Article Archive

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    Recording people when they are…ahem..not themselves, is not commendable. Footage of someone off their tits is enough to make them lose their jobs but who are we to judge? It’s nearly Friday and someone’s just released a whole blog of GIFs made from footage of people losing it to deep house at Boiler Room. I love how if you were sober you would never, ever dance near the camera at the front of this infamous travelling night – but as soon as some booze (and maybe other substances) is consumed, BAM! There you are stroking a speaker as if it’s a fluffy pillow and gyrating as if your life depended on it. Well done to whoever made this. A big well done.

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    It actually takes a lot of hard work to make something seem effortlessly cool, but it helps if the raw ingredient you’re working with is, well, Jude Law. And your backdrop is the tranquil waters of the British Virgin Islands. This great new short for Johnnie Walker Blue Label opens with two men entering into a wager: if one wants to win the other’s vintage yacht, he’ll have to dance for it.

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    When a studio with a back catalogue as impressive as Hey’s relaunch their website it’s tricky to know where to start in terms of choosing what aspect of it to cover. Is it the crisp design of their now fully-responsive site, the beautifully conceived identity for a Miami-based jam company that represents the product’s moreishness through the medium of randomly-generated die-cut patterns, or the 500 unique invitations they produced for ArtFad 2014, a contemporary Art and Craft Award? In this instance all of them because, as ever, all of Hey’s work is much too good not to show off.

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    Sometimes I can’t help but wonder what our banknotes and coins would look like without Queen Liz’s face slapped all over them. As it looks like that won’t change anytime soon, I instead look to other countries for monetary inspiration.

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    Animator and director Tom Jobbins has just been signed to Pulse Films where his first assignment was a video for Tune-Yards’ latest single Real Thing. Never one for subtlety in her promotional films, Tune-Yards’ Merril Garbus already has a roster of punchy, colour-saturated films to her name, so Tom was tasked with creating something that stood up to its predecessors in vibrance and impact, as well as keeping things fresh to move things on for the new album.

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    In a world packed full of photographers focussing their lenses on the young and the beautiful, Andi Galdi Vinko is the antithesis. The Hungarian photographer has a penchant for the strange and the grotesque: a bare-arsed man embracing a tree, a fur-clad woman browsing a garish supermarket aisle, the thousand-yard stare of a wild-haired dandy, and that outright creepy chap with his taxidermy collection. Aside from being regularly unnerving, Andi’s photographs all manage to achieve a profound sense of spontaneity, each representing a moment of reckless abandon from her subjects or simply a chance encounter with something visually arresting – testament to her quickfire camera skills. She’s currently on the move between London and New York, planning her escape from Hungary because “the art scene here is kind of sad.”

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    At last month’s Nicer Tuesdays we welcomed four speakers who explored the art and craft of photography in very different ways. Olly Lang kicked off proceedings telling us from the off that he’s very definitely not a photographer; although his 200,000 Instagram followers may beg to differ. Olly talked about how he marries the technological advantages of shooting on his smartphone – the discretion, the flexibility and the sheer number of pictures you can take – with the artistic flair of the photographers he really admires, “who manage to capture so much flavour in their images.” The power of the phone is that it allows him to switch very quickly between creating and consuming imagery, and he explained how the right composition plus the right context can create powerful pictures.

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    To celebrate our Back to School month on It’s Nice That, we asked a bunch of creatives to send in some photographs of them taken in the early days of university and tell us a little about their time there. First up is Maya Fuhr, the spectacular photographer who came on to our radar with her brilliant photographs of girls in messy bedrooms. She’s an exciting, successful photographer now, but at the start things weren’t so easy. Here she is on being a fresher, and the perils of being 18-years-old at college.

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    Wake up! Freshers’ Week is done – all that colourful IKEA kitchenware your mum got you is nowhere to be seen and you’ve gained 478 new friends on Facebook and an awkward conversation with your home friends about who you’re actually going to Glastonbury with next year. To be honest, being a fresher usually goes on for way longer than a week. After a month or so of partying and drinking Glenn’s Vodka and Robinson’s out of tupperware bowls you wake up with a whole load of briefs to tackle and studio space and equipment to fight over. This is the START of ART SCHOOL.

