Article Archive

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    Branding agency Morillas’ chief executive officer Marc Morillas considers the way advertising agencies commandeer symbols of protest for use in advertising campaigns and commercial branding. What do you think about the reappropriation of these symbols? As ever, you can add your comments in the discussion thread below.

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    With photography now a ubiquitous medium gifted to everyone for the price of a smartphone, it’s easy to forget that it was once the preserve of only a select few pioneers, whose experiments with light-sensitive chemicals and simple mechanical structures gave birth to something we all take for granted today. But a new show at The Science Museum’s Media Space seeks to remind us of the pioneering endeavours of modern photography’s forebears.

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    Their home is Comme Des Garcons’ London superstore, Dover Street Market, and their trade is buying and selling some of the rarest, most desirable cult books in history. Who are they? IDEA Books. IDEA are Angela, David and Sandra, who spend their lives trawling the world (online and real) for rare, sometimes dog-eared publications that hoarders like me totally drool over; be it books on French style full of photos of a young Jane Birkin, old American high school films, rare catalogues from the screenings of films such as The Virgin Suicides or Over The Edge (two of my personal favourites) or even just image-heavy magazines and tomes that suggest a more bohemian way to live your life. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been presented with an online shop that has made me feel nervous with competition at the prospect of someone else owning the products rather than me.

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    As one of the biggest independent magazines in the world, Kinfolk, has become a strange publishing phenomenon – a print-only title published in multiple languages that’s managed to find huge captive audiences in nations as diverse as Japan, Russia and the USA. It tips itself as “a slow lifestyle magazine… that explores ways for readers to simplify their lives, cultivate community and spend more time with their friends and family.”

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    “All hail Hickson!” were the words with which we finished our last post about Chicago-based illustrator Clay Hickson back in 2012, and while it doesn’t give us much to improve on, the expression certainly still seems to fit our feelings for him. Since we last checked in, Clay has developed his practice immeasurably, stepping away from pencils to embrace Adobe Illustrator and printmaking all the more enthusiastically, and making a heap of new work in the process. He’s stuck to his old penchant for pop surrealist scenes and funny-shaped girl parts – he loves a boob and a sausage, does Clay – but the calibre of the work has improved in a striking way.

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    If you want to be a great photographer, it’s all about “integrity,” “dedication” and a “strong self belief about what you’re trying to produce,” according to a man who knows better than most: photographer, curator and founder of contemporary photographic art magazine Next Level, Sheyi Bankale.

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    Orson is only 12 years old but has already achieved my unrealised childhood dream of publishing his own graphic novel. Last Saturday saw the launch of his latest title, The Adventures of Hal Dekenzin, at Orbital Comics in London – an event that included not only freshly printed comics, but also a plethora of live drawing by the author himself.

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    From the dainty digits that show off wedding rings to the Marigold-clad hands that demonstrate the power of toilet cleaners to the precious paws that poke at futuristic gadgets, it’s easy to forget that the hands that advertise are attached to bodies and heads we seldom see.

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    If I won the lottery I’d open a gallery, and when I opened my gallery I’d totally rip off everything that David Kordansky Gallery does. From the big stuff like the very well-curated, cool list of artists they represent, to the impeccable printed matter they produce, to the matter of their easily navigable and well designed website – these guys are celebrating people’s work in the best way possible.

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    I don’t get nervous doing interviews very often, but Jeremy Deller was a sweaty-palm-inducing exception. Not only is he one of the UK’s leading artists and someone we’ve targeted for the magazine for years, he’s also one of my personal artistic heroes.

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    It is now one week since the terrorist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in which 12 people were killed, including some of France’s best-known and best-loved cartoonists. We have already covered the immediate responses of the illustration community but in the past seven days so much has been said and written about satire, cartoons, free speech and the subversive magazine that it’s been tricky to try and make sense of it all.

