• Shepard_fairey
  • Shepard_fairey_detail
  • Sf_making
  • Yoshitomo_nara
  • Nara_detail
  • Kaws
  • Kaws_1
  • Kaws_detail
  • Jose_paral
  • Parla_detail
  • Jose
Graphic Design

Stages: Part 2

Posted by Alex Bec,

Following on from yesterday’s post on Nike’s Stages project, here’s a bit more of an in depth look at some of the work on show. Today we’ll be looking at the contributions from some of the biggest names out there including Shepard Fairey, KAWS, Yoshimoto Nara, and even a little chat with José Parlá.

Shepard Fairey is an someone we’re obviously all familiar with, his Obama poster earlier this year cemented his name in the upper echelons of contemporary culture, if his OBEY series hadn’t already. His piece for Stages is classic Fairey, introducing the depth we’ve come to recognise through stencil and collage. It’s entitled Jessica, in honour of his friend Jessica Ikenberry, who, in her early 20s was diagnosed with breast cancer. There’s also a great video of him making the piece here.

As you pass Fairey’s piece and move into the second room you are welcomed by, among others a piece by Yoshimoto Nara. I remember seeing an extensive show of Yoshimoto’s work at the Baltic in Gateshead last year, and have been hooked ever since. You’ll know the work from the prolificacy of his output – appearing on clothes, toys, clocks as well as on the walls of the most highly regarded galleries in the world. His painting Fire depicts a classic Nara composition – a figure with an accessory, to illustrate a point or feeling, making him a perfect candidate to for inclusion in Stages.

Next we move onto KAWS’ canvas in the following room. With it’s uashamed vibrance and vigour, to describe his piece as simply flat artwork doesn’t do it justice. The End stands up and shouts at you, revealing a glimpse of the classic KAWS signature of X’s for eyes. The yellow paint laced between the other blocks of colour signal a nod to the famous Livestrong hue and for someone as influential as KAWS making work for a cause like this can only be applauded.

Finally for today we come to José Parlá and his canvas Untitled (Dedicated to Dr. Alan Berkman). José was present at the gallery to open up about his piece and it didn’t take long for you to realise how close to home the subject of the exhibition was to him. Usually taking inspiration from urban environments and textures, he shifted this a little to draw his inspiration for those who’ve struggled with the disease. His piece is made up of a layered script of the names of suffers, including some friends and family – all joining to create “one big signature”. When chatting to José while looking around, the sincerity in his piece rings true with the man himself. He believes that “Art is for everyone” and sees each new piece as a chance to challenge and experiment with new materials and ideas, whatever the brief or cause. His final words to me on what makes a good piece of work were also very poignant, and something that I thought summed the show up perfectly – “When there’s relevance, it’s beautiful”.

Ab-300

Posted by Alex Bec

Alex is one of the directors of It’s Nice That who now oversees our sister creative agency INT Works. For several years he oversaw the Monday Morning Music Video feature until it came to an end in 2014.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. Main9

    I’m the third person to take a turn waxing lyrical about the art of Bryan Olson (he was discussed here and here in the past), but I don’t mind, I’m just happy to have the opportunity. The North Carolina-based artist is arguably the master of his medium; a creator of collages so delicately crafted it’s often impossible to tell they’ve been made from hand-cut paper. Though it’s by no means his only concern Bryan focusses a great deal on the cosmos in his work, leaving strange portals into the unknown at the centre of his images or placing earthly objects within inter-planetary scenes. It’s a heady combination that lures viewers in, making them feel like children gazing at a dense night sky or an adult on one hell of a trip.

  2. List

    The phrase “artistic intervention” has a chequered past, but we’re struggling to think of a more impressive example than Frank and Patrik Riklin’s BIGNIK. The ongoing project aims to build a huge picnic cloth by 2040, made up of 252,144 panels – one for every person in the Appenzell region of Switzerland.

  3. Main

    Sure, here at It’s Nice That we love fine art. You may even walk past us on the weekend ambling around in galleries, or poring over art books in libraries. We champion some of the most exquisite architecture, sculpture and filmmaking along with some of the most groundbreaking works of art made in modern times. What you define as “art” is a personal thing, but I can tell you now that when it came to voting on content for the site (we decide on content via a voting process around a table FYI) this Presidents with Boob Faces was a unanimous “YES” from each knowledgeable, art-loving member of the It’s Nice That team. When you can see hard, skilled craftsmanship and evidence of a brave artist taking one small idea and running really, really far with it, how can you resist loving it? These are amazing, and artist Emily Deutchman should be very, very proud of herself.

