Jc

James started out as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our two editors. He oversees Printed Pages magazine and content wise has a special interest in graphic design and illustration. He also runs our online shop Company of Parrots and is a regular on our Studio Audience podcast.

jc@itsnicethat.com@jdmcartwright

1314 articles
  1. List_illustration

    Illustration, more than any other discipline we cover on It’s Nice That, teaches us an awful lot about our audience when aggregated into a top ten list of articles. You’re a weird bunch, it has to be said; dirty-minded and deviant. How else do we explain the creepy comics of Joan Cornella, Laura Callaghan’s tales of Tinder cannibalism and Nimura Daisuke’s gratuitous GIFs? Granted there’s some stunning vintage advertising, an archive of emoji and some wonderfully diverse editorial illustration in there too, but for the most part it’s just smut and violence. Merry Christmas!

  2. List_editors-picks-record-sleeves

    Unlike most music-based list features this selection of the best records of 2014 has nothing at all to do with the tunes. It’s simply a list of some of my favourite sleeves to appear on the site, based purely on their aesthetics. In some cases the music etched into the vinyl is straight-up terrible, but cast your acoustic prejudices to one side for the time being and get ready to appreciate some seriously slick sleeve design.

  3. List_james-c

    This year feels like it was over before it even began – which is a total cliché but it’s God’s honest truth. It feels like just yesterday I was launched blinking and hungover into the first days of 2014 and now I couldn’t really tell you what I got up to. Anyway, it was a whirlwind, a rollercoaster ride full of emotional ups and downs, physical highs and lows, triumphs of spirit and ingestions of spirits. Yeah 2014, you were alright, I liked you, though at times you were a bit of a t**t.

  4. List

    Last week features editor Liv Siddall put out a call to arms to the illustration community, inviting practitioners young and old to push their discipline further and keep their work exciting and fresh. She cited in particular the regurgitation of the same established names at illustration fairs and events as a cynical way to flog tickets and boost sales instead of creating a platform for new, innovative work.

  5. List

    Wilfred van der Weide was once part of Dutch design duo wilfredtimo, whose work we’ve been admirers of since we came across these superheroic graphics in 2012. After several years in each other’s pockets they’ve gone their separate ways, but unlike most break-ups, some of the results have been beautiful.

  6. List

    Among the plethora of independent erotic titles all shimmying for our attention on the newsstands, Odiseo is one that shimmies a little more seductively. Not only has it adopted an altogether more sophisticated case-bound format, it’s constantly seeking to reevaluate what an erotic title should be. Like the golden age of Playboy each issue is packed with great imagery as well as inventive and engaging writing – something often left as an afterthought in new titles.

  7. List

    For the cover of Printed Pages Winter 2015 we wanted something super-seasonal to mark the end of the year and conjure up some festive wonderment on the newsstands. Of course we didn’t want it just to be any old festive tat, it had to be a little ambiguous, a touch surreal, but also familiar too. So we called in the help of still-life photographer extraordinaire John Short to help realise our ambitions.

  8. List

    Dutch designer Roosje Klap recently set up an international initiative known as The Design Displacement Group with the intention of approaching modern design in new and unusual ways. Their intention is to “form a group together which creates work as seen from the future. Yes! We time-travel 20 years and look back on today, to understand the discourse of graphic design as it is happening today – with different eyes and speculative future categories.

  9. List

    Belgian designer Corbin Mahieu learned his craft at the prestigious Sint Lucas School of Arts in Ghent, following in the footsteps of a legion of other respected Belgian designers and illustrators. His work is academic in style; specifically focussed on arts projects for the local creative community in Ghent. Although he’s recently completed an internship in London at Zak Group, presumably developing into further spheres of design in the process. Pictured is a beautifully realised catalogue for his alma mater, exploring the facilities and faculty in detail.We’d say he’s definitely one to watch, and hopefully he’s sticking around in London a little longer.

  10. List

    We’ve a certain bias towards French creative studio Bonsoir Paris. We’ve collaborated with them on projects in Milan, been stunned by their window displays at Selfridges at the start of the year and then they shot the cover of the Autumn issue of Printed Pages, firmly cementing our love for them forever more. It’s their restless experimentation that makes them so interesting; for a group of three guys their ability to push materials in new and exciting directions is unparalleled and they bring fresh perspectives to materials we’ve seen used a thousand times before.

