• Chelsea-1

    Dark Igloo: Chelsea Illustrated (Photo Eric Luc)

Illustration

Dark Igloo create fabulous 450ft mural on Google HQ representing history of Chelsea, NY

Posted by Rob Alderson,

Arty attempts to spruce up building work can often be a bit cringeworthy in the UK but over on the other side of the pond they do it bigger and better (see also burgers and arguing in public).

New York studio Dark Igloo have just created a 450ft illustrated mural for Google’s headquarters in Chelsea, Manhattan, featuring significant moments and notable figures who have contributed to the neighbourhood’s rich, cultural history. It’s now been printed on vinyl and affixed to the scaffolding set up while inspectors carry out routine checks.

“A friend of ours at Google saw the scaffolding as a canvas and opportunity to show some love to their new home,” Dark Igloo’s Dave Franseze told us. “They reached out to us looking for piece about Chelsea. We never had to look much farther than the area’s history for inspiration and I think that’s ideal – when a project is interesting purely on its own merit.

“Every new bit we’d discover would link another artist or author we loved back to this place. All we really had to do was edit down that list.”

But did the fantastic source material not bring its own pressures, seeing that Chelsea has links with a litany of obsessed-over cultural figures?

“Totally! The whole mural could’ve been dedicated just to The Hotel Chelsea given all the artists that’ve called that place home. You see all the names and works of art that’ve been created there or just a few blocks away – 2001: A Space Odyssey, On The Road – and paying homage to these things as honestly as possible was definitely important to us.”

It only took a week for Dave and his team to create the illustration although some of the more ambitious ideas were felled by practicalities.

“The hardest bit was that – for a time – there were going to be characters and bits of artwork coming down from the mural and onto the scaffolding and street. Managing what those would be and how to make them work with the mural rather than against it was a challenge.”

And of all the 450ft (or 137 metres) can Dave pick a favourite bit or is that unfair (like asking a parent to pick their favourite child)?

“I like the art heist, when the burglar cuts the telephone line and jumps out the window. I miss the good ol’ days when people could just jump out the window to make a clean getaway.”

  • Chelsea-2

    Dark Igloo: Chelsea Illustrated (Photo Eric Luc)

  • Chelsea-3

    Dark Igloo: Chelsea Illustrated (Photo Eric Luc)

  • Chelsea-4

    Dark Igloo: Chelsea Illustrated (Photo Eric Luc)

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Illustration View Archive

  1. 5173

    As the creative world digests last night’s big D&AD winners (those that scooped Black and White Pencils), there was a host of interesting work recognised in the 44 Yellow Pencils given out at the London awards bash. In total, the D&AD juries considered 847 projects this year and so less than one in five made the prestigious Yellow Pencil cut. Here’s our rundown of those winners that caught our eye for one reason or another – you can see the full list of winners over on the D&AD site here.

  2. Mattbooker-electiondrawings-itsnicethat-list

    It’s only been a couple of weeks but already the UK election seems a lifetime ago. If you’re into that kind of thing, there’s an undeniable drama about it all as the tension ratchets up across the campaign and breaks on election night itself as the results filter through from around the country. Topolski Studio commissioned eight young artists to capture the goings-on through the medium of drawing and the results will be published in its upcoming Election Chronicle.

  3. List-george-douglas-holy-mountain-its-nice-that

    George Douglas seems like a pretty cool guy – he’s chosen to immortalise David Lynch’s notoriously tricky Inland Empire and Alejandro Jodorowsky’s weird as hell surrealist classic The Holy Mountain in poster form, after all. But it’s not just his penchant for the peculiar side of celluloid we’re interested in – it’s his deft approach to collage, a medium often done shoddily but all the more impressive when done well. George is based in Edinburgh, and alongside his film posters he also creates well-composed works formed of abstract shapes and often murky colours, which could work just as well across the pages of a creatively minded commissioning editor’s publication as on more esoteric applications.

  4. Kate_prior_itsnicethat_list

    Kate Prior’s bright, tongue-in-cheek and colourful illustrations have secured her commissions for The New Yorker , ASOS, Adidas and Pitchfork among others. Kate is currently working as an in-house illustrator for Urban Outfitters in Europe and the USA, but she still remembers drawing in more humble surroundings at her parents house, “as a way to keep me quiet.”

  5. Andygilmore-itsnicethat-list

    It’s no real surprise to learn that image-maker Andy Gilmore is also a musician because his geometric compositions feel orchestrated. The New York-based creative brings colour, shape and pattern together in tightly formatted visual symphonies which swell to become more than the sum of their parts, dazzling the eye and tricking the brain simultaneously. It’s been three years since we last featured Andy’s work on the site but he’s as in demand as ever, with clients like Ogilvy NY, Wired and The New York Times queuing up for a bit of his brilliance.