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    Ever see those massive billboards of ice-cold beverages and think “who actually photographs those?” Well now we know, it’s Nick Rees, a still-life photographer who specialises in drinks. From pints of Guinness as black as night, to a mouthwatering, fizzing glass of ice cold Coca-Cola, Nick manages to fill your mouth up with saliva with every image he takes. Want to know the best bit? He doesn’t even use CGI – he states that each of his images is “100% a photograph.” We caught up with Nick to find out the ins-and-outs of this niche branch of photography…

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    There are several cool job titles found in British history and Constable of the Tower of London is right up there. The Duke of Wellington took the office on route to becoming Prime Minister and made several major innovations including draining the moat, closing the Royal Menagerie and shutting down the taverns within its walls. All of which makes him sound like a prize spoilsport, but in fact after his tenure the Tower was both better-equipped for its military purposes and drawing more visitors than ever.

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    There’s something very fun and raw about Jessica Hans’ vases and her approach to ceramics in general. Based in Philadelphia, she’s had a longstanding interest in foraging and raw materials since university; this has carried over into her ceramics work, which in the past has seen her driving to clay sites, digging her materials out of the ground and then firing them in their original state to see what would happen.

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    Like a lot of people, I’ve been a big fan of Etsy for a while now. For a long time Etsy was the go-to place for crafts and brilliant novelty collectables: burger pincushions, spaghetti necklaces, wacky pillows. Sure, a lot of it still is – but now it holds a different type of power.

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    Few things fundamentally change the way the creative world works, which makes the rise and rise of crowdfunding site Kickstarter all the more remarkable. Now five years in, it’s one of those brands that’s become a verb and “to Kickstarter” is an increasingly common way of launching a project.

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    When it comes to graphic design, there can be many reasons why certain jobs feel particularly pressurised; it may be the tightness of the deadlines, the ambition of the stated objective or the nature of the client. This latter comes in many forms but heritage can weigh very heavily, and when well-respected Berlin-based studio Double Standards were commissioned to overhaul the look of feel of Bauwlet, an architectural magazine that’s been around for 105 years, they appreciated the challenges they faced.

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    If you’re feeling a bit bleary eyed this morning, grab a cup of coffee and take a look at Goncalo Viana’s beautiful illustrations to wake yourself up. Rich with colour and charming detail his work has a wonderful texture to it, as though you could reach out and actually feel the deep pigments he’s used.

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    There’s something incredibly beautiful and natural about Gráinne Quinlan’s series White Crane Spread Wings where she captures the elderly community of Hong Kong practising Tai Chi throughout the city.

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    A few years back illustrator Rob Hunter produced his debut graphic novel The New Ghost, a story about a novice spirit befriending a troubled astronomer. It was a simple, ethereal tale that left no doubt in our minds that Rob was a burgeoning talent in the comics scene. It obviously made an impact on electronic musician Jon Hopkins too, as he’s just commissioned Rob to lend his illustration skills – and his lonely ghost – to his latest EP Asleep Versions. The two make a fitting pair with Jon’s ambient compositions mixing seamlessly with Rob’s subtle, other-wordly imagery. To top it all off they’ve just released this snappy teaser too, in which animator Sean Weston has brought the ghost to life – a truly breathtaking achievement.

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    It was 17 years ago (!) that the BBC released a star-studded cover of Lou Reed’s Perfect Day, and tonight they marked the relaunch of BBC Music in a similar way. Musicians from Pharrell Williams and Stevie Wonder to Lorde and Chrissie Hynde weigh in on this heavyweight effort that more than anything confirms the strength of the BBC’s pulling power. Sure some people will find it cheesy as hell and on balance it’s probably not as good as Perfect Day but when you can roll out guns as big as these it’s sometimes fun to put them all together and see what happens. Also the song’s writer Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys plays a piano with a tiger on it. Because, well, just because I think…

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    If you asked anyone in the UK to draw a character from the Beano, they’d most probably be able to get on with the task off by heart. The characters in the age-old weekly comic are etched onto our brains from a young age, and every kid’s got their favourite strip. For me, it was The Bash Street Kids, a cartoon created by Leo Baxendale in 1954 about a pesky gang of kids driving their teacher nuts. Lessons, rules, bullies – the Beano knew how to make its readers happy by bringing them seemingly infinite story-lines about something most British children see as the world’s worst chore – school.

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    Yay! Hato Press! We love them. A lot. Neighbours of ours, Hato have spent the last five years collaborating with some of the coolest young creatives and oldest institutions to create impeccably beautiful printed matter and design solutions. A number of the publications these guys have produced are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever had the pleasure of holding/smelling, and it seems that every single thing they do or work on is covered in a glimmering magic dust that is exclusive to only them. Before you go and wet your pants over their multi-disciplinary work on their very nice websites (here and here) check out the books that have inspired them over the years below. Enjoy!