  11. List

    Furniture, typefaces, identities and posters, websites, limited edition fashion lines, music packaging and abstract works all exist within the broad practice of Berlin-based designer Till Wiedeck. Under the moniker of HelloMe, he’s been a constant creative force on the contemporary graphic design scene for the past six years, accumulating big-name clients like The New York Times, COS and Warp Records among others. This recent work for German/French art fund Perspektive, is characteristic of Till’s holistic approach to his process, with print collateral, web and all other elements of the identity created by the studio, all united by a bespoke typeface.

  12. List

    “Give me more digital gifts!” I always exclaim at Christmas. “Pack my stocking full of new and inventive coding experiments with a festive twist!” This year Ronai David, Damien Mortini and Aurelien Gantier heard my cry and put together Christmas Experiments, a digital advent calendar that reveals a new web-based treat every day throughout December. Each one is the product of a different developer and offers a unique take on Yuletide cheer. In one you’re invited to navigate a wayward orphan through a dormitory, avoiding the flash of fairy lights as you go. In another you’re Santa, tasked with navigating a gang of feckless elves through a complex floating maze where danger lurks around each corner.

  13. List

    Over two and a half years have passed since Robert Fresson graduated from the Royal College of Art with his Masters in visual communication. Two and a half years of moving out of London, buying himself a barge in Bath, taking up teaching on the illustration BA at Plymouth and of course busting his nuts creating a plethora of new work – or “illustrating his socks off” as he’d most likely put it. I’ve always been envious of Rob’s work (we did art foundation together so it’s a lasting envy) for its masterful approach to traditional techniques, colour processes and wonderful use of line, which goes from strength to strength as the years go by. He also has the work ethic of a single-minded shire horse, capable of subjecting himself to unfathomable hours of dedicated labour on a project that particularly excites him. And that’s why he’s so bloody good!

  14. List

    When Andrew Diprose has a new issue of The Ride in his hands he talks quickly and excitedly, about the contributors, collaborators and stories he’s uncovered; about his continuing evolution of the journal’s design and about the big plans he’s got once the first ten issues are in the bag. His enthusiasm for this magnificent side-project is infectious. But that’s understandable when you get into the meat of the thing, because all his contributors share that same enthusiasm.

  15. New-list

    Jay Cover is one third of the Nous Vous gang; one of three cogs in their art and design machine; the back left wheel on the creative tricycle; the front leg of their three-legged illustration stool. Speaking of stools (seamless!) he’s just finished work on Flat, an illustrated book that pays homage to iconic pieces of furniture design by the likes of Johanna Dehio, Martino Gamper, Gonçalo Campos and Studio Gorm. Fret not though, it’s much more exciting than that sounds! There are bears, sloths and toucans horsing around among the exquisitely-crafted tables and chairs and a cast of characters interacting with them in the most unusual ways – the staring contest between a parrot and a man in a green jumper is perhaps my favourite. All told it’s a lovely bit of printed matter, Risographed and published by Hato Press and now available to buy in their shop. Very tasty indeed!

  16. List

    Grant Cornett is an effing (no swearing here, thank you) good photographer. Really EFFING good. The Brooklyn-based image-maker has been plying his trade in New York for just over a decade, creating work that’s incredibly broad. Within his vast portfolio lives immaculate food photography, still-life fashion shoots, a plethora of punchy magazine covers and some stellar portraiture. It’s too much to hope to encapsulate in a single post so for the meantime feast your eyes on these portraits of faces – some famous, some not so – all given the Grant Cornett treatment and exquisitely immortalised.

  17. Pp_issue8_list_00

    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.

  18. List

    In April this year Josh McKenna was still a student, working his way through third year illustration down in Falmouth. Since then graduation’s taken place, he’s traded the peaceful coastal town for the incessant throb of London and he’s found himself producing a fair bit of lovely commercial work. When last we met Josh’s work was all poolsides and exotic colour palettes, but his subject matter reflects his move to the metropolis – huge red buses, commuter cyclists and smart phones now dominate, but there’s still that characteristic sense of fun in there too, as a personal project on bums reflects. It seems like Josh has moved up in the world, and his image-making shows that off beautifully.

  19. List

    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.

  20. List

    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.

  21. List-2

    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.

  22. List

    One of the nice things about going to magazine launches is running into talented folks while you’re queuing for a sponsored-vodka-based drink. I can’t take credit for the meeting myself – I was too focussed on jumping the queue – but our art director Jamie got chatting to Gabriel Finotti through a mutual friend and it turned out the Brazilian designer’s work was pretty damn slick.

  23. List

    I make no bones about being a die-hard fan of German publishing house Lubok Verlag. Their luxurious block-printed publications have my unconditional admiration for their wonderful tactility, skilful printing and beautiful content. Right now though, they’ve surpassed their own high standards, having just released two new books by a couple of my favourite artists.

