At the end of last month, we here at LFB Blogazine wrote about an upcoming event with BACARDÍ and The Dean Collection called No Commission. Well now we are here to recap this incredible 3 day long event.

With the slogan: When you free the artist, you free the world,” No Commission, an all-encompassing art and music event in Berlin located at Altes Kraftwerk Rummelsburg was all about showcasing the work of emerging fine artists in the hopes of giving them more exposure and hopefully helping them make a sale. Like the title says, No Commission was all about supporting the artist 100%, giving all proceeds from sales directly back to the artist him/herself.

No Commission – BACARDÍ and The Dean Collection with Swizz Beatz

The 3 day event was an incredible combination of art exhibition, auction house, bar, and concert hall featuring Major Lazer Soundsystem, Black Coffee, Kitty Cash, Swizz Beats, DJ Runna, Honey Dijon, Simon Kaiser, Noah Becker, Nico Adomako and Bakery, all curated by Swizz Beatz.

Artwork was exhibited by the following artists: Amaury Berillon, Morgan Blair, Walker Brengel, Jonas Burgert, Jens Einhorn, Kadara Enyeasi, Jamie Evans, Faile, Shepard Fairey, Wendy Fulenwider Liszt, Wyatt Gallery, Rachel Garrard, The Heliotrope Foundation, Nadine Ijewere, Paul Insect, Marcus Jahmal, Royal Jarmon, Manuel Kirsch, Jerome Lagarrigue, Caroline Larsen, Daniel Jack Lyons, Nelson Makamo, Jaybo Monk, Jayson Musson, Yoh Nagao, Musa N. Nxumalo, Okuda, Felipe Pantone, Fabio Ruffet, Jason Seife, Semra Sevin, Ming Smith, Matthew Stone, Rupert Whale and Zio Ziegler.

I had the pleasure of attending both the opening night on Thursday the 29th as well as the BACARDÍ No Commission Artist Dinner on the 30th. Thursday was full of good vibes, art viewing, art purchasing (although sadly not by me!) and decent tunes. On Friday, the BACARDÍ No Commission Artist Dinner took place which was hosted by BACARDÍ and music producer Swizz Beatz and attended by creatives and the artists showcased as part of No Commission themselves. Swizz spoke about his relationship with BACARDÍ and No Commission, and it was clear that this event was all about giving back to the artist as well as making art something accessible for all people.

The art world is quite a complex and contradictory one. The everyday artist continues to struggle to make ends meat and have their discipline recognised as something legitimate. The fact that the general public does not place monetary value on the work of artists or their process highlights this struggle. Yet at the other extreme end, when an artist ends up “making it,” they suddenly become elevated in the fine art community and this legitimisation means they are able to sell their pieces for incredible sums of money. It is as if the art world is split. Rather than respecting all artists for their craft and talent, new or emerging artists are on one side, struggling to be recognised and respected both monetarily and conceptually, and household names or artists who have been “vetted” by the art community are on the other side, exhibiting their work in exclusive and prestigious galleries and raking in the money, or have long since died, but continue to be remembered and respected.

But what truly separates an artist who has not yet found worldwide success and validation from the artist whose work is hanging up in the MoMA? Who decides when an artist reaches an elevated status which grants them respect and status?

And then there is the audience. Society as a whole seems to echo the larger art community’s sentiment about the everyday artist. They place more value on famous athletes or occupations that are deemed “legitimate.” But much of this seems to be the result of the general public’s lack of access to art. Yes, museums are (for the most part) free for all and a place in which anyone can explore what is on display. But for the everyday potential art viewer, art is often something not accessible, so it is no wonder why the average Joe generally has a lack of understanding behind the emotional, social, political, and monetary value of art. Contemporary art discussions are something generally left for those in ivory towers, within high-brow society amongst those who can actually afford to collect and have the luxury of viewing famous works of art in the comfort of their own homes or being auctioned off or exhibited in exclusive Galleries and at events like Art Basel. Art is no longer accessible to all. (The question of if it ever truly was was is a whole different can of worms.)

I myself went to a liberal arts college and minored in fine arts and continue to create art through the medium of photography so this topic is very near and dear to my heart. I see the great divide between emerging and established artists and I see the great divide in how the public feels about fine art and how they consume it. It has always been my goal to live in a world in which people from all walks of life want to and can consume art and a world in which artists can practice their craft and still pay their rent.

Events like No Commission are working to bridge these kinds of gaps. No Commission is not just about respecting art and artists and giving them a platform in which to display their work. It is also about overall inclusion in the consumption and conversation of and about art.

This also extends to the actual musical performances from well-known headliners such as Major Lazer Soundsystem. As Swizz pointed out on the evening of the BACARDÍ No Commission Artist Dinner, BACARDÍ could have chosen to charge stupid amounts of money per ticket for the three day event but they choose not to. Because they also believe that creation should be accessible to everyone and everyone should have access to creation.

I have no problems with artists selling their work for large sums of money or those who can afford to buy pieces for their own personal collections. What I do have a problem with is living in a world in which these are the only kinds of people who are reaping the benefits of art. We need to live in a world in which EVERYONE rich and poor, emerging or established can be exposed to art and create it.

I am so proud to have been part of this incredible event and respect BACARDÍ so much. They are a large company who is using their influence for good. Back in May I was lucky enough to attend a dinner with BACARDÍ where I had the opportunity to meet Enrique Comas from the Bacardi family and it was clear to me then as it is to me now that BACARDÍ is all about supporting underdogs of all kinds. The dinner coincided with BACARDÍ’s Legacy Global Cocktail Competition 2017, an event all about not only helping to discover the next world renowned cocktail and bartender but also helping to support and mentor all participants involved. BACARDÍ is setting and example for other companies to follow and prove that just because you are corporate does not mean you have to an asshole. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that they tend to put on the best goddamned events around.


*This post and the work done with BACARDÍ for No Commissions was paid work. All commentary and opinions are my own. We here at LFB Blogazine are so thankful to the brands that allow us to continue to do what we do. Without brands like BACARDÍ, we would not exist.

Photography: Rae

Rae Tilly

Rae the EIC of LFB and YEOJA Magazine. She is also a photographer and social media influencer.