Abu Dhabi Book Fair

I was certainly a busy bee from the 30th to the 5th of May!

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This year, I had participated in the Abu Dhabi Book Fair to promote my work as a children’s book illustrator. I was also looking for potential publishers for my latest book project. (hint hint)

I was really impressed by how huge and well organised the fair was. The illustrator’s corner was situated RIGHT next to publishers so it was perfect for my ongoing pursuit!

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The fair is not just for sitting still in the corner in silent bookworm mode, though!

Infact, it was actually quite interactive and action packed! There were lots of seminars on the agenda everyday on various topics such as culture and tourism, book launches, career strategies and so forth.

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I noticed there was some artistic activities for children to participate in so there was something for everyone!

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I must admit, I got a little bit bored of sitting around acting prim and well behaved so I decided to paint my booth walls on the last day! I always wanted to do murals on the wall for children’s room so it was great practice for me to just go to town.

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I decided to paint a mermaid – I had always done mythical fashion illustration ones in the past, so for this one I wanted her to look child like, sweeter and more cherub-y (is that even a word?? haha!)

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Here’s how it turned out!

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Although Abu Dhabi is quite a trek for us native Dubaians, it’s well worth it and I highly recommend checking it out next year!

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Choix Project and Live Painting

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Personally, I love Paris.

Like the song says – both in the springtime, when it sizzles AND in the winter when it drizzles. Aside from being the city of l’amour, what I like about it is how unashamedly chic the fashion is. It’s the kind of style that never goes out of fashion. It’s timeless.

In the era of baggy boyfriend jeans, slouchy blazers, and shaggy Alexa Chung coifs, I admire the femininity and the classic details that make Parisian women in a style league of their own. This is why In a heartbeat, I’d choose haute couture Paris fashion week first over any others.

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Katch PR approached me one fine day and explained that they needed an illustration project for the their advertising campaign which was was all about bringing the aura of Paris to Dubai. The STYLE of the quintessential “fille a paris.” This meant, stripes, ballerina flats, oversized buns, bardot necklines and full skirts.

They were speaking MY language.

They proceeded to explain that world famous French chef, Pierre Gagnaire, owner of the eponymous Pierre Gagnaire restaurant in Paris was opening up a new luxury patisserie at Intercontinental Dubai Festival City.

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What they needed from me were a couple of contemporary, clean illustrations depicting glamorous stylish women next to the Dubai skyline using the Choix colour scheme and showing the monogrammed shopping bags.

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This is how the final ones turned out. I wanted to show how multi cultured the city of Dubai is, so for one illustration we opted for a glamorous lady in an abaya and for the other, more European inspired attire. I used soft but vibrant watercolours bleeding into each other with a muted slate blue/lilac background.

The abaya illustration was used in ads in Time Out Dubai, OK magazine and many more publications for announcing the launch party.

For the actual launch, we decided that it would be a great idea to paint the second illustration live at the venue since no one had seen it yet so it would be a nice surprise. After that, Choix would proceed to use both illustrations in their advertising campaign.

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the finished illustration

the finished illustration

The event was a lavish and sophisticated affair and the lucky guests were served an array of exquisite and unique dishes such as beef tenderloin and onion marmalade, comte cheese and baby spinach as well as camel milk panna cotta and saffron cake and dates – some very innovative, regionally inspired treats!!!

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Needless to say, there were plenty of their signature pastel macaroons around!

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I should know. I had some. They were marvelous.

The mood was further enhanced by a talented pianist playing in the background, which really made you feel like you were transported back to a deco style 1940’s lounge in New York.

Here’s some more photos of the event and of Choix.

Stunning view outside

Stunning view outside

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It truly was “une nuit magnifique!”

Bisous!!!!

Live drawing for Dune London event at Meydan Beach

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Shoes and the beach. My two most favorite things! Any event that combines these is good in my book. And that’s precisely what Apparel Group did on the 28th of Jan, when they hosted an exclusive launch event for Dune shoes London at the luxurious Meydan Beach in JBR. Just look at all those gorgeous shoes and handbags! Mon Dieu!!! C’est magnifique, n’est pas?

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I was there to do some live sketching of all the guests’ sophisticated and colourful outfits. The weather was glorious with the sunlight flooding the room through the large glass windows. Check out that splendid view of the beach!

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You’d think it would make sense to dress in something breezy and summery … but you know how I abhor being predictable! 🙂 Since I was feeling quite Mary Quant that day, I went for a Missoni-esque print minidress in mossy, rusted Autumn hues and some high-heeled boots to finish off that 60s leggy Twiggy vibe I was trying to channel!

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Gettin Twiggy with it. Na-na-na-na-na-nana

Time was not my friend that day. I only had a couple of precious minutes to paint out each outfit and there were close to fifty guests in total! Fortunately though, I had the figures photocopied in advance which were bare and bald, so I could just concentrate on the outfits and hair on the day itself. Pretty organized eh?! Just like Neil Buchanan’s trademark phrase from Art Attack – “Here’s something I made earlier!”

