Cardi B, Pharrell, Kanye draw crowds during Art Basel Miami

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Artists and art lovers from around the world flock to the Miami area to visit Art Basel as well as the satellite galleries that pop up throughout the city during the week. (AFP)
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The show runs Dec. 6 to 9. (AP)
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A Graffiti artist uses spray paint to create his art on the side of a wall as the Wynwood neighborhood. (AFP)
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Over 200 modern and contemporary art galleries from around the world are displaying artworks. (AP)
Updated 09 December 2018
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Cardi B, Pharrell, Kanye draw crowds during Art Basel Miami

  • The fair has become so popular that it’s spawned dozens of others around Miami along with star-studded parties days in advance
  • One of the biggest draws of the week was at the RC Cola Factory in Wynwood, where rappers Kanye West and Lil Wayne gave surprise performances

MIAMI BEACH, Florida: Royalty, Real Housewives and the fathers of two Kardashian babies were among the celebs that fanned out across Miami for a week of glamorous parties toasting the world’s best artists during Art Basel.
Less than 24 hours after announcing she was splitting from her husband, Cardi B was spotted Wednesday night partying at 24/7 ultra-club E11EVEN MIAMI, sporting long, rainbow streaked hair and a skin-tight black dress she grabbed the microphone and sang along When the DJ played her hits, including “Bodak Yellow” and “Drippin,” which features her ex, Offset.

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G-Eazy and Travis Scott gave also gave separate performances at the all-night club over the weekend. Neither Kylie Jenner nor Kanye West were with Scott when he performed on top of the DJ booth and asked the crowd to put away their cell phones so they could enjoy the moment.
And at the private upstairs club at Casa Tua, Basel regular Leonardo DiCaprio hung out with U2’s Bono at a late-night karaoke party where Paris Hilton and Serena Williams danced to Beyonce’s “Formation” and socialite/singer Caroline Vreeland performed Amy Winehouse’ song “Rehab.”
Downstairs at the exclusive Italian restaurant, Princess Eugenie hosted an intimate seated dinner for the London-based art gallery Hauser & Wirth where she serves as director.
On Thursday night, Jennifer Lopez was spotted getting cozy with boyfriend Alex Rodriguez at Prime 112 restaurant. And over at the former Versace Mansion, Creed 2 star Tessa Thompson hosted a party to announce the finalists of Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series’ annual arts competition. Guests included BlacKkKlansman actress Laura Harrier, model Teyana Taylor and former NBA athlete Kevin Garnett. The girls did a quick photo shoot in Donatella Versace’s former quarters.
Art Basel Miami Beach, the prestigious extension of the annual contemporary art fair in Basel, Switzerland, didn’t officially open until Thursday, but the fair has become so popular that it’s spawned dozens of others around Miami along with star-studded parties days in advance.
One of the biggest draws of the week was at the RC Cola Factory in Wynwood, where rappers Kanye West and Lil Wayne gave surprise performances to honor late rapper XXXTentacion for the posthumous release of his album Skin. Kanye brought down the house as he performed their new song “One Minute” with the late rapper who was gunned down in South Florida this year.
Lil Wayne performed again at an intimate party for Republic Record’s at the Confidante Hotel, telling the crowd he hoped they were having so much fun during the over the top week of parties that they “don’t make it back to where you’re from because you just don’t want to leave here.”
On Saturday night, Pharrell teamed up with American Express Platinum for a private beachside concert.
One of the things he loves most about Art Basel is the way it brings “the curious youth here to see what it is you can do when you grow older if you continue to hone in on art in the way that you love it,” he said. “I love being in an environment that fosters creativity.”
The “Happy” singer’s new restaurant, Swan and Bar Bevy, proved to be one of the hottest reservations of the week. Kanye West dined there with Kim Kardashian’s bestie Jonathan Cheban. Rocker Lenny Kravitz joined Pharrell one night and Leonardo DiCaprio and Bono were also seen enjoying a quiet dinner together.
In Wynwood, music producer Swizz Beatz’ The Dean Collection was again a magnet for big name celebs.
The three day event with Bacardi featured performances by Meek Mill, Fat Joe and A$AP Ferg at night. By day, The Dean Collection gives artists free space to exhibit their work, along with a rare deal that gives 100 percent of sales directly to the artists as part of his No Commission theme. The art aficionado, who is married to Alicia Keys, has talked about his desire to promote starving artists.
Celeb supporters included supermodel Adriana Lima who was an eyeing a piece by artist Jamel Shabazz, saying it had an “old school” feel that she thought would inspire her in her home gym when she’s working out.
“I was just talking about how much (Art Basel) has changed. It’s became a global thing,” said Lima.
Also spotted around town were Real Housewives star Bethenny Frankel, Brooke Shields and actress Rosario Dawson.
The late night crowd headed to nightclub Rockwell, which teamed up with 1OAK for a three-night pop-up that included performances by hometown rapper Rick Ross. He brought Meek Mill onstage and the two performed their new song “What’s Free.”
“Last year this time Meek Mill was in prison. Right now he’s got the album of the year,” Ross said.
Courvoisier also hosted an after-hours bash in Wynwood to close out the weekend Saturday that featured art installations and a performance by rapper and avid art collector 2 Chainz.
“I get a few pieces here every year for my studio or my homes,” he said. “I enjoy discovering new art. I enjoy discovering new artists.”


