Meet Suzanne Sease. Suzanne was among the first Art Buyers and has amazing insight for photographers, Art Buyers, Producers, Creatives, and so many others. We asked Suzanne to come up with some ideas and she had tons! We thought how Art Buying was created was a good place to start. Suzanne is a real champion for photographers and has so much heart for it. You can just tell how passionate she is, especially when it comes to protecting photographers and their intellectual property.
Thanks so much, Suzanne and we hope to hear more from you!
“And that is how Art Buyers were created”
Former Art Buyer: Suzanne Sease
I remember the days when I was at The Martin Agency in the budget control department. I was responsible for every single dollar spent on all print media assignments. I really got to know the cost of advertising. I was responsible for time and expenses, with the responsibility of keeping track of the dollars spent until the project was ready to be billed to the client. I would get all the invoices and verify that a purchase order had been issued. The majority of time it just had the photographer/illustrators name with no estimated cost written on them. And usage? To an Art Director, what’s that- “I want such and such to shoot this so who cares how it is going to be used. I want to win an award.” The estimate was usually a quote over the phone and rarely in writing. The purchased props never came back to the agency but damn that art director looked good in those new cowboy boots! And so the art buyer was created.
I spent my first several weeks of training at Scali, McCabe and Sloves (think Perdue- “takes a tough man to make a tender chicken”) under the supervision of the late Linda Marso and Amy Schuster. They taught me so much and the very first day we were checking in the inventory from a Bacardi ad, making sure receipts matched the inventory. The photographer was Eric Meola, who was very buttoned up, so not a single problem. The inventory went to the client as they had paid for it. Most clients donate the inventory to charities, but still need to show the value of what was purchased. At this point, you all are thinking “Oh the glamour”, checking in used clothing while sitting on the floor! Most had not been washed.
On about day three, I got a great lesson in copyright infringement. A photographer walked in to show his work. It was really bad. He could see the meeting was not going well, so he pulled out some transparencies (okay, I just dated myself but then again wisdom comes with age). This work was beautiful, but I spotted an image I had seen the day before with a rep for another photographer. The photographer left and I told Amy about the image. We went to Linda who called the work back in for a possible “Nikon” job. We called the photographer back in for a meeting and he was never expecting Jay Maisel, Brett Froomer and the rep for Bob Krist to retrieve their images.
The photographer was required to sign a form that legal action would be taken if they were ever shown again. I returned home from my experiences at the big New York agency and established the department at The Martin Agency. As the agency grew so did the responsibilities and experiences. So, the art buyer position was not only created to protect the agency/client, but more so the photographer/illustrator. It is the same today.
This is the first of many articles about what it is like from the inside from someone who is no longer at an agency, so I can speak freely. I am a creative consultant who uses my experience at different ad agencies, large and small, as well as in house corporations to help my clients take their work to the next level. I can be contacted at: Suzanne.firstname.lastname@example.org and suzannesease.com