Portrait17

Holly worked with us as an editorial intern after studying at Leeds University and working in the PR industry in Los Angeles for a short period. She wrote for the site between March and May 2013.

@hollwilkins

116 articles
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    I’ve always been intrigued by the London Underground’s rich history and so was very excited to be invited to a one-of-a-kind performance by the London Contemporary Orchestra at Aldwych, a station abandoned in the 1980s. 

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    No we aren’t showing you paintings taken from The National Gallery, these are by British painter Simon Casson. At first you notice the incredible talent this guy has and how they could be easily passed off as Renaissance or baroque classics, with a twist of course. I love the mix of formal and haphazard paint strokes, mixed together to create a collage-type effect. He drags paint across the eyes of the bourgeois or incorporates what look like different paintings almost randomly but somehow it works. These really are pretty amazing and we’ve seen nothing like it.

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    As you can probably tell we love a good landscape and they don’t come better than this. Mixed Environments is a project by Brendan Austin, a man who is lucky enough to have lived in places like South Africa, Singapore, Thailand and New Zealand, and now resides in New York City. Brendan has travelled the world to give us rolling hills, chilly plains and a crazy yellow fog. This project shows us how magnificent our planet is, he has even managed to make pylons not look like eye sores. Don’t deny it, this is well and truly landscape porn.

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    Fake Paper is a one-(wo)man band multi-disciplinary studio run by graphic designer and illustrator Chloé Desvenain. With a lengthy portfolio, there isn’t anything fake about the quality of Chloé’s work (see what I did there?) . Taken from a variety of projects of illustration, a bunch of identities and posters for a variety of events – Chloé shows us she has a variety of wonderful styles, from simple but effective pictograms to frenzied, colourful illustrations. Really love the new identity developed for Rewrite Magazine, which you can check the rest of it on her site here.

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    Six months on from featuring this lovely chap on our site, Alex Gibbs has hopped across the world to do a residency in China, where he has been given a room in The China Academy of Art situated in Hangzhou. He tells us he leads a simple life producing work on unlikely material like newspapers, hotel pads and greaseproof paper. Away from sexual exploitation and other dark things we showed you last year, he has progressed to colour popping scenes of Chinese life.

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    French photographer and graphic designer Alban Grosdidier has decided to submerse his subjects in water for his metaphoric series Drowning. These guys are holding their composure pretty well seeing as there is definitely a claustrophobic feel about them. Not just wanting to get people in the bath, he explains to Galo Magazine what the project means:

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    It’s not abnormal to enjoy exhibitions, after all, thats the idea but when you come across a show that blows your mind to smithereens – now that’s uncommon. This is how I felt when I attended Michael Landy’s “Saints Alive” at the National Gallery. Armed only with the knowledge that Michael had “constructed robotic saints that move around,” I had no idea what to expect.

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    She’s back! Gracia Lamb, born in Hong Kong and now living in Canada, has updated her portfolio with some delights. Still in her brilliant style we loved so much last year, you cannot deny Gracia is consistently hitting the nail on the head. Her portfolio is brimming with impressive clients like The New Yorker and Random House, and she has won a bunch of awards too. Simple with surprising depth, her illustrations are colourful yet do not detract from the brief given – it definitely seems like no challenge is too big for Gracia.

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    Our intern Holly Wilkins talks about the current status of gardening and how the Chelsea Flower Show, which often ticks all the boxes of an art and design exhibition, can sometimes fall on deaf ears.

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    It’s not often we feature a fashion shoot on It’s Nice That, but when we do, they are pretty spectacular. Edie Campbell (away from her usual light hues) dons jet black hair and the smokiest eyes I’ve ever seen for a US Vogue’s June 2013 shoot in Morocco, shot by well known photographer Peter Lindbergh. There is a loose story line following a lone traveller through Morocco and is rather unlike other fashion shoots, mainly due to the charming compositions detracting your gaze away from the clothes to the surrounding environment of mosaic tiles and desert landscape.

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    A recent graduate from Pratt in New York, Anthony Cudahy has an incredible talent when it comes to painting. Using the gouache method, Anthony’s pieces are romantic and fluid with the lively brush strokes and large blocks of colour suggesting a sense of ambiguity. Anthony explains his concept in the statement below:

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    New York City is one of those places, like London, where there are just too many people and at any point you may suddenly be engulfed by a mass of tourists, commuters and others about their daily business. This is when Amani Willett takes the opportunity to capture the dynamics of your average crowd, revealing a world of outrage, frustration and solemn expressions. Amani believes “the beauty of a photograph is that it can compel us to re-examine seemingly mundane scenes and events of everyday life.” With compositions you wouldn’t think would work, touché Amani.

