Article Archive

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    This weekend galleries, zines, publishing houses and rare book dealers are getting together at London’s Whitechapel Gallery for the UK’s biggest annual celebration of international art publishing, taking place concurrently with the New York Art Book Fair. Three solid days of events ensue, including book signings by Bridget Riley, Nadav Kander and Douglas Coupland (who is launching new publication everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything at the fair, too) and events such as Unbinding the Book challenge the tradition concept of publishing altogether.

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    “Paradise is on the edge of an industrial estate just north of the M25. It’s also behind a Jobcentre in Manchester. By the bins.” What a difference a poetic opening line of a project caption can make! Oli Kellett sent this project in after the success of his 2011 project where he found street signs around the world that look like British words spelt wrong. Paradise is similarly genius: with the help of Martin McAllister Oli travelled the UK since 2010 photographing any road, street, lane or close that contained the word “paradise” in its title.

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    To celebrate the launch of the Autumn issue of Printed Pages, here’s the last of this week’s taster articles. Below you’ll find an excerpt from Maisie Skidmore’s feature on the irrepressible art-world mover and shaker Peggy Guggenheim as well as one of Alice Tye’s delightful commissions. To read the full article you can buy the latest Printed Pages here.

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    One of the best things about this year’s Designers in Residence is that it takes big ideas and makes them accessible to the gallery-going public. Nowhere is this more obvious than in Torsten Sherwood’s work, which looks at disrupting traditional patterns of play with a new kind of interlocking building block that reimagines the basic functions of LEGO. Not only can you see how Tortsen’s ideas developed at the show, you can also have a go yourself which adds a fantastically fun element to proceedings.

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    Back in 2013 designers Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman launched 40 Days of Dating, where they entered into a seven week relationship with each other to explore the world of romance from a creative perspective.

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    We’re suckers for a bit of nostalgia here at It’s Nice That and this blog by renowned designer Emilio Gil provides it in gratifyingly regular doses. But to suggest that Emilio’s archive is just a way of getting a fix of retro imagery is to do it a disservice as Graphic Pioneers; Spanish Graphic Design 1939 – 1975 does much more than that.

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    And so it’s Friday once again. The merry-go-round of the weekdays continues and we’re all now riding upon the glittery saddle of the Things pony! We’re taking in the sights and on display is a lovely children’s book, a collection of sartorial memoirs and a bonkers blog-turned-book making a mockery of the 1970s. Keep your eyes big and beedy to spy a book about, well, books and some fine prints too.

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    If the pseudonym Synchrodogs calls to mind a troupe of people dressed in a trippy barrage of Cyberdog-influenced body suits sprawled across luscious green meadows, in front of waterfalls and crouching on cracked deserts, then you’re on the right track. Tania Shcheglova and Roman Noven have been working under the moniker since 2010, and their unique brand of out-of-this-world fashion photography set in apocalyptic environments has earned them a reputation for making fascinating, if bizarre, imagery.

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    One of my teachers had a pet hate of adverbs and adjectives. “Cut the fluff!” he’d yell after reading our essays. Emi Ueoka’s delicate drawings illustrate his point perfectly; why use more lines when a few create so perfect a picture?

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    It may surprise you to find out that the It’s Nice That Bookshelf feature has been going strong since 8 January 2011. Yep, it’s old, and like a grumpy old uncle it’s rarely actually been celebrated. The weekly sneaky peek into the bookshelves of the creative and famous (sing to tune of Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous by Good Charlotte) is a long-term favourite of many an It’s Nice That reader, and we decided to do a few posts to celebrate some gems within it.

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    We might be one man down but we’re one woman stronger for this week’s Studio Audience. James Cartwright may be guzzling wine and nibbling cheese in France but, you know what, we’re having just as much fun discussing art exhibitions and darstardly good videos right here in the studio. You can listen using the SoundCloud embed below or you can subscribe via iTunes here.

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    Entering Alma Haser’s portfolio is very much like going down the proverbial rabbit hole. The young London-based photographer was recently named in the D&AD New Photographers Ones To watch, the latest accolade in a career that’s going from strength to strength.

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    To celebrate the launch of the Autumn issue of Printed Pages, we’ll be giving you a taster of some of the articles all this week. Below you’ll find a short excerpt from our look at the enduring cultural appeal of Americana as well as a couple of images; for the full piece you can buy the latest Printed Pages here.

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    When it came to designing the second billboard for our ongoing partnership with London Graphic Centre, Jack Hudson seemed the obvious choice. Ever since we came across his work four years ago and swiftly swept him up into our Graduates class of 2010, we’ve watched with awe as Jack’s career has gone from strength to strength. He has a supreme ability to make communicative images still steeped in charm and personality, and so we knew he would rise to the challenge of our broad “back to school brief.”

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    To paraphrase received wisdom, if you want to really get to know someone you’re better off spending ten minutes in their flat than ten hours talking to them. A new campaign from Timberland is pushing this idea to the extreme challenging four creatives to swap cities, homes and lives for three days.

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    Many of you will have seen Emma Watson’s spine-tinglingly good speech at the United Nations this week, calling on men to stand up and be counted in the fight for gender equality (and for the feminist movement to work with men rather than against them).

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    It’s all well and good making art and illustration that focuses in on humdrum observations of our meagre existences, but wouldn’t you rather have a whole bunch of images that dip their toes in the sci-fi pool of chance and dance through the stars on pronged, mythical wildflowers? I know I would, which is why I’m particularly pleased with stumbling across the work of Singeon, a French illustrator whose horny, mythological drawings and paintings are like an ever-changing ecosystem, ranging from small watercolour doodles of food (standard) to double-headed medieval babes in outer space (not so standard). He’s part of team Flickr, so if you like what you see here I urge you to go and check out even more of his work over here on his page.

