Article Archive

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    In the beginning, before Fantastic Man and The Gentlewoman, there was BUTT magazine. The brainchild of Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom, whose aforementioned titles are among the world’s most admired printed publications, BUTT was a lo-fi phenomenon. It described itself in a now famous tagline as an “INTERNATIONAL FAGGOT MAGAZINE FOR INTERESTING HOMOSEXUALS AND THE MEN WHO LOVE THEM.” For writer Paul Flynn, it was a magazine about “gay sex, art and fashion you believe in.”

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    You know when you go on holiday and you’re so keen to make the most of every view that you walk around with your iPhone glued to your hand? That, in essence, is the subject of this brilliant series by Catherine Hyland, who was last on the site when she photographed a dilapidated theme park in China back in 2012. It is slightly more complicated than that however, as she explains; the series looks to draw attention to the “cultural concepts of landscape deeply embedded in the development of contemporary leisure sites.”

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    John Short’s cover shoot of an intriguing pair of reverse footprints sets the tone for the Winter issue of Printed Pages – riddled with intrigue and demanding closer inspection. Inside we discuss art, fame and Desert Island Discs with Jeremy Deller, explore Kenzo’s dynamic culture of creative collaboration and go treasure hunting with filmmaker Tomas Leach. Raymond Briggs reflects on growing old and what home means to him, Studio Swine discuss their innovative way of looking at the world and we pick out some of the highlights from counterculture bible The Whole Earth Catalog.

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    Editorial illustration comes in all shapes and sizes and JooHee Yoon’s work is undoubtedly on the stranger end of the spectrum. That’s definitely a good thing though as her personality-packed imagery is incredibly versatile and she’s been commissioned by titles like The New Yorker, Le Monde and The New York Times as well as the likes of Lucky Peach, Jamie Magazine and Nautilus Magazine. Equally at home either printmaking or drawing, JooHee often likes to combine the two in her pieces which give them a vivid sense of vibrancy both when viewed in situ and as standalone pictures.

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    The name Jeremy Deller conjures up all manner of conflicting images in my mind’s eye; of frivolous inflatable sculptures and brass bands playing acid house; of turbulent clashes between miners and police and the rusted bodies of motor vehicles. He’s got a real knack for uniting ideas that feel inherently opposite. So his latest show at Modern Art Oxford shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise in its bringing together of two figures who seem very much at odds with each other.

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    Some video directors like to head straight to the lyrics of a song for inspiration. The lyrics of Tom Rosenthal’s song Watermelon are as follows: “It’s watermelon time, I said boom boom boom boom boom boom boom. It’s watermelon time, I said boom boom boom boom boom boom boom. It’s watermelon time, I said boom boom boom boom boom boom boom. It’s watermelon time, I said boom boom boom boom boom boom boom. It’s a fruit based love.” It only seems fitting then that the video accompaniment to this tune is footage of a man in an extremely well-crafted watermelon suit, bounding around the British countryside willy-nilly. Hats off to Sidd Khajuria, Ben Elwyn, Nathan Jones, and Tom Rosenthal himself for keeping things simple, with fantastic results.

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    If our ancestors in the early 20th Century were outwardly governed by modesty then I think we can safely consider the modern age a revolution against their way of thinking. And with a new nudie mag on the stands every few months or so, printed media seems to be leading the way. Brava proposes to be different to the others though, by creating an online platform focusing on the physical form in all its iterations, rather than just on sex. "_Brava_ is the place to talk about the body,” explains Madrid-based design studio Naranjo—Etxeberria, which was called in to create a visual identity for the new site. “The naked body, the one with power to provoke desire, scandal, shame, sensuality, exhibitionism, eroticism…”

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    Judging by his bulging portfolio, Jochen Schievink has had one hell of a year. The Hamburg-based illustrator has played a pretty key role in creating editorial illustration for German newspapers and publications, clocking up commissions for Die Zeit and Der Spiegel among a bunch of others, and in doing so he has made the art of boiling down complex, sprawling news stories into neat, engaging imagery his standard. As a result, his blank-eyed characters are beginning to look right at home on thin newspaper stock surrounded by blocks of tiny black type, proving that Jochen has all the necessary tools to add exactly the blotch of colour and the dynamic figures to make an uninspiring story look unmissable. We’d best get used to his spot illustrations being dotted across the newsstands – it looks like we’re going to be seeing a lot more of them.

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    It’s great when we speak to editors and founders of the best magazines on the stands today, and they say that the reason they created it in the first place was that “There wasn’t a magazine for me on the racks. There wasn’t one that did what I wanted.” Leith Clark is a stylist to the stars, and has been entrenched in the world of fashion and style for over a decade.