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    Throughout this month we’re examining what works and what doesn’t when it comes to creatives’ portfolio sites. In a series of four articles presented in conjunction with website-building platform Squarespace, we’ll look at a range of relevant concerns whether you’re designing your first ever site or looking to upgrade your current online presence.

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    For all the fashion world’s beauty and prestige – both in the clothes and those who wear them – it really can be a little daft sometimes. In fashion films in particular the seriousness, the peculiar facial expressions and the melodrama are rife for a gentle, affectionate ribbing: a route that director Danny Sangra took in his refreshing and brilliant Fashion Creatives film for Mercedes-Benz, A Fistful of Wolves.

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    Hanneke Minten and Saskia Pouwels are Hats & Tales, a design duo from Rotterdam adept in strategy and branding work. They “focus on all the visible translations of the complete design concepts we create. From an event style to motion, from signage to posters, from visual identities to silkscreening and from strategy to impossible collaborations.” Last week they sent us a friendly little video re-introducing themselves and their work, so we felt obliged to take another proper look at their portfolio – it’s been almost three years since we last checked in.

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    Presenting Matt Chase, the editorial illustrator living and working in Washington DC, who can transform a wishy-washy concept into a solid hunk of imagery with a snap of the fingers. You’ve likely seen his work already without knowing it – maybe in the New York Times, on the cover of one of Douglas Coupland’s novels, or perhaps in the Wall Street Journal if you’re that way inclined.

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    “Each film is a roll of the dice. You don’t know what you’re going to get,” says Fred Wiseman, director of the brilliant new film National Gallery rather philosophically, chatting to The Telegraph’s Mark Hudson at the film’s screening in its titular home last week.

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    Last week Apartamento’s co-founder and art director Omar Sosa mentioned an upcoming collaboration with artist Nathalie Du Pasquier in his Bookshelf feature, and purely by chance this week we have Nathalie herself running us through her favourite books. What a nice coincidence!

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    January can be a tough month, all credit card bills, hangovers and grotty weather, which is why Nicer Tuesdays will be back in the first month of 2015 to present four talks on humour!

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    Back to school, back to work – it’s not surprising everyone’s got anxious, upside down smiles at this time of the year. Most fresh starts are usually followed by fresh resolutions – and we’re no stranger to looking ahead and trying to predict what’s going to happen in our own lives, as well as that of the creative world. With that in mind, we’ve put our slightly mushy heads together and concocted a list of ten animators, designers, illustrators, magazines and artists who are about to spring from the perfectly acceptable “small time” to the much-lauded “big time.” Ready? Here they are in no particular order…

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    Did you know there are 722 Emoji options? I don’t know about you but I tend to use the same five over and over, they’re like talismans of my soul (if you’re asking: rowing man, sitting monkey, balloon, yellow sun face and chick coming out of egg). There’s a new site fluttering around the internet at the moment that allows you to pick any Emoji from the astonishingly extensive menu and create your own “art” with it. Slide the small toolbar in the bottom right to enlarge the Emoji of your choice and you can make scenes you have always dreamt of. For example: farting pig rides small stripey yacht while being chased by frog heads pushed along in the current by front crawl swimmers who, in turn, are being chased by happy little piles of poop. Fun! Also a big thanks to Josh King of King Zog for pointing us towards this gem.

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    In November 2014 it was announced that London’s Kemistry Gallery was leaving its Shoreditch home after an astronomical rent rise it was unable to meet. Much of the conversation around the news looked forward to the future, amid ambitious plans for a bigger, better space that could become a UK centre for graphic art and design.

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    Giulia Garbin is carving out a very particular niche for herself, as a creator of great-looking tributes to the graphic design days of old. Her graduation project from the Royal College of Art was a stunning book celebrating the last printers in London’s Fleet Street and her new offering is a visual homage to the typographers of Turin.

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    With trends and zeitgeists evolving faster than us mere mortals can keep track of, sometimes a helping hand in watching over what’s going on in the creative world can be necessary. Fortunately branding and communications agency 3 Deep have taken it upon themselves to help us out by creating a broadsheet which redefines “our engagement with luxury while celebrating those at the nexus of creativity, art and commerce.”

