Article Archive

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    It’s the first day of August, and we’re celebrating with the hazy, sun-drenched work of Italian-born, New York-based photographer Samantha Casolari. Incredibly skilled, she’s crafted an aesthetic that injects ethereality into the least likely of scenes – tequila distilleries in Mexico, high-end fashion editorials, huge BMX festivals included – without losing the element of photo-reportage that’s so integral to her work. She’s shot for clients so diverse that you’d have a job summing them up, and exhibited all over the world too. Prolific? Yeah, just a tad.

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    Over the course of seven years It’s Nice That has been providing creative inspiration on a daily basis through our website, our publications and our events programme. But never ones to rest on our laurels, we are always reviewing what we do and how we do it. This is where you (hopefully!) come in. As part of our ongoing development of the It’s Nice That platforms, we’re super-keen to find out a bit more about who you are and find out what you like about the website, what you don’t and what you might like to see in the future. This way we can move It’s Nice That forward with plans that put our readers front and centre.

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    It feels like Max and Adele at Atelier bingo lead a pretty charmed life. Camped out in the middle of the countryside with their converted studio/barn, it would be easy to resent the life they lead – in fact sometimes it’s very easy indeed. But the work they’re producing – stunning screen prints and collages of abstract forms – keeps me returning to their website time after time, and I just can’t find it in my heart to resent their rural idyll. Though if they called me up tomorrow to invite me to come and live with them, I’d definitely have a hard time saying no.

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    Here at It’s Nice That we spend an awful lot of time talking about, thinking about and writing about creatives but ultimately we don’t get too many chances to really see what goes on in their day-to-day working lives…until now. Our new collaboration with super-cool eyewear brand Ace & Tate is taking us inside the studios, and inside the minds, of a host of some of our favourite creatives.

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    Considering I love smoking, guitars, bright colours and farts, I’m pretty overwhelmed by how great this work by Spanish illustrator Puño is. In a recent exhibition entitled Miseria the multi-faceted artist stuck drawings and coloured squares all over the walls much to the delight of his seemingly really good-looking friends who came to see it. Work like this, made in the gaps between Puño’s rather professional editorial illustration, is just joyous isn’t it? You can almost imagine him grinning as he cut out the yellow butts and sticky-out legs from the pastel-coloured paper. Don’t even get me started on this GIF that he made. You can see some shots of the exhibition plus arty French babes over here

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    Freelance photographer and photo-editor Geordie Wood is a man with tricks up his sleeve. His role as “a one-person photography department” at The Fader, not to mention innumerable commissions for publications from The New York Times and TIME to Vogue and Nowness, prove that he knows his stuff, and his skill is there fore the seeing in his photographs.

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    Take some sexy shaped candles and photographs of naked women lounging around their houses and sprawling over the Crystal Palace dinosaur statues, and you’ve got yourself photographer Camille Vivier’s portfolio. Odd? Yes. Intriguing? Certainly. But I think that’s the point.

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    Welcome Podlingtons of Podlingtown. Welcome to our weekly podcast. This week is actually a really good episode in which Liv, James and Maisie put the world to rights with some fun (and at times funny) art and design chat. Interested? You should be. You can listen via the SoundCloud below or subscribe via iTunes over here..

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    Moving Mountains is the brainchild of Hawaiian designer Syrette Lew, who founded the company in Brooklyn as a vehicle for her stunningly simple designs. She has a range of jewellery and bags, but specialises in furniture, having launched her first collection last summer. The objects are all hand-crafted from wood and maintain a timeless sensibility, drawing inspiration both from traditional shaker furniture and modern geometric shapes and colours. The resulting objects are simple but stunning, showing off the marks of the maker’s hand to highlight the uniqueness of each made-to-order piece. They’re damn good at photographing their catalogue too…

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    Being neither a rapper nor an illustrator I can’t be sure, but I imagine that when a hiphop artist comes to you asking you to make a video for his new song Superfuck it could go one of several ways. Rest assured that illustrator and animator Ewen Farr chose the absolute best one when he decided to make a joyfully lo-fi felt-tip animation playing on the song’s ludicrously filthy sexy workout themes. It’s colourful, cheeky, and it’s delivered with a great big dirty wink, and you have to admire his dedication to a concept that must have taken a lot of man hours to complete.

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    The difference between artists and normal proles is shown in the ease at which an artist can convey a very simple idea with visuals to make it shine. For instance this new work by our much-loved local artist Tom Sewell, in which he created a 31-day lunar chart when asked by digital art blog Post Matter to take part in a month-long residency. To me, Tom’s work is like having a toe constantly submerged in anonymous, otherworldly fluid – he takes the online world and melts it down until it resembles pools of history, typography and coding all glooped together into one. This series of serene planet GIFs gives me the same ambient pleasure as my desktop Mountain, and I’m going to keep up with this lunar July calendar even though it’s August tomorrow.

