Do What You Cant

“Do What You Cant” was one of the YouTube videos that changed the course of my life and when I heard the creator if the video Casey Neistat would be in Dubai, I knew I had to do everything I can to meet him.

vidxbThe day finally arrived, and that Friday morning I was up bright and early making my way to the World Trade Center for the start of the VIDXB. Upon collecting my pass, I was able to select two meet and greet wristbands and to my surprise, there was still some left for Casey Neistat and KSI. I was stocked with words and grabbed them before someone else could take them but still acting cool and calm. Afterall today was all about me pushing myself and showing the world that I am the f$@ki@g ICEBERG (another beautiful quote from Do what you cant by Casey Neistat)

I might have been a tat over prepared after studying the program a few days before and prepping for all the talks I wanted to attend.

vidxbThe first panel featured Anas Bukhash. This founding partner of the Bukhash Brothers. He has been an inspiration to me since watching one of his TedTalks a while back for the first time. It was such an honor to have been able to meet him in person as well. I am sure we will see much more amazing work from this hard-working Emirati entrepreneur.

Sitting in the centre of the front row (best seat in the room) I was about the see Casey Neistat in person for the first time. The entire time before he came up I was amazed at how intimate space it was and I had to pinch myself a few times while he was sitting less than 2 meters from me. The panel was epic led by Emirati filmmaker and storyteller, Peyman Al Awadhi. ) We were able to get a little bit more insight into the life of this fantastic content creator.

vidxbAs the program was pretty full and pressed for time Casey was whisked away shortly after his talk. I made my way over to the meet and greet with English YouTube personality, comedian and actor, KSI.  He was indeed such a humble guy taking time to talk to me for a few minutes.

Inbetween talks I was roaming around the venue, and there were content creators everywhere. I. Was able to grab a few selfies with the likes of Max of Arabia, Adventure Factory, Priti Malik as well as Its OZX.

I was able to give some of my Coffee Addiction Collection products to the likes of Lele Ponds, Hannah Stocking, Haifa Beseisso and even a few special sesame street characters DBM was surely making its mark at VIDXB.

vidxbJust as I thought the day could not get any better, it was time for my meet and greet with Casey Neistat. The queue grew longer, and while waiting, I was graced with the presence of some of the Dubai royal family and Casey right next to me. What an experience. The queue started to move, and before I knew it it was my time to meet Casey, for some reason I was so nervous the words could bearly come out, we took a photo, and I gave him a few DBM coffee addiction products. There was just something special about him. Bucket list ticked.

VIDXB was a day like no other. I learned a few new tricks of the trade and met the most wonderful people. As I looked back, I am humbled and blessed to have been able to meet the people I have met and to realize that I am doing exactly what I love and loving what I do and it all started with a little inspiration from Casey Neistat, therefore, go out and Do what you cant.

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From Trash To Treasure

Bazaar, 3 December 2017

Thank you to Bazaar for the wonderful article, “From Trash To Treasure”

Read the full article here.

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Getting To Know Capsule Queen Mariska Nell

We all know that almost wistful feeling when it comes to throwing away pretty packaging. But really, why should we keep that beautiful little box our gourmet tea came in, or the funky printed tag that was attached to your new sweater? You don’t really need that junk, do you? What if you found a way to preserve it by turning it into functional art – that’s a win, win, win – isn’t it?

That’s clearly what South African-born and Dubai-based artist/designer Mariska Nell was thinking when she immersed herself in the ultimate Nespresso capsule saving project by creating a lamp out of 913 pods. “I started by collecting and cleaning my own pods for the first few months and realized that I would need a lot more if I wanted to create something exquisite. I contacted friends, family and companies around Dubai using Nespresso and in about 3 months I had enough pods to create my very first “Coffee Addiction Lamp” made from 913 pods.” And as she still does regular pickups around Dubai to maintain her supply, it’s clear that the DSSA (Design School of South Africa) alumna has a knack for turning recyclables into something beautiful to look at, or even use.


What prompted your love affair with art, and what made you decide to make it part of your everyday life?

Art has always been very much part of me. My mother would teach crafts as I was growing up, so I was always in her studio, painting whatever I could find or create. After completing my studies, I continued to paint a few pieces a year, mainly as gifts or to fill our walls.

What draws you toward making art out of household and recyclable items?

The environment is something that is very close to my heart, and reusing items that would have ended up in a landfill gives me a sense of accomplishment. I know that I have given these items a second chance in life, and at the same time contributed to bettering our environment a little bit.

What’s the greatest piece you’ve ever designed?

