Being a rep is not an easy job. I worked for an illustrator agency for more than 3 years now. Although my boss is not always reasonable, he does it OK. I don’t think I’m smooth enough to deal with a lot of situations happening here. Maybe it’s cultural thing; maybe it’s a personality thing.
The movie, Jerry McGuire, inspired me a lot. In my own mind, an agent should really take care of his artists. An agent shouldn’t put money in front of artists’ benefit. An agent should believe in his/her own artists and carries them on no matter they are going through good days or bad days. An agent should find a way to sell a style that s/he believes in rather than ask artists to change. So yes, it takes tons of time and efforts to do this. This is definitely a commitment, an agent to an artist. And yes, that means you can’t take on too many artists at the same time.
How about artists?
Again in my own mind, if an artist decided to get a rep and start a business relationship together, you should be honest with your agent. Sit down and talk about your short term and long term artistic goals. If you are not a self-driven artist and you don’t know what you want for you life, your career will be in trouble very often even with a rep.
To me, a healthy relationship between an agent and an artist should rely on the respect and trust to each other. It also relies on the belief in professionalism. I’m young but I’m an old school person. I still believe in the good side of humanity, faith and trust.