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    For all its simplicity – the limited use of colour, the seemingly straightforward shapes – there’s something about the work of Jens Wolf that’s undeniably intriguing and complex. Bringing to mind the likes of Josef Albers and Frank Stella, his abstract pieces set off their precise geometry with deliberate imperfections that add a human element to its formality. With his first London show opening in March, we had a chat with him about the creative process, the evolution of his work and why his London is forever foggy.

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    Dublin’s OFFSET festival is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the creative conference calendar, and early indications suggest that 2015 is all set to be another cracker (or craic-er, if you will). For three days in March the Irish capital is taken over by a brilliant line-up of art and design speakers (and a fair bit of socialising) and we’re looking forward to going back this year for another hefty dose of inspiration and enlightenment.

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    A new ad tells the story of a chewed up pen lid, a jelly baby, a princess and a peanut who are all rather concerned about infants choking on their very beings. Created by BBH London, John Ayling and Associates and animators Si & Ad, it’s something of a departure from St John Ambulance’s usual tone.

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    It’s rare that old age is really celebrated, let alone portrayed in a fashion that makes it look like fun, but street photographer Michelle Groskopf’s shots of oldies captured in Larchmont, USA are a different story altogether. These guys seem to be having a blast; they’re cheeky, glamorous and charismatic. The series doesn’t just focus its lens on the over-60s of this Los Angeles suburb, there are teenagers, young mums and suited businessmen too, but the photos of the older generation are refreshingly cheerful, so here they are edited down for your enjoyment.

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    “Breath of fresh air” might be an expression used mainly by teachers when describing particularly astute pupils, but it’s so applicable to Dutch designer Bram Kinet’s lo-fi posters that I can’t help but bandy it about. The type is large and retro, the colour combinations are unexpected and there’s a collage-influenced, freeform element to his style that’s reminiscent of the posters junior school kids use to advertise their school discos, in the absolute best way. A man with an owl head and a red felt-tip penis surfing on a large flat fish, for example? How could we resist?

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    Carl Kleiner is a man whose reputation precedes him. He’s known internationally for his extraordinary still-life photography and has spawned countless imitators over his career. But his new book (out later this year) is unlike the Carl Kleiner most of us know. For starters this six book archive displays nothing of the pristine, polished studio environment with which we usually associate him, and secondly he’s swapped digital for analogue, using a second-hand Rolleflex and Portra film to capture his photographs.

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    Jurgen Maelfeyt is a designer and co-founder of Gent publishing platform Art Paper Editions. His design work achieves an uncommonly effective balance of concept and function; making work that is playful, with an incredibly broad frame of reference that is still readable.
    Jurgen’s visual references span the latter half of the 20th Century, chopping between psychedelic hippy crystals, Technicolour landscape photography, acid house and New Wave cinema. These considerations run through to the production values of every project, working with processes and materials that reflect the idea and the purpose.

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    Simon Porte Jacquemus is a Paris-based, self-taught designer who started his label at 19. He cites “off” taste and juvenile humour as inspiration for his clothes, and each collection has a narrative through not only the fabrics and colour-ways but a sense of identity, place and character. Simon works with filmmaker and photographer Bertrand le Pluard on the films and lookbooks.

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    I come back to Benjamin Marra’s sketchbooks time and again when I feel like real life is just a little too drab. The witty and irreverent comics artist has an insatiable appetite for the surreal and absurd that never fails to get me tittering away like a cheeky schoolboy. Everything from the unusually-proportioned physiques of his protagonists to the bizarre headlines that run across his images serve to delight and entertain, whether that’s the catchily-named Fantomah Meets Madame Satan at a Lesbian Bar in Hell or the wild-eyed warrior LuLu Benedict: Angry Bitch, Vigilante Gangleader. He’s also drawn one of the finest portraits of Beyoncé I’ve ever laid eyes on. Long may his madness continue!