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    Bookshelf: NoBrow

Graphic Design

Bookshelf: NoBrow

Posted by Bryony Quinn,

For Bookshelf this week we invited NoBrow to share five worthy books that define their shelves and inspired their own endeavours. Their choices reflect their independent sensibilities, love of print and a high quality product as well as their unerring eye for artistic and illustrative talent. It’s nice to see the influence in print behind a publishers own creative motivations and NoBrow have covered it all from the individual to the form of the book and the quality work of the people who published it.

Permagel Charles Burns

If it was only for the impressive brooding and menacing black and white illustrations in this book it would be understandable to single it out. But everything about this book chimes with some unspoken ideal of the pure, unadulterated, self-indulgent art book: its monumental size, thick coat of double hit black ink and intricately textured paper make it a delight to handle and even though it is a meagre 24 pages, to gaze upon any one page of Charles Burns’ artwork for less than the time it took him to draw it would be sacrilege to say the least, besides being nigh on impossible. The book is a refreshingly unpretentious monograph of what has to be one of our favourite artist’s work and for that we can’t help but place it firmly on our Bookshelf.
www.boingboing.net/charles-burns…

A Ladybird Third Picture Book Ethel and Harry Wingfield

There’s at least 5 of these books from the historically groundbreaking Ladybird book series, and this is by far our favourite. The illustrations are genius, so simple and beautiful you just fall in love with them at first sight. However, it’s worth saying that for this choice, we could pick out just about any of the hundreds of Ladybird books (and we’ve got most of them!) as to us they represent an awe-inspiring and largely unsung body of illustration work that deserves far more attention. The concept of this mass produced little hardback book is in its own right something to behold. Printed in their entirety on just one sheet of paper, each ladybird book is an exercise in thriftiness and efficiency; the economy of their production coupled with the quality of their output remains a beacon of inspiration for us in our own work. We consider them easily as iconic as the first Penguin paperbacks.
www.amazon.co.uk/ladybird_third_picturebook…

1960s Japanese Godzilla Annual

We don’t speak or read Japanese so can’t tell you the correct name or author of this book… but we love it all the same! The paintings of apocalyptic monster invasions in various and disparate settings (from the middle of the ocean to the peak of a volcano, from the centre of a bustling metropolis to an isolated Buddhist shrine) are pure illustrated confectionery, you can sense the artist was enjoying a much deserved break from drawing kittens and handbags in little girls’ annuals. But this book is also significant because it was the starting point for our foray into our now fairly well recognised spot colour process, as tucked away in the back of the book were a series of anatomical monster drawings that made stunning use of duo tone (black and orange) and were the starting point for the design and visual concept of our first eponymous issue.
www.ebay.co.uk/rare_vintage_godzilla

Saisons BlexBolex

Put simply: this is probably the most beautiful illustrated book we have ever seen! BlexBolex is someone we are delighted to have the opportunity to occasionally work with and this book is a shining testament to his incredible talent. The book has been translated into English, but we stick to the French version. Honestly, the European Ministry for Culture should have Blex on a retainer, somehow in this book, he manages to encapsulate the romantic ideals of continental life in all its beautiful colour – it may help that the artist has spent a number of years himself European city-hopping, leaving a trail of wide eyed admirers in his wake. If you haven’t seen it, come and buy it from our shop… (shameless plug!)
www.amazon.co.uk/saisons…

Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth Chris Ware

In a way this is a bit of an obvious choice and potentially a bit of a boring one. That’s only because this is one of the few graphic novels to achieve it’s rightful notoriety. If it wasn’t for this book I don’t think we’d be doing what we are doing now. Chris Ware set a bench mark for excellence, not only for graphic storytelling but also in book production which has scarce been surpassed to this day. This is an incredible book that is already a modern classic so it would be impossible to leave it out of our list.
www.amazon.co.uk/jimmy_corrigan…

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Posted by Bryony Quinn

Bryony was It’s Nice That’s first ever intern and worked her way up to assistant online editor before moving on to pursue other interests in the summer of 2012.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

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    My colleague Emily Gosling wrote a great piece for the latest issue of our Printed Pages magazine in which she called out the patent nudity of the emperor by saying that in reality, the creative process can be pretty dull to witness. Obviously that’s not to say that we want to see slick creative work with all traces of the artist removed; in fact in our digitally-defined age we delight in being able to see the spirit of the image-maker writ large.

  2. Kristoffersonsanpablo-itsnicethat-list

    If you like Eric Yahnker – and let’s face it, who doesn’t? – then you’re really going to enjoy the work of Kristofferson San Pablo, a Filipino artist now based in Los Angeles. His work takes an ironic look at popular culture, lampooning it for its absurdity, but also acknowledging its utter infectiousness. Kristofferson’s strange pencil drawings and luxurious paintings eroticise Simpsons characters, destroy our lust for celebrities and ridicule the stars of reality television, making sure that when surveying the modern world our tongues are kept firmly in cheek.

