Photo Credit: Richard Alexander Caraballo
Music producer and business mogul, Swizz Beatz is inarguably one of the most supportive collectors of contemporary art. Since time immemorial, music artists have shown their love for art by infusing bits and pieces of it in their songs and album covers. This trend is seemly on the growth, and notable of mention include Jay-Z rapping about wanting to have a “Picasso in my casa,” Kendrick Lamar displaying Gordon Park’s photographs in his musical video, and Kanye West using Takashi Murakami on one of his album covers. Swizz Beatz has however taken the support to an all-new level by advocating that artists should have complete right to funds generated from their craft.
Swizz Beatz, whose real name is Kasseem Dean, was born in the Bronx. He became fascinated with art from an early age as a result of the thriving cultural scene in the Bronx back in those days, especially the graffiti arts he saw in apartment hallways and subway cars.
In the spirit of entrepreneurship, Beatz has worked with notable brands like Bally, Zenith and Bacardi, and his grand plan is to use this same zeal to give artists a major break through his pet project- No Commission.
No Commission is an art fair that gives artists 100 percent of the funds realized from selling their arts, instead of the usual 50-50 sharing formula popular amongst art dealers. Swizz Beatz started this fair in 2016 with Bacardi’s sponsorship. The fair has built a large clientele base, and has made laudable progress, generating over $3 million for the artists involved. The impact of No Commission has spread through cities like Miami, the Bronx, Berlin, Shanghai, London, and many others.
In a media chat, Swizz Beatz disclosed that artists have been for so long shortchanged by art promoters. He exposed that galleries, art collectors and the fairs have been the ones cashing out big from the sweat and creativity of these artists. He explained that most times, even after the most successful art fairs, most creative artists would have barely enough money to book a hotel reservation and buy a flight ticket. Most of these artists put in a lot of work and capital into creating their art, but at the end of the day, only galleries smile to the bank, while the artists have to be in penury, looking for a way to finance their next art.
Swizz Beatz believes that by letting the artists keep 100 percent of the proceeds of their art, the artists will reap the full rewards of their creativity, and the buyers will also benefit because that way, the prices will go down since there’s no longer a sharing formula.
Swizz Beatz disclosed that his team has also devised ways to incorporate technology into their fairs, and that in the nearest future, even more artists and arts lovers will benefit from the long list of plans they have in the offing.