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    There’s nothing fishy about Thomas Traum’s films. Apart from all the fish. These five animations made for Kenzo’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection are oozing cool. Taking ten patterns from this season and riffing on its Pacific coast theme, the German designer has reminded us why we once called films “motion pictures.” The way these prints are made to move and the manner in which he has magicked up a story from a pattern is exactly what is interesting about the films. His animated illustrations whirl you along with the waves and through the water, past palm fronds swaying in the breeze, flocks of wiggling fish and almost imperceptible little surfboards. It’s simple, yet mesmerising.

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    Dutch illustrator Stefan Glerum is one of the most accomplished image-makers working today. His latest show at London’s Kemistry Gallery is a whirlwind of references; from Art Deco to Bauhaus, Italian Futurism to Russian Constructivism; criss-crossing time and space with enviable style. Called simply Five Years of Work By Stefan Glerum, the exhibition features work with which even casual observers may be familiar, but that doesn’t in any way lessen its impact. In fact it’s exhilarating to go back to, say, the Bayern State Opera posters he made with Mirko Borsche and consider them anew in the wider context of his portfolio. Quite simply see this show if at all possible.

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    We love an underdog over at It’s Nice That, and what better way to source one and plant them in front of your eyes than with a handy website designed for that express purpose? Forgotify takes songs which have never ever been listened to on the go-to music provider and puts them in the limelight for their moment of fame, whether it’s Young Person’s Guide to Rachmaninoff, the Mini All Stars with You’re My #1 or a banging tune by the Bopcats.

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    It’s about time we featured photographer Peter Hapak on our site; his portraits have sure graced the pages of many a prestigious publication. His portfolio is the photographic equivalent of a box of Quality Street; not only packed with famous faces, but also cracking clients like TIME, The New York Times Magazine and The Times. In case you were wondering, he doesn’t exclusively work for publications with “time” in the title – he shot an Emmy portfolio for Variety earlier this year. Born in Hungary and no less than a fourth generation photographer, Peter has a timeless (sorry, couldn’t resist) style, finding something in these familiar faces which hasn’t quite been captured before. Thankfully, unlike a tin of everyone’s favourite Christmas chocolates, the treats in Peter’s portfolio seem to last forever. Feast your eyes, my friends.

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    In the October of 2013 Braulio Amado spent (maybe) millions of dollars putting together an elaborate and comprehensive promotional video to sell himself to the graphic design community at large. He wanted commissions, he wanted collaborations, he wanted access to the megabucks – plus he shot actual bullets from his hands at the end.

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    Lana Del Rey is something of an opinion splitter in the studio, so it’s with great relish that we’re posting her highly-anticipated new video for Ultraviolence. In a glorious twist from the super long epic Tropico that she released in December, it’s incredibly lo-fi and brings to mind that first video for Video Games. Directed to feel like a home video made by her husband on their wedding day, it focuses pretty heavily on Lana herself; putting her veil on, eating an orange and walking to the church. Whatever you think of it, it’ll likely make you long to whack out a Super 8 camera and start writhing around in a wedding dress. Which, let’s face it, we all want to do secretly.

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    My colleague Liv Siddall memorably ranted about al fresco cinemas a few weeks back but the FILM4 Summer Screen at Somerset House is undoubtedly one of the best, combining excellent programme curation with genuinely stunning surroundings. It might even escape the Siddall wrath.

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    If ever the high and the low brow were to come together in the project of my dreams, it would look like this series by James Kerr, AKA Scorpion Dagger. The artist and frighteningly capable GIF wizard has struck an absolute goldmine with his website devoted to Renaissance artworks reworked into outrageously funny GIFs. In case you’re not persuaded, this isn’t the equivalent of an Oprah hairflick or Barack Obama looking at a fly; these GIFs have narratives, they have beginnings, middles and ends, they have multiple settings and jokes and punchlines and they are almost too good to be true.

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    Jack Featherstone, Hans Lo and Simian Mobile Disco have long collaborated on music videos for the band’s singles, using highly complex analogue techniques to generate visuals that complement each song. But their latest offering may well be the most complex yet. Six months in the making, Tangents features live-generated digital imagery fed through an oscilloscope. The guys filmed, it, manipulated it and then knitted it all together into a four minute epic that builds from monochromatic morse dots and dashes to a full-blown crescendo of strobed psychedelia.

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    We’ve posted before about how David Brandon Geeting creates striking images of seemingly ordinary objects and revitalises the age old still life. With these shiny new photographs, he bumps the beauty up to another level of aesthetic glee. Hyper-colourful, vibrant and sharp, these images are meticulously crafted compilations of – well – stuff. But looked at through David’s lens this stuff is seen in all its glory; never has a pepper looked so brilliantly, crunchily, juicily red, or a rubber glove so squeakily, summery yellow. This is a man who clearly delights in design – if I was a banana, I’d want David to take my picture.