  24. List

    Benjamin Kivikoski and Philipp Staege are Bureau Progressiv, a Stuttgart-based design studio with an already impressive portfolio to their name. The German designers are both graduates of the Stuttgart Academy of Fine Arts, where they’ve honed their typographic skills and become expert practitioners of publishing projects, branding and identity creation – and even the odd bit of web design too. Their passion lies in print though and books like Willisau and All That Jazz (pictured) show off an affinity for ink on paper that’s evident throughout their portfolio. Sadly we can’t show you the whole thing, so recommend at least a good half-hour spent perusing their various projects.

  25. List

    Texan artist Mark Lovejoy produces work that’s a bit of of a head scratcher. What at first looks like a complex digital render could also just be photographs of thickly-painted palettes. In fact Mark’s images are a hybrid of both; myriad individual photographs of paints, pigments waxes and resins, shot and reshot, manipulated and then retouched some more until the surface textures take a pleasing aesthetic form, but retain their ambiguous genesis.

  26. List

    French illustrator Baptiste Virot is a seriously exciting new talent in the comics world. He’s a man skilled in the art of wavy lines, surreal characters and traditional print processes; his portfolio is stuffed with hand-screened prints, risographed zines and bits of bizarre commercial illustration. In the age-old tradition of fanzine culture he’s just as comfortable working in stark black and white as he is creating colour separations for the manufacture of vibrant prints. Want to see some ugly people riding a giant neon dog? Today’s your lucky day pal!

  27. List

    It’s customary at the annual Swedish design awards, Design S, for a three-dimensional S to be awarded to the finest of Scandinavian practitioners; and it’s always made from traditional Swedish materials. Previous years have seen it crafted from finest Swedish wood, but this year’s award by BVD is folded from Swedish paper, fashioned into a giant origami letterform. We hadn’t a clue how they’d done it, but pleasingly there’s an accompanying video that shows you how to make your own.

  28. Updated

    It’s pretty rare that I give two hoots about dubstep/trap/beats as a musical genre – my dancing sucks and I’m never anything but awkward in a club. But – and this is a big but – stick some slamming bass over sci-fi visuals and I can’t get enough of that stuff. Daniel Swan and David Rudnick’s latest collaboration is exactly that; a brutal mix of intense beats, wailing synth and some incredibly futuristic wartime visuals. There’s a swarm of stealth jets, laser-equipped helicopters and a seriously badass tank. It’s like being in the thick of the best computer game you’ve not yet had the chance to play. Nice!

  29. List

    Time and again Amy Woodside gets in touch to let us know about new projects she’s cooked up and time and again we’re powerless to resist them. The New York-based artist is focussed to a fault on her fine art practice where iconic letterforms emerge from meticulously registered screen printing and frantic flourishes of spray paint. Where first she caught our eye with multicoloured wordplay, the constant reduction and refinement of her process has resulted in a new series’ of totemic words like ‘Hero’, ‘Cash’, ‘Hoax’ and ‘Like’, pre-loaded with cultural context and double meaning, writ large on the canvas. What’s the meaning behind them? The interpretation is up to you, but Amy always seems to be critiquing pop culture with its own visual vernacular and playing fast and loose with our ambiguous use of language.

  30. List

    In April this year UsTwo ruined a gig I was at by letting me trial a new game due to be released the following week. I was supposed to be seeing one of my favourite bands but instead spent two hours tapping away trying to navigate a little princess through a geometrically impossible world. A couple of weeks later everyone was obsessing over that same princess.

  31. List

    Having only once covered the work of Californian architect Michael Jantzen on the site, it seems about time we provided a little more context to his work and showed off one of his seminal pieces. The M-House is a portable modular system through which multiple iterations of a structure can be made. It consists of a series of rectangular panels, attached by hinges to a gridded frame, that can be moved and manipulated to serve a variety of functions, both structural and decorative. Each new structure can be built to unique specifications so that no M-House needs to look the same. Michael’s intention was that these buildings could serve as a holiday home or as an impressive complex of modular retreats in a single resort. So why hasn’t anyone built this resort yet? Better than Butlins.

  32. List

    Way back in 2011 when we first posted the work of Frank Magnotta It’s Nice That was a very different beast – we’d only give you one image to check out and the rest was up to you. So when I stumbled across Frank’s work again this week it seemed essential that we show you a whole lot more. To be honest there have been few updates to his site in the past three years but the work is breathtaking, pulling together pop culture references, architectural precision and some serious Americana and combining it into stark surrealist landscapes. At times grotesque but always engaging, Frank’s graphite artworks are still some of the finest around.

