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    Sonya Dyakova’s Bookshelf

Graphic Design

Bookshelf: See which books inspire graphic designer Sonya Dyakova

Posted by Liv Siddall,

We have Sonya Dyakova to thank for some of the most pleasurable, well-designed books and magazines (including frieze) that have graced our site in the last few years. Her work is feminine without being cliched – it’s strong and humble, always allowing the work of the artists that adorn the pages she designs to shine brightly while she takes a demure step back. Unsurprisingly her bookshelf is packed with a concise selection of intelligent, classical tomes that suggest her true love for art in all of its forms. Here she is…

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    Marc Chagall: My Life, 1922

Marc Chagall, My Life, 1922

Packing a suitcase for my move to London, I knew I had to take this book. This is a real treasure – an awe-inspiring and humble story about Chagall’s life. Utterly witty, charming and touching, this memoir is hands down the best I have ever read. Reading every night in my hostel room about Chagall’s journey from Vitebsk to St. Petersburg to Paris whilst I was looking for my first job in London gave me all the strength I needed in the big city.

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    Annelies Štrba: Shades of Time, 1997

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    Annelies Štrba: Shades of Time, 1997

Annelies Štrba — Shades of Time, 1997

Annelies Štrba has photographed members of her family over several decades. Here is an extract from the essay by IIma Rakusa that accompanies the book: “The wooden stairs creak and the children are at home. A daughter, a second daughter, the boy. They come, they go, they ask, they stand around. They plead. And among the children, the cat. It is never clear who wants what but everyone wants. Chaos culminates in the kitchen. Plates piled high, boxes, toys. Somebody’s eating, somebody’s playing, nobody’s giving orders…” An intriguing, nostalgic, idiosyncratic record of memories. I love the seeming simplicity of this book.

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    Art Spiegelman: Maus, 1991

Art Spiegelman: Maus

Art Spiegelman relays his father’s experience in the Holocaust. Jews are mice, Germans are cats. In 1992 it became the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize.

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    Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace

Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace

I’ve only just come to the end of volume 1 and there are 3 in total. Pathetic, I know. I blame emails, Facebook and new digital culture in general. Or my lack of focus. I found the writing extraordinarily modern and very relevant today, although the book was published in back in 1869.

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    Le Corbusier: XX Century Architecture. Published by Progress 1970

Le Corbusier: XX Century Architecture. Published by Progress 1970

‘We are building a residential housing in Marseille for 360 flats — a box for living.’ I have visited that ‘box’ in Marseille and as far as boxes go, it is the most wonderful and joyful one. I’d like to go back again and again.

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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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    Last week Apartamento’s co-founder and art director Omar Sosa mentioned an upcoming collaboration with artist Nathalie Du Pasquier in his Bookshelf feature, and purely by chance this week we have Nathalie herself running us through her favourite books. What a nice coincidence!

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  6. Unnamed

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    Antenne Books is to independent art bookshops what cool kids are to playgrounds – generously exchanging the very best in Pokemon cards from their reserved spot on the climbing frame – except for the Pokemon cards are beautifully made books about art, photography, design and illustration, and the climbing frame is a neat website. They shared five of their favourite out-of-print publications, including some absolute bangers from Ari Marcopoulos and Ed Templeton, leaving us envious and awestruck in equal parts. For their full range, check out their website.

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    Last week Clive Martin from Vice called him “the David Bailey of grime” which sums up Ewen Spencer’s oeuvre beautifully, really. The documentary photographer has made British youth and subculture his bread and butter, photographing the UK garage scene in all of its gritty glory as well as working for the NME, photographing The White Stripes, making the very brilliant Brandy & Coke and producing a host of books and exhibitions as well. As far as perspectives on Britishness go, Ewen’s is basically unrivalled.

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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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    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.

  12. List-2

    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.