YEDaily: Joobin Bekhrad

Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
Based in Toronto, London, and Dubai, art clvb promotes contemporary artists from the Middle East.

Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
I’ve always been in love with the arts and culture of Iran (my birthplace) and the Middle East, and it had been a desire of mine for some time to turn this passion into a business. As well, my father – who had been managing his own business in Dubai for nearly 10 years – became very much interested in the vibrant contemporary art scene there, and we both decided that it would be exciting to somehow enter the world of art.

Having many contacts among artists and galleries in the Middle East, North America, and Europe, we began working across these three regions to introduce the works of talented visual artists from the Middle East to wider audiences around the world.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
Without a doubt, the thing I enjoy most about what I do is having the privilege to meet and work with extremely talented and interesting individuals. In the relatively short period since we established art clvb, I’ve made some incredible friends whose words and works inspire me on a daily basis.

On another note, I’d say the most challenging aspect of my work has to do with the size of our company, and my many responsibilities. As art clvb is currently managed by three individuals – myself, my father and a close friend of ours – and I have to ‘get my hands dirty’ in almost every aspect of the business, which can be tiring at times. This is especially true in the case of managing our artists and communicating with third parties.

Where do you see your business going in 5 years?
In five years’ time, I see art clvb successfully established as the leading patron and promoter of contemporary Middle Eastern art. Undoubtedly, this entails continuously improving and expanding upon our artist roster, holding more events, participating in major international fairs and exhibits, and expanding our reach internationally. We also aim to hold our own auctions not too far down the line. 

For now, we’re currently in the process of introducing a new website which will act as a platform for both artists and galleries, and also have a blog in the works, which will be devoted to all aspects of Middle Eastern arts and culture. Being an avid writer, I’m particularly excited about the blog.
What does success look like to you?
In terms of what we’re doing at art clvb, success means improving each and every day, learning from our mistakes, and coming ever closer to achieving our goals. Business aside, however, I define success – and happiness, for that matter – as simply being mentally and emotionally at peace with myself.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
I think having come this far in such a short amount of time is definitely the most memorable thing for us! We never expected what we were doing to take off as fast as it did. 

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
My advice to other young professionals is to discover your strengths early on in your career, and build on them. This may take a bit of experimenting here and there, with different careers, roles, and industries, but once you find out what you’re good at (and what you’re not good at), you won’t have any doubts about what you want to spend your life doing.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
We support a number of charities, although the two we’re most passionate about are the Canadian Cancer Society and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. This is because in recent years we’ve lost some of our loved ones to cancer and heart attacks.

What is Notable to you?
Being proud of who you are and where you’re from. It’s a joy to come across people these days that have stayed true to their native culture, traditions, and language. I don’t see why anyone would want to shy away from his or her roots.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
I passionately dislike (i.e. hate) Blackberries, and until only recently thought that Androids were some sort of robots, so I’ll have to go with the iPhone.

How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
In terms of physical health, I exercise every morning at home – without exception – and watch what I eat. As well, I’m not really one for staying at home, and therefore I try to get out and meet new people as much as I can, which I enjoy. I’m also heavily into literature and music, which are two of my biggest joys in life, and don’t mind letting it all out on the guitar now and then. Taking things easy overall also helps to keep me vibrant, and I try (key word here) not to let a day go by without having learned something new or at least having thoroughly enjoyed myself!