Favorite Moments of 2015

Hey lovelies!

This has been a crazy year in many good ways. From landing gallery representation and international stockists, to teaching art classes and having art exhibitions. It gets so hectic at times, going from gig to gig, and managing my little art business. And although I have so much in store for 2016 that I can't wait to share with you all, I wanted to take a moment just to recap this bumpy adventure! Here are some of my favorite times from this year...

 

SEEING MY HUMPHREY CAMEL GRACE THE COVER OF A REGIONAL MAGAZINE

 

PLAYING IN THE SAND DURING A WILD DESERT SAFARI

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GATHERING INSPIRATION IN MUSCAT, OMAN

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EXHIBITING MY ART FOR THE WANNA READ CHARITY AT A LOCAL MAJLIS

SEEING MY ART HEROES AT THE MOMA IN NYC

 

BEING FEATURED ON ABU DHABI TV FOR ART EXHIBITION AT THE HILTON

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BEING INTERVIEWED ON THE LEARNING CURVE PODCAST

 

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COLLABORATING WITH THE LOKA LOKA BRAND TO CREATE A BEAUTIFUL HANDBAG COLLECTION

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GETTING TO PAINT MY HEART OUT EVERYDAY AND SHARE IT WITH ALL OF YOU!

Thank you for helping me celebrate! Now your turn. What has been your happiest moments in 2015? Share in the comments below!

 

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Check Out My Podcast Interview on The Learning Curve!

Hey guys!

I listen to podcast 99% of the time I'm in the studio. So today, it was quite a new experience listening to my own voice this time. Nicholla Henderson hosts "The Learning Curve" podcast which highlights women entrepreneurs and voices from the MENA region. The content is fabulous, and the guests are really empowering. I was so honored to be her next guest and really enjoyed the interview.

To listen, go on iTunes or listen to the link below:

This week's Podcast we speak with Artistpreneur and Abu Dhabi's lady of colour, Amira Rahim who has blazed a trail...

Posted by The Learning Curve on Sunday, October 18, 2015

Hope you enjoy! Thanks <3

How I Almost Blew My Solo Art Exhibition + Free Catalogue!

In just a few hours, my solo show with the Hilton begins. But really, this exhibition has started many months before today. It has been the culmination of so much learning and growth this year. Like all feats, it was not met without fear. This post is a brief glimpse at the creative process, no matter how brutal, it is necessary.

On the 3rd of August I came home from my two-week vacation visiting my family back in the States to face my biggest challenge yet. I was to prepare for a completely solo art show, graciously hosted by the Hilton of Abu Dhabi. 

The pressure was on. I knew that it would be the opportunity of a lifetime, a chance to have my work seen by a wider audience, and a platform for me to reconnect with my previous collectors. There was just one thing, I had to show up and do the work. The goal? 12 of my best paintings ready in a little more than a month.

I knew this would be an intense process. Painting is as much a physical act as it is a cognitive one, but I wasn't scared of the hard labor ahead. When you're tapped into that "flow state" also known as inspiration, time seems to standstill, and suddenly it's just me in a room with miles of canvas. No, I wasn't scared of the work.

Can I be perfectly honest with you? I was scared of my own ability, my very claim to being an artist. The more I thought about what I had agreed to, the more I started to panic. I questioned everything I had ever done in the past. Was (I) my art good enough? What if people are tired of my camels? (They're so cute though, I can't stop, sorry :P) What if people are expecting something completely different. Maybe I needed to be more like the other artists I admire. Maybe I need to be someone else.

I know it's as crazy as it may sound. I had just landed this great opportunity by being myself, for doing the work that inspires me and energizes me, and there I was, thinking of revoking every painting I had done previously. For days, I contemplated calling and canceling the whole thing. I knew I needed to find the motivation to do this, and fast. Thankfully, my confidence grew when I tapped into these truths:

