Conversations: Tim Jenkin of Making Pictures
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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!
Check out our Spotlight on Swift Bar
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.