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    Nathaniel Russell’s Bookshelf

Bookshelf

Bookshelf: Artist and illustrator Nathaniel Russell shows us his fascinating bookshelf

Posted by Liv Siddall,

We love Nat Russell over here at It’s Nice That. If you haven’t seen it before, Nat’s body of work is made up of fantastical paintings, prints and illustrations that are pretty hilarious on the surface, but are actually infused with a really strong sense of loyalty and love that is so rare in so many people’s work. It’s fascinating to have a peek into his shelves, and to see the corrrelation between his literary habits and the work that he creates. Welcome to Nat Russell’s incredibly dedicated fan-base, you’re going to like it here.

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    Richard Brautigan: The Pill Versus the Spring Hill Mine Disaster

Richard Brautigan: The Pill Versus the Spring Hill Mine Disaster

My wife and I are big Brautigan fans. Every time we see one of his books at a yard sale we pick it up and it goes on our special Brautigan shelf (photo included). we keep having the idea that we can be a Brautigan lending library but I like the way they look all together like that. i love the way his book covers and spines look especially. there’s a real identity and feel there. this one is my favorite because it’s so simple and sweet and short. It will never get old to me, especially “horse child breakfast”. Words!

  • Watts

    Alan Watts: This is It

Alan Watts: This is It

I like listening to Alan Watts lectures and I like reading his books. I liked it a lot more about ten years ago, but I still get in there every now and then poke around. This is a collection of his and I like the cover of this edition, it’s got these reggae colors going on. The used book stores in Berkeley are full of this stuff and it was a great resource for me when I lived there to be able to go in and spend two bucks on some poetry or ancient wisdom or something close to it. Hey, at least he’s trying to make sense of all this, right?

  • Johnson

    Denis Johnson: Already Dead

Denis Johnson: Already Dead

I read this during a blizzard in Muncie, Indiana in the late 1990s and I knew that I needed to go to northern California. Which is funny because the northern California as described in this book is not really one of beauty and light, it’s dark and scary and mysterious and foggy. But this book has a special place for me. It’s an uneasy peace, maybe, but it nails the weirdness just under the surface of the northern California coast. Someday I’ll move to Jenner and really dig in. 

  • Frasconi

    Antonio Frasconi: Against The Grain

Antonio Frasconi: Against The Grain

I could pick out a million great art books but this one has stuck with me for a long time. After being introduced to Frasconi’s work by a printmaking professor in college I was hooked. His artwork really makes hits me in a healthy and real way. What a solid and kind picture this guy could make. One of the most inspirational and influential artists to me, personally.

  • Berman

    Semina Culture: Wallace Berman and his Circle

Semina Culture: Wallace Berman and his Circle

I feel so lucky that I was able to see this exhibition in Berkeley. Some people give off such a powerful vibe that people are drawn to it, and it seems like he was one of those. I like the idea of a strange energy moving through and around people and joining them all together. Aside from that, Berman’s graphic sensibility is incredible and his work is a mysterious and beautiful thing. Love, love this book.

  • Vonnegut

    Kurt Vonnegut: Slaughterhouse Five

Kurt Vonnegut: Slaughterhouse Five

I found a trunk full of my dad’s old books when I was in high school in the garage and this was in there. I read it while I worked at a movie theater one summer and it led me to his other books which have all been very important in my life. Bluebeard is my favorite (I think all painters should read it once) but this one means the most to me as it is sort of a family heirloom and was the door to so much other great stuff. KV was one of the true great humans in the world and he did his best.

ALSO SHOWN: My Vonnegut Hardware yard stick. The Vonneguts have a long history here in Indianapolis and you can occasionally find one of these yard sticks at a garage sale around town.

  • Brautiganshelf

    Nathaniel Russell’s Brautigan Shelf

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    Nathaniel Russell’s Bookshelf

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    Nathaniel Russell’s Bookshelf

  • Shelf2

    Nathaniel Russell’s Bookshelf

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Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She is also a regular guest and sometime host on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Bookshelf View Archive

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    Yesterday marked the launch of the brand new issue of bi-annual hardback Twin magazine, the defiantly substantial glossy publication that clubs fashion, art and culture together through interviews and gorgeous imagery. This issue includes photographs by Petra Collins, an archive of childhood shots of Kate Bush taken by her older brother and an interview with the remarkable Neneh Cherry, so to celebrate we thought we’d have founder Becky Smith show us the five books which have inspired and influenced her. In the process, we learned who her favourite photographers are, whose rare books she’s lucky to have laid her hands on and the unlikely inspiration behind the name “Twin”. Read on!

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    When we get in touch with the people whose work we admire to ask if they’d like to be involved in the Bookshelf feature, we ask them to pick books which have been particularly inspiring or influential to them in their lives, and this brief might never been more closely followed than by Jessica Svendsen. Jessica is a graphic designer at Pentagram and teaches Typography at both Parsons and Pratt in New York, as well as working on a number of freelance projects which are as remarkable for the degree of research which informs them as for their bold, impactful imagery.

