Article Archive

  1. Bernhardaxilko-itsnicethat-main

    Excuse the pun, but I’m a sucker for penis drawings. Birthday cards, desks, walls, Post-Its, other people’s books, car windscreens: to me the world is but a canvas for penile artwork. Judging by his startlingly extensive back catalogue of sexually charged, penis-infused illustrations, it seems Belgrade-based artist Bernharda Xilko is on the same page. His style is in the same camp as people like Patrick Kyle and Paul Paetzel but comes with a side order of terror, penetration and science fiction. For me, I like the depth of his one-panel cartoons, and how you can stare at it for a while like a saucy magic eye painting, and keep finding things you had missed first time around.

  2. Simon-hogsberg-the-grocery-store-project-itsnicethat-list

    One supermarket, one man, thousands of faces and 2067 images make up Danish photographer Simon Hoegsberg’s The Grocery Store Project. Simon tells us that over a year and a half, he patiently stationed himself atop a bike rail in front of the same Copenhagen supermarket, snapping away as people walked in and out; all the while kissing, pondering, smoking, chatting on the phone or doing any number of things we do without really thinking about it. From the whopping total of 97,000 an edit of 2067 were selected and arranged in a grid. While it may just look like a sort of dingy Tetris or an unhelpful map, on closer inspection you notice that within each sequence, we see the same face – sometimes serene, sometimes flustered, sometimes downright miserable. It feels eerie in its demonstration that while time ticks and our lives fly by, we do the same things, we’re the same person, just popping to the shops.

  3. Karenelson-timwalker-itsnicethat-list

    As It’s Nice That’s resident fashion expert (ahem) I know a strong editorial shoot when I see one, and this one for Vogue’s May edition is as good as they get. In it you’ll see Karen Elson wearing all manner of clothing by various clothes-makers – all of which look stunning. But stuff the outfits, this is all about the locations and the luxurious referencing of south Asian iconography. Tim, Samantha Bryant and Duffy travelled all the way to Bhutan to shoot Karen in the Himalayas alongside a supporting cast of masked imps and Bhutanese locals, weaving a surreal narrative of pagan mysticism and evoking an atmosphere akin to the hippie trail.

  4. Paulsimonon-itsnicethat-main

    If you have a dig about on some Clash fanblogs, you can find illicit, well-zoomed-in fan photos of a man painting on a large canvas in various spots around London. That man in Paul Simonon, Clash bassist turned fine artist and motorbike enthusiast. Almost entirely self-taught, Paul picked up his draughtsmanship skills by spending hours at the British Museum with a pencil and sketchpad and taking canvases out and about London to capture the ever-changing city.

  5. Newyorker_01-wilfrid-wood-itsnicethat_list

    Giving us proof if it were needed that humour and style are in no way mutually exclusive, Wilfrid Wood has created a sweet, strange series of his signature plasticine caricatures for The New Yorker. The illustration spots feature throughout the mag’s style issue, aiming to sum up a variety of different New Yorkers “with hats and scarves and various accessories,” Wilfrid helpfully points out. As is typical of Wilfrid’s work, they’re very odd, sometimes ugly, and very brilliant, and rudimentary as they are we’re sure there’ll be a few folk in the Big Apple who see a little bit of themselves in these lumpy visages.

  6. List

    Have you ever wondered what the world might have looked like after the great Old Testament flood? What bizarre events might have followed such a freak occurrence in weather? Me neither. It’s honestly never crossed my mind. But illustrator Samuel Branton has been fixating on the idea, imagining the strange fusion of land and sea that a tumultuous rise in water levels might effect. He’s gone one step further and illustrated these fictional scenarios in miniature, taking this Regency medium and making it weird. Witness crabs beating up a wild boar, monkeys tossing an elephant in the air and a sad old sperm whale incapacitated in a tree. And Deluge is available in book form too!

  7. I-give-an-xpentagram-itsnicethatlist

    Where an “x” was once a kiss, it’s now something rather different – a mark that signifies your voice in the election. This little but very powerful symbol is at the heart of a new non-partisan project by Pentagram, I Give an X, which saw Marina Willer and the team create hundreds of different x marks which they hope people will use as their online profile picture.