  33. List

    It’s been five months since Airbnb unveiled its shiny new brand identity and Belo logomark; five months since the internet went berserk with genitalia-inspired interpretations of DesignStudio’s stylised letter A. Needless to say in those five months the furore surrounding the brand has died down somewhat and the longevity of their new aesthetic has become clearer. Despite the initial fuss it looks like they’re still going strong.

  34. List

    German illustrator Nadine Redlich just keeps going from strength to strength, her catalogue of exuberant characters growing day by day. Though there’s no doubt at all that Nadine’s masterful at creating truly cheerful chappies, there’s a growing number of creatures in her portfolio who look like they’re ready to hibernate for winter, staring out at you blankly as though they wish they’d been left to sleep. Of course there’s also the belligerent mountain, the cherry at the end of its tether and that creepy fellow with the giant aubergine who I can’t help but find menacing, resulting in an altogether impressive cast of characters in a portfolio we can’t get enough of. If you want even more, Nadine’s got a comic out with Rotopol Press that you can get your hands on here. Now, back to enjoying that dog on the chair…

  35. List

    It’s hard to tell at what point Julian Faulhaber’s images are captured; if he’s the first person on site after the completion of a new modernist structure or whether he employs the skills of some exceptionally talented retouchers to clean up all the human detritus that clutters the purity of manmade structures. Either way his images evoke a sense of futuristic newness; of ultra-sleek new buildings awaiting their human occupants. They pay homage to the craft of architecture, celebrate the artistry of interiors and simultaneously poke fun at the absurdity of our aesthetic tastes – seriously, who thought purple, yellow and green stripes was a good idea? They’re also exceptionally visually arresting, so gawp on at the work of this talented chap.

  36. List

    Josh Cochran is one of those illustrators who, even though he’s been around for ages, still manages to keep his work endlessly fresh. His fantastically atmospheric, often surreal illustrations, keep going from strength to strength, building in textural complexity and narrative devices. Perhaps that’s the result of his nomadic lifestyle moving between Taiwan, Los Angeles and New York. Or perhaps he’s just got an endlessly inventive mind and creative spirit. Either way, he’s a talented dude.

  37. List

    It’s probably just the beautiful absurdity of the work on display but Sean Fennessy’s photographs of Melbourne artist Troy Emery’s studio made us all laugh out loud when we saw them in the office. Troy’s renowned for his creation of sculptural animal forms decorated with gaudy materials. His multicoloured pooches and giant glittery bears evoke joy wherever they’re seen. Sean Fennessy is known for his clean, graphic style of photography with a portfolio that covers everything from still-life to travel, lifestyle to architecture. For some reason the marriage of these two creative talents works beautifully; the maximal artist and minimalist photographer bouncing off each other to create a fantastic editorial series.

  38. List

    We’ve sung the praises of Dutch designer Michiel Schuurman more times than we care to remember (it’s four times actually, this is the fifth) but with good reason. The printmaking wunderkind has yet to be beaten as the master of complex process. He’s still using all the techniques, all the inks and all the geometric patterns he can lay his talented hands on. As with every one of his pieces though, his style is constantly evolving and adapting, with each new project serving as a blank canvas into which he can channel all his experimentation. Also the results are still unbelievably cool. Praises sung again!

  39. List

    Maybe it’s because he’s always coming over for beers, catching up with us on the phone when we realise we miss each other, or just generally being a most excellent pal, but we sometimes forget to update you with what Ed Monaghan’s up to – I guess we just assume that you know already. But it’s been nearly a year since we last tooted his trumpet and waxed lyrical about his work, and in that time he’s got himself an agent, produced a bunch of excellent commercial projects and started work on some ambitious bits of personal work that we’re holding our breath for (rumour has it they’ll be arriving early next year). Anyway, here’s a few tidbits from the last few months for you to feast your eyes on, and marvel some more at his psychedelic prowess.

  40. List

    Easily the most daunting periods of the art school experience are the summer before you arrive and the entire year after you’ve left; The former fills you with an unpleasant anticipation and the unshakable feeling that you’re heading off to be bottom of the pile once again. Sure you were the biggest fish with the best drawing skills in the tiny creative pool that was high school, but now you’re off to battle it out with other equally talented folks for the next three years; you’ve got every right to be nervous. The latter is justifiably terrifying because you’ve got your whole life ahead of you and a mountain of debt to start dealing with. What was the point of that degree again?