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    Nothing intrigues us more than a crazy criminal, and the same can be said for Sean Lewis, whose intricate illustrations are of the dark humour variety. Hailing from Toronto, Sean won the gold medal at The Ontario College of Art and Design for these drawings of dangerous outlaws and that is no surprise. Whether they depict Andreas Yates who suffered from dementia and, under a warped religious vision, drowned her children in the tub or John Torrio, a well-known Italian mobster in New York City, these richly coloured illustrations infuse just the right amount of monstrous and darn right beguiling.

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    Jacopo Servitano, a graphic designer from Germany, has designed these brilliant posters and flyers for Rome-based party promotors Beat Up! Striking to say the least, these colourful graphics have a wide range of inspiration, from art deco to geometry. Jacopo also likes to play with symmetry in his illustrations, adding a subtle simplicity to the designs. With promotional posters like these, you’ll be hitting up Beat Up!‘s parties all the time – looks like I’m coming to Rome!

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    Set up by Korean photographer Ji Yeo, The Beauty documents the increasing importance of self improvement in Korea specifically women, who are falling pray to the ideal image personified by the media. These portraits bare all the scars, bruises and pain these women have to go through to make themselves “beautiful”. In a world where looks are more important than personality, the sombre attitude of these women sitting in their hotel rooms shows the powerful influence of the media and whether the individuals wanted to have it or not.

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    You’re probably thinking; “Does graphic design really have the ability to make me drool?” The answer is yes, yes it does. And this is currently due to Somewhere Else, a Singaporean graphic design studio and their rebranding for Foodology; a restaurant made up of nine different food stations so the idea was to create a flexible identity that can morph to fit their multi-faceted personality. Full of simple, effective graphics tied together with a traditional stamp symbol, and finished off with touch of vintage – this is tasty graphic design in its most literal form.

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    We’ve featured some pretty strange photography projects in the past, and Lean With It by Paul Octavious fits snugly into this category. Paul has been on the site before with his awesome video experimenting with the colour indigo and now Paul travels far and wide to find these trees battered by wind or just born this way (poor trees). The beauty of these photographs is the subject’s ability to exactly mirror the angle of the tree’s slant even with ones as low as 45 degrees, these guys are truly experts – now go find your locally inclined tree and get your lean on!

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    Seeing that most people go gallivanting around the world these days – and will definitely have a camera on them – travel photography has been exhausted by the Taj Mahal or the typical ‘holding up the Tower of Pisa’ pose (thank you Martin Parr). It’s rare that you come across photographs that really capture a place in an unseen light, but it is here that Taylor Curry and his photographs of Hong Kong really excel. Instead of photographing the usual landmarks, Taylor seeks out the unconventional areas around the city and captures a place where the people and culture are far more interesting than the architectural monuments themselves.

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    Photographers Tim Bowditch and Nick Rochowski have recently completed an unusual project, taking it upon themselves to visit every single underpass on the M25 and document them at night – some feature streams running underneath, others are footpaths or tunnels just big enough to let tractors through. By using a camera that specialises in taking photographs in total darkness, the black and white images pick up tiny details of these desolate environments and transform them into “lunar-like” landscapes. Tim and Nick also noticed the noise created above them on the motorway itself and decided to record the sounds they heard as an accompaniment to the work, adding to the uncanny atmosphere of a place whose aesthetics you usually wouldn’t look at twice.

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    Everyone has a pack of tacky playing cards tucked away somewhere, and I know the first thing that popped into your head when you thought of your own personal deck was naked ladies (no judgement made, we own a couple of nude packs too). However illustrator Jonathan Burton has decided to swap boobies for a more tasteful approach, creating an illustrated pack of cards that look back to the golden age of board games when everyone was rosy-cheeked and wholesome. Commissioned by the Folio Society, these playing cards are wonderfully nostalgic with no short supply of amusing characters decorating their faces – in particular a scuba diver who cannot swim posing as a king and a gentleman drinking tea whilst riding a hyena. Utterly brilliant work that will forever have you thinking that clubs look just like elephants.

