Art Dubai 2014

Mark Twain once said “Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered – either by themselves or by others.”

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Rather grim, but there is some truth in that quote. Many artists work their whole lives to get the recognition and exposure that their work deserves but SO many remain unsuccessful in this quest in spite of it all.

This is where fairs like Art Dubai come into the picture!

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With over 500 participating, it allows artists from all over the world (emerging and established) some well-earned time in the sun. (literally!!!)

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With a strong focus on the Middle East, artists from the region gain global exposure and therefore, so much awareness is created. Art Dubai has an extensive, well-rounded programme which is filled to the brim with numerous tours, forums, discussions and workshops while attracting many prestigious art collectors from all around the world.

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From competitions like the Abraaj Group Art Prize, to workshops like the Sheikha Manal little artist programme, there truly is something for EVERYONE to see!

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Now in it’s 8th year, the fair continues to flourish …

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For opening night, I decided to channel my inner Betty Draper and so I opted for this gorgeous emerald-green full skirt from a local boutique called Dee by Dalia. Her chic vintage pieces set my heart aflutter. Check her website out here –

http://www.deebydalia.com/

Although artistic, Art Dubai is certainly one of the chic events where you can really go really fun and eccentric with fashion.

As I loitered around outside, I spotted many well dressed ladies. They wafted around in their wide pleated trousers, quirky turbans, neon accessories, bright kaftans and oversized sunnies! I dug it!

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Image courtesy Savoir Flair Magazine

Image courtesy Savoir Flair Magazine

Now, I’m not one for planning. I immediately set about aimlessly traipsing through the grand halls, enjoying getting “lost” and immersed in the artwork.

There’s such a huge amount of galleries, workshops and activities going on at Art Dubai. For this specific post, I have decided to focus more on the galleries and briefly describe some pieces that really attracted me.

Without further ado, here’s my round-up!

At Green Art Gallery, Kamrooz Aram’s piece “Tempered composition with three points” has a hazy and dreamlike quality.

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He is known to constantly layer his work, and then he scrapes it off to re work it. This results in a distinguishable multi dimensional quality. He exposes faint tracings in certain areas of the canvas and has used a simplified, child like floral motif. This shows that the use of florals can be sophisticated and prove more than just an adornment.

This statue “ Flesh of the Shadow Spirits” is created by Kendell Geers from Galerie Rodolphe Janssen and it is made from resin. A conceptual artist from South Africa, his work often has heavy political elements, typically concerning civil rights.

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I did a double take when I saw these beautifully crafted knives by Zoulikha Bouabdellah at Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde. I found it really interesting how she has taken an instrument that usually has connotations of violence or aggression, and given them a new lease of life with her intricate, arabesque inspired shapes.

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:mentalKLINIK created this quirky piece cleverly called “French Kiss. Two forces are linked together in perfect symmetry, giving a romantic sense of personification.

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The Breeder – a gallery based in Athens, featured Zoi Gaitanidou’s very tactile pieces. She uses embroidery to create elaborate tapestries that combine primitive figures and abstract patterns. She is influenced by tribal art.

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Mumbai based gallery Chatterjee and Lal presented a solo booth by one of my favorite Pakistani artists, Rashid Rana.

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For these pieces, Rana has re interpreted famous paintings such as “The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus” by Peter Paul Rubens, and “The Oath of Horatii” by Jacques Louis David and has chopped them up into smaller fragments and scrambled them up – just like the surface of a Rubik’s cube.

He has selected these particular paintings specifically for their connotations on carnal violence, and perhaps misogynistic undertones which is something he feels he can resonate with regarding the political state of Pakistan/rise of islamic fundamentalism.

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It’s interesting how Imran Qureshi’s work deals with a similar theme too but he has an extremely different approach to it.

I find works by these two artists always seem to pull an emotional chord with me.

Another rather emotional piece is by Sydney based couple Sean Cordeiro and Claire Healy. Entitled “T+85_red&blue_diptych”, it is part of a collection of pixel-art images of space shuttle explosions which are created from pieces of Lego.

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This piece is dedicated to highlight a certain shuttle that exploded. The use of material is interesting as the Lego is not only to depict the tragedy itself, but it also seemed fitting as one of the women who died on the shuttle explosion was a teacher, therefore the Lego reminds us of children and the loss of innocence.

