Well, well, well, what have we got here? Only a whole bunch of really rather scrumptious things. Miss May Van Millingen has done some gorgeous illustrations of little beasties and nobbly pumpkins, while our friend Tom Sewell personally delivered a psychedelic print which is brightening up the studio. Somewhat more stormy is Alex Booker’s print of a ship stuck out at sea, which looks like an adventure worthy of Ernest Shackleton. As for books, we’ve got our mitts on a copy of Grayson Perry’s latest, which is a guide to getting your noodle around what the heck modern art is all about, and a fun children’s book which is an adventure in colour. That’s what I call a cracking collection.
Alex Booker: Maipu woodcut print
When this rather sublime print arrived in the office, we put it in the special drawer. Oh yes. Such lovely delicate work is looked after very carefully in the It’s Nice That studio. Artist and printmaker Alex Booker has made a series of similar prints, many of a nautical nature, and this one appeared in the Royal Academy’s summer show. “Inspired by the photography of the Cornish Gibson family,” there’s something of the majesty and drama of an old oil painting in these prints, without the fustiness. To the Booker Print House, me hearties!
Grayson Perry: Playing to the Gallery
I refuse to believe there’s anyone out there who can truly tell me that they have never, not even once, looked at a piece of modern art and gone, “What?” It can be baffling, bemusing and outright bonkers. This is such a widely acknowledged fact that Grayson Perry has written a whole book with the honourable intention of “helping contemporary art in its struggle to be understood.”
“It’s easy to feel insecure around art and its appreciation,” nice Mr Perry assures us. But never fear! “For even I, an Essex transvestite potter, have been let in by the artworld mafia.” In this book, based on his Reith lectures and full of funny drawings – such as “Map of Museum based on Interior of Curator’s head” and “Art Quality Gauge” – the Turner winner helps us answer those questions that we’re just too embarrassed to ask in the gallery. Why has that man pickled a shark? What is the difference between this urinal and the one in the gents? Pick up a copy of Playing to the Gallery to find out.
May Van Millingen: Beetles & Squash
May’s been a busy bee; she’s recently collaborated with Topshop on a T-shirt collection, and she’s also got a food illustration exhibition at The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell. These prints of creepy crawlies and vegetables are our faves; they’re so satisfyingly detailed that they could be illustrations for a textbook, but they’re far too bright and fun to belong to the dusty tomes of a university library.
Hervé Tullet: Mix It Up!
This might be a book designed for kids, but I reckon that many a parent will soon be surreptitiously having fun with it too, like the time when moms and pops all over the land were reading Harry Potter behind newspapers before it was deemed OK for grown-ups. Hervé Tullet’s last book Press Here had an onslaught of fab reviews, from brilliant publications like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and, erm, It’s Nice That. Mix It Up! works a bit like a flip book, with finger splodges mixing and scattering and smudging as the pages turn. It’s bright and it’s cheery; it’ll have little tykes (and some big kids too) making pretty pictures in no time.
Tom Sewell: Print
Nice Mister Tom came in one day this week, gave us a print, had a mini-photo shoot on our balcony, and got a new nickname from Liv (but it’s a secret). Like some of his other work which we’ve oohed and aahed over before, this print is pastel pandemonium in perfection. It reminds me of Holi festivals gone by and is so mesmerising that I sort of have the urge through swim in it. Odd eh?