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Surprisingly, it was not as stressful as I thought it would be. The weather and beachy air was so relaxing so it really put me in a great mood as I sketched away busily in the corner!

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Here are some happy customers!

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One lady had a cute idea of wanting an illustration with her baby. This is how it turned out!

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Apparel Group also wanted a souvenir of the whole team in a group illustration.

TA DAH!

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On a separate note, today is Valentine’s day! Now, SOME people complain that Valentine’s day is commercial. Riiiight. As if the rest of the holidays like Christmas and Easter are COMPLETELY commercial free, consumer free AND 100% authentic (?) hmm…*skeptical eyebrow raise*

This may be a very controversial statement to make but – In my opinion and in my experience… guys who complain about V-day are often the “Cheap Charlies” who are reluctant to splurge for their love ones!!! So, cmon fellas. Show your lady what you are made of!!!! Give into it.

As for those ladies who single … then it’s even MORE important to celebrate it! You can either choose to wallow in self-pity by watching Jerry Maguire’s “you complete me” scene for the umpteenth time with your cats and Ben and Jerrys, or you can round up your other single girls and drive to Jabel Hafeet for a spa weekend. As an empowered single girl myself, guess which option I will be doing? 😉

Single or taken, here’s wishing everyone a very blissful, happy and magical Valentine’s day!

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Ruben Sanchez and eL Seed at The Archive

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Don’t you just love that feeling when you discover a great new place hidden away in some corner of Dubai? That’s exactly how I felt this weekend when I came across The Archive for the first time. It is a community space located at gate 5 in Safa Park and it’s a library, cafe and art center all in one. The Archive focuses on the arts and culture of the MENA region and frequently holds workshops and seminars on the topics of art, illustration, murals and all things related. Funnily enough, The Archive has been around for 8 years already and I’ve only just discovered it! (Doh! How slow am I, eh?!)

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Often featuring some pretty impressive talents, it also has an awesome collection of coffee table books to browse through and excellent food to nibble on! Exhibit A … my eggs Benedict which had some serious om nom factor.

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I stopped by because I was very eager to check out the joint live collaboration that über talented artists Ruben Sanchez and eL Seed were working on.

To give a brief overview, Ruben Sanchez is a Barcelona-based urban artist whose inspirations include break dancing, skateboard and graffiti culture of his native Spain. He has been living here in Dubai for a year as part of Tashkeel’s art residency program and has been doing a variety of interesting projects and commissions all over the city as well as a recent solo show at Tashkeel.

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I really love his vibrant tribal style.

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His use of pattern remind me of Aztec/South American designs and motifs. Regarding his murals in particular, I love the contrast of his bright, cheerful and eclectic work on the sandy, broken down walls of Satwa. It’s like he has given these old areas a fresh new lease of life, and breathes an unexpected zest with his quirky, imaginative art.

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As for eL Seed – to put it plainly..(and not to sound like a total groupie) he is a LEGEND!! The French Tunisian street artist is known for his signature style which is a hybrid of Arab calligraphy and graffiti. He coins his unique invention as “Calligraffiti ” and believes that the art of graffiti brings people together. He is most famous for his decorative (and some say controversial) Calligraffiti work on the minaret of the Jara Mosque in the southern Tunisian city of Gabes in 2012.

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Some of his other work

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He’s also known for his artistic limited edition collaboration with designer Louis Vuitton on luggage.
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Soo..getting back to the point, these two amazing artists were joining forces for the day to beautify The Archive walls with a massive graffiti style mural. The air was heady and artistic that Friday afternoon with the addictive aroma of spray paint. It really was a sight to see and experience. The best part of it was that it was completely interactive as passers-by could partake in the project and actually join in with spray cans, impromptu style.

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No-one was excluded. In fact, even kids could have a go with their creative input!

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The joint painting paired up with the gorgeous sunny December weather at Safa Park made the energy a very infectious one, indeed!

With the intriguing projects, the massive library and the delicious food that seduces my taste buds, I have a feeling The Archive will become one of my new favorite haunts – right up there with Bastakiya!

the finished mural

the finished mural

Gianvito Rossi Event

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They say a woman can conquer the world – provided she’s wearing the right shoes!

I, (along with most women I suspect) am guilty of being somewhat of a high-heel hoarder. You know The Little Mermaid and her 20 thingamambobs? Yeah … I can relate!

Anyhoo …so when I found out that famous Italian shoe designer Gianvito Rossi was coming to Dubai as part of the Harper’s Bazaar Fashion Week line up, I was just a tad ecstatic!! Even more so when I was asked to illustrate live at the in-store after party event at Harvey Nichols Dubai.