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This was shown at Gallery Wendi Norris which is based in San Francisco.

There were a few artists at the fair with really strong environmental themes in their work.

Take this very narrative piece of art by Indonesian artist, Prilla Tania from dgallerie.

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It is made from cut paper of various types and upon close inspection, it actually tells a whole story about deforestation in Indonesia.

There’s a primal and primitive element about it that I like. It reminds me of ancient art – the way her artwork “talks” just like hieroglyphics or cave paintings would. Fascinating!

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Also focusing on the environment, Nnenna Okore’s installations are made from discarded yet reusable materials such as magazines, newspapers string and plastic bags.

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Okore’s works brings a focus on consumerism, excessive wastefulness. She is represented by Omenka gallery, Nigeria.

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I loved this beautiful glimmering golden sculpture by Elmgreen and Dragset, from Victoria Miro Gallery in London. It is made from 24 carat gold-plated bronze.

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Frank Bowling from Hales Gallery combines an emotive use of colour stain and sprayed motifs combined with textural elements.

Frank Bowling, Ashton's Plunge, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 302.5 x 165 cm

This artist, originally from Guyana is actually 80 years old!

There are also some tactile qualities as stitching is sometimes incorporated in his work as an homage to his mother, who was a seamstress.

Frank Bowling, Ponsonby Welch, Overlooking Fryish Maze, 2012, acrylic paint on canvas, 304.8 x 188 cm [lowres]

His paintings relate to Abstract expressionism, Color Field painting and Lyrical Abstraction.

Mark Dion’s curious dark room in InSitu Gallery, contains various glow in the dark items and encourages us to reflect age-old philosophical questions regarding spirituality, science and art.

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Plus…it’s pretty groovy.

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I know it was a SUPER long post, but this was honestly just scratching the surface.

Hopefully with more initiatives like Art Dubai, an abundance of geniuses will continue to be discovered.

They, too will get their chance to tell their stories to the world …

"Forever These Words Unsteadily Will Live" by Fred Eerdekens

“Forever These Words Unsteadily Will Live” by Fred Eerdekens

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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!

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

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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‘Tis the season to be arty, Falalalala lalalala ….

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Not only is February the official month of love, but it’s also proving to be quite a glorious time for art aficionados like myself.

There are tonnes of interesting art events and exhibitions going on right now. I’ve been keeping busy doing my usual gallery hopping and last week I went to see two great shows with extremely different tones.

My friend Deama had invited me to come to an exhibition called Fakie #3 which she was participating in.

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Opening night of Fake#3 at FN Designs

Opening night of Fake#3 at FN Designs

Fakie #3 was held at FN designs at Al Serkhal Avenue. Every artist participating at this show had been given a blank skateboard to use as their canvas and they were to illustrate their signature style on it.

The end results were so amazing as there was so much variation in subject matter in the collection. For instance, some artists went for patterns, others opted for sketching animals. A few skateboards had been adorned with beautiful, romantic, art nouveau style illustrations with flowing hair and exaggerated manga-esque eyes.

Liz Ramos

Liz Ramos

Joseph Manata

Joseph Manata

Azim Al Ghussein

Azim Al Ghussein

H.H. Sheikha Wafa Hasher Al Maktoum

H.H. Sheikha Wafa Hasher Al Maktoum

The mood for the evening was chilled out, vibrant and fun. In keeping with the theme, they even had a skateboard ramp built outside to get your “skillz on”

Oh, and the canapes!!! Sushi, salmon and shawermas…Oh my!!!!!

I certainly enjoyed noshing on those while browsing through the “totally bodacious boards!!!”

(That last phrase has to be read in a voice like Michelangelo the ninja turtle, please.)

group shot of participating artists

group shot of participating artists

Almost a Dream opening night

Almost a Dream opening night

Moving along, another exhibition I was very eager to see was Safwan Dahoul’s solo show “Almost a Dream” held at Ayyam gallery in DIFC.

The critically acclaimed Syrian painter has created a soulful and poignant series of paintings in muted monochrome shades.

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Inspired by his colour palette, I dressed in monochrome just for the occasion!