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    Sometimes it’s possible to let a method or technique define a creative’s practice when in fact they have versatile skills. With someone like Magnus Voll Mathiassen, whose name is synonymous with a pristine form of digital illustration, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that he can draw perfectly well without his computer in front of him. But recently he went full analogue for a show in Bergen, Norway, churning out 20 beautiful ink drawings in under six hours; framing them, hanging them and exhibiting them that same day. The original drawings are monochromatic, varying between the figurative and abstract. Stylistically it’s recognisably Magnus but with the added charm of fluid, decisive mark-making in brush and ink.

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    Back in March, Unit Editions published Manuals 1 – a weighty tome showcasing corporate identity design manuals for the likes of NASA, Lufthansa and the NYC Transit Authority. A book you’d assume to be for a rather niche, terrifyingly geeky contingent of graphic designers. But niche or not, the book was hugely popular and quickly sold out, prompting Unit Editions to create a second volume, efficiently named Manuals 2.

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    It’s been this kind of afternoon in the studio, and it’s with that in mind that I invite you to partake of this week’s supplement of all things fun and weird, The Weekender. Enjoy!

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    We are every possible kind of delighted to introduce the 2014 It’s Nice That Annual which is now available to buy. It’s big, it’s blue and it’s back for the third year with more creative work than ever packed into its 300-plus pages.

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    Friend of Leif Podhajsky, wearer of a waxed moustache and creator of some seriously trippy artwork, Nick Stewart Hoyle – or Signalstarr as he likes to be known – is a creative we should all be paying attention to. His signature style is one of retro-futuristic wizardry; a merging of Hollywood’s 1980s visions of the future and ancient mythology; Sun Ra meets Man Ray, and any number of other anachronistic parallels. Whether, like me, you’ve always had a penchant for Iron Maiden’s Powerslave cover or you just enjoy the occasional bit of psychedelia in your life, the arresting power of Nick’s work is undeniable. He’s here to take us to the stars, ideally in an electrified floating pyramid.

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    Most completed identity project result in a neat digital suite of assets – a carefully constructed series of jpg and eps files, a neat PDF of easily-emailed brand guidelines, perhaps a GIF version of a logo to liven things up. It’s all so tidy and efficient – which, of course, good design is all about. So it’s a very brave move to create an identity that exists only in a very physical format – big blocks of wood, to be precise, with no digital form whatsoever. But that’s exactly what Kent Lyons did in their identity for the Jarman Awards, a renegade move beautifully in sync with the filmmaker the prize celebrates, Derek Jarman.

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    With a client list that includes The New York Times, The Atlantic and Le Monde, Sébastien Thibault seems to be the guy that heavyweight news organisations call when they want someone to distill complex and serious stories into communicative visuals. The Quebec-based illustrator has a tremendous ability to take difficult, controversial and confusing ideas and turn them into something immediate, appropriate and often very perceptive. So whether it’s the end of liberal zionism, the debate over alternative medicine or suicide rates in the military, Sebastien is incredibly adept at creating a pitch-perfect visual treatment in his recognisable style.

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    We love Miranda July so much that, to be honest, even if she stuck some glitter on an empty stick of deodorant we’d still post about it. Luckily she’s much more talented than that and every project she puts out into the world is something to stop and stare at, if only for a little bit. Her latest piece comes in the form of a novel entitled The First Bad Man, already lauded by similar creators such as Lena Dunham, who says of the book: “Never has a novel spoken so deeply to my sexuality, my spirituality, my secret self. I know I am not alone.”

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    Edmund Clark is one of the most interesting artists working today, exploring what is arguably the defining issue of the past 13 years. He’s interested in the wars waged by the USA and UK in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the fall-out from this foreign policy and how it impacts on us here at home. His new book The Mountains of Majeed continues this theme, as it’s a reflection on “the end of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan through photography, found imagery and Taliban poetry.”

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    On Tuesday afternoon America’s largest lingerie retailer, Victoria’s Secret, descended on London with a horde of “Angels” to execute one of their famed multi-million pound productions, complete with wings, light shows, male back-up dancers and several hundred black and silver balloons.

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    Whether we’ve been laying down on a pillow pair of trousers to gaze at Pipilotti Rist’s projections, diving among Martin Creed’s white balloons along with everyone else on Instagram or gasping in delight at Antony Gormley’s wee terracotta populous, the shows we’ve seen at the Hayward Gallery have been consistently among the best we’ve ever visited. And as is befitting for such an incredible institution, over its history the Hayward has been promoted by some equally incredible posters.