  6. Janbuchczik-int-list

    If Jan Buchczik were to start a fan club – one which you could enter only by correctly spelling his surname 15 times or more – we’d be first in line, happily clutching our Jan badges. And not least because we’ve got his name down. Finally.

  7. Thokamaer-itsnobiggie-itsnicethat-list

    It was way back in 2012 that we first featured Thoka Maer’s it’s no biggie, a blog of joyous GIFS that capture little moments in life, by turns sweet and surreal. A lot has happened since then – not only the fact that we can now actually embed GIFs on our site and show you Thoka’s creations in all their glory. She meanwhile has graduated from the Visual Communication course at the University of the Arts, Berlin, and inb (as all the cool kids are calling it) won the self-initiated category at last year’s Association of Illustrators awards.

  8. Gigi_rose_gray_solo_show_its_nice_that_list

    There’s a beautiful vividness to Gigi Rose Gray’s illustrations – reds are crimsons, blues are ceruleans and yellows have seeped into deep ochres. Gigi crops into the small moments and hones in on a handful of people or the facade of a building.

  9. Adamhigton-itsnicethat-main

    Did you ever see that copy of Die Zeit with the front cover illustrated by Adam Higton? A cheerful, smiley sunflower resting on a retina-searing yellow to declare to all the grumpy, cold commuters that SPRING was finally here! Adam doesn’t often do high profile mag covers like that, he tends to spend his time cutting out shapes, arranging them into creatures and characters, creating collages and photographing them in woodland environments.

  10. Tuesdaybassen-itsnicethat-list

    Most of you probably have an inkling of who Tuesday Bassen is; she’s a powerful LA illustrator, brand consultant, public speaker and all-out entrepreneurial maverick who can already count folks like Playboy, Lucky Peach, The New Yorker and The New York Times as clients. She’s doing pretty well for herself. But somehow – SOMEHOW – we’ve never given her portfolio a good airing on the site. I feel just awful about this because I spend at least half an hour a week watching her compelling process videos on Instagram that demonstrate the deftness of her brushwork as she inks images of gnarly skate chicks and stony-faced punks. So without further ado; Tuesday, everyone, everyone, Tuesday. I’m sure you’re all going to get on famously!

  11. Robertnicol-itsnicethat-list

    It’s been a few years now since we posted the work of artist, illustrator and Camberwell tutor Robert Nicol, but our tardiness only means there’s a heap of new work for us to enjoy in his portfolio. From paintings to book covers, editorial illustrations to ceramic sculptures, Rob’s able to turn his versatile talents to a number of different ends. It’s interesting to look at his work together and see how he can amplify or refine certain traits depending on the job in hand. So we have his wonderful paintings where bold colours and surreal characters are given free rein, contrasted with his stylish book covers where hints of narrative achieve a lot in a quieter context.

  12. Alexanderrobyn-itsnicethat-main

    I wouldn’t say I fully understood a lot of Alexander Robyn’s comics, but it says a lot for his skill with a set of pencil crayons that I fully disregard that fact when I happily browse though his endless Tumblr stream. Alexander’s work is a patchwork quilt of sci-fi, human behaviour, sex, violence, talking mooses, cuss words and technology, illustrated on natural paper in vibrant crayon and graphite. Part of Alexander’s trademark style is the way he uses neat, childish stencil typography in his comics. The aesthetic of stencil type gives his comics and beautiful drawings a naive quality, which is totally offset by the wit, skill and wry, adult humour evident in the content. To top it off, he’s bloody great at drawing geodesic domes.

  13. Unnamed-1

    GIFs are just a part of life now, like shoes or the BBC. In a world overrun with these oddly satisfying little snippets of expression, the general vibe of GIFs so far has been leaning much more on the quantity level than the quality. When you find yourself scrolling cross-eyed through the internet and you come across GIFs with such delicate majesty such as these by Rebecca Mock, it hits you like a pixelated smack in the face. Rebecca is an illustrator from New York who creates exquisite digital illustrations for the likes of The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Medium among others. Her illustrations are subtle and somewhat tender moments represented in GIF form, un-showy and delicate. Sometimes the only thing moving in the whole image is a flashing light on a laptop, or the endless sideways scroll of an iPad. How refreshing to see someone leaping on this medium, and using it to illustrate the strange new digital world we’re in.