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Steven Wilson
28th March 2017

Breed turns ten: Q&A with founder Olivia Triggs

Rewind ten years to early 2007 and Olivia Triggs was preparing to launch creative talent agency Breed. Jump forward to 2017 and the small but unstoppable agency has cemented its position in the fast-moving creative world as the home of boundary pushing, thought provoking, smile inducing, nose-snort-laughingly funny artists from each extremity of the art and design landscape.
Olivia Triggs
Breed’s carefully curated family of artists currently includes the likes of graphic art hero Kate Moross, commentative illustrator Matt Blease and acclaimed photographers Cat Garcia and Danny Sangra, to name a few. Olivia’s commitment to nurturing transparent, hands-on, culturally aware artists and relationships is evident in her impressive portfolio of highly original and emotive projects — conceived in a variety of mediums including art, photography and illustration.
Sabine has been friends with Olivia for many years now, and Zetteler has had the pleasure of working closely with her to promote the work of Breed’s artists in a way that is seamlessly in line with her vision for the business. On the eve of the agency’s tenth anniversary we thought it only right to ask its founder to reflect on a decade in the business.
Danny Sangra
Matt Blease
Hello Olivia! To mark ten years of Breed we thought we’d ask you some questions about the past decade. First up, what were you doing exactly ten years ago?

I was in Soho, getting to grips with it all. At that point, I was only working with Steven Wilson, Neal Murren and Rose Stallard. James Joyce and Kate Moross followed shortly afterwards and from there it just continued to grow quite naturally. I’ve checked my old Hotmail account from those days and among our early clients were Wunderman, Nike USA and Universal – all with Steven Wilson.
Neal Murren
What are your top ten favourite projects that Breed has worked on/with?

That’s a really hard one to answer. There have been so many, and I enjoyed most of them for different reasons. Quite early on there was a collaboration between Mulberry and Natasha Law that was challenging — so much work was involved — but really good to work on. There was artwork for stage shows in New York and London, in-store artwork, all the printed material for New York fashion week. But at the end of it we got to walk into a Mulberry party in New York, and there were Natasha’s large format figures and paper flowers everywhere. Very satisfying.
Then there was James Joyce’s work at Dismaland, Banksy’s take on a theme park at Weston-Super-Mare in 2015. Seeing James’ take on the smiley face as the signature image of the project was amazing.
I always enjoy working with talent that’s new to the agency, most recently Craig and Karl and Anna Bu Kliewer. And the way you interact with them is different too, especially as Craig and Karl were already established, but new to us, while Anna was completely new to the industry.
Natasha Law
James Joyce
We’ve expanded our remit beyond illustration, as well. So, working with photographer Cat Garcia took us into new territory. And her book Our Time was definitely a highlight of the last 10 years. At the moment, we’re looking forward to her Quarterly exhibition, which is happening this July at the Leica Mayfair Gallery.
One final highlight – the fun of working with the wit and humour of Matt Blease, and seeing how he manages to translate it into his commissioned work.  We’ve been working on new projects with Rapha again recently, and they’re such a perfect match for Matt’s style.
Cat Garcia
Matt Blease
Your list of artists is quite something, and diverse in style. How do the people you represent inspire you?

They all have their own very distinct styles and personalities, which makes them all inspirational in different ways. Every day there’s something new that makes me see and think of things differently, from very graphic works, to more conceptual, to 3D, to an older style of illustration. And because the artists all have such unique styles, they attract a very diverse range of clients as well.
Finding and working with creative talent the way you do is a fine art, and we won't ask you to reveal your secrets, but are there any particularly memorable or funny stories behind how you met your artists?

Well, when Breed was getting underway, creative director (and all round character) Mike Dorrian was always introducing me to artists. He’s a brilliant talent spotter. He told me I HAD to meet Kate Moross and James Joyce. And then he said the same about MASA. The weird thing is, though MASA has been with us quite a while, I’ve still never met him in person as he lives in Mexico after moving there from Venezuela.
As a side note, I was introduced to Sabine by Steven Wilson, after she got in touch with him to tell him how much she loved his prints. So, you never know where you’re going to come across someone who’s going to be important to you in the future.
Steven Wilson
Kate Moross
If you could give yourself ten years ago one piece of business advice, what would it be?

That while there are tremendous highs there will also be lows. Learn to embrace them, and you’ll learn from them. More practically, if you take the opportunity to get ahead with marketing during the quiet times, it will pay off. You’ll get out from it only what you put into it.

Oh, and make sure you have a strong, supportive team around you.
You’ve known Sabine for a long time and are a long time client of Zetteler, how does our work support yours?

As Breed is quite small in the big scheme of things, Sabine (and her team) has been a godsend in terms of being clued up with press, PR and social media. She just gets what Breed is all about, what we need and when we need it. It’s like she has an extra sense that’s lacking in the rest of us. Or, at least, in me. So, thank you Team Zetteler.
James Joyce
Anna Blu Kliewer
Craig & Karl
Danny Sangra
Andy Gilmore.
Paula Castro

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