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    Two weeks ago we featured DesignStudio’s Airbnb logo. One week ago copywriter Rob Mitchell of We All Need Words wrote an Opinion piece calling for an end to convoluted brand stories. His article was cheered by some people and incensed others; Sam Peskin and Liam Hamill of VentureThree want to have their say and defend brand strategy. Again you can add your views using the comment thread below…

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    Last night’s travel-themed Nicer Tuesdays took us to the motorways of Iran and the beaches of northern Iceland, and from the Namibian desert to the streets of Lima all without leaving east London. Our four speakers all shared very different insights into how their work is shaped by changing geographical backdrops.

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    Almost exactly a calendar year ago we introduced Dan Woodger on It’s Nice That; showed off his desk-space, his process and some of his skateboarding Dinosaurs. Six months later he was contacted by an art director who’d seen that article and enlisted him to produce one of the most labour-intensive illustration projects we’ve ever come across, creating over 1000 unique images for an emoji app. By way of apology for this torturous commission, we asked him a few questions about how it went…

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    When set designer Nicola Yeoman emailed us to say her newly simplified website was live, I went to check the last time we’d featured her on the site. Astonishingly I found that aside from mentions in a feature by Dan Tobin Smith (with whom she collaborated on the Jay Z album The Blueprint 3) we had apparently never dedicated a post to her extraordinary talents in their own right. So consider this long overdue.

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    If the sole intention of animation was to create visuals nothing short of magical then Parabella would get my vote as the very best in the game every single time. The “young but experienced Bafta award-winning animation studio” (their words) co-founded by Mikey Please and Daniel Ojari has made truly astounding work from the off, gathering up awards alike they were marbles hard-won in the playground. Hard-won being the operative term here; the six minute-long stop-motion film was a year in the making, and features, as Parabella explain, “the voice of comedy wiz Josie Long, one zillion hand-carved tiny things, literally tens of carved foam puppets, two eyefuls of in-camera, long-exposure light trickery and a pair of tiny dolphins, smooching.” Safe to say, the efforts paid off; the final short is a masterpiece of patience and enchanting filmmaking.

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    Edward Cushenberry actually wrote to me to show me a really interesting photography project he’s working on at the moment. Unfortunately that was about the millionth interesting photography project we had seen this week, but one thing we were a bit short on was brilliant, entertaining, lo-fi illustration we could relate to. Let’s give a warm welcome then to Edward’s comics in which he deals with traumatic or memorable experiences from his own memory, or borrowed from this friends. His drawings cover such life topics as How to Properly Bury A Turtle and that awkward moment when the girl you kissed says that making out with you was “like drinking a glass of water.” Classic. Edward’s got his fingers in a lot of creative pies, but I’d say these comics were our personal favourites.

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    I love how Beck is always pushing the boat out and doing something that bit more creative than other recording artists. Remember when he released stickers with his album so you could design your own CD artwork? Or that time he discussed the meaning of creativity with Doug Aitken for his show at the Liverpool Biennial? Or his astonishing Song Reader? Exactly.

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    I’m not sure how well Only Fools And Horses translates as a cultural reference point to our international readers; there’s something quintessentially British about the sitcom featuring a get-rich-quick ducker and diver in his (pre-trendy) Peckham flat. But young London-based photographer Nadia Lee Cohen took Del Boy’s now-iconic home – with its charming hodge-podge of faux sophisticated stylings – and used it as the backdrop for this slightly unsettling shoot. Nadia’s work has a very pronounced slick, shiny and colour-saturated aesthetic that fits this slightly odd narrative perfectly – this mysterious femme fatale seems at one moment confidently at home in Del Boy’s surroundings, at others slightly bewildered. It’s weird, and I love it.

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    When we received a copy of illustrated sine Steak Night through the door a couple of weeks ago (check it out in Things here) we were pleasantly surprised to find that Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke is not only a musician, but a keen writer too. Intrigued, we hunted him down and grilled him about his Bookshelf, which turns out to be an incredibly well-stocked selection of graphic novels and comic books, with a little photography thrown in too. He’s multi-talented and he’s got great taste! Here’s Kele telling us about his choices.

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    I’ve got a confession to make; I’ve posted quite a few people recently that I discovered on the website of a Dutch Risograph studio called Vinex Pers. Viktor Hachmang created their identity and they count some of my favourite illustrators as clients. Their website is packed full of exciting work from fantastic creative talents and I’d like to show you just one more.

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    Some artists, immensely talented and original though they may be, simply don’t make work that fits in the grandest art galleries of the world. Fortunately for them there are super-cool concept stores created specifically to house such work, and queen of all of these is Colette. Hiro Sugiyama’s surreal, hilarious and altogether unsettling artwork is a natural fit for Paris store Colette’s carefully curated collection of the avant-grade and the offbeat.