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    Dieter Leistner, a well known German photographer, was given special permission in 2006 to photograph the public spaces in the North Korean capital city Pyongyang. His pictures show wide roads with hardly any cars or people and bronze statues of Communist leaders in a city that hasn’t changed since the 1980s. To complete the project, Dieter travelled to Seoul in 2012, the capital of South Korea where he found a totally different world of grid-locked cars, statues of kings of old kingdoms, and bustling markets packed full of fish and colourful flowers.

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    Although you might not be a frequent flyer, you will be aware of the safety demonstration/video before take off. As the flight attendant flails around with a lifejacket, on cue the book is out and the headphones are in. Tom Sachs and Van Neisat recognised the boredom that ensues when it comes to our welfare on planes by creating a safety video for luxury airline VistaJet. It takes us through the main safety points on an impressively built set complete with a miniature plane. The video uses the stop motion technique and you can tell every element is handcrafted which is quite an achievement – even if the flight attendant looks like a possessed Barbie.

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    Everyone loves a good infographic, whether it injects some fun into the company’s annual stats or more importantly, outlines the role of the cat on the internet, you cannot deny their ability to grab your attention. These colourful examples have been created by Spanish graphic design studio Relaja Elcoco for creative magazine Yorokobu. Split into different themes, they have rounded up and condensed all the most important trends of 2012, seamlessly drawing your eyes across every little detail. If only our Spanish was better so we knew what they were talking about!

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    It’s not often you come across a photographer who is consistently amazing, whilst at the same time pushing boundaries. Marton Perlaki is doing just that, and all because his high school cancelled their drawing courses, forcing him to pick up a camera – something that can only be described as a blessing in disguise. With an already incredible editorial portfolio shooting for TIME Magazine, Wallpaper* and Spin, Marton is also the co-founder and photo director of award-winning magazine The Room.

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    Insane detail and colour combinations make up Jessica Fortner’s work – an illustrator from Toronto, Canada. Jessica mainly produces visuals for children’s books and editorial and advertising for publications like The New York Times, Digital Arts and Juxtapoz. Whether it’s snakes or a giant igloo, there seems to be a mythical vibe to Jessica’s work that’s reminiscent of ancient civilisations (as with her totemic animal-themed piece for Wrap Magazine). Whether you’re mystically-inclined or otherwise you can’t deny the admirable time and effort channeled into making these wonderful creations.

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    Yes you heard us right, thanks to Claude Frisse-Greene, an early British pioneer of film, London has been injected with soft hues instead of the usual black and white we normally associate with the early 20th century. Claude takes us on a journey around London’s famous landmarks, from Hyde Park along the River Thames and right across Tower Bridge. Incredible footage of a nation in-between two world wars, plus the fact that the BBC didn’t start broadcasting colour for another forty years means that old Claude is a full-on cinematographic legend deserving of your posthumous respect.

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    Melbourne-based Jack Vanzet lives up to his name as a super-talented jack of of all trades producing great music under the name Thrupence and creating the visuals to go along with it. Not to mention the work he does for other people including album covers and at the mere age of 22, Jack already has a superb list of clients from Bombay Sapphire Gin and Fosters to Men’s Health. Jack’s music and graphic style go hand-in-hand, what could be described as “woozy electronica” is paired with abstract psychedelic visuals. God damn this guy is good!

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    There are many things about this video that will blow you away, firstly this incredible feat of audio-visual amazing-ness is Daniel Sierra’s thesis animation. All of it was created with computer software which he only learnt to use a few months previously. Daniel wanted to “visualise waveform patterns that evolve from the fundamental sine wave to more complex patterns, creating a mesmerising audio-visual experience in which sign and sound work in unison to capture the viewer’s attention.”

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    Multi-disciplinary team Savvy Studio have designed an identity for friendly neighbourhood bar Gomez, from the interior to the graphics. The aim was to create a reconciliation between the traditional pub and the avant-garde through the use of simple iconography and the colour blue. Using burgers, glasses, dancing hands and one-eyed smileys as a part of the pattern for the wallpaper, menus and advertising, Savvy Studio have captured the modern, yet nostalgic pub atmosphere they envisioned. So if you happen to live in San Pedro Garza García, Mexico then head down to Gomez. Please, for us?