  8. Inside-abbey-road-itsnicethat-list

    There are a lot of things I’ll likely never be able to do in my life. I’ll never be an astronaut, because I’m shit at science for starters, and I’m never going to record a world-changing album, because in reality I didn’t get much further than playing The OC soundtrack on the piano. So when a digital experience comes up that allows to you pretend you might be sailing around the moon aboard the Soviet Union Luna 2, say, or to peruse the hallowed studios of Abbey Road among the likes of the Beatles and Tony Bennett, I’m more than happy to take it.

  9. Catswing-itsnicethat-list

    We all know the housing situation in London is shit. For the price of my south-of-the-river flat I could get a fully refurbished, three-bedroom, end-of-terrace on the seafront in any one of the country’s beautiful coastal towns. But I’m a sucker so here I stay. Thankfully a growing number of organisations are seeking to protest this financial absurdity and the latest to do so is Shelter.

  10. Obv-campaign-itsnicethat-list

    The impending general election in Britain is encouraging a spurt of striking advertising campaigns and creative efforts to encourage potential voters, not least Pentagram’s “Give an X” campaign, and this new offering by Saatchi & Saatchi for Operation Black Vote is particularly powerful. The campaign is intended to boost the numbers of black, Asian and ethnic minority voters, in order to attain greater representation of Britain’s diverse population in government. Featuring Paralympic athlete Ade Adepitan, actor David Harewood, rapper Tinie Tempah and footballer Sol Campbell with their faces painted white, the campaign reasserts the quotation “If you don’t register to vote, you’re taking the colour out of Britain.”

  11. Wardheirwegh_itsnicethat-list

    Some graphic design projects seem straightforward; a lovely foil, and Bob’s your uncle! Others demand a bit more attention, however, and for those we call in the likes of Ward Heirwegh. Based in Antwerp, Ward specialises in design for exhibitions, translating complex, abstract concepts into coherent, understandable printed accompaniments. In my opinion this branch of design requires a very specific and quite elusive skill for compressing and transforming information.

  12. Severa-frahm--itsnicethat_lemonde_airport_list

    Apart from the frisking, of course, there’s very little that’s sexy or attractive about going through airport security. There’s certainly little that’s sartorial about padding around in your socks, or in men holding their trousers up as their belts sail through the X-ray machines. Somehow, though, Severa Frahm has managed to turn the situation into one that’s very much sexy, attractive and sartorial, taking it as the starting point for some great fashion editorial shots. The Amsterdam-based studio is comprised of photographer and art director Mirka Laura Severa, while Michael Frahm assists and is responsible for the post-production elements. The airport shots are so smart and serene, making even the big Alsatian dog seem effortlessly chic as he dips his snout into the scanner and over some very expensive luggage. Elsewhere in the Severa Frahm portfolio there’s some great still life work that pops with bright tones and brighter concepts, as well as the old pretty girl in car on sunny day chestnut.

  13. Neil-krug-itsnicethat-list

    Some bands are happy to leave the creative direction of their gig posters and visuals up to their labels, but others, and these are often the more special of the bunch, put as much care into their visual representation as they do their music, carefully building a coherent image with every photo shoot, illustration and album sleeve. First Aid Kit is one of the latter. The Swedish sibling duo has accrued quite a roster of preferred illustrators and photographers to design their posters, channelling their one-of-a-kind amalgamation of Scandi heritage, folk symbolism and references into each one. We spoke to Johanna and Klara about the process of commissioning their posters, their favourite illustrator to work with, and keeping creative disagreements in the family.

  14. Lencroyable-itsnicethat-main

    We’ve seen a lot of themed magazines recently. People having a whack at creating publications based around one topic or idea, a little like risky concept albums. Slightly less honed-in than, say, the magazine for redheads, dogs, or cats, this new glossy bi-annual from Paris is themed around adolescence. Created by designer and artist Clotilde Viannay and art directed by Raphaël Garnier, the magazine is centred around one big name – in this issue it is Juliette Greco – who is interviewed about her life, predominantly that sticky awkward bit around the teenage years, to see how it shaped her future.

  15. List

    It seems inevitable now that all future technology will require us to interact with it in a much more direct way – by chatting to it and letting it learn from our behaviours. This happens in the online sphere already, but there’s very little in my home that I can command with my voice or expect to understand my tastes. Not so with Aether Cone, a new thinking music player that you control by speaking to it and which can learn your musical and general audio preferences every time you use it.

