• May

    Review of the Year 2011: May

Miscellaneous

Review of the Year 2011: May

Posted by Bryony Quinn,

The best thing about May is four days in when you can scream in peoples faces: “May the fourth be with you” – like saddos with imaginary light-sabers before returning to a less pathetic existence a full 24 hours later. Three days earlier, if you’re of a Pagan persuasion, you can get your Morris dance on around the maypole and celebrate May Day. In the US it’s Labour Day which sounds less fun but also involves not going to work.

May started with the reeling news of Osama Bin Laden’s mortal exit followed by a cryptic epitaph/conspiracy theorists’ fix from Barack Obama and the White House, a vote for an alternative vote in UK elections was… baffling and ultimately disappointing, no one I know watched the Eurovision Song Contest and Oprah had her televisual swan song.

On the site things were a little brighter (normally are, really). There was a sterling example of a bad situation made aesthetically good in the nice arrangements of precious bits saved from the hypothetical flames on The Burning House blog, a delightful skin vs. design collaboration between David David and Glass Hill and finally, the ambitious and triumphant re-landscaping of a Dagenham swimming pool thanks to Nike.

My 2011 – CANADA

Providing insight into their year and the month of May are directorial trio, CANADA. Former guest posters on the site, Luis Cervero, Nicolás Méndez and Lope Serrano are the worthy recipients of the best music video award at the UK Music Video Awards this year for their video for Oh Land’s White Nights, but it was their May release of Battles’ Ice Cream video that really won us over…

What was the best thing you saw in 2011?

Lope: The sea, in the south of Italy, in July, with my ex-girlfriend, going from Ischia island to Naples one sunny afternoon.
Luis:  If you mean artistic stuff probably Zurbaran’s Saint Francis paintings at the National Gallery, there are two of them real close in the same room. If you mean real life, my wife’s face when she doesn’t realise I’m watching her. I love to do that.
Nico: Bambi. And the DVD extras. 

Who would you give a Best Person of 2011 award to?

Lope: The real hero is not aware of its condition. I don’t know.  
Luis: To someone you don’t know at all.
Nico: He’d be soooo embarrassed if I write his name here.

What was the most memorable thing that happened to you?

Lope: Nothing in particular. Just these moments that look like being part of a love stream.  
Luis: Making love is always the most memorable thing that can happen to you.
Nico: I found this guy selling original cover illustrations in a flea market. And he didn’t really know what he had. Written down it does not sound too thrilling, but believe me, it really was. 

Were you in any (metaphorical/not metaphorical) fights this year? Did you win?

Lope: I’ve been not involved in a real, not metaphorical fight. But the other one, the metaphorical one, it’s always present. I mean, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but each day it’s a little piece of a loooooong fight.
Luis: Yes of course. It’s sad anyway, whether you win or loose.
Nico: I’m fighting all the time for the tiniest stupid things and the general feeling is that I never win. Whether it’s true or not, it’s awful.

What would you take from 2011 and give to 2012?

Lope: All the people that surround me and love me, all the people I really love.  
Luis: All the laughing. If I ever lose that, I will be totally doomed.
Nico: I’m taking my girlfriend and my dog. And also my computer, I’m afraid.

What were you doing in May?

Lope: I was at the final process of a music video for The Vaccines, beginning to edit a long music documentary, pitching for one commercial we finally won and enjoying Barcelona’s Champions League final victory at Wembley stadium.
Luis: Just checked my mail: delivering Battles’ Ice Cream, pitching for Oh Land’s White Nights, shooting a commercial for the French Air Force and putting out the second LP from CANADA record label.
Nico: I was shooting landscapes for a music video in the Pyrenees. Beautiful.

(Top image by Tom Darracott)

Portrait9

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: Miscellaneous View Archive

  1. List-alexey-kondakov-photoshop-its-nice-that

    Imagine if sweet little cherubs had to travel on the bus, rather than by their wings or by magic and faith and all those other more abstract things. Ukrainian art director Alexey Kondakov not only imagined what these celestial figures would look like on the bus, but realised his imaginings through Photoshop to share with all of us. For his series The Daily Life Of Gods, he’s taken figures from classical art and popped them in car parks, on public transport, and in decrepit back yards. They somehow look like they belong there, their forlorn expressions and sad demeanours matching the tatty seats of the bus or the pissy stone floors of the subway. It’s very silly, but very fun, even if Alexey would have us believe it’s got a more serious undertone. “I thought, ‘What if I invite these [gods] into our reality and imagine they are on streets of modern Kiev?’", he says. "… My project is about life.”

  2. Owen-and-the-eyeballs-its-nice-that-list

    As our collective eyes and ears know, visual culture and aural culture go hand in hand. It’s a moot point that many bands form in art school, and that many designers, illustrators and artists have one eye on the easel (or screen) and one ear on their musical output. So with the news arriving that Tom Dixon is playing at MoMA this week in a band alongside Bradford Shellhammer, the man behind industrial design sales site Bezar, we thought we’d round up a few art and design stars who moonlight as musicians.

