“everything I buy, and everything I enjoy…there’s a connection. I don’t care about the names. To me, you either admire the work or you don’t.”
It’s raining in South Kensington and Swizz Beatz, music producer and mogul is sitting on the back of a golden cow. Around us, his team mill, but the atmosphere is relaxed, and Swizz himself is in an expansive mood.
He’s generous, and passionate, and enthusiastic about his latest project – No Commission. This new initiative, backed by Bacardi for whom Swizz is Global Chief Creative for Culture, offers a multi-dimensional space for rising creative to show their work. The latest incarnation of the event is about to roll out in Shanghai, following the first London event last year. How did he feel that event went?
Swizz chuckles ‘Right before I pulled into the show they told me the lights weren’t working! Twenty minutes to the start and we had no lights. And all I could say was ‘’the show goes on’. I didn’t want any negative energy in there at all. They managed to sort it, and we went on with the show’.
What’s going to be different about the Shanghai event?
‘It’s a different concept…more digital and a different expression. I don’t want any of the shows to feel repetitive. So Shanghai is going to be less focused on sales than being a platform. When you make money a factor, it’s pressure. Pressure on the artist. I want them to know that sometimes they’re going to sell, sometimes they’re not going to sell. It’s the opportunity, and enjoying the opportunity is important.’
In my time with Swizz on the shoot, I become aware of how his presence instantly puts people at ease. Not for him are diva tactics and demands and he readily submits to a whole raft of hugs and selfies from the crew.
Through his Dean Collection and the aforementioned No Commission events, he’s creating a whole new dialogue on the nature of collecting, and the nature of exposure for artist across the spectrum
I elaborate on how he was the first person to come to mind to helm our Collector’s Issue and he seems genuinely touched, taking a picture of my statement about the purpose of the shoot on his phone.
While he’s in the make-up chair, I set to work on exploring the creative mind that’s made music his kingdom, and looks set to do the same for the art world.