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There’s elements in his work which are inspired ancient Pharaonic art. An example of this is how he incorporates a distinctive almond shaped Eye of Horus symbol shown repeatedly in his pieces. He uses reoccurring figures such as angels and a soft female form to narrate his ideas.

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The themes he deals with in his work have a melancholy tone as he generally centers around war, tragedy and the inhumane conditions civilians have to go through in his home country in Syria.

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Dahoul attempts to bring out the in the viewer the same feeling of pain that is experienced in his own being. His evocative work is open to interpretation and hence, very engaging and personal to the viewer. So much so that I found some of his paintings really did trigger an emotional chord with me.

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“Almost a Dream” is on display at DIFC until the 13th of March.

The Young Collector’s Auction

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I’ve always been so curious about auctions.

Not only are they über chic, attracting the creme de la creme of art buffs … they seem so exclusive too. I’ve always wanted to go to one and play the part of a mysterious woman in big floppy theatrical hat and scarlet lipstick; looking like a some sort of heiress character with a story to tell.

I’d sit at the back and furrow my brow in deep contemplation while examining the artwork… “Should I bid on this one?? Yes ? No? Will it go with the decor in my mansion in Emirates Hills? Sure…” (raises paddle nonchalantly). Yawn. Next.

Alas! As colourful as that fantasy is, it seemed futile. I always assumed auctions were unattainable. Not for the spectators, only for the participants – but I was delighted to discover I was wrong. Not all auctions are solely for collectors to enjoy.

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The Young Collector’s Auction at Ayyam Gallery had a very warm and open atmosphere, welcoming all art enthusiasts – even aspiring collectors who weren’t intending on bidding that night.

Tempting as it was to don a large floppy hat for the occasion, I decided to go with something a tad more subtle …

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Just like how I imagined it, the auction was an exhilarating, exciting and enriching experience. It was hosted by auctioneer Hisham Samawi, whose quick-witted quips and banter proved to make a very entertaining night. There were 78 artworks and installations auctioned that evening all created by Arab contemporary artists.

Personally, I was really looking forward to seeing Shurooq Amin and Safwan Dahoul’s work, because I am such a huge fan of both of them and really liked the pieces they had for auction.

For this blog post I am just highlighting some of my favorite works and how much they went for. If you are interested in what’s going on in the Arab art scene feast your pretty little eyes on these …

Shurooq Amin  Kuwaiti artist "The Kiss"  $3,000

Shurooq Amin
Kuwaiti artist
“The Kiss”
$3,000

Shurooq Amin Kuwaiti artist "My Mistress and Family" $3,000

Shurooq Amin
Kuwaiti artist
“My Mistress and Family”
$3,000

Safwan Dahoul Syrian artist "Reve"  $8,000

Safwan Dahoul
Syrian artist
“Reve”
$8,000

Afshin Pirhashemi
Irani artist
“I don’t need sex”
$19,000

Abdulrahman Katanani Palestinian artist X-Altanorah $21,000

Abdulrahman Katanani
Palestinian artist
“X-Altanorah”
$21,000

Ahmad Moualla Syrian artist  Untitled  $16,000

Ahmad Moualla
Syrian artist
Untitled
$16,000

Ammar Al Beik Syrian artist "Umm Kulthum" $6,500

Ammar Al Beik
Syrian artist
“Umm Kulthum”
$6,500

Ghassan Sebai Syrian artist "Untitled" $11,000

Ghassan Sebai
Syrian artist
Untitled
$11,000

Nazir Nabaa Syrian artist "Untitled" $7,500

Nazir Nabaa
Syrian artist
Untitled
$7,500

The Middle East Emergent Artist Prize

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Last Wednesday I felt very Holly Gollightly except instead of having breakfast at Tiffany’s, I had breakfast at Van Cleef and Arpels. (Close enough!)

The world-famous luxury French jewellery house had an important announcement to make. They were to unveil the much awaited theme of the Middle East Emergent Artist Prize that day. A handful of journalists, bloggers and people from the media industry were invited for an exclusive press conference at the jewellery boutique in Dubai Mall that morning.

In the sparkling warm glow of Van Cleef and Arpels, we all waited eagerly for the hot new news and were served macaroons in the meantime. (which if you ask me are even better than breakfast, so I guess I one-upped Holly on that account!)