  3. Sunnation-faragepints-itsnicethat-list

    The UK is gripped with election fever this week as we decide which middle-aged white man we want standing up for us at the world’s top table. As polling day draws ever nearer, media coverage is reaching fever pitch despite the fact it increasingly resembles a tallest dwarf competition. Kudos though to the creative community who have come up with a whole host of election-related projects ranging from the genuinely thought-provoking to the gloriously ludicrous. Here are some of the ones that have caught our eye and tickled our fancy…

  4. Havingaface-itsnicethat-main

    Lucas Zanotto spends his spare time carrying around two paper plates with black dots on them and fastening them to stationary objects and landmarks such as trees, small huts and enormous boulders. This side project entitled Having a Face seeks to give life and personality to otherwise-overlooked characters in the natural world. We’ve posted about this project before but thought it would be nice to remind everyone about Lucas’ project, especially because a film he’s made about it is going to be opening the 2015 Pictoplasma Festival this weekend. What better way to kick start a conference of contemporary character culture than with a guy who sticks eyes to rocks, eh?

  5. List

    If you’re a person who loves It’s Nice That, is super-passionate about the art and design world, knows how to write about it wants to be part of a busy, buzzing and beautiful (ahem) team, then this could be the role for you.

  6. Dinakelberman-imgoogle-itsnicethat-list

    This is an oldie but a goodie that’s been floating round the hive mind of the internet for some time. Dina Kelberman is an artist from Baltimore with a wide-ranging practice that encompasses all manner of online, IRL, video and installation experiments. The most accessible of her projects is I’m Google and consists of a vast archive of images culled from many hours of search engine experimentation. Dina arranges her scavenged imagery in an ever-evolving grid system in which each new image bears some slight reference to the last. In this way a visual game of Chinese Whispers is played out as squash courts evolve into egg yolks, which somehow transform into silly putty by way of orbs of smouldering metal. Very cool!

  7. Elenaschlenker-itsnicethat-main

    Elana Schlenker, founder of Gratuitous Type has recently opened a new shop in Pittsburgh which charges women 24% less for its items than men in order to highlight wage inequality all over the world. The shop, which sells a selection of well-designed objects and knick knacks created by women invites women to pay only 76 cents for something that would cost a man a dollar. This number relates to a figure released by Pennsylvania stating that for every dollar a man earns, a women in the same job would take home just 76 cents. Elana’s looking to take this shop on the road to get the word out there, which is fantastic. The more people know about this the better, and how great to see the concept represented in such a friendly and simple, but totally hard-hitting way.

  8. Veryman--itsnicethat-list

    Last time I looked at the clock it was about 3pm. It’s now 6.34pm, and the year is 2027, but can I tear my crows-footed eyes from Very Man ? Good god, no. This is, of course, an exaggeration; but one that’ll hopefully illustrate how compelling, brilliant and bloody weird Very Man is. The site gives you a sweet lumbering little character to play with in almost inconceivable ways: you dress him, you dictate his background, his movements, his physical characteristics and vital details such as whether or not he wears a cloud, or an Elvis quiff on his head. It might sound like nothing new, but until you’ve had a go, it’s hard to believe just how bloody strange and painstakingly considered this whole thing is. Still don’t grasp how addictive this thing is? Try telling us that once you’re deep into experiments with “butt amount,” “human pouch” and the “chicken nuggets” effect tool. Only you won’t tell us, because you’ll be too busy playing Dr Frankenstein over on Very Man. Goodbye, productivity; hello little squirming big butt Elvis!

  9. Bjorky-itsnicethat-main

    Sometimes at It’s Nice That we get sent entirely hand-painted zines, or stop-frame animations that have taken months, perhaps years to complete. But then sometimes we stumble across projects like this, little nuggets of joy that took one second to contemplate, and an afternoon to complete. LA artist Bjorky went for a wander in the countryside with a small piece of acetate on which he had painted a frame and a tired, grinning face. He then held it up to inanimate objects, bringing them to life and transforming them from “boring tent” and “mountain minding his own business” into stoned teenagers. I think the lone rock is my favourite.

  10. Wieden_kennedy_window-list

    It’s gone midday now, so sadly if you’ve not already done something hilarious like text your boss to say you’ve pooped your pants on the train à la Liv Siddall, you’re too late. Still, it’s time to sit back and reflect on what the less tardy jokers amongst us have been doing while the rest of us make clever comments about how with such-and-such-a-publication it’s tricky to tell the fools from the facts.

  11. Int-surey-int-list

    So you know how we provide you with multiple hits of arts and design goodness week in week out and ask BASICALLY NOTHING in return? Well we’d be forever in your debt if you could spare five minutes to take part in our latest audience survey. We have some big plans for the next few months but we want to make sure that whatever we do is rooted in what our readers want and expect, and so we’re super-keen to hear your views.

  12. Int-hiring-banner-list

    Have you ever logged onto It’s Nice That of a morning, flicked through a copy of Printed Pages magazine or sat (chuckling, probably) through one of our events and thought, ‘I wouldn’t mind being a part of that’? Well now’s your chance as we’re looking for a Senior Art Director to come and join our team here in London.

  13. Willhall-ponyfightpinterest-int-list

    We’ve all been there: it’s mid afternoon, you had too much lunch, the coffee’s worn off and the inspiration levels are in the doldrums. But that moodboard won’t build itself, right? So you head over to Pinterest and hope the good people there might have done some of the work for you.