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    I wonder how many projects have been inspired by the treacherous, but often successful world of online dating. Matchmaking is no new thing – for years lonely hearts columns have been providing people with hilarious stories to recount to their pals, and even actual mates who they can breed with. Saying that, I haven’t seen a project that sums up the sheer oddness of the modern world of online dating as fantastic as David Luepschen’s Chit Chat Roulette. His perfect stop-motion animation sees a cast of unsightly but sometimes kinda cute creatures competing to find a lover through a Chat Roulette-esque platform. Funny, engaging, weird and with some very talented voiceovers, this is the only kind of animation I ever really want to watch. You can check out some excellent behind-the-scenes making-of shots over on his site.

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    Before I write anything about illustrator Nicolas Delort I feel like full disclosure is necessary; between the ages of 11 and 14 I spent all of my pocket money collecting and painting Warhammer models and most of my saturdays hanging out in Games Workshop, which means I’m predisposed to LOVE epic fantasy artwork, like Frank Fazetta, Julie Bell and Boris Vallejo.

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    Before stumbling across Burning Questions I have to admit I wasn’t that familiar with New York-based designer James Victore’s impressive repertoire. His talents and projects span the creative disciplines making him part designer, part activist, part curator, part motivational speaker and (in this case) part agony aunt.

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    “To be an artist and for anyone to care vaguely about what you do is a great thing,” says street artist Moose in this fascinating new Nissan campaign, but his work is more important than most. As the inventor of reverse graffiti – whereby he uses a high-powered pressure washer to stencil imagery in the dirt that accumulates in our cities – Moose’s work asks questions about our attitudes to pollution in a very creative way.

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    Anyone who’s into niche magazines of yore will perhaps have heard of Scamp – the racy 1950s gentlemen’s magazine that has since become something of a collectors’ item. Fast forward 64 years and a very different Scamp has been born, and this one is “a brand new magazine full of chit-chat and arty-farty editorial projects.” We were intrigued by this odd-sided, floppy publication, so we decided to speak to the editor Oskar Oprey to find out a little more about it.

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    It wouldn’t look out of place on the set of a Wes Anderson film or in a Roald Dahl story but believe it or not, the Flavour Conductor exists in our very own world. Magicked into being by the Willy Wonkas’ of the design world, Bompas and Parr, in collaboration with Johnnie Walker Blue Label, it is a musical instrument like no other. This is no ordinary church organ; it’s part of a multi-sensory theatrical experience combining music and imagery to transform the audience’s appreciation of whisky and even make its taste change in their mouth.

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    To stare into a Danny Fox painting is like waking up in a world written by Charles Bukowski on a particularly heavy bender. There’s sex and drinking and guns, plus boxers and strippers and cowboys; here a horse, there a tiger. It’s intense and unnerving and exciting, but although there’s something very contemporary about Danny’s paintings, his rise to prominence owes a great deal to the support of a more well-established artist (an age-old route for up-and-coming artistic stars).

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    When there’s a design-themed film festival, you have a certain expectation for the branding of said festival to be executed perfectly. I imagine it’s similar to a gymnastics coach nervously watching their child protégé at their first big comp. We can all breathe a sigh of relief though as Singapore-based studio Anonymous have stuck the landing with this effortlessly cool and slick identity.

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    Boarding schools – the smell of school dinners wafting up through prep rooms, the stolen biscuits hidden beneath starchy bedsheets, muddy sports kits spinning in industrial washing machines, long-nosed teachers in hard-heeled shoes strolling through dim, flagstoned corridors. It’s fair to say the idea of these archaic institutions stir up a bit of romance in all of us, be it because of novels we read as children or experiences we have had first-hand.

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    To mark the beginning of our month of Back To School features, it seemed best to start by addressing the most obvious question – why go to art school? The hike in tuition fees has led to many questioning whether university is still the best path for young people and the rise of specialist vocational courses (such as those provided by Shillington College) have challenged the traditional art school model. Here we asked a selection of creatives why they feel that going to art school is still the right decision (we’ll be exploring the counter arguments later in the month). So over to them, but you can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…

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    Mark Prenderghast’s new video for Bambooman’s track Clasp is an absolute winner as the bouncy ball, everyone’s favourite childhood play thing, has a starring role. Using 43 of the most garishly coloured bouncy balls and 76 sheets of sandpaper, Mark has created a series of brilliant rhythmic sequences with the balls bouncing in unison to the beat.