Debjoy Ray, Founder The Artists Project

He has the names of Rohan Shrestha, Nikhil Mansata and Shruti Gupte under his banner!

The Artists Project A.K.A TAP is a creative talent marketing agency that has capabilities to service the visual design needs. They manage some of India’s best Photographers, Production Designers, Visual Merchandisers, Fashion Designers, Fashion Stylist & Creative / Art Directors. TAP also works with emerging Creative Talent to advise, nurture and promote them in the domestic and international market place.

Catch us talking to the Founder Debjoy about how he started off, breaking norms and about the industry. Also catch interesting pictures of Debjoy’s artists while you scroll away.

Q1. What made you start an artist management/marketing agency? 

Rohan Shrestha with Ranbir Kapoor.

Debjoy: I have been a part of the talent management business for over 10 years now, which started with working for a modelling agency right out of college when I was 20 to overlooking the New Talent business at Globosport India. However, I was never satisfied with the way things turned out career wise or failed to build a substantial business module for myself. About four years back I met photographer R Burman who at that time had just about returned to Mumbai from New York where he had worked extensively under some of the biggest names in Photography and understood how Creative Talent Representation helps an artist.

However, the idea always remained that we keep the talent pool very compact and focus on delivering on them. Hence three years into the agency we have a total of 7 artists only.

R. Burman with Madhuri Dixit.

Q2. Do you think the Indian market lags behind in the area of talent representation/promotion? 

Debjoy: Maybe if you’d asked me this question a few years back, I would have answered in the negative but luckily, this isn’t the scene anymore. A lot of agencies and individuals have taken up the task of representation which is a very big step in ensuring an equal and organised industry.

Q3. Can you tell us more about TAP?

Debjoy: TAP does not just focus on management of our artists backend and their contacts/relationships. The combination of our artist creating great content which takes creative benchmark to the next level along with the good commercial value is our true satisfaction. Also, we want to bring a change where new talents get equal opportunities and are recognised for their work.

Shruti Gupte featured in Filmfare.

Q4. What are the milestones for TAP so far?

Debjoy: The biggest milestone would surely be of us being an independent agency. TAP was financially back by the Globosport Group for the first three-year which was a great stepping stone for us and last December I managed to go independent with TAP.

Q5. It’s just 3 months down the year, any specific goals for the year?

Debjoy: 80% of our business currently is print medium, hence I am actively exploring the idea of representing Directors who are at a nascent stage of their careers and overall focus more on building our current artist from a creative viewpoint which we call as “What is the legacy they are going to leave behind”

Q6. Tell us a little about your success stories?

Debjoy: I realised that representing a Creative Talent is different from managing an actor/model.
Their creative minds come with a lot of emotions, passion, hunger & loyalty and even insecurities about their work or themselves and not about starry egos. It’s this understanding of personalities and them knowing we have their backs is what my success story is!

Nikhil Mansata with Frieda Pinto.

Apart from Photography, we also managed so sign a senior Production Designer about two years back, which was a first in the industry I am told.

Q7. What’s the good and bad thing about the fashion industry?

Debjoy: Anybody, and I mean, anybody can come in and bag a big shoot if their work is up to the mark and I love that fact! It keeps everybody on their toes and doesn’t allow mediocrity to seep in. However, it is also a big fact that a lot of work happens through reference – whether one deserves or not.

Q8. What’s style according to you?

Debjoy: Simplicity / Less is more.

Q9. Any #Norm breaking/making activity you have done this far?

Debjoy: The team members of TAP overlooking each business are previous students of what they do. Like, the person who overlooks Photography within the agency is a Photography student and during her course wanted to explore representing Photographers and that is a major #Norm making activity as they not only can get commercially involved but comes with creative understanding which adds as a benefit to our talent.

Q10. Do you think the Indian fashion industry is getting globalised? If yes how?

Debjoy: Yes, definitely! Indian models are now walking international ramps for huge brands, our Indian photographers are travelling abroad and shooting for brands and lot of international talents are making India their home and it is slowly becoming a norm to have Indian faces in international editorials.

Q.11 How does your typical day look like? 

Debjoy: I usually wake up by 9am, finish a few chores and build my agenda for the day. My day usually goes into team meetings, business development and preparing for any upcoming shoots. A day without a single closed deal OR adding 3 new clients to our network feels incomplete to me.

Q12. Word of advice for young talent who wants to enter into the industry?

Debjoy: This industry is often termed as difficult and involves a lot of struggle. All of these are true, as are true for all other industries. Nothing good comes out of laziness. If you have the passion, the drive and the talent, you’ll make a name for yourself. The combination of all factors is a must. Stay focused & keep exploring.

Here’s a look at Debjoy’s favorite work by his artists:

 

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