  1. Gratitude - Being grateful for such an amazing opportunity is crucial. Exhibitions are work. There are many details to hash out, promotions, and costs. Fortunately, I have the opportunity to go into this experience with the help of the amazing team at Hilton to help see this into fruition. After our first meeting, they assured me that they want ME! Everything I have to offer, authentically.  
  2. Connectedness - Remember that no matter what the critics will say of my art or even me, that the people who show up to my exhibition attend because they are connected somehow to what I am doing. You, even reading this blog post, means that you are connected. We are sharing this moment, this work and this journey. And for that, I am also humbly grateful.
  3. Value - I had to remind myself that art is inherently valuable. Let me repeat: Art is inherently valuable because art, real art, is created from the soul and hands of an artist's vision. Artists are powerful, magical beings that stare at a blank canvas and dare to transform it into something beautiful. This gift is something that we often take lightly but it is so valuable. 
  4. Vulnerability - Accept that to live a life of creativity and to share that art with the world requires an unforgiving amount of vulnerability. There's nothing for me to hide behind, no fancy gimmicks, no lofty intellectual pursuits. Just me and a wish for a more colorful, happier world. I had to step into that vulnerability and trust it. (I've also been reading Brene Brown's Daring Greatly to help coax me along the way.)

And so, earlier last month, as I paced around the studio still in the state of doubt and panic, I realized I needed to set one rule for myself: do not buy paint. I had plenty thanks to my love of art supply shopping (hello). I didn't need more shopping to distract me from showing up and doing the work.

I know it was simply me fearing that I needed something outside of myself to create amazing art, and that's just not true. Tweet this.

This body of work was literally produced with everything I have. I needed nothing extra. Nothing special other than inspiration, my health (gratitude), and the courage to show up. No more distractions, no more fears. Just me. I am enough. You are enough.

If you're in Abu Dhabi, I hope you will visit my exhibition and get the chance to experience my latest body of work fresh off the easel. I hope these paintings hug you and make you smile as they've comforted me. Each one is a bit of my dreams. They are beautiful dreams, and I hope they never stop.

Start: September 14th, Hilton Corniche, Abu Dhabi, Opening Reception 3pm-7pm. Last day: September 20th.

Sincerely,

Amira

P.S. A catalogue of my exhibition pieces have been sent out to my newsletter subscribers. To get a free copy of my exhibition paintings, please drop your email here.

 

 

 

An Artist's Reaction to Kanye's VMA Acceptance Speech

An Artist's Reaction to Kanye's VMA Acceptance Speech

I consider music to be an influence in my work. And as someone who admittedly loves watching mindless shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians on Real Housewives (of pretty much anywhere), I will be the first to say that I'm not above watching an award show on my down time.

Last night, I caught up with the VMA's 2015 show.

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Reflecting on 30 in 30

A collage of my completed works in January.
A collage of my completed works in January.

Good morning! It's a week past January 2015 and I'm still recovering from the amazingness of last month. As many of you know, I committed to completing 30 paintings in 30 days for the first time. The challenge showed me a lot of things about myself, my work ethic, and interests. Equally, I learned a lot about my fans and supporters. It was such a high energy time and I enjoyed it immensely.

I managed to paint 30 paintings in the 30 day span, although some of them were not shared (commissions, studies). It was fun to post a painting each day and know that my audience were expecting it and would hold me accountable if I didn't. I didn't have any sales goals. I wanted this to be a space for me to push myself creatively, and I'm happy to say that I did.

Within the first week, to my pleasant surprise, paintings started to sell. Some collectors even came back for seconds, and thirds! I wanted my work to be accessible if anyone decided to buy, so I kept the works relatively small and their prices as well. Thank you all for the comments, sharing, and support.

I'm happy to say, once counted, I sold 21 original paintings last month, 17 of which were a part of the 30 paintings challenge. I believe the momentum of the whole occasion had somewhat of a ripple effect. What a great way to start the new year!

Here are a few things that I learned throughout:

  1. You can and should stretch your creative muscle. Don't be afraid if the ideas aren't fleshed out to perfection each day. Just show up and work. The rest will take care of itself in the studio.
  2. You can change your mind or idea about a subject. I initially thought I would paint very true to form faces. Instead, I wandered off the beaten path and explored what was more interesting to me. Abstract figures, veiled women, and spunky curly girls were more entertaining to me then getting an accurate portrait or resemblance of someone.
  3. Anxiety will creep in, it will make you feel like giving up. Don't listen. Ignore the smallness telling you that you can't finish what you started.
  4. Working on sets and series is a great way to keep up with your creative ideas! Instead of waiting for one day at a time to start each idea in your head, jump on 4-5 canvas in one day. You can finish one or none but just having them started is a big help in my creative process.

That was me. For those of you that did the 30 in 30 challenge or witnessed another artist participating, what did you think about it all?

xx