  4. Lisst

    Longtime fans of Toro Y Moi will already know Chaz Bundick to be a man with impeccable visual stylings, and a portfolio which stretches way beyond logos and album covers to include album launches turned art exhibitions, screen-printed posters and a heavy involvement with the concepts behind his music videos as well. Today marks the launch of Chaz’s debut album Michael under the name of his dancier side project Les Sins, which we decided made for an ample excuse to get a look at his Bookshelf. And my god it’s a good one.

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    Where some printed publications shy away from British culture as it exists beyond Union Jack flags and Yorkshire tea in floral china, LAW Magazine, which stands for Lives and Works is already knee-deep in the grit and the grime. Now in its fifth issue, the staple-bound bi-annual describes itself as a platform for “the beautiful everyday… A window into the world of the current undercurrent that nobody is catching and which is therefore of greater importance to document.” It’s a kind of Britishness so ubiquitous that you’d have to be wandering the streets with your head in a bag to miss it – one defined by full-suspension mountain bikes, Sunday League referees, Hackney estate maps and Vauxhall Novas.

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    Having founded London-based design studio Build in 2001, creative director Michael C. Place has amassed his fair share of books in his time, with a healthy combination of design knowledge to be found tucked between the spines on the studios (admirably well-organised) shelf. We’ve been championing Build’s work on the site for some time now, so what better way to get an insight into the inspirations behind their snazzy work than by hearing from the creative director himself about his favourite reading material? Between Letraset catalogues, reflections on legend Wim Crouwel and Michael’s mate Blam (who has excellent taste in books) we were not disappointed.

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    “In February 2013, 18 weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer.” That’s the opening statement on the website of graphic novelist Matilda Tristram, who channeled this painful chapter of her life into a bestselling comic entitled Probably Nothing. We interviewed Matilda a while back on the site and were so intrigued by her story, we had to know more. In this revealing, insightful Bookshelf, Matilda shows us the fantastic books that have inspired her to be one of the most important and engaging graphic novelists working today. Here she is…

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    Yay! Hato Press! We love them. A lot. Neighbours of ours, Hato have spent the last five years collaborating with some of the coolest young creatives and oldest institutions to create impeccably beautiful printed matter and design solutions. A number of the publications these guys have produced are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever had the pleasure of holding/smelling, and it seems that every single thing they do or work on is covered in a glimmering magic dust that is exclusive to only them. Before you go and wet your pants over their multi-disciplinary work on their very nice websites (here and here) check out the books that have inspired them over the years below. Enjoy!

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    Satirical artist and very funny woman Miriam Elia is something of a pro when it comes to books; last year she self-published We Go to the Gallery, a satirical reinterpretation of a 1960s Ladybird book which seeks to help parents explain sex, death and contemporary art to their young ones, complete with a handy glossary of new words to learn. She’s since co-curated an exhibition about Pastiche, Parody and Piracy at London’s Cob Gallery, while other past works include I Fell in Love With a Conceptual Artist… and It Was TOTALLY MEANINGLESS about her relationship with Martin Creed. Hilarious? Yes. Yes it is. Miriam’s Bookshelf includes lovingly weathered books about typography, photography, flesh-eating plants and Butlins holiday camps, giving a neat insight into her brain.

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    John Tebbs is an English gardener who, frustrated by the fact that “many of his working days are held hostage to the weather” founded The Garden Edit in the winter of 2013. His idea was to spend his downtime as productively as possible, creating an online store of beautiful objects which he sourced and sold himself. The resulting curated collection reflects John’s faultless aesthetic, selling “minimal, well-designed products from craftspeople, artists, publishing houses and family-run businesses” alongside a Journal which features short articles by some of his favourite figures about their own horticultural escapades, from rooftop gardens to illustrations of plants.

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    Want to know a surprising secret about self-proclaimed “book obsessive” and Dazed & Confused editor Isabella Burley? She can’t stand big coffee-table-sized fashion books. “I’ve always taken my references from art, pop culture, photography and sex zines rather than fashion,” she told us. “That’s really come to shape the way I approach our fashion content within Dazed.”

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    With 25 years experience in magazine design, not to mention eight years of covering the extensive subject under the title magCulture, it’s a wonder we haven’t already metaphorically burst into Jeremy Leslie’s house and insisted he share his five favourite examples of printed matter right then and there. Instead, we caught him in the build up to The Modern Magazine 2014, the conference which takes place annually in the midst of London Design Festival to shine a torch on the current state of editorial creativity, as well as new directions for the industry.

  13. List

    Danielle Pender is the brain at the helm of Riposte magazine, one of the most exciting new publications created to champion the women doing exciting work in the creative industries today, as well as working at KK Outlet, the London outpost of communications agency KesselsKramer, so can you blame us for wanting to have a poke about her bookshelf? Her selection gives a generous insight into the process behind putting together a magazine, from the issue of National Geographic which led her and Riposte’s creative director Shaz Madani to consider a text-based front cover for the magazine (“I’m really happy we had the balls to go with it”) and the all-time hero she dreams of interviewing, with a few other gems thrown in for good measure. She technically stretched her five books to seven, but we let her off because they’re all so damn interesting.