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    Backed by sombre, haunting skies, these incredible paintings are part of an ongoing series called The Race by artist Robert Josiah Bingaman. Robert paints a surreal world where nature is juxtaposed against human built objects, both dappled with bright, rich colours. The body of work is accompanied by a quote form W.G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn: “It is difficult to imagine the depths of despair into which those can be driven who, even after the end of the working day, are engrossed in their intricate designs and who are pursued, into their dreams, by the feeling they’ve got hold of the wrong thread.”

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    Australian design studio Fabio Ongarato has teamed up with renowned illustrator Jean-Philippe Delhomme to develop a rebrand for QT Hotels’ Port Douglas. The muted hues and geometric patterns are carried throughout the design from the notebooks to the room key-cards. These qualities fit seamlessly with their ‘Hollywood-set on holiday’ theme, meant to reflect the glamorous identity of the hotel. Each illustration is also fabulous, from drinking by the pool, at sunset and on through to dinner, these guys sure now how to do a sunny getaway.

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    Ricardo Leite is an Amsterdam-based graphic designer and art director, working across visual identity, editorial design and illustration. Combining two of those specialities – namely graphic design and illustration – Ricardo has developed a research project with interactive design company Kaue Costa called Sottsays! It is a software generator that spits out random compositions based around forms, and each format is created a as whole so they embody an entirely new meaning.

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    We’re huge fans of rAndom International. Founded in 2005 by Stuart Wood, Florian Ortkrass and Hannes Koch, with the intention of exploring the behaviour of humans and how they interact, they create artworks and installations using raw fragments of artificial intelligence to encourage relationships between the converging worlds of the animate and inanimate.

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    If I could transport back to any civilisation it would probably be the Ancient Greeks, where I would just lounge around in a toga being fed grapes all day. That sounds like the life. These brilliant hand-drawn illustrations of Ancient Greek pottery are by Brighton-based Harriet Seed and each illustration is authentically detailed with its own story. Harriet captures the splendour of Ancient Greek myths and their lifestyle in a tongue-in-cheek way, from dancing minotaurs to winged cats, and a man casually punching another in the face while in the middle of performing a lunge, as you do.

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    Kindred Studio is the brainchild of independent illustrator, art-director and designer Andrew Fairclough. Since 2004, this guy has cracked out work across print, digital and motion for a wide range of clients across the world including a hell of a lot of editorial. The first thing you notice about his illustrations is the distinctive retro style and the muted colour palette. Andrew really knows how to add texture and half-tone patterns to transport you back a few decades, without forgetting a touch of playfulness. It doesn’t stop there, Andrew has also done a bunch of identity re-vamps and designed look-books for outerwear brand Westbeach. This guy is a machine!

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    If you haven’t yet ventured to Northern Europe, then have a long look at Clemens Fantur’s photography and you’ll soon be jumping on a plane. Clemens is an emerging photographer from the lovely city of Vienna in Austria. The ability to point and shoot successfully is not one to be taken lightly, especially when you manage to produce photographs as beautiful as Clemens’, which are perfectly timed when it comes to light and composition.

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    I know what you’re thinking – wouldn’t it be awesome to clad an entire room with Richard Woods’ colourful, exaggerated wood-beams? Yes it would, and now here comes the good news; The Alan Cristea Galley is exhibiting a solo show of Richard Woods’ art, complete with a floor-to-ceiling installation of his eye-popping wood-grain motif. As well as his renowned Woodblock Inlays series there’s a collection of new sculptures too.

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    Eerie is the word which first comes to mind when I see Eleanor Taylor’s collection of illustrations. Eleanor uses a mixture of paint, charcoal, ink and collage, adding a different dimension to her beautiful hand-drawn pieces. She takes inspiration from medieval comics, environmental apocalyptic science fiction, modernist architecture and Hieronymus Bosch’s vision of the after life. Combine all these crazy elements into one and out comes strange looking sea creatures, a male-female hybrid (not forgetting the fox on a stick) and an angry Blue Beard you wouldn’t want to mess with.

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    Ellie Andrews is back on our radar again after gracing us with her Offside Rules and being a part of our Graduate 2012 squad. We’ve long loved her style – the effective blend of hand drawings, geometric shapes, texture and pastel colours – and these new beauties are the cherry on top of the already fabulous portfolio she has.

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    Referred to as the “Willy Wonka of design and science,” Nelly Ben Hayoun is a French award-winning director, performer and experience designer. Nelly teams up with leading scientists and engineers to create events and performances with the intention of adapting science “to our creative needs.”