Article Archive

  1. Nicertuesdays-july2014-2387

    Last night’s travel-themed Nicer Tuesdays took us to the motorways of Iran and the beaches of northern Iceland, and from the Namibian desert to the streets of Lima all without leaving east London. Our four speakers all shared very different insights into how their work is shaped by changing geographical backdrops.

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    Almost exactly a calendar year ago we introduced Dan Woodger on It’s Nice That; showed off his desk-space, his process and some of his skateboarding Dinosaurs. Six months later he was contacted by an art director who’d seen that article and enlisted him to produce one of the most labour-intensive illustration projects we’ve ever come across, creating over 1000 unique images for an emoji app. By way of apology for this torturous commission, we asked him a few questions about how it went…

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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.

  6. Ellist

    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.

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    Where is the limit of what the camera can capture? Can the paranormal be pictured? So asks Alexander Gehring’s series Messages from the Darkroom, exploring photography’s ability to portray paranormal phenomena.

  18. Boy7list

    Shot at his house in Brooklyn, New York, David Armstrong’s series 615 Jefferson Avenue creates an aura of mysticism around the young male models. Some are muscular, some are boyish, but they all seem strangely ethereal. They exist in a world apart from the everyday; free from work, from worries, from the washing-up. Armstrong’s apartment is a wonderland of sorts, filled with masks, gilded mirrors and flower wreaths. His “muse,” Boyd Holbrook, even has pixie pink hair (although I suspect this particular Peter Pan left Neverland quite some time ago). For you, dear reader, we’ve picked a selection of portraits which are free from bed sheet, ruff and top hat.

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    New York-based director Rajeev Basu has made plenty of curious projects that have kept us occupied for hours at a time, from this video game where your character punches itself in the face to stay awake to this collaborative project in which he invited a bunch of our favourite creatives to imagine what drones might look like once they become legal, so it makes perfect sense that his favourite music video be equally fascinating. And it is – if a little gory (it’s not for the fainthearted). Here he is explaining why he loves it so.

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    Stripped of snow, Ettore Moni’s alpine landscapes are scarred by access roads, crisscrossing electricity wires and ski lift cables. The raw beauty of his scenes is interrupted by ugly concrete buildings, plastic fencing and piles of pipes. If Maria and the von Trapps came skipping over these mountains, the sound of music would hit a rather discordant note.

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    Anyone in New York had better gallop over to Ed. Varie gallery to catch a new show by the ever-wonderful artist Ana Kraš. We’ve posted about Ana a few times, mainly about her beautiful lamps and designs to make your home/life better, and her fun collaborative photography projects. Her show at Ed. Varie entitled Mothers with Spoons and Relationships is an exploration into her more recent love of drawing, using predominantly back-to-basics art supplies such as wax, crayon and oil pastel.

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    Never a brand to risk complacency, Kenzo are pushing the boat out yet again this season to scale the parameters of the online store. They’ve created an elaborate narrative to accompany the online shopping destination of their Autumn 2014 collection, cooking up a fictional exhibition of which all but one of the featured artworks is stolen by the show’s star the night before it opens. In this story the exhibition opens anyhow, and the works are replaced with film footage of the thieves – Sudanese-American model Grace Bol and her accomplice – at work, with a sack full of their booty and all.

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    Ever since it was announced earlier this year that FOX was working on a Simpsons and Family Guy crossover hour-long special, fans of one or both shows have been interested to see how it would work. And yesterday they got their first glimpse when a five-minute excerpt was screened at Comic_Con which gives us a taste how these two cartoon competitors will be joined in creative matrimony. So it seems we can expect beer, bonding, brawls and bitchiness when the Griffins wind up in Springfield; consider our appetites well and truly whetted.

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    In the past couple of weeks we’ve looked at why Shillington College was founded to offer a different kind of graphic design education and heard from some of the teachers at Shillington campuses around the world about how they make this happen in practice.

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    This time last year Sam Bradley had just moved up to London to concentrate on his fashion photography – which we have to say, he was pretty damn good at. This year he’s still busy working away on fashion editorials, including a lovely shoot for the latest Wonderland, but he’s been getting outside a lot more, shooting mountaineers, skateboarders and racing drivers in a style so crisp you feel almost able to reach out and touch the scenes he’s captured. I’ll admit a certain bias towards photographers working in nature – I go mad for a mountain view – but Sam’s managed to make even tedious, high-budget motorsports look exciting and unusual, for which he deserves an enormous amount of praise.

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    It’s been a couple of years since we last featured Melbourne-based studio A Friend of Mine so the launch of their brand new website was the perfect chance to celebrate their talents again. Suzy Tuxen and her team were commissioned by new art and design fair Supergraph to create a “strong, industrial and friendly” identity and needed a graphic solution that stood on its own two feet without overshadowing the creative work featured at the event.

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    When we last encountered Essex-based painter Simon Monk he was busy preserving toy superheroes in plastic bags and rendering them with hyper-real precision. Secret Identity explored the strange imbalance of the powers ascribed to superheroes and the powerless inertia of their model representations. Since then he’s focussed his attention on one plastic superhero in particular, treating Batman with torturous sadism and restricting him with any binding he finds to hand. He’s been netted, taped, cling-filmed and roped down, trapped forever in a compromised position thanks to Simon’s dangerously accurate brushwork.

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    Ping Zhu is a force to be reckoned with in the world of illustration. Not only is she talented, mastering an inimitable style in every way imaginable, and then using it as very efficient bait to reel in the big clients, The Sunday Times, Pentagram and Nobrow included, but she’s also future proof – developing her style with every project she undertakes to make her as exciting as she is reliable, and delivering consistently good work to a broad spectrum of briefs.

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    It’s not only the level of detail in Laurie Lipton’s drawings which is crazy; the illustrations are too. With charcoal and pencil she creates bonkers worlds in black and white which look like pictures for a short story written by the love child of Charles Dickens and George Orwell. The blacking factory meets Big Brother.

  30. Weekender-list

    Not that you need to be quiet for this showstopper; if the Weekender was a film, it’d most likely be the grotesque, just-about-legal but nonetheless strange story of a desert island. It’s lorded over by a tyrannical prince clad from head to toe in purple velvet who was incapable of walking three steps without doing the Macarena. He wouldn’t be the only weirdo on the island though, no sir; he’d be accompanied at all times by an a cappella choir of singing and dancing monkeys who happily joined him in his choreography.

  31. Slugabedmain

    What a TREAT we have here! Ninja Tune artist and DJ Slugabed is here to make your Friday 88.8% better with a fun mix to get you through the last few hours of the week. Slugabed is the man behind south London-based label Activia Benz and has been DJing around the world for many a year.

  32. Glaserlist

    We adore this article from NYT’s T Magazine today, in which a heap of creatives sing hallelujah for old school artistic tools, with brilliant illustrations to boot.