Allan Belloir, managing director of Middle East India Van Cleef proceeded to tell us that Van Cleef has always had a rich history of being very much involved in the artistry of jewellery and the overall design and creative process. The art of design is a concept that they hold very dear to them. This is why they have collaborated with gallery Tashkeel and Design Days Dubai to support and nurture talent in the region with a competition open to artists of all disciplines.

Alan Belloir

Alan Belloir

“The Maison is an ardent defender of the artistic and design crafts and we are proud of our partnership with Tashkeel and Design Days Dubai that highlights this year the process behind works of art,” said Belloir. “We are looking forward to welcoming the winner at L’ECOLE Van Cleef & Arpels, where we share and teach knowledge and in our workshops where he will discover the secrets of the virtuoso craftsmanship that give birth to timeless creations.” This exciting contest is in their second year, and the theme for this year is called “Turning Point.”

Anabelle de Gersigny, manager at Tashkeel gallery went on to explain more about the theme. She mentioned that “Turning Point” is to focus on that beautiful moment the artist experiences when their work and their ideas just starts coming to life and flowing. In other words, that “eureka” moment.

This theme is aimed at shedding light on the creative process, highlighting the moment in the evolution of a project when the maker finds their voice – the point when they have understood, through the working process, the nature of the planned final work.

Anabelle de Gersigny

Anabelle de Gersigny

“In its second edition, The Middle East Emergent Artist Prize will draw on a lot of different media and practices, with works from artists all living and working in the Middle East,” stated de Gersigny. “Looking to works that may remain hidden away in the recesses of the artist’s studio is important for Tashkeel as a place where makers find space and time to develop their practice within the context of discerning and constructive criticism and discourse.”

Van Cleef & Arpels will reward the winner with a trip to Paris to attend courses at L’ECOLE, founded in 2012 with the objective of unveiling the very secretive worlds of jewelry and watchmaking, and sharing the most precious asset of the Maison: its savoir-faire. The winner will also be among the privileged few to enter the universe of Van Cleef & Arpels workshops where the Mains d’Or™ resides, the master craftsmen who give form to the Maison’s most sophisticated High Jewelry creations.

As well as being able to experience to attend the courses at the prestigious L’Ecole, the artwork of the awarded artist will be unveiled on the Van Cleef & Arpels stand at Design Days Dubai 2014, the world’s most diverse design fair that showcases local, regional, and international collectible modern and contemporary design pieces, whilst a selection of applicants will also be invited to participate in Tashkeel’s March exhibition, including a range of artists from the Middle East from the emergent to more established figures.

Cyril Zammit, Fair director of Design Days Dubai

Cyril Zammit, Fair director of Design Days Dubai

Last year's winner Salem at the VCA Ecole

Last year’s winner Salem at the VCA Ecole

As an artist working in Dubai, I am thrilled to hear about this breakthrough and the competition. It’s such an exciting new development and an amazing opportunity for artists in the region to not only showcase their work on a global platform, but to have the chance to experience working alongside one of the most elite, world-renowned luxury jewelery houses in Paris.

I am definitely interested in participating in this! I already have a few ideas swimming in my head and will be posting my artistic progress on the blog.

Fingers crossed and stay tuned! 🙂

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Fashion Illustrator Hatty Pedder

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Ok, I have to confess … I have a crush. An “art crush” that is, on Dubai based illustrator Hatty Pedder.

British born Hatty had studied in the UK at Central St Martins in London. She has exhibited her illustrations in numerous international locations such as Frankfurt and Mumbai, as well as working on a myriad of illustrated projects and commissions in Dubai as well.

When I first came across her illustrated column “Caricouture” in Time Out magazine, the first thing that struck me most about her work was her amazing confidence in lines.

A sense of chic simplicity is something I really admire from a lot of illustrators such as David Downton and Jaqueline Bisset. As someone who has a habit of putting in tonnes of detail into my own work, I love how Hatty’s lines have so much variation in weight and there is such a fresh sense of spontaneity.

