We usually watch music videos and think Wow, this artist is incredible! We don't think of those behind all the astonishing work we admire. Today, we looked at Beyoncé's dazzling team, the team that has given us the real meaning of creativity, imagination, and excellence. And, can you guess who we found on the team? The Lebanese Andrew Makadsi, the art director of Beyoncé!
Makadsi was born and raised in Zahle, known as the Bride of the Beqaa. Although he comes from a family whose men work in the car business, Makadsi was encouraged to embrace his creativity. He used to spend hours watching music videos and looking at the TV and magazines, consuming all the branding of artists.
At the age of 18 in 2007, Makadsi moved to the United States with his family, as Lebanon wasn't safe at that time. The family settled down in New Jersey, and Makadsi enrolled at the University of Toledo in Ohio, where he studied film and TV broadcasting.
Andrew then moved to New York where he worked as an interning editor on a documentary of New York fashion week. This first experience was just an opening door for others to come as he was soon offered an editor job at the production company Industrial Color.
In his fashion work, Makadsi has done work for top designers, including Alexander Wang, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Sephora, Levi’s, and others of such high names in the industry.
"Fashion influences music – at an aesthetic and taste level. Fashion introduced me to music," Makadsi told Vogue Magazine. In fact, his work in fashion caught the attention of various music artists who were looking for new ideas for videos and tour concepts. He soon found himself working with Kanye West, Jay Z, Big Sean, and Swedish House Mafia.
Beyoncé was just another artist who cherished Makadsi's incredible work. His first experience in working for Queen B was the On the Run Tour. He was brought in to create visuals and video content.
On working with Beyoncé, Makadsi said, "I’m so lucky. She’s an artist–she knows what she wants. A lot of the creative comes from her. She is the mastermind. We’re a team. It’s like an orchestra, and she’s the maestro."
Starting from a few projects, Makadsi became his solo art director three and a half years ago. He worked on some astonishing projects including Lemonade and the Formation World Tour, creating the art direction for many of her videos, tour visuals, and promotions.
One of his most notable works is Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé, a documentary-concert Netflix film. It scored six Emmy nominations and was nominated under other categories, including Outstanding Variety Special (pre-recorded), production design, and costumes.
In the category for Outstanding Production Design for a Variety Special, Makadsi was nominated for an Emmy for his incredible work. This is his first Emmy nomination ever, and hopefully not the last!
In his words to Vogue, "We grew up seeing the same heroes, the same standards, and the same skin color. Now, you have people from all over celebrating their beauty, power, and excellence. Of course, there is beauty in everyone. It’s just the rules we make and how we normalize–many are left out. That’s the power of music, fashion, and imagery."
When asked about Lebanon, Makadsi said, "I look back, and I see nothing but beauty."
Makadsi still keeps grounded to his Lebanese roots, sharing archival images of the renowned like Fairuz and also Um Kulthoum, alongside documentary portraits from his regular visits back to Lebanon.
"What makes you different is your voice and what is in your heart. Go in there, grab it, and show it to the world," Makadsi advises during his interview with Vogue.