Egyptian start-up teaches artists ways to monetize their work

Updated 16 June 2019
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Egyptian start-up teaches artists ways to monetize their work

  • More Of was started by Sara Seif and Hania Seif partly to change society's attitude towards a career as an artist
  • While the company is still at an early stage, the two founders have no plans of slowing down

Art is for the soul what food is for the body. Yet it’s a fact that artists all over the world struggle to make a living out of their creations.

This is especially so in the Middle East, where it’s rare to find a family willing to support their child’s artistic endeavors, since more academic careers tend to take priority.

But two sisters in Egypt are aiming to change that particular mindset. Enter More Of, a startup focusing on the arts, helping those in relevant fields make a living out of it.

“It all started three years ago. My sister and I used to study theater and marketing, so we both had artistic and entrepreneurial sides,” said Sara Seif, co-founder and CEO of the startup.

“We were always surrounded by artists, and we always saw the struggle they faced, with so many talents out there and so little revenue. The artists can’t monetize their art, and it’s not because they’re not good. It’s because they don’t have the business skill set.”

Sara and Hania Seif want to introduce a entrepreneurial mentality into the world of art. (Supplied)

It wasn’t until Sara stumbled on an Injaz Egypt startup competition — just 12 hours before the deadline — that the idea started to take shape. She scrambled to put her ideas into words and called her sister and business partner Hania to help.

Invited to attend a pre-incubation program, where they learned how to turn their idea into a business model, they ended up winning the competition, receiving EGP 100,000 ($6,000) in seed funding, as well as a trip to Silicon Valley.

For More Of, there was a very specific problem they were trying to solve, said Sara: “There was this gap between the talents and the marketplaces; people didn’t know where or how to look for opportunities.”

The company works in two ways; the first is geared towards people who have creative end products.

“Creative artists have something you can actually buy, like wall paintings, fashion, jewelry, and so on. We offer them a talent management platform; we’re like a talent incubator for them,” Sara said. “What we do in this incubator is try to build capacities on the business side.”

They started doing so by conducting a series of workshops with topics including how to turn art into a business, sales for creative artists, and personal branding.

“Our part is to teach you the business side. If you’ve got the talent, now let’s sell your art,” said fellow co-founder Hania, who serves as More Of’s chief creative officer.

The second area they are facilitating is the performing arts.

Sara elaborated: “We’re going to build an online platform for performing artists — theater, dance, and music — and it’s going to work like an online casting agency, where there’ll be a lot of opportunities posted for the artists.”

The two plan on making the platform free so that any artist could use it, but there will also be a premium option.

“Premium users will have an edge, where we’ll be their own consultants and manage their talent. We’ll basically be an agent for the artist,” Hania said.

“Our part is to teach you the business side. If you’ve got the talent, now let’s sell your art,”

Hania Seif

While the startup is still at an early stage, they have no intention of slowing down.

“We want to collaborate with as many people as possible, to create as many initiatives as possible, and pull all resources out there so that the artists and art community could come together and establish an ecosystem,” Sara said. “We see ourselves becoming the leading talent-management platform in the MENA region and then internationally.”

Their plans to expand on an international level mean they could potentially land local artists opportunities on the global stage.

“People want to reach talent in Egypt and they want figures to address, and we plan on becoming that figure,” Hania said.

Making money out of being an artist might have seemed like a long shot at some point, but with initiatives such as More Of, it is changing.

“It’s no longer a hopeless case for artists to turn their art into an everyday career,” Sara said.

Hania added: “We want to empower artists to do ‘more of’ what they love. And that’s how we (came up with) our name.”

 

•  This report is part of a series being published by Arab News as a partner of the Middle East Exchange, which was launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to reflect the vision of the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai to explore the possibility of changing the status of the Arab region