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    Few artists can take particle physics and maths as a medium; even fewer can do so while attracting a crowd often as big on dance music as they are fine art. However, Ryoji Ikeda is a rare soul indeed, and we’re very excited about his current show at London’s Brewer Street Car Park in Soho. The work of the artist-composer is brutal, visceral and awe-inspiring; and thus nigh-on impossible to convey with mere text and jpegs. His huge-scale inspirations draw on raw data to creative vast, immersive AV pieces, and for his current show said data is drawn from a residency at particle physics research institute CERN.

  4. Number04-actualsource-itsnicethat-list

    This project takes a little explaining but bear with me. Utah-based design studio Number 04 spent six months researching how to mount a museum exhibition, exploring everything from different kinds of pedestals and which typeface is best suited to marketing, to how to light the show. This resulted in a 1,000 page catalogue that brought together all of the studio’s findings printed on baby pink paper. But for the show itself (at Utah’s Museum of Contemporary Art) the book is nowhere to be seen – instead it has been transformed into photographs, sculptures and installations that Number 04 (aka JP Haynie and Davis Ngarupe) has created based on the information they’d collected.

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    David Hockney never fails to astound me. He’s likely the most prolific British painter, printmaker and photographer our generation will see, and rather than settle down into one comfortable style – he has entertained more than a few over the course of his 50-year and counting career – he continues to set himself new lines to cross. He pushes back on the boundaries he had set himself the last time around. 

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    Pottery has had a bit of a bad rep until recently when people have slowly begun to realise that it’s FUCKING BADDASS. The pottery world is creaking under the weight of the amount of thrill-seeking clay-spinners popping up all over the place making vessels for cool people to put their cacti and fennel seeds in, and so we thought we’d highlight a few people who are taking the clay world by storm. Think for a minute, if you will, how few kilns there are on this earth, and how many universities have in recent years completely shut down their ceramics department due to lack of funding and demand. Then get your head around how these guys manage to create such brilliant work at such an astonishing rate while still keeping up their day jobs. Seeing as pottery is well trendy right now, I thought I’d run down a list of my personal favourite pot-heads out there.

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    It’s always a joy when two creative forces we like collide and produce something that harnesses their collective talents. We’re huge fans of the team at The New York Times Magazine (so much so we interviewed design director Gail Bichler for the new issue of our Printed Pages magazine) and we love the work of JR, so the coming-together of the two was right up our street.

  8. List

    Have you ever wondered what the world might have looked like after the great Old Testament flood? What bizarre events might have followed such a freak occurrence in weather? Me neither. It’s honestly never crossed my mind. But illustrator Samuel Branton has been fixating on the idea, imagining the strange fusion of land and sea that a tumultuous rise in water levels might effect. He’s gone one step further and illustrated these fictional scenarios in miniature, taking this Regency medium and making it weird. Witness crabs beating up a wild boar, monkeys tossing an elephant in the air and a sad old sperm whale incapacitated in a tree. And Deluge is available in book form too!

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    When we last wrote about Aakash Nihalani we described his practice as a series of interventions, and now that he has graduated from playful street art compositions to full blown technological mind-blowers, that vaguery seems even more apt. His newest piece sees him create a series of interactive installations which respond to the movements of the subject stood in front of them. The video demonstrates it better than I could ever hope to, so wrap your eyes around it and try to keep your jaw off the floor. Aakash is entering a new age, people; just imagine the possibilities!

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    Inès Longevial is an art director and illustrator based in Paris, whose beautiful paintings of intertwined bodies are likely to have you looking twice. She breaks up the human figure into segments in a fashion Picasso himself would admire, rendering different parts in contrasting but muted colour palettes to disguise the physicality of her subjects. The effect is quite beguiling; hands play across hips and colour distinctions hint at the seams of clothes, but nothing is clear cut. It’s a geometric play on anatomy, and it has clients including fashion brand Amélie Pichard and sportswear giants Nike coming back for more.

  11. Hannahwaldron-itsnicethat-list

    “I wish I knew how to weave,” I found myself sighing longingly while clicking through Hannah Waldron’s portfolio. The UK-based multi-disciplinary artist and designer has transitioned seamlessly from grid-based image-making to create works in textile form since completing an MFA in Textiles at Konstfack, Sweden, and it looks like she’s well at home in the medium. Map Tapestries is a series of woven works inspired by various city scenes – Kreuzberg, NYC and Venice, for example – in bright colours, evocative shapes and simple geometric forms, and it’s wonderful.

  12. Jen-stark-whirl-side-int-10

    If it isn’t broke then there’s absolutely no need to even think about fixing it, as artist Jen Stark is fully aware, and there’s nothing broken about her geometric papercut sculptures. The LA-based artist has been making such work for literally as long as It’s Nice That has been running – here’s the first time we ever posted about her, back in 2007 – and although her work continues to grow in intricacy, she’s stayed true to her roots. These days her sculptures are made more and more often inside huge, unassuming black and white boxes, recreating the feeling that you’re a child about to unbundle a giant parcel of joy on Christmas morning, and they’re still as impressive as they were eight years ago.

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    Sir Peter Blake has designed this fabulous dazzle ship, a Mersey Ferry that will carry commuter passengers for the next two years. Named Everybody Razzle Dazzle, Sir Peter says it’s his “largest artwork to date,” and that he was “honoured and excited to have been asked to design a dazzle image for the iconic Mersey Ferry.”