  4. Main

    When something is well-designed, be it a magazine, building, fashion collection or car – it should be well-celebrated. To honour the spectacular and cutting-edge design of the brand new Lexus NX, a new digital art exhibition entitled NX-Perspectives has been launched. Gathering together some of the world’s leading creative thinkers, makers and doers, Lexus have assigned them to create a special piece of performance art inspired by the Lexus NX to exhibit in the digital show.

  5. List

    London-based artist Aleksandra Mir has been busy over the past month investigating the process of drawing in a collaborative experiment that invites participants to contribute to a giant collage of the London skyline, rendered entirely with Sharpies. The process of creating the work was part of the exhibition itself, with Aleksandra and her team engaged in drawing everything by hand during the first days of the show. But for those that missed it there’s also a beautiful time-lapse film of the process, providing context and insight to this giant piece of collaborative draughtsmanship.

  6. List

    I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking; “How on earth did that priest train a dolphin to carry him like that?” Or maybe you’re thinking; “Where did the photographer have to stand to capture that image?” Or perhaps, in fact, you’re thinking; “This HAS to be fake.” But all of these lines of inquiry are valid in the world of Joan Fontcuberta, the Spanish artist and photographer who’s latest exhibition has just landed at The Science Museum’s Media Space.

  7. List

    You’re on the internet, so you probably like cats, right? Well, these woodblock prints by Tadashige Nishida capture all of those cat qualities that we love to love: his creepy but cute kittens are unafraid and alert, always listening and sensing, and very delicately, playfully poised. Tadashige renders the subtle lines of a cat’s body against brilliantly bold backgrounds, and it is very difficult to work out just what it is that makes his prints so hypnotically intriguing. Doris Lessing, one of literature’s best cat lovers, describes the curious creatures in the following way: “If a fish is the movement of water embodied, given shape, then cat is a diagram and pattern of subtle air.” Tadashige captures these dexterous and whimsical cat attributes beautifully in his surprising, minimalist prints.

  8. List1

    The only real auction action we get exposed to regularly is top programmes like Bargain Hunt or Flog It! but recently the whole auction concept has started to be used in a way that removes our cliched expectations of a collection of people (eccentric oddballs) bidding on antiques (old stuff).

  9. List

    As artist mediums go, paper cutting has its limits, right? Fine spindly branches supporting layers of luscious foliage for example might be a challenging one to recreate with scalpel and paper, for example, as might the rippling shadows that fall across swimming pools. Not so if you’re Lucy Williams. The London-based artist is redefining the nature of mixed media artwork with her absurdly detailed paper cuts. No line is too fine, no detail too small for her to recreate, and it’s precisely this unstoppable eye for detail that’s basically crowned her the queen of the method. Her penchant for mid-20th Century architecture and landscapes has taken her work across the world in exhibitions, and her awe-inspiring portfolio spanning no small number of years functions as a fantastic heap of evidence to explain why. Rub your eyes and gaze on in wonderment at these beauties.

  10. Main

    You don’t get many portfolios as rich and as varied as Urs Fischer’s – his somewhat prolific sculptural work ranges from enormous rooms full of objects imprisoned in steel cubes, John Stezaker-esque collages and gargoyle-like characters that look straight out of Labyrinth. But you know, we’re It’s Nice That, so obviously we’re really into the paintings he did of people through history with hard boiled eggs masking their faces. Really though, these are incredibly beautiful pieces of work. Depending on how much you like eggs, they may or may not make you feel a bit nauseous. For me though, this is the best thing ever.

  11. List-

    Opening tomorrow, the Cob Gallery’s new exhibition explores Pastiche, Parody and Piracy in British artwork, exploring the age-old practice of appropriation as a means to explore new ideas. The exhibition has been put together by curator Camilla Ellingsen Webster, satirical cartoonist Jeremy Banx and artist Miriam Elia, partly in response to threats of legal action against Miriam following the realease of her most recent work We Go to the Gallery.

  12. Blotlist

    From what I can gather, these abstract paintings were made by placing the nibs of inky marker pens on top of a stack of paper. The result is an amazing blotted fusion of kaleidoscopic patterns and rainbow colours, which kind of looks like the psychedelic shapes butterfly wing’s make when seen through a microscope.

  13. Main4

    Who needs stupid real flags when fictional ones are this beautiful? Mariana Abasolo (cool name) has created these magnificent, bright images that are somewhere in-between celebratory bunting and the backs of playing cards, and make her Flickr account look like some sort of culty party. We don’t know much about Mariana, but we do know that her work hasn’t always been like this – a quick scan through the rest of her portfolio shows that she’s been making some truly curious drawings for a while now – browser windows drawn in coloured pencil and strange, surreal living room scenes to name but a few. Very impressive, Mariana. More please!