  16. A-balloon-for-britain-scott-king-itsnicethat-list

    As the countdown to Here on Friday 12 June continues, we’re profiling the speakers who’ll be joining us on the day, focussing today on Scott King. Scott has one of the UK’s most restless creative minds. As a graphic designer his work on i-D and Sleazenation gave free rein to his relentlessly inventive visual talents. Now as an artist – particularly preoccupied with how modern society is warped by culture and the media – his idea-driven practice demands a reaction. Modern Britain with its smoothed edges and sanitised smugness seems to baffle him and anger him, and much of his work seems intent on shaking us out of this complacency.

  17. Studio-audience-lemon_top

    This week Liv Siddall, Anna Kinneir of INT Works and Maisie Skidmore chat Salone del Mobile, the stripy house in Kensington, a magazine for redheads and Secret 7" 2015. Thanks to Bendik Kaltenborn for a fantastic opening question and to all of you who got in touch for shout outs.

  18. Mrc1-itsnicethat-main

    Last week redheads all over the world got really hacked off at the announcement of a bunch of new ethnically-diverse Emojis on the iPhone, angered that the flame-haired 2% of the world is still being underrepresented, nay disrespected. In the same week, MagCulture announced its faultless magazine of the week feature bearing a new publication entitled MC1R: A magazine for redheads.

  19. List

    It’s fast approaching the time of all-nighters (not the fun ones), tears, last-minute panics and all the other things that come with the end of learning and the impending beginning of the terrifying thing they call real life. But like the mum that tells you you’re always the best and most talented and most beautiful, or the best friend that bursts into your house and pops the kettle on/pours the gin, we’re here to remind you of some of the advice that might be able to help you.

  20. Itsnicethat

    There’s a reason why a long pan-out is such a recurrent feature at the end of feature films: it reminds us that the characters we’ve been engrossed in for the past couple of hours are just some more tiny ants in the nest of a bigger picture. The same goes for zooming in at the start of movies, and for the concept of this short by Luke Carlisle that takes us fleetingly into the serene, somewhat surreal life of a London drug dealer. We swoop around his day-to-day activities on steadicams, watching him (David Ajala) like a hovering dragonfly as people get in and out of his car, and his phone vibrates on the table prompting a Pavlov’s Dog effect.

  21. Toddterje-itsnicethat-main

    What a treat this is! We have for you today a special conversation between bearded electronic wizard Todd Terje and two very talented illustrators Espen Friberg and Bendik Kaltenborn about the fantastic new music video they have been working on. If you haven’t already seen it, it’s a hilarious whirlwind of illustrations painstakingly animated together frame by frame, and something the three of them have been working on since October.

  22. Hightide-itsnicethat-list

    If there’s one thing New York design studio High Tide knows well, it’s how to brand a luxury startup. Danny Miller and his team have worked with brands like Warby Parker since they were just a glint in the lens of their founder’s spectacles, then subsequently with all manner of high-flying fashion brands. As a rule they opt for effortless minimalism, but the selection of work below demonstrates the studio’s tailored approach to every new client they take on, whether it’s footwear or fragrance they’re peddling.

  23. List

    This isn’t our usual type of post; there’s nothing fun, colourful or inherently “nice” about these images, but Jonny Seymour’s shots of an Easter tradition in the Philippines are truly astounding, so apologies if they make your stomach turn. Jonny travelled to Manilla to witness this brutal Good Friday tradition in which three men are nailed to crosses in a reenactment of the crucifixion. Other penances carried out on the day include self-flagellation, crawling on the rough ground and carrying giant crosses. Jonny has captured these events with care and sensitivity, and though the impact of these painful pictures is hard to deny there’s nothing gratuitous about his portrayal of this devout practice.

  24. Alisondubois-after-itsnicethat-list

    Alison Dubois is a San Francisco-based illustrator who channels all of the vitamin D from her native temperate climate into her work. Take After, for example, a collection of re-creations of works by great masters, including Henri Matisse, Peter Doig and a handful of Paul Gauguins. Her drawings are rendered in felt tip and dominated by primary colours, and looking at them for too long feels something like consuming a bottle of Sunny D via an IV drip.