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Moreover, she gets right to the point. Hatty doesn’t faff about with excessive lines, too much colour or detail. She knows exactly how to use JUST the right amount of information to keep her illustrations retaining a very distinguishable character and style. Her work is always fresh, unique and with a dash of mystery, leaving people (like me) craving more. Just feast your eyes on these!

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Jaguar style stakes preview

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love love LOVE this one! Look at the hustle and bustle happening in the kitchen.

Love love LOVE this one! Look at the hustle and bustle happening in the kitchen.

See what I mean? The random (but very deliberate) splashes of colours, the quirky, stylised characters and just the all around “cool” factor. She’s really a master at capturing her environment and one can easily gauge at a glance what the ambience was like at each event.

In fact, her technique and impulsive strokes remind me a lot of one of my favorite illustrators, Quentin Blake who, as we all know, illustrated for Roald Dahl books.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Hatty for the blog so she can tell us a little bit more about her techniques, her inspirations and a bit about her solo show at Mojo gallery.

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How long have you been doing illustration for? When did it all start?

I studied at Central Saint Martins in London, where I gained a degree in Graphic Design and specialised in illustration. My journey into the land of illustration began 20 years ago. My first commission was for Conde Nast in London, where I worked before heading out to Dubai.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

My inspiration comes from everywhere – fashion, people, life style, Art Nouveau, Pop Art and a wealth of other sources buried in my subconscious.

How does the illustration/art scene in Dubai differ from other countries you have worked in? Are there any advantages to working as an artist in the UAE?

The whole art scene here has evolved so much in Dubai in the last decade with the boom of the Art Dubai Fair and all the magazines, events and galleries. With the internet and being able to work remotely I think you can now be located anywhere. Being in Dubai with all its amazing events and fashion events definitely for the way I personally work always provides me with huge reference material.

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You are quite specialised in commercial art, yet your work still appeals to the contemporary ambiance of a fine art gallery. This is a very challenging thing to do and most artists find they have to either market themselves as a conceptional artist i.e painter/installations OR a commercial artist (graphic designer, illustrator) How did you successfully merge the two together? Do you have to tweak your work accordingly when doing exhibitions as compared to commercial projects?

This is an interesting question I get asked a lot. I regard my illustration as answering a brief. The commissions that I take on are only ones suited to my style and tend to be in the fashion and life style genre. Whenever I am answering a brief I am communicating the clients vision, and I have to find a way to achieve the correct tone and message whilst keeping myself and style in the final piece or pieces. I find breaking up my personal painting with touches of illustration work refreshing, stimulating and sometimes puts me out of my comfort zone which I enjoy. I have also started recently doing life drawing at VIP events which I love.

My personal art which I exhibit is where I solely express myself and is totally derived from own inspirations. I love to visit new countries to gather fresh inspiration, from which I create collections on different cities. I also take on private commissions for some of my collectors. My work is always derived from people and life style, and combines photography, photomontage and mixed media. I feel very fortunate to have found a balance between Artist/Illustrator.

What is your favorite medium to use and do you experiment with elements of a prefered digital medium too, like photoshop?

My favourite medium to work in is mixed media – which I play with and can keep adding new materials to the mix.
I only use photoshop when I am involving photography in my work. For my illustration I tend to scan or shoot my artwork, and if required make any tweaks in photoshop afterwards.

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You have such a great line quality and energy with your live drawings that you create from events. Is it very challenging to capture that ambiance with minimal line and time constraints? How do decide which lines are important for your gestural illustrations and is this something you’ve perfected with years of experience?

My blog Caricouture http://www.hattypedder.com/blog which I shared with Time Out, was all created from photographs I took whilst attending the events, and then created afterwards. These are very spontaneous pieces and I love doing them as they keep my hand free. For this series I used a dip pen which I use in all my work.

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I love the innovative rich way you’ve used mixed media in your work at your solo show. It’s almost like the 3D layering of material gives your art pieces the impression that they’ve been “built” rather than drawn. Tell us about your solo show, your ideas behind the concept and a bit about your unique technique.

My latest exhibition “KOSH BOSH!” is inspired by Beirut and is currently on at The Mojo Gallery. This collection was inspired by a series of trips I made to Beirut and all the contrasts with in the city. This series was more conceptional than my previous exhibitions, and more experimental in materials. I used aluminium, neon plexi, car mirrors, acrylic sheets combined with photography and my strong linear ink work mixed with acrylic paint and water colours.

