Back to school, back to work – it’s not surprising everyone’s got anxious, upside down smiles at this time of the year. Most fresh starts are usually followed by fresh resolutions – and we’re no stranger to looking ahead and trying to predict what’s going to happen in our own lives, as well as that of the creative world. With that in mind, we’ve put our slightly mushy heads together and concocted a list of ten animators, designers, illustrators, magazines and artists who are about to spring from the perfectly acceptable “small time” to the much-lauded “big time.” Ready? Here they are in no particular order…
First up we have Jack Sachs, a London-based animator who has just been snapped up as a freelance 3D animator over at the much-loved production company, Blinkink. Jack’s belligerent, pastel-coloured GIFs, logos and illustrations are utterly ridiculous and hilarious, particularly the animation he created last year entitled Make Do which made all the meme-lovers and GIF addicts on the internet sit up and take notice of this bright new thing. Who knows what Jack’s going to get up to this year, but with his work at Blinkink, that infamous A-Z of 90s Slang video he made for i-D and his personal portfolio expanding, surely he’s going to be even more of an internet sensation this time in 2016.
“Their website states that they’re currently concocting something very special for immersive musical wizard Dan Deacon, which is nothing short of butt-wobblingly exciting. These guys are gonna be big.”
On the moving image front we’re also predicting great things for Encyclopedia Pictura, a Californian directorial trio made up of Isaiah Saxon, Sean Hellfritsch and Daren Rabinovitch. Their video for Panda Bear’s latest audio treat Boys Latin has to be one of the most moving, eyeball-vibrating experiences I had on the internet last year. The three guys are also responsible for Grizzly Bear’s Knife video, which is impeccable too, and a truly brilliant video for Bjork – surely any director’s dream commission. Their website states that they’re currently concocting something very special for immersive musical wizard Dan Deacon, which is nothing short of butt-wobblingly exciting. These guys are gonna be big.
There are too many great magazines to mention from 2014 – and the creaking shelves at It’s Nice That HQ will tell you that, but one publication in particular we cannot wait to watch progress is The Great Discontent. The brainchild of Tina and Ryan Essmaker, the magazine launched online back in 2011 and went on to be a printed publication in January 2014 when the couple bravely gave up their jobs to work on the project full time – eek!
Nowadays The Great Discontent is a well-respected magazine that has seen interviews with big names such as Tavi Gevinson, focusing on “beginnings, creativity and risk.” If any magazine has an actual chance of becoming a major player on the racks of magazine stands all over the world, it’s this one. Their upcoming issue features the wonderful Sharon Van Etten, go get your hands on a copy while you can.
Last year It’s Nice That posted more photography articles than ever before, perhaps down to the fact that most people count themselves as a photographer of sorts, which makes it super hard to stand out against the sheer amount of competition. Last year we were lucky enough to come into contact with Luke Evans, a Kingston graduate who is pushing photography in ways we have never even seen before – like that time he swallowed 35mm film and got it developed. Since being an It’s Nice That Graduate 2014, Luke’s work been snapped up by none other than the Saatchi Gallery, which showed some of his works last year, and he also has a very reputable commission from the latest issue of The Gourmand under his belt. Now he’s retreated to a studio in Wales and has gone all quiet, but we can only imagine what tricks up his sleeve await us. Definitely one to watch this year.
Harriet Turney also deserves a mention in the up-and-coming category. 2014 saw her produce fantastic look-book work for High Snobiety, Lazy Oaf, Accent Magazine, Alvar and Wonderland among others. What we love most about Harriet’s work is the amount of humour and cultural references she can cram into any shoot. In one of Harriet’s look-books for Lazy Oaf she even decides that it would be a great idea to get the models to hold poisonous snakes, which tells me that there’s a lot more fire, bravery and oddities to be seen from her yet.
In October we were treated to a trip up to Glasgow for the Graphic Design Festival Scotland, a four day bonanza of art and design put on by two hardworking grads just out of Edinburgh College of Art, Beth Wilson and James Gilchrist. As well as starting up Scotland’s first ever graphic design festival (no big deal) the duo have also renamed themselves Warriors Studio and have begun taking commissions and working on some fantastic design work. Something tells us that this proactive team are going to take over the world in 2015, or at the very least put on an even bigger and more successful Graphic Design Festival Scotland.
Speaking of design, one guy who’s got a big year ahead of him is art director Nick Millington, who has recently been put in charge of making Esquire magazine look even cooler than it did before. After working on the visual language of style bible and mega-shop Mr Porter and helping them commission the best artists, illustrators and photographers to make their content sing, Nick has now travelled over to Esquire where he will hopefully be doing a similarly cracking job. I don’t know if you’ve seen the last few issues where Nick’s had a hand in their visuals, but they’re absolutely brilliant. This man is going to have a fantastic year.
Over in the world of fashion design, there is one name that I guarantee will be on everyone’s lips this year and that is Josh Reim. The very young ex-skateboarder lives in trendy Montreal, and is bafflingly good at making concept, capsule collections – his last collection was a documented in a creepy lookbook inspired by rich American white people who eat shellfish and partake in leisure activities. After a lot of very good press this year for his most recent collections, the only way is up for this 18-year-old wonderkid. You heard it here first.
Lastly it wouldn’t be a good 2015 without some standout illustration, and this year there are almost too many people to choose from. Aisha Franz, who has been featured on It’s Nice That a fair few times, but primarily as a small-time illustrator who was queen of Flickr and master of the lo-fi sketch. Nowadays Aisha is one of the most loved cartoonists out there with a whole host of fans and an utterly brilliant solo book published by Drawn & Quarterly which came out at the end of last year.
Aisha Franz (aka Frau Franz) is staying safely in my “coolest girls in the world” list, and I can’t wait until her next book comes out. Another worthy powerful woman nod goes to Laura Callaghan, a cartoonist and illustrator whose portraits of girls have been admired by an increasingly huge audience in the last few years. She was commissioned for the last issue of Riposte magazine and has also created felt-tip girls with attitude for Urban Outfitters and Stella among others. Very cool.
Lastly in the ever-changing illustration world is Guy Field. Guy came in to visit us last year and impressed us with his sketchbooks that were practically weighed down with ink in his crammed, meticulous doodles. The humour in his work mixed with his lo-fi style that everyone wants a piece of caught the attention of Studio Moross, who have employed him full time to help with various commissions and cool projects. No matter what he ends up doing, I’m pretty sure that whatever Guy churns out will be exciting, hilarious and important.
- “Non-league football is our punk rock” – Alex Brown’s work for Eastbourne Town FC
- Artist Esther Watson reimagines the flying saucers her dad created as a child
- Clara von Zweigbergk talks us through her art direction for Danish brand Hay
- John Molesworth illustrates the hustle and bustle of Record Store Day 2017
- “The artistic process becomes a form of yoga”: artist Christopher Davison
- More vibrant, goblin-like characters from illustrator Alex Jenkins
- Animator and director James Curran’s amusing 30-day Gifathon project in Tokyo
- Photographer Sophie Mayanne’s new personal project celebrates imperfection (NSFW)
- Jon Burgerman on his utterly brilliant Instagram experiments
- "Before I was a graphic designer I had nearly no idea what one was": meet Austin Redman
- Animator Saiman Chow’s trippy idents for Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty
- The daily grind: Louis Quail’s photographs of fascinatingly mundane offices