That is a very hard question, as I love all my pieces. But, two pieces in my new collection (“Coffee Addiction Lamp” and “Reuse, Recycle, Rehumanize”) are very near and dear to my heart. The painting I did in memory of my late father; (“I’ll Always Have Someone Watching Over Me”) makes the list as well. I also created two pieces that I have donated to charity. “On Route To Uhuru” was part of a silent auction for Warriors for Willow to raise funds for research to find a cure for MSD while, “Every Drop Counts” is a piece that is part of a Surge event to raise funds to invest in communities through safe water and sanitation solutions.

What kind of stories do your artworks tell?

The majority of my pieces tell stories of my travels and the people I see and meet along the journey. I always have a camera close, to capture moments that touch me. I then use these photographs to narrate the stories through my art. I have also completed a few commission pieces where I narrate stories that are dear to my clients by turning their family memories into works of art. Companies also ask me to create art that represents their core values.

Who or what inspires you?

Travel! I have always been fascinated with traveling. I feel so enriched every time I visit a new destination and am able to experience how the local people live, their beauty, love, ambitions and how they protect their siblings, families and their nation. It is in such moments that I feel inspiration: Like the little girl I photographed on our farm with her cupcake, the beautiful woman behind “Reuse, Recycle, Rehumanize“ and my husband while roaming the streets of Havana. I am also inspired to create art for philanthropic people and organizations. I also often visit other artists in their studios as they continually inspire me and I hope that I would be an inspiration to an artist out there as well.

Do you think that in the future, most design pieces on the market will be made from recycled items?

The hopeful side of me is screaming YES. I personally hope to contribute to increasing this practice, and amazingly, lots of companies, cafes and restaurants are joining me in this effort as well. This December, I will be exhibiting at WILD Coffee in Salmiya, Kuwait. This is an effort to increase awareness around recycling and show more coffee connoisseurs the beautiful artwork that can be created from coffee capsules. Clients who commission work from me sometimes bring their own sentimental pieces they could have thrown away. What I am doing is only a drop, if we all took part, we could create a recycling ocean.  It’s a matter of asking, “How can I help to reduce, reuse and recycle?”


Mariska Nell will be exhibiting her art in Kuwait. Experience her unique creations this month at WILD Coffee in Salmiya. Follow @WILD.Kwt on Instagram for updates. Visit Mariska’s website for more on her work at Follow her on InstagramFacebookTwitter and Youtube: @DesignbyMariska.

According To Mimi, Wild Coffee Bar

According To Mimi, 17 December 2017

Thank you to Mimi for the wonderful article, “Wild Coffee Bar”

Read the full article here.

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Wild Coffee Bar by Mimi

When I heard about the WILD Coffee Bar (@wild.kwt) hosting art pieces, I was intrigued and decided to check it out.  Now, I’d never been to the WILD cafe before and had no clue that such a place existed just mere minutes from me, tucked away in a corner of Salmiya.  A hidden gem, if you might.The artwork displayed is by Artist Markisa Nell (@designbymariska) and she’s actually also featured in this month’s Bazaar Magazine (From Trash to Treasure).  If you look closely, you’ll see that the artwork is made from recycled material (coffee pods, drink cans, etc).  I love that!

The barista who served us was bubbly and a delight and after placing our orders, we took a seat indoors to wait.  I’d ordered the Spanish latte, delicious, while the better half had a gingerbread latte which had a beautiful mix of spices, perfect for Christmas!  Also, ask to try some of the WILD’s popular items – the Açaí Bowl, V60 slow brew coffee, the muffins and cookies and of course the Spanish latte.

The cafe has a lot of off-the-wall touches such as a handwritten menu on a large roll of brown paper, a mix of different knick-knacks like a surfboard and my favourite, a camel crossing sign!  Beautiful lights both inside and strung outside as well, just added to the cosiness of the place – definite hygge vibes!

I believe the artwork is only on display till tonight, but if you do miss the art display, check out Mariska’s work on her Instagram on @designbymariska.  Mariska makes custom pieces for clients who would like to use some of their recycled items to create art that showcases their family memories.  Either way, do pass by the cafe if you’re in or around Salmiya.  The WILD Coffee Bar is a cool and quirky hangout spot that should be on your list.

Huwiyyati — My Identity

Huwiyyati — My Identity

24 -30 October 2017

‘Huwiyyati — My Identity’, the Noon Arts Awards that was organised by the Sharjah Ladies Club and Noon Gallery. The awards focused on recognising and honouring talented women and girls in the fields of painting as well as photography. The awards ceremony was opened by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi. Mariska was one of the finalists selected from the 292 submissions.

