Conversations: Tim Jenkin of Making Pictures
20th August 2018
For the debut instalment of APLO Conversations, we sit down with Tim Jenkin. Co-founder of Making Pictures, Tim is a creative entrepreneur whose business supports London’s young talent and  creatives. Making waves in Soho since he and Waldo Barker first started Making Pictures seven years ago, Tim has never looked back. Today, Making Pictures is a production and artists management company that goes above and beyond what you’d expect. They aren’t in the business of churning out and burning out creatives, instead they focus on building lasting relationships with the artists under their wing. 
In conversation with Tim, we talk about all his favourite haunts in Soho. While Farringdon keeps a special place in his heart, with him and his wife buying their first property there, it is Soho that serves as a constant source of inspiration for him and the team. From the obscure speakeasies he frequents, to the hidden gems he has recently visited; we discover Tim’s ‘less ordinary’ Soho and explore a lesser known side to one of London’s most creative hubs.
Tell us a little bit about yourself what you do/your idea/your business does?
We are a production and artists management agency. Waldo Barker and I set up Making Pictures over seven years ago. We worked together for a lager business, until we decided to jump ship and start something of our own. We actually launched during the recession, and it was a very dangerous point to be starting a business, I also just had my first child. We realised that if we weren't gonna do it then, we were never gonna do it. So we took the leap and we never looked back.
How do you choose people to partner with?
It used to be that we looked at people individually: what they were about, who they were, and how they fit into our client base. To some degree we ignored their personality; whereas now, personality is like 75% of it. You really have to be someone that we can build a relationship with. We look for young artists that we can develop, because we find that we are culturally on the same page.
We are branching out more widely, but the criteria and the parameters by which we work have stayed the same. We really have to meet you, as you speak as a voice for us and vice versa; and we’re all ambassadors for one another. I think it’s really about character and creativity coming together. 

Do the spaces that you work and spend time in play a part in influencing your thought processes and ideas? 
Yes, absolutely! Being in Soho is a very important part of who we are. We were very fortunate when we launched, as my brother was running a magazine in Soho at the time and we got an office space with him. Having W1 on your postcode when you launch gives you an immediate uplift in terms of peoples’ perceptions of you — and that was something we definitely acknowledged.
Soho is kind of the beating heart of London’s creative scene and we are fortunate enough to be in it each and every day. I walk every day from Warren Street to Soho Square, then down to Old Compton - and that’s just to gather my thoughts. In that time, you start to realise what a great place it is, as we have such a wealth of talent here. These are the real survivors as well. A lot of businesses have gone down, but the environment really cultivates the best people and it’s a great feeling to be a part of it. 
In what ways do you push the boundaries and try to be ‘less ordinary’ with what you and Making Pictures does?
I think we try to be very agile, because the industry can change very quickly. It’s about recognising where those shifts are taking place and trying to make ourselves visible within those areas. I do think that what we make is a form of art, and I definitely hold it in very high regard. Our work is not disposable in any way. We try to create something that people can relate to. We treat the aesthetic and the value of what we do very seriously and that certainly sets us apart.

Check out our other Conversations

Is there a neighbourhood in London that you feel a real connection to? If so, which neighbourhood, and why? 
If I had one area, it would have to be the Farringdon/Clerkenwell area. My wife and I got on the ladder and bought our first property at a 100% mortgage. It was such a dodgy estate, but we were near Exmouth market, St. John Bread and Wine, and the parade of restaurants around there. We go to The Eagle which is technically London's first gastropub which opened in 1991. It’s still my favourite pub in London - and I really feel at home there.
Who, what or where is grabbing your attention in London right now?  Who are the ‘less ordinary’ people, ideas, places, and experiences in town that you think deserve a shout? 
There’s a small restaurant called Freak Scene that we went to on Frith Street. I walked past it the other day, looked at the window and there was a Giles Coren interview with the chef. So I went inside and we ended up sitting down with the chef and his wife. The chef as it turns out, was Scott Hallsworth, who was actually the former head chef of Nobu. They set up a pop up in Farringdon and it became notorious for the quality of its food. On the back of that notoriety, they managed to lease this space when Barrafino left and opened Freak Scene. Amidst the craziness of London, these people have managed to build something new from scratch, and create something really wonderful. I guess that’s what London is all about. It’s about the survivors who face adversity and find a way to get back up, and with their own identity as well.
Also, my wife is starting a new company called Eyes Wide, and I think it’s definitely worth a shout. It’s a shoppable online platform for furniture and homeware that is geared towards conscious consumerism — really inspiring people to ‘accelerate the slowdown’. There are a lot of great people working towards sustainability, and she is partnering with brands (both big and small) that offer long lasting, low impact products. It’s a great example of the creative community in London coming together for a truly important cause. 
What are your ‘less ordinary’ hidden gems in London (places to sleep, eat, drink, hang) Why do you think its special? 
There are a couple speakeasies in old Compton Street that are really cool. Swift is opposite El Camion and is designed almost to deter people from going inside. The entrance has a pristine white porcelain finish, with a tiny bar which makes it look like one of those pretentious cocktail bars made for only twenty people. Downstairs, it becomes this wonderful speakeasy! 
Brasserie Zédel is a really great place. It’s a French bistro that’s designed with a hidden entrance so you originally think it's a coffee shop. It’s right by Piccadilly Circus, you go inside and go down a flight of stairs into this repurposed carpark that's been transformed into a forties art deco palace. The lighting is amazing, because while you are underground it feels like you aren’t. They are really beautiful little venues, and so for a night out, we eat in their restaurant and watch a show afterwards. 

Check out our Spotlight on Swift Bar

What trusted ‘less ordinary’ place in London do you find yourself going back to time and time again? (restaurant, café, bar, pub, venue, hangout or other)?
We’ve been in Soho for 7-8 years, so we've seen lots of places come and go over that period of time. We were originally in Wardour Street and we really loved 10 Greek Street. They launched their business at a similar time as we did, and we worked right across them. We used to bring our clients there all the time. It was like having your mum’s kitchen below your office and it felt like an extension of your own house.  
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Interview by Hannah Tan-Gillies

 

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