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    When those from the music world travel into the art world, their journeys can result in somewhat mixed creative results. Some musicians, like Ronnie Wood, move into rather grotesque paintings, while Dean Blunt regularly fills Hackney’s Space gallery with baffling images (like these strange Evisu jeans emblem-based works) and The Specials bassist Horace Panter likes painting robots. As such, we find some of the outcomes of this tricky transition are perhaps less accomplished than others – a mixtape you listen to with one finger firmly on the “skip” button, if you will.

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    I first met Gabriella Marcella at one of those occasionally-awkward drinks mingling sessions which happen after talks and other events. We spoke about her Glasgow risograph print and design studio and did our best to pilfer canapés from any and every passing waitress. But it was only when my colleague Liv came across her work at the Graphic Design Festival Scotland that I took the time to check out her work again and was bowled over not only by her smart new site but also by her bright and vibrant print and poster design.

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    Bringing a new perspective to industrial design and illustration, a show at The Aram Gallery sees RCA graduate Rachel Gannon illustrate a series of furniture designs, with each discipline feeding into the other as Rachel’s work is exhibited alongside products by industrial designers André Klauser and Ed Carpenter, who work together under the moniker Very Good & Proper.

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    A little while back we wrote about this very cool music video directed by Sophia Bennett Homes for Frankie Cosmos, in which Frankie dances dreamily around her Justin Bieber-bedecked bedroom in the guise of a teenage girl, and generally makes us wish we were 14 again. Happily this led us to Sophia’s website, where we found enough projects to justify the creation of a fully-fledged fan club in Sophia’s honour. We’re hoping for badges, dedicated Tumblrs, hand-drawn T-shirts and weekly meetings.

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    It’s always a treat to get updates from Bureau Mirko Borsche, all the more so when there’s a Home Alone reference involved as well. Mirko and his team have just redesigned Super Paper a free newspaper that prints 15,000 copies for the good people of Munich. The phrase “free newspaper” conjures up certain connotations not always aligned with good design values, but this is Mirko at his mercurial best; weird, confrontational and not afraid to rip up the rule book. And of course, any excuse to get Kevin McAllister on the homepage is not to be sniffed at.

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    Disruption is a term that has a checkered recent history, but there’s no denying is a powerful cultural concept. When Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic chose it as the theme for this year’s Designers in Residence, he was at pains to point out it’s an idea that has come to be misunderstood. Now as part of our broadcast partnership with the exhibition, we’re hosting an evening of talks featuring creatives whose work is built on some form of disruption.

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    French type designer Benoît Bodhuin is certainly not a man afraid of experimentation. He’s created some great protest poster type, the ZIGZAG typeface to help “break the rhythm of reading” and the rather lovely fractured-looking Mineral; and now he’s back with some lettering formed only from bars and triangles.

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    Tom Johnson strikes me as a photographer who captures the people and the places around him as they actually are, not as he would like them to look so as to fit simply and stylishly into his portfolio. His work spans portraiture and documentary photography – he once bought a 1980s motorhome and travelled up and down the UK photographing the people he came across – and touches distant edges of the population, from female bodybuilders and transvestites to a clan of Peckham’s sapeurs. He’s currently looking to merge the three areas of his practice into one, with new commissions for The New British and VICE pushing him to new territory and to photograph evermore fascinating characters.

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    “BUT HOW ARE THEY GOING TO RAISE THE BAR NEXT TIME?” we asked each other melodramatically when we opened issue #5 of WAX magazine earlier this summer, dazzled by its fluorescent cover, diverse content and feature about Hans Ulrich Obrist catching waves (yeah!). But to our joy and amazement they’ve done it with issue #6, which we can announce might be even better than the last one. Based on the theme of Secrecy, the sixth incarnation of WAX features musicians Connan Mockasin and Tim Koh, Ariel Pink’s bassist, fashion photography shot by Luke and Nik, artist Amy Yao interviewed by Drew Heitzler, and mystical essays by some of the best writers around. Above and beyond all that, this issue takes water (key to surfing, I’ve heard) and puts in pride of place on a gorgeous silvery cover shot by Pierre Vanni. Never before have I felt so inclined to take to the waves in December’s icy temperatures.

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    We’re longtime admirers of the psychedelic magic produced by the trilogy of creative wizardry that is Jack Featherstone, Hans Lo and Simian Mobile Disco. Jack and Hans art directed the electronic music duo’s album Whorl, a masterpiece that fused digital and analogue technologies to form mesmerising visuals and an aesthetic that felt at once retro-tinged and wholly new. You can see how excited we got about the video for one of the album’s singles, Tangents, here.

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    There’s a lot to be said for the role of the collector in the design community, given that new trends in graphic design are so often informed by vintage and retro styles. Sourcing, hunting down, collecting and then carefully preserving graphic ephemera, these archivists have a passion for their subject which tends to go unrewarded by the designers pinning archival scans to mood boards and reference sheets.