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To start off the evening, Gianvito Rossi was first interviewed by Harper’s Bazaar Arabia editor-in-chief Louise Nichol on stage at Mall of Emirates in front of an audience. He spoke a little bit about his experiences in Dubai, what his thoughts were of the glamour of Middle Eastern women and a bit about his new collection. His designs are known to be sleek and contemporary yet feminine and functional.

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His signature speciality are the patent leather and perspex heels (also known as the plexi pump) which are the most sought-after design from his collections. It’s very cleverly designed so it highlights part of the arch of the foot in a sexy flattering way, giving the illusion of elongated legs – just perfect for the days where you yearn to stroll around in your skinnies feeling like Gisele Bundchen! Mr Rossi had mentioned that he had designed a selection of 3 perspex heels in metallic shades exclusively for Dubai, which is what the in-store event was all about.

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I was told to illustrate the event as it was happening and basically capture the general ambience. It was a glamorous exclusive affair, with the glitterati of Dubai stopping by to nibble on canapes whilst having an impromptu chat with the man of the hour himself.

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I was inspired by, not just the shoes, but the beautiful outfits the immaculately polished guests were wearing. The party was sprinkled with women in metallic knits to high low pleated skirts to peplums – decisions decisions! I had to work very fast as there was only an hour and a half to draw, so I went for a more abstract illustration, with washes of colour and finally, inked in with a dark pen.

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Here’s the finished illustration!

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During the event, one of the guests won a personalised illustration of herself by me as a prize. Here’s how it turned out!

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My illustration is still displayed at Harvey Nichols’ shoe department where you can see it just chillin’ on an easel.

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Personally, I have been coveting Aennis Eunis shoes for a while, but after seeing Gianvito’s super-sleek black plexi pump, I’ve discovered I have a brand new shoe crush!!! Hey! No judging my extravagant vice!! Atleast they’re cheaper than diamonds…

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Live Illustration for THRIVE at Music Room

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Last week, the very slick n’ sauve Ethan Auguste asked me if I’d like to illustrate live for the season re-launch of Thrive. I have to say, I jumped at the chance to be part of it!

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Thrive, it is a series of industry nights managed by Ethan Enterprises. It’s specifically for us bright young things to sparkle in all fields of fashion, art, music and entertainment. A perfect setting to network in a chilled out, youthful and bohemian ambience.

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As much as I love events, I’ll admit that sometimes the art/gallery scene in Dubai can have a tendancy to get a little “stuffy” and “uppity.” What I like so much about Thrive is it’s refreshingly open and friendly with a warm atmosphere. Everyone is very welcoming, and game for a lively little chat with no airs or reservations and just upfor a good old fashioned night out. I have to say that it was so interesting to see the sheer variation of people from creative fields at this event. From graffiti artists to Saudi hip hop musicians to hypnotherapists – there was never a dull moment!

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Presenting the event was the very sexy and sassy host Sheena Kay from Radio one. She introduced a myriad of talented musicians for the evening and, I have to say, her bubbly banter and incredible singing voice was the icing on the cake! She was styled by West L.A who were also there promoting their fabulous outfits.

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Speaking of fabulous outfits – Kanztee were there too. Ofcourse that is expected seeing as they are such a trendy young brand – it’s typical of them to be always one step ahead and hot on the trail of happening arty events!

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As for me, I was at the back of the room in my own world – drawing up a storm whilst soaking up the amazing environment! I wanted to create something moody for the evening in a spectrum of blues. I opted to illustrate a fashionable and chic cocktail party.

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And this is how it turned out …

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I hope to see you at the next Thrive event. It really is a wonderful energy and worth checking out. I definetley think Dubai needs more events like this!

Viva la Revolution!

All images courtesy of The Studio. Link to more of their work is below

https://www.facebook.com/TheStudioDubai?directed_target_id=0

Reemami Fashion Show

Hello Art Aficianados!!!

I’ve been in hibernation for a while now, I know, but back to buisiness as usual!!  On April 25th, I had the pleasure of attending Local-based fashion designer Reema Banna’s Compassion Charity Fashion show for her brand Reemami.

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The fashion show was intended to raise money for the Palestine Charity Relief fund, and the party was an excellent turnout and a great success. It was held at at Riva restaurant, in Palm Jumeirah. Aside from the wonderful fashion show,I couldn’t help but notice that there were some delicious hors d’oeuvres being passed around during the event, as well as B-beautiful make overs for the guests.

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Of course, not forgetting that there was little old moi with my live illustration painting frantically!!!

The theme of the event was romance and reminiscent of whimsical things such as carnivals, romance and glitter. Here’s the moodboard they sent me prior to the event.

I was asked to do a live illustration in front of an audience, basing it on the theme so, being the hopeless  romantic that I am, I decided to opt for a very feminine loosely sketched woman in a flowing purple gown with a flower in her hair.  These are some pictures of the event and step by step photos of the backdrop.  Enjoy!!!

Hind Adib photography

Hind Adib photography

Hind Adib photography

Hind Adib Photography
Finished Backdrop – guests would pose infront of it to take pictures.