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    London-based brand Heresy presented its new collection this week in the guise of its Autumn Winter 2014 lookbook. Entitled Forming, the collection is a quiet amalgamation of illustration and traditional workwear, combining illustrated elements and hand-drawn type with carefully crafted structural staples made from loop-back jersey and felted wool.

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    Once upon a time, the church spires of New York offered an unrivalled view of the city. But in photographer Berenice Abbott’s Manhattan of the 1930s, skyscrapers shot up on every side and suddenly there were windows and back streets, balconies, construction sites and advertising billboards all crying out for a camera to capture their unique perspective of the metropolis. Changing New York is Abbott’s anatomy of the town, dissecting it, discovering its dramatic angles, dappled shadows and dilapidated dwellings. Her work is a fitting opening for the Barbican Art Gallery’s Constructing Worlds exhibition, exploring architecture and its relationship to the world through more than 250 images from 18 artists.

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    Switzerland-based artist Pascale Keung makes delightfully diverse work which is inspired by her chosen country’s stunning natural landscape as often as it is by wild fantasies. This series Muttsee is an example of the former, a collection of images about “a very special place in the Alps of Switzerland” where she goes to fish with her friends from time to time.

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    We’ve been talking a lot recently about the gradual shift of the internet: websites becoming more advanced, successful blogs being abandoned left right and centre, artists adopting new ways of uploading and sharing music. What I’ve been curious about is the gradual change we’re going to witness in music videos. Gone are the hi-octane, fleshy, music videos that were rife a few years back, and it seems that increasingly bands are not as keen to peacock themselves around and taking a back seat is the cool thing to do. Maybe it’s also to do with the attention span thing that everyone goes on about, why would you want to watch a four-minute music video with a narrative that you won’t understand until you see the end when you can just watch a beautiful piece of ambient animation?

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    A lot of us will have been there; you’re trying to mow the lawn and you can’t get the ruddy dog to leave you alone. It’s annoying sure, but if I had dedicated my life to God then I might see it as an (al)mightily unfair frustration.

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    This week Rob Alderson reflects on the launch of the new Design Museum website and the strange suggestion that the redesign should have been given to a British agency rather than Dutch studio Fabrique. As ever you can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…

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    When I first joined It’s Nice That more than three years ago I had never heard of Elephant magazine, but it was one of those titles talked about in hushed and revered tones. As such it’s always a publication I’ve approached with high expectations, so it was interesting to hear that for the next issue, number 20, Astrid Stavro and Pablo Martin of Atlas Studio have overseen a fairly comprehensive redesign.

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    To celebrate the launch of the Autumn issue of Printed Pages, we’ll be giving you a taster of some of the articles all this week. Below you’ll find a selection of photographs from the article; to see the full series you can buy the latest Printed Pages here.

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    The Design Museum’s Designers In Residence is one of the most important young creative talent schemes in the UK, and it’s been a real pleasure to be broadcast partner for the exhibition this year. Not only did we produce five films which you can watch at the show, but we are also running two events in the hallowed galleries of London’s design HQ.

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    If you’re ever looking for a great reason why good graphic design is important, Pentagram partner Michael Bierut sums it up in this Kickstarter video. “New York City is a chaotic place and in the 1960s nowhere was more chaotic than the subway system,” he says. There was a “profusion of inconsistent signs” but “a lot of people were convinced that was the way it had to be; New York’s a complicated place, figure it out…”

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    Helsinki’s finest, photographer Osma Harvilahti, shot this campaign for Finnish designers Marimekko in one afternoon. From the photographs it looks like it must’ve been a deliciously dreamy few hours, all cosy cups of tea and crisp breezes ruffling the blinds, but knowing the intense level of aesthetic precision in Osma’s work, behind-the-scenes might’ve smelled less of flowers and more of frazzled nerves. The result, however, is serenity itself.

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    If you’re concerned that your bookshelf is starting to look bit run-of-the-mill then allow us to present you with a new publication to blow the others out of the water. Eventually Everything Connects is a new publication by Loris Lora, published by Nobrow, illustrating the largely unknown but absolutely fascinating commonalities which joined many of the architects, designers, filmmakers and photographers working in southern California in the Modernist era.

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    The artist known as José Ja Ja Ja not only creates damnedly detailed drawings and works as Professor of Illustration at the European Design School in Madrid; he also brews beer. Unfortunately, as I have yet to sample SALVAJE, I’ll have to laud the brilliance of his illustrations instead.

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    Matthew Frost’s Fashion Film featuring Lizzy Caplan remains one of the finest spoofs I have ever posted on the site, and it’s interesting that it was that parody that led Kirsten Dunst to this short. Commissioned by Vs. Magazine for their latest cover shoot with the Spiderman star, it’s an excruciating look at celebrity culture through the prism of a very individual encounter.

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    Photographer John Kilar was born in Istanbul, grew up in California and then settled in Los Angeles, for a bit. He now lives a nomadic life, traveling round with his point-and-shoot camera documenting the world as he sees it with an honesty and pathos and humour which strikes us to the very core. He also has a great way of talking about art and life which is inspiring without being patronising or cheesy; it’s just him doing what he does and calling it as he sees it. Particularly enamoured by his pictures of festivals, we tracked him down in Texas to ask him a few questions…