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And finally do you have any words of wisdom for young illustrators out there who are just starting out in this field?

Only stay true to yourself – follow your passion and work hard!

Abu Dhabi Art Fair

What a dilemma I had this weekend! On Saturday I had the choice of either going to Abu Dhabi for the last day of the art fair OR attending Al Quoz for QuozHappens. They were both happening on the same day! (Curses!!)

‘Twas a tough decision which I mulled over for quite some time. In the end I decided to see the Abu Dhabi Art Fair simply because I had never seen it before and quite frankly, I was extremely curious!

So after a loooong and perplexing drive I finally made it to Saadiyat Island. Luckily, I had just missed the brief spell of rain and as a result the weather was so pleasant with a cool, post-drizzle breeze. As soon as I entered I whipped out my phone and got rather snap happy and I just had to take a photo of this very interesting looking chair installation.

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This installation was at the near the reception just as you enter.

Now, there was an abundance of incredible artwork at the fair but I’m just skimming through and giving a very brief overview of what really stood out to me, what I personally noticed and my favorite highlights.

Abu Dhabi Art Fair has an impressive and extensive range of curated shows, workshops talks and activities available every day of the fair. To name a few there is the Modern contemporary design galleries, Signature, Beyond, Bidaya and Artist’s Waves. My first instinct was to have a browse around outdoors where there were a number of small pavilions, from solo shows to magazine kiosks. I was intrigued by this exhibition taking place with an assortment of beautiful African inspired cultural line illustrations. I spoke to the curator to get a bit more information about this and the idea was so raise awareness and funds for women in Africa suffering from childbirth complications due to poor medical resources and equipment.

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Ayyam Gallery had some gorgeous new work by Syrian artist Safwan Dahoul. I really am a huge fan of his paintings and his Surrealistic/Pharaonic style. His pieces are both haunting and melancholy. Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes I think his work reminds me of the legendary Pakistani painter Sadequain.

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I loved this artwork by Firat Neziroglu made from hand woven tapestry on a loom entitled “Mamma’s Girl.”

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A very beautiful painting with a kaleidoscope quality by Mahmoud Obaidi named Morpheus and the Red Poppy.

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This creatively designed pattern by Moataz Nasr was made entirely using different colours of matches.
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“Happy Lucky 4” by Lebanese English Robert Hammond explores contemporary allegories through the mechanics of modern interfaces and the modern visual realm. Elementary shapes, symbols and smiling faces are combined to obtain whimsical harmonies and resonances – isolating our perception to patterns, surfaces, textures and reflection and their relations. This is made from coloured steel and glass 10 cm deep.

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I adored the sense of craftsmanship in this artwork by Korean artist Kim Duck-Yong entitled “Jawoonyoung.” Just look at the iridescent surface texture with that mother-of-pearl like finish. Anyone who knows me is aware that I’m a stickler for art that is more traditional – be it renaissance, Ancient Egyptian sculptures, japanese silk painting. I found this simply beautiful! I’ve included a close up for you to see the surface.

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Being completely obsessed with the sea, mermaids and sirens, I found I was drawn to this piece by Lebanese artist Nabil Nahas. As well as being inspired by the repetitive geometric designs of Islamic art, his work frequently has a coral-reef like quality to it with his favorite motif being a starfish. Believe it or not, this painting is made entirely from Acrylic paint! I love how pigmented and vibrant his colours are.

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Last but not least is an amazing sculpture by Mondogo called “I’d settle for being able to sleep.” I love love LOVE Mondogo’s work and I have seen some of their epic pieces at Art Sawa in DIFC. I love the innovative manipulation of their materials and their beautiful use of colour and texture and how they use mixed media. They frequently incorporate the barrios of their own native Argentina making their works very atmospheric.

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A famous quote by Mark Twain is to “Write what you know” in order to be a successful writer. It seems that Montogo definitely took Twain’s advice and follows this rule perfectly as they successfully draw from their own personal cultural influences thus making their artwork relatable, informative and create a more engaging dialogue.

Absolutely wonderful fair and I look forward to seeing it next year!