The artwork exhibited by Mariska included Reuse, Recycle, Rehumanize.

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Desert Rose

Desert Rose was inspired by living in the UAE and listening to Sting’s song Desert Rose. This made me look a bit deeper, and I wondered whether if I had to create a desert rose, what it would look like.

One of the many things that amaze me of living in the UAE is seeing camels alongside the road, just blissfully strutting about. I just love spotting them, and they always put a smile on my face. Therefore they were the main inspiration when thinking of the desert. The entire body of the camel is covered with recycled Nespresso capsules. Afterwards, I cut and folded some roses that are placed all around the camel to add the rose in the theme.

Title: “Desert Rose”

Dimensions: 280mm x 220mm

Medium: Mixed Medium (Acrylic Paint, Nespresso Capsules)

Desert Rose was exhibited at The Art of Recycling, TechStars Startup Weekend 2017Rooted.

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Beauty and The Bean

Beauty and The Bean was inspired by my favourite childhood Disney film, Beauty and the Beast. After seeing the new version of the film, I was taken back to my memories of watching the film and mouthing along with the movie word for word. The enchanted rose was always something that I wanted to have and therefore decided to do my take on this beautiful rose made from recycled Nespresso capsules.

Title: “Beauty and The Bean”

Dimensions: 120mm x 200mm

Medium: Mixed Medium (Plastic, Nespresso Capsules, glass, wood)

Beauty and The Bean was exhibited at Artist AvenueThe Art of RecyclingTechStars Startup Weekend 2017, Rooted.

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GCC Comes Into Being

GCC Comes Into Being was inspired by the May 26th, 1981 cover page of the Khaleej Times. In this painting, I portray Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan where he opens the summit meeting in Abu Dhabi.

In the background, I used recycled newspapers, and I depict a map of the GCC countries. The blue colour that I have used in the background is to symbolize the trust, loyalty and the wisdom and I wanted to emphasize the inherent cultural unity of the Gulf Arab States.

Title: “GCC Comes Into Being”

Dimensions: 800 x 600mm

Medium: Mixed Medium (Acrylic Paint, Recycled Newspaper )

GCC Comes Into Being was exhibited at Art and Headlines.

Sold, in a private art collection.

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Green with Envy

Green with Envy was inspired by Nespresso and the beautiful colours of their capsules. I wanted to create a lamp with the majority colour being dark grey, with a pop of green.

To create this lamp, I used 900 recycled coffee capsules. Once the lamp is switched on you would be able to see all the beautiful shadows that creates another form of shadow art on the wall.

Title: “Green with Envy”

Dimensions: 440mm x 400mm

Medium: Mixed Medium (Wire Frame and Nespresso Capsules)

Green with Envy was exhibited at The Art of Recycling, TechStars Startup Weekend 2017Rooted.

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Coffee Addiction Lamp

Coffee Addiction Lamp was inspired by Nespresso and the beautiful colours of their capsules. I started to collect the used capsules and cleaned them out one by one, by hand. I then explored with different shapes until I created the flower designs. After using 913 coffee capsules to create all the flowers my first “Coffee Addiction Lamp” was created.

This piece is always a conversation starter as the colours attract you to the lamp but it is only when you get close that you realise it is made from Nespresso’s coffee capsules. Once the lamp is switched on you would be able to see all the beautiful shadows that creates another form of shadow art on the wall.

My message through this lamp was to create beauty out of waste and for people to appreciate it and to think how they can recycle, reuse and even reduce.

Title: “Coffee Addiction Lamp Multi Colour”

Dimensions: 380mm x 500mm

Medium: Mixed Medium (Wire Frame and Nespresso Capsules)

Coffee Addiction Lamp was exhibited at Artist Avenue, Index Exhibition, The Art of Recycling, TechStars Startup Weekend 2017Rooted.

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Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star was inspired by Nespresso and the beautiful colours of their capsules. I wanted to combine the Nespresso pods with Swarovski crystals an create something that will just shimmer. I, therefore, shaped the Nespresso pods in the shape of little stars and added the Swarovski crystals to the centre of each. The crystals added more life to the lamp and once switched on you would be able to see all the different effect that shadows of the lamps and the crystals make together.

Title: “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”

Dimensions: 270mm x 220mm

Medium: Mixed Medium (Acrylic Paint, Nespresso Capsules, Swarovski crystals)

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star was exhibited at Artist Avenue, Index ExhibitionThe Art of Recycling, TechStars Startup Weekend 2017Rooted.

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