As you may well be aware by now, rum brand BACARDÍ recently teamed up with their Global Chief Creative for Culture​ Swizz Beatz and his art vehicle, The Dean Collection, to put on a series of art fairs across the world to showcase artists’ work and sell it. The key difference between No Commission and most other art fairs is that in this case, the artist keeps 100% of the money made—hence, No Commission. It’s a pretty progressive move for any brand, but not a surprising one when you consider BACARDÍ’s history of patronage that goes back almost to day one of the brand’s life. Since the 30's the Bacardi family have had a keen interest in art, architecture and music commissioning work from Brazilian artist Francisco Brennand to Cuban artist Felix Ramos and even hosting Prohibition parties in Cuba. Now, in 2016, they're continuing that tradition of supporting the arts with cultural initiatives such as No Commission, collaborating on an installations with digital artist Kenzo Digital, and hosting massive block parties such as the Major Lazer show in Jamaica.

We caught up with Morocco-born, UK-based artist Hassan Hajjaj, one of the artists whose work will be on show at No Commission London, to discuss his extraordinary body of work, the vast number of media he’s employed over the years, the bringing together of cultures that lies at the centre of most of his work, and of course, the BACARDÍ​ X The Dean Collection present No Commission project.

Despite being widely acclaimed and being held in very high esteem in the art world, there’s always been a bit of an outsider quality to Hassan Hajjaj. Having moved to England from Morocco at a young age, his work never quite fit convention and he refused to stick to one style, discipline or even medium. His work, that spans several decades, has over the years incorporated portraiture, fashion, furniture design, film, music videos. Despite that, Hajjaj never went to art school, nor did he receive any sort of formal training. Instead he’s entirely self-taught and, as he points out, has managed to avoid much of the snobbery that can sometimes face an artist wanting to work in a different way. This is most likely down to the inclusive way he approaches his own art.

Exhibitions like Kesh Angels and Rock Stars aimed to bring worlds together and upend perceptions. In the case of the former, Hajjaj photographed a motorcycle gang of young women in Marrakech and the vibrant street culture of Morocco, bringing these striking images to the West. In the case of the latter, he took the idea of the rock star—in his words, “long hair, leather jacket and sunglasses”—and brought to that a much wider range of people and handed them the name. Bridging gaps and breaking down cultural barriers is something he keeps coming back to, regardless of medium.