Startup of the Week: Recreating your pictures with a digital twist

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Employees working in the colorful office of the Art shop. (AN photo Huda Bashatah)
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Employees working in the colorful office of the Art shop. (AN photo Huda Bashatah)
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Razan Khalil the Head office manager in her space. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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AN photo by Huda Bashatah.
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AN photo by Huda Bashatah.
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AN photo by Huda Bashatah.
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AN photo by Huda Bashatah.
Updated 26 March 2019

Startup of the Week: Recreating your pictures with a digital twist

  • The designers at Art Shop can also provide consultations for customers on the themes and concepts they are interested in

The art scene in Jeddah has been undergoing something of a renaissance in recent times, with new branches growing constantly. Artists and artistic amateurs are increasingly served by an array of venues to develop their styles, and one of the more notable businesses in the region is the Art Shop, a design retailer recognized as an industry leader.
Art Shop creates digital designs, artwork and “visual communication solutions” for customers and clients, across a range of areas. Their shop is located at Red Sea Mall, where you can go and browse their wares and services, while the head office is located in Al-Andalus district.
Art Shop recreates the pictures you give them in their own unique style, adding backgrounds, highlights and all manner of other features.
What you choose to do with your product is up to you. You can either wear it as a badge or put it up in your home as a decoration, customizing it exactly to the shape and size you want it to be.
Art Shop has become a popular source of wedding gifts for their ability to create life-sized cut-outs of the bride and groom, as well as personalized guest books, programs and other accessories.
The shop also values customer’s privacy and modesty, as those who cover their faces or wear hijab can request female employees to assist them and take charge of the whole creative process.
The designers at Art Shop can also provide consultations for customers on the themes and concepts they are interested in.
“We have worked for many events, where we have created name tags and invitations for the organizers and invitations for guests,” said Razan Khalil, the office head manager.
“We never use Photoshop here. It’s really important for us that every single commission is done by our designers — it is all hand-drawn, handmade, and with a real personal stamp on all our products.”
Art Shop is also pushing barriers when it comes to equal opportunities for women. “More than 90 percent of the people working with us are girls, and I feel like the girls are more efficient than boys,” Khalil added.
That efficiency — and talent — is clearly paying dividends, as demand is constantly increasing. “We are working to open another branch very soon,” she said.


K-pop group BTS: New album tells of conquering doubts and fears

Updated 24 February 2020

K-pop group BTS: New album tells of conquering doubts and fears

  • BTS stands at the forefront of South Korean pop music and has helped gather an international audience for the genre
  • BTS broke into the US market in 2017 and was the first Korean group to win a Billboard music award

SEOUL: The young stars in South Korean boy band BTS said on Monday the theme of their new album dealt with how they overcame doubts and fears encountered since they burst on the K-pop scene seven years ago.
Having performed at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles last month, BTS stands at the forefront of South Korean pop music and has helped gather an international audience for the genre.
On Friday, the band released “Map of the Soul: 7,” its fourth album. The 20 tracks include collaborations with Sia and Troye Sivan.
Plans for a large media event in Seoul for the album were ditched due to the coronavirus health scare in South Korea, but the band instead livestreamed a news conference based on preregistered questions.
“Sometimes we were uncertain, sometimes we were lost. Every time that happened, the shadows and fear inside us grew,” rapper Suga told the news conference aired via YouTube.
“But it’s been seven years. I think we have grounded ourselves now, and we learned how to do that, the difficulties and wounds we face and fight them.”
Though several young K-Pop stars have struggled with cyberbullying and depression, Suga did not elaborate on what difficulties BTS faced.
But the group, whose seven members are in their Twenties, took an unexpectedly long vacation last year to “recharge.”
When asked about the comment by Bong Joon-ho, director of the Oscar-winning “Parasite,” who recently said BTS was 3,000 times more influential than him, Suga said he was an avid fan of Bong’s work and hoped more South Korean artists would be introduced to the world.
Leader and rapper RM likened K-pop to a “giftbox” integrating music, dance, video and interaction with fans, saying the personal elements the band infuses in its music might have boosted its global popularity.
“We try to instill personal stories in our music and dance and I think the concerns and feelings that we have resonate with people around the world,” he said.
But making music is a “constant battle to show your weakness and fight the fear of expressing your fear,” he added.
BTS broke into the US market in 2017 and was the first Korean group to win a Billboard music award. It is set to launch a new world tour in April, kicking off in Seoul.