Where to find cool, affordable art in Dubai

Shop at the store that helped decorate the walls of Dubai's Black Tap

Where to find cool, affordable art in Dubai
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The guys over at Drawdeck have been a busy bunch since launching their affordable art platform in 2013. They’ve branched out into interior design and have launched a whole new line of artsy products available to buy in their online store.

At the end of last year, they revamped their website and began to offer a range of cushion covers, T-shirts and tote bags with artworks printed on them (and they have plans to add notebooks, beach towels, clocks and more, too).

“Consumers are shifting away from mass production and seeking out individualised products,” says Alex Dunn, co-founder of Drawdeck. “For us, it’s about offering something new and providing exciting, affordable designs on wanted products.”

They are also in the middle of a big drive to recruit new talent and introduce exciting new artists to the region.

“We’ve recently added Uma Gokhale from India, who has been very popular with her nature-centric pieces, and Joe Mania, an explorer who captures wonderful photography on his travels,” says Dunn. “The plan is to introduce a new artist every week, to keep the content fresh.

“[Interiors] were a natural evolution, really. We were approached by a number of interior designers and fit-out agencies and it snowballed,” Dunn says. “The reality is that even though the projects are quite grand they generally have small budgets for artwork. As an ‘affordable’ art destination with a constant flow of new content, it was a perfect fit.”

You can see the work of Drawdeck’s artists up on the walls of restaurants and bars across Dubai, including Black Tap, Lock, Stock & Barrel, Lucky Voice and Marina Social.

“For Black Tap, we placed artwork from artists such as db Waterman, a wonderful collage artist based in Amsterdam, on our website. We also commissioned BrainFLu, a Jordanian artist, to help with the graffiti work and then our in-house team created bespoke pieces of some hip-hop legends. It was a really fun project to work on,” says Dunn. “Today, people are extremely tech-savvy and have high expectations. They want things to be quick and easy,” he adds. “This and the rise of social media as a tool for art discovery, is a highly significant shift in understanding contemporary art and making it accessible to the masses.”

Which is exactly what Drawdeck has done. You can browse through Frank Moth’s stunning, surreal images that explore our fascination with outer space, or Butcher Billy’s illustrations that combine old and new iconic pop culture icons with vintage comic book aesthetics. And it can be hanging on your wall within minutes, for less than Dhs150.

“I love that we’ve created a platform full of extremely talented artists that have never met each other,” says Dunn. “And through Drawdeck they’re now reaching new markets and customers that they may never have found. I hope what we’re doing is positively contributing to the region’s art scene by helping to make art more accessible to everyone.”

Three top Drawdeck buys

Breathe by Leemo

German artist Leemo creates beautiful minimalistic prints ranging from the soothing and monochrome (such as the piece pictured above) to vibrant, Pop Art-style creations in lime greens, pinks and bright oranges, using fruit and veg.
From Dhs100. www.drawdeck.com.

Wanted Eleven by Butcher Billy

Butcher Billy mixes everything from Batman and American Psycho to Spider-Man and David Bowie to Lionel Richie, Star Wars and Where’s Wally? in his humorous illustrations.
Dhs150. www.drawdeck.com.

Viva La Vida by Kris Tate

The Guatemalan artist’s bright, feel-good prints are wide-ranging and eclectic. Pick up a tote bag covered in cactus cartoons, bearing the slogan “Plants are my friends”, or collagey cushion covers with tropical bird and tribal motifs.
Dhs173. www.drawdeck.com.

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