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Behind The Scenes

Dan Woodger works slavishly to create 1000 brilliant emoji in over 1000 hours!

James Cartwright •
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    When set designer Nicola Yeoman emailed us to say her newly simplified website was live, I went to check the last time we’d featured her on the site. Astonishingly I found that aside from mentions in a feature by Dan Tobin Smith (with whom she collaborated on the Jay Z album The Blueprint 3) we had apparently never dedicated a post to her extraordinary talents in their own right. So consider this long overdue.

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    If the sole intention of animation was to create visuals nothing short of magical then Parabella would get my vote as the very best in the game every single time. The “young but experienced Bafta award-winning animation studio” (their words) co-founded by Mikey Please and Daniel Ojari has made truly astounding work from the off, gathering up awards alike they were marbles hard-won in the playground. Hard-won being the operative term here; the six minute-long stop-motion film was a year in the making, and features, as Parabella explain, “the voice of comedy wiz Josie Long, one zillion hand-carved tiny things, literally tens of carved foam puppets, two eyefuls of in-camera, long-exposure light trickery and a pair of tiny dolphins, smooching.” Safe to say, the efforts paid off; the final short is a masterpiece of patience and enchanting filmmaking.

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    Edward Cushenberry actually wrote to me to show me a really interesting photography project he’s working on at the moment. Unfortunately that was about the millionth interesting photography project we had seen this week, but one thing we were a bit short on was brilliant, entertaining, lo-fi illustration we could relate to. Let’s give a warm welcome then to Edward’s comics in which he deals with traumatic or memorable experiences from his own memory, or borrowed from this friends. His drawings cover such life topics as How to Properly Bury A Turtle and that awkward moment when the girl you kissed says that making out with you was “like drinking a glass of water.” Classic. Edward’s got his fingers in a lot of creative pies, but I’d say these comics were our personal favourites.

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    If your journey to work takes you through Dalston Junction station in east London then you may have come across several hefty blocks of concrete suspended from the ceiling. Intrigued? We were, so we had a chat with designer Fabrice Le Nezet about his installation Elasticity which we think is ingenious. It reminds us of Measure which he spoke to us about before-, as the materials in both pieces appear to be in tension in an impossible way. Elasticity creates a sort of optical illusion as the blocks seem to be stretching the orange bars which support them like giant rubber bands, almost about to career into an innocent London commuter.

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    I love how Beck is always pushing the boat out and doing something that bit more creative than other recording artists. Remember when he released stickers with his album so you could design your own CD artwork? Or that time he discussed the meaning of creativity with Doug Aitken for his show at the Liverpool Biennial? Or his astonishing Song Reader? Exactly.

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    I’m not sure how well Only Fools And Horses translates as a cultural reference point to our international readers; there’s something quintessentially British about the sitcom featuring a get-rich-quick ducker and diver in his (pre-trendy) Peckham flat. But young London-based photographer Nadia Lee Cohen took Del Boy’s now-iconic home – with its charming hodge-podge of faux sophisticated stylings – and used it as the backdrop for this slightly unsettling shoot. Nadia’s work has a very pronounced slick, shiny and colour-saturated aesthetic that fits this slightly odd narrative perfectly – this mysterious femme fatale seems at one moment confidently at home in Del Boy’s surroundings, at others slightly bewildered. It’s weird, and I love it.

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    When we received a copy of illustrated sine Steak Night through the door a couple of weeks ago (check it out in Things here) we were pleasantly surprised to find that Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke is not only a musician, but a keen writer too. Intrigued, we hunted him down and grilled him about his Bookshelf, which turns out to be an incredibly well-stocked selection of graphic novels and comic books, with a little photography thrown in too. He’s multi-talented and he’s got great taste! Here’s Kele telling us about his choices.

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    I’ve got a confession to make; I’ve posted quite a few people recently that I discovered on the website of a Dutch Risograph studio called Vinex Pers. Viktor Hachmang created their identity and they count some of my favourite illustrators as clients. Their website is packed full of exciting work from fantastic creative talents and I’d like to show you just one more.

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    Some artists, immensely talented and original though they may be, simply don’t make work that fits in the grandest art galleries of the world. Fortunately for them there are super-cool concept stores created specifically to house such work, and queen of all of these is Colette. Hiro Sugiyama’s surreal, hilarious and altogether unsettling artwork is a natural fit for Paris store Colette’s carefully curated collection of the avant-grade and the offbeat.

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    Girls just wanna… doodle! Celebrities including Yoko Ono, Sarah Silverman, Pussy Riot and Courtney Love are backing a Kickstarter project to inspire girls to get drawing. Confidence, curiosity, courage and creativity are terms being bandied around by the School of Doodle, which will be “a free online high school for the imagination” where teen girls can take part in lessons taught by artists or peers. It might sound a little cheesy, but with brilliant creatives like artist John Baldessari, Kim Hasreiter, founder of Paper magazine, and Salman Rushdie signed up as teachers, it promises great things.

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    We’ve all seen paper process films – all sun-dappled mills and babbling brooks – but we’ve never seen anything quite like Ben Stevenson and Made Thought’s jaw-dropping Bright Red for G . F Smith Colorplan. Borrowing more from the vernacular of horror than the usual creative fare, it’s an super-intense journey into the heart, and art, of making paper. Ben’s film was premiered at a series of Colour In Context events last month which took place in London, Manchester and Edinburgh. Each evening saw three speakers talk about how colour influences and inspires their practice, and you can now enjoy all the talks below. It’s Nice That was proud to media partner with G . F Smith for the series on which we were able to work with some of our favourite creatives.

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    Few forces shape the modern world more than the internet and yet it’s an invisible presence that we just understand is there. But PhD student Luis Hernan has changed that by designing a system which scans for wireless networks and creates images where different signal strengths are represented by different coloured LED lights. The results, in essence, allow us to see the WiFi around us.

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    With over 600,000 snap happy visitors a year, you can imagine that Elvis Presley’s infamous Graceland mansion is pretty well documented. But it takes someone truly special to photograph something famous and still make it seem brand new, which is why we’re glad that Hedi Slimane – lover of rock and roll, and young, good-looking, rebellious men – took a trip to Elvis’ Memphis home late last year and brought his camera along.

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    It’s not especially often that creatives flock to Cornwall en masse, but the little nook of England has been awash with activity this weekend due to Port Eliot festival, featuring musicians, artists, fashion designers and journalists. It also saw the launch of The Girl Who Fell to Earth, a story written by Luella Bartley and illustrated by Zoë Taylor, a graphic artist we make no secret of our love for.