  25. List-innocent-sorcerers-image006

    Posters for Polish film never fail to excite; the strange, b-movie quality they have, the bold cut-and-paste aesthetic and the unabashed melodrama make them utterly captivating. So it’s always exciting when Kinoteka Festival rolls around in London, not just to have a chance to see the movies the posters promote, but because of the ace satellite shows of Polish cinema visual ephemera. This year, the festival boasts an exhibition of posters for director Andrzej Wajda’s films. As well as work by Polish artists, international designers such as Peter Strausfeld, Dominique Guillotin, Otto Kummert, Milan Grygar and Erhard Grutter all have posters on show. It’s a gorgeous spread of work, all on loan from the archives of the Film Museum in Lódź.

  26. Thomas-slater-mosaic-itsnicethat-list

    It’s a good job “Thomas Slater, Illustrator” has such a nice ring to it, as we seem to be spending a lot of time on his website of late. His newest undertaking is for Mosaic, the science-led strand of the Wellcome Trust which is using commissioned illustration and photography to make even the most opaque of articles on their journal absorbing. For a piece entitled Do You Need to Go to Parent School? Thomas has created a series of drawings depicting kids both being encouraged by, and outsmarting, their ambitious parents – putting them on school buses, playing at being doctors from their buggies, or having their brains measured while diligently sipping on juice cartons. It’s the kind of commission which shows editorial illustration at its most challenging, but somehow Thomas manages to convey broad ideas about parenting and education with a simple and bold colour palette, outsmarting us all in the process.

  27. List-respect_byd_ad-itsnicethat

    D&AD has commissioned a rather playful campaign to promote 2015’s Judging Week, created by design agency The Oldham Goddard Experience and illustrator Marion Deuchars. Marion’s signature off-kilter typographic approach makes a great counterpart to the instantly recognisable black and yellow of the D&AD brand, used across a number of tongue-in-cheek slogans. All in all, it’s a simple, smart and effective solution to what must be a rather daunting brief.

  28. List

    Most of us have favourite bands; artists we love irrationally, inexplicably and would kill to get tickets for their shows. But there are very few fans out there with the commitment of George Salisbury, whose dedication to The Flaming Lips goes beyond simple fandom – it’s more like a life-long obsession. He met them age 16, harassed them into giving him a job and has been part of their entourage ever since, working on album covers, tour visuals, T-shirts, films and a whole range of weird objects that the band once produced on a whim.

  29. Absolut-punchdrunk-warhol-itsnicethat-int-list

    Punchdrunk are usually responsible for things like guiding you round a complex maze of sand, trees, fallen heroines and interweaving narratives thanks to their stunning interactive theatre productions. Now though, they’re revealing the results of a far more intricate wee project, an Andy Warhol-inspired app.

  30. Robertbeatty-itsnicethat-main

    If they’re lucky, Robert Beatty’s succulent, airbrush-like artworks can sometimes grace the covers of bands’ albums, thus making them cool, successful and lucky in love and good fortune forever. Robert’s magic touch is a unique style lifted from way back when life on earth was cooler, and from some cauldron of fluid in his brain from which he draws impressive draughtsmanship and weird ideas. Robert’s in psych band Hair Police himself, and goes by the name of Three Legged Race when performing solo. He said once in an interview on Pitchfork that he creates artwork in the same way he makes music, by letting his body and his brain begin to create something and see where it takes him.

  31. Milton-list

    “I knew that I was obsessed with drawing as a child, and that it was a source of my greatest pleasure. There was nothing else I would prefer doing than drawing. Actually that is persistent to this very day.” So begins The New York Times’ short film looking at the spectacular life and career of Milton Glaser, and if this wonderful clip doesn’t restore your faith in design (and in the same amount of time you’d spend making a coffee, too!) then I don’t know what will.

  32. Zoeghertner-itsnicethat-5

    I’d like to live in the world Zoe Ghertner creates with her camera. Sometimes I feel like I can almost hear her photos, rustling fabric over knees and the brush of neck hair against a collar, the sound that statues would make if they were quickly, secretly rearranging themselves into a more comfortable position without being seen. They’re fashion editorial photos, but with a sinister depth to them that is so often done in a ham-fisted way, but with Zoe is delivered as crisp as cut glass. The net draped over oranges like skin over joints, the spiked industrial hair curlers, and the uneasy pressure, suspense and delicacy of taut balloon animals. She’s fantastic.