THINGS THEY DON'T TEACH YOU IN ART SCHOOL: Agents
Typically, the agent likes to "pigeonhole" an artist. I had one that insisted on calling me an "Technical Airbrush Artist" and marketed me as that. I hated it. Because I did more than airbrush and now, have since given up airbrushing because of health reasons and...painting in oils is just *better*. If I did anything else, this agent didn't want to show it, which means I couldn't grow as an artist. Also, this person, I found out, had a "substance addiction". Clients paid this person soon enough, but the excuse given was "They haven't paid yet". And the truth was, it was going up this person's nose and the hope they had was getting money later to pay the artists!!! Finally, the agent tried to "launder" some money via a job I was doing-this person insisted that they were entitled to a percentage from another job I had gotten on my own. The job I was doing just happened to be enough for the percentage, and basically, the agent kept it and made it appear,on paper, as if I had received the money at the end of the year. There was no issue with what I did, but, this person tried to in effect, launder money. That was the straw that broke the camel's back.
So I broke ranks with this person and left them to their own and haven't looked back(and it's been 17 years). Still another agent-who was an artist- was "repping" artists and then, the artists did HIS jobs and he'd sign HIS name to the work!! And still another had her art-director husband comment and ART DIRECTING the work that he had nothing to do with!!!
I am sure there are a few agents that are good, and I do know a few. But largely it was a negative experience. Sometimes, certain "large" corporations insist on an "Agent interface" because they, cannot deal with us beatnik artist types.
The other kind of agent that has worked out has been Licensing Reps. What they do is assign rights to work, for books, puzzles, drink coasters, stationary, checks, etc. All this is simply "found money" and that works great. Nothing but good experience there. There is a different style and approach these kinds of reps take. You lose nothing and have everything to gain in many cases.
So, that's my speel on Artist Agents. A lot of people get really screwed by some, and it's out of sheer innocence and ignorance of the fact that Reps are more like Lawyers than anyone creative-they're out to feather their own nests.