August 16, 2014

Meet Amira...


5 Loves
By: Little Majlis
Meet Amira...

1. We would like to introduce you to Little Majlis shopkeeper, Amira...
It's not often you come across a collection of art that puts a huge beam on your face - but we have found one based in Abu Dhabi! Meet American expat Amira, producing paintings charged with exciting colour and happy paint...

That's right! When she isn't playing wonder woman, Amira is the talent behind Little Majlis online boutique
Amira Rahim.  She specialises in colourful and vibrant abstract paintings inspired by life and travels. She loves to paint large vivid works of art, that we love to admire and can only hope to have hanging on the walls of our Little Majlis one day sooner rather than later.

Amira was kind enough to take time out of her creative craziness to have a (virtual) chat with us. Here's what she had to tell us about herself and her bright business, Amira Rahim...

What sort of products do you market?
I sell vibrant colorful paintings on paper and canvas handpainted and designed in my studio in Abu Dhabi.

2. An example of Amira's vibrant style that is typical of all her work - 'Subway Ride' Abstract expressionist painting on canvas

When and why did you decide to start your own business?
When I moved to Abu Dhabi, I was very much aware of the consumerism here. It’s a great place for meeting new people and of course, shopping till you drop. But, after a few months here, I decided I wanted to be a producer not a consumer. It’s been a shift in thinking. Now, most of my money goes to more art supplies so I can keep doing what I love.

What's the best thing about setting up your own brand?
The best part for me has been seeing my art reach the hands of art lovers and collectors from all over the world. The other day, a collector of mine shared a photo with me of two of my original baby camel paintings that she purchased for her grandkids back in the US. Seeing their young faces, and then my art hanging on their walls alongside their own art made my day. I couldn’t help but tear up with joy. It probably was the most rewarding thing I’ve felt since I started selling my artwork a year ago.

3. This camel print of Amira's original 'Clarence' painting, is a Little Majlis favourite! Good thing it comes in A3 and A4 size - perfect for posting.

What are some of the challenges you've faced?
Shipping my work is always a challenge since I sell finished art work. I go to great lengths to ensure the paintings arrive safely. I may not have the fancy packaging of other brands, but I do have sturdy shipments. Shipping art is not like shipping other products as it’s large, flat, and easy to damage. However, I’ve been lucky to find good packaging materials and assistance in the city.

What do you love about selling online?
It’s limitless. I can switch out products and share my newest work with just a few clicks of a button. Selling online helps me connect and talk directly to my fans and admirers of my work. Sometimes I’m able to sell a painting before it’s even dry! Doesn’t happen everyday, but it wouldn’t happen at all if it weren’t for the internet and my social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Where do you source your materials?
I’ve been fortunate enough to find all of the art supplies that I need from various bookstores throughout Abu Dhabi. My favorites have to be United Bookstore in Mina, All Prints, and Magrudy’s in Wahda Mall. These three have saved me plenty of times when I needed a material on the go!

4. Some of the items that Amira has sourced from her favourite Abu Dhabi art supply shops, just itching to be put into action...

What sets your products apart?
Color! It’s my muse. I’ve been told that I have a way with color and earlier this year, an article in The National named me as “The Colour Poet”. I think it suits me since I do consider myself a poetic person and used to write a lot. As an artist, I draw from my emotions and aspirations and express them with color and movement on the canvas.

5. Amira at work in her studio 6. 'Marina Bay' contemporary knife palette painting 7. 'Heat Wave' an appropriate name for a limited edition print of the Abu Dhabi Corniche 8. 'Beach Umbrellas' an abstract beach landscape painting, ready to hang! 9. 'Blue Oud' an original water colour mixed media painting (with free UAE shipping!)

10. We know this print from Amira's original painting 'Grand Mosque in Colour' gets a lot of attention...

Where do you get your inspiration to be creative from?
Every artist and creative person, be it in music, film, painting, any person that dares to be their authentic self for a living, inspires me. Sometimes, when I watch music videos or listen to an album cover to cover, I think about how hard they had to work to get this finished product that we listen to. All the ups and downs, the risks, the victories, to end up with a beautiful compilation of music. It’s truly inspiring.

Any exciting news to share?
I’m working on larger abstract paintings more suitable for galleries and exhibitions. It’s challenging but I’m very excited to be able to experiment. When it comes to art, I think the larger the better. So, this is my news.

What's your favourite colour?
I really love pink. Although I never admitted it until this year.

11. Amira pretty in her favourite colour, pink...

When did you last laugh?
I tried Zumba for the first time today in my apartment this morning and I was having so much fun I couldn’t stop laughing. It wasn’t even 9am and I was already having the time of my life.

What keeps you awake at night?
Color combinations and new painting possibilities! The best and worst part of being an artist! Creativity tends to strike at night. Sometimes it’s hard to just leave it to the morning so I paint a little of what I’m envisioning at night. Lately, I’ve been trying to take mental snapshots instead though and seeing what sticks with me over the course of a few days. If I’m still holding on to an idea after a few days, then I know I won’t be able to let it go until I paint it.

Do you have any regrets?
No regrets! 

Do you collect anything?
I love to collect mementos from countries that I’ve visited. Little bits and pieces to remind me of the country. It could be earrings, patches, or something handmade by a local artisan.

What is your golden rule?
Be kind to people. No matter what.

Who is the best super-hero? Superman, Batman or Spiderman?
I love Superman! Everytime I watch a Superman movie, I’m in love all over again.

12. Amira (a.k.a. Wonder Woman or should we say Amazing Amira) in her studio alongside her crush Super Man; we have to say both are pulling impressive super hero poses... (is it his colourful outfit that caught your eye Amira?)

What’s the best career advice anyone ever gave you?
Keep painting.

What is your greatest aim in life?
To be a happy, successful artist and loving mum and wife!

How many foreign languages do you speak?
I speak Portuguese with near fluency. I learned it in college after coming across music by Caetano Veloso in high school. I’ve been listening to bossa nova and samba ever since. It’s usually the first thing I put on in my studio.

What are you most embarrassed by?
Sometimes my hijab decides to move around and I’m stuck in the middle of town shuffling the fabrics and pinning and tucking furiously.  It’s a struggle!

What are your five favourite finds from the Little Majlis market?
  1. RAW tote bags! Want NEED!
  2. Soy candles by Pure Candles Dubai
  3. The cute dolls from The Arab Doll Project are brilliant. Such a simple concept but wonderfully executed and you can take them anywhere. They fit right in your purse!
  4. The cool,functional dresses from 2birds are very practical for life in the UAE.
  5. Les Bobo Chics shop has very cute items. Hard to choose just one!

13. A gorgeous cotton tie die dress from 2birds 14. We also love these 2 dolls from the Fujairah based The Arab Doll Project 15. A playful moon and star mobile from Les Bobos Chics online boutique 16. Have you smelt the persian spice scent candle from Pure Candles Dubai - amazing! 17. The RAW bucket bag - we also have a huge crush on these Dubai made bags.

Amira we can not thank you enough for sparing the time to share with us a little more about you and your business. We adore your work, so it has been a pleasure getting to know you more.

And remember, Amira is more than happy to do custom requests, contact her via her Amira Rahim online store here, and she'll help you out...

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