hired how to be great at their jobs. I’ve trained my advertising colleagues on how to stay legally compliant, I’ve explained to interns what art production is and how it fits into the creative process. I’ve instructed a bi-annual class, Art Production 101, to photography students at the Art Institute in Durham. And I’ve informed friends and family, not in the business, just what it is I do for a living!
How have your life experiences influenced your job choice?
I grew up in the military, moving from state to state, country to country and experiencing so many different cultures and personalities. That’s not unlike working as a producer. We travel for our jobs, meet amazing people, and assimilate quickly to any given circumstance.
If you could change one thing in the creative industry right now, what would that be?
The flexibility and new pathways that digital has opened up are wonderful, yet it does come with some challenges. I’m afraid that sometimes craftsmanship may be sacrificed by the drive for more, faster, cheaper. We have to guard against losing quality for quantity while still meeting the client’s needs.
If you weren’t an art producer, what would you do?
It’s funny that you ask that question, because as it happens, I am now in a position where I’m examining that. At heart, I am a facilitator. I get satisfaction from the collaborative process of working with a team toward an end goal. I like putting the puzzle pieces together to make ideas a reality. I think a role in project management, creative resource management or other types of production would be good fits for me.