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

1202 articles
  1. List

    Polish-born photographer Kuba Ryniewicz spends his days in Newcastle but can more often be found travelling the globe in pursuit of stunning scenery. His destinations to date have included Myanmar, Thailand, Dubai, Cambodia, Iceland, South Africa, and numerous other places in between. In each he’s captured extraordinary moments in both rural and urban landscapes, interacting with the local people and wandering off the tourist trail. Kuba’s images possess a snapshot spontenaiety that suggest a real intimacy with his subject, whether its close friends reclining on a hillside or a monk showing off his skateboard tattoos.

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    It’s not often you get to hear the opinions of models. Unless you’re the next big thing in the world of cat walking and clothes-horsing – a Moss, Campbell, Cole or Delevigne – nobody really wants to hear what you’ve got to say. Which seems unfair really, particularly given that they live more exciting lives than most. It’s clearly something that bothered photographer Martin Zähringer too as he’s set up a side-project that gives some of his favourite models a voice.

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    French illustrator Benjamin Courtault has been extremely busy since last we spoke, beavering away on a beautiful concertina book, La Descente. This lovely new piece of screen-printed magic reads like the opening of a Marquez novel, following the story of a technician working for the National Telecommunication Company who’s forced to take a road trip through an extraordinary world to fix some ailing antennas. With each spread rendered in varying three-colour shades, Benjamin demonstrates not only his prowess as a storyteller but also as an exceptional printmaker. Shame they’re all sold out!

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    The largely secular nature of the western world means it’s rare to find yourself up close and personal with a religious procession. But in Sicily the Processione die Miteri di Trapani is an annual occurrence, and no more unusual then Notting Hill Carnival is to a Londoner. The procession takes place during Holy Week before Easter and details the stories of the Passion – traditionally acted out by members of local guilds – up until the resurrection.

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    We don’t know all that much about Martin Groch, save that he’s a Slovakian graphic designer living in Prague and has a natural talent for combining type, image and abstract forms. His portfolio is vast, and showcases a whole heap of beautifully-crafted posters, exhibition identities and some slick experiments with deconstructed drawings. There’s also a whole heap of vintage-looking cartoon characters thrown into some of his projects for good measure, adding a sense of youthful excitement to projects that could otherwise feel less than exciting. All in all an impressive portfolio of work. Now we’re just going to have to find out a little more about this talented chap…

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    It’s been almost three years since we last wrote about Uno Moralez, the only man whose work can genuinely shock me into open-mouthed awe. This shock is threefold: for starters I have no idea how he creates his beautiful bitmapped images, secondly his subject matter is so deliciously terrifying that I’m constantly torn between staring at it for hours and flinching to look away, and thirdly because I literally have no idea how he makes these images (I know, I said that twice)! As one of comics’ most enigmatic characters, Uno doesn’t update his site all that often, but when the new work comes it seems only appropriate to make a song and dance out of it. So dance with me!

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    Swiss Graphic designer Simone Koller is all about experimentation – with typography, layout and concepts – investing heavily in the visual language of each new project she takes on so that no two pieces ever feel similar. Her work encompasses branding and identities, artist books, theoretical publications, posters, packaging and zines, all with a focus on contemporary cultural discourse and sociological theory – plus the occasional poster for a show. But her radical approach to design ensures that even the most heavyweight of subjects feel visually engaging, urging you to pick them up and interact with their content. No small feat when one publication deals with how people move around public space.

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    Nomadic photographer Jessica Barthel has had a fairly illustrious career to date. Having studied Fine Art Photography at Parsons in New York she’s floated between India, Berlin, Buenos Aires and LA shooting stories for the likes of Harpers Bazaar, Dazed and Confused and Glamour as well as producing heaps of personal work along the way. Not content with her photography degree, she also studied graphic design in Berlin, which has almost inevitably influenced her crisp, angular fashion shoots. On her travels however Jessica takes loose, hazy photographs that crackle with the energy of exotic locations and serve as tantalising, abstract snapshots of what seems like one big adventure – an adventure we’d all like to be on.

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    There’s no shortage of comics, books, films and radio programmes that deal with the subject of dystopian futures. If you believe the predictions of our greatest sci-fi auteurs, the distant future will be one in which governmental control is complete and our civil liberties and basic human rights lie in tatters; emotion, procreation and relaxation banned in favour of order and efficiency.

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    It’s been over three years since we featured any of Jack Teagle’s work on the site – which is nuts really as he’s been so prolific for the duration of that time. The South Western illustrator and ex-Falmouth student is still producing the kind of balls-out crazy work we’ve always loved him for, taking universal pop culture references from his (and our) 1990s childhood and turning them into fantastically fun comics and illustration. When he’s not doing that he’s creating his own characters: troubled wrestlers, a pestering Grim Reaper, steroidal ducks who want to change your life and armies of reanimated skeleton warriors. In fact I’m prepared to concede that Jack loved Thudercats even more than I did as a child, as he’s spent his entire career to date replicating that same feeling of excitement that saturday morning cartoons engendered in us all.

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    Whenever Tom Darracott and Carl Burgess join forces the results are spectacular. The two directors and digital specialists are experts at creating polished 3D-generated worlds that feel part computer game, part hyper-real dream – every element a slightly altered version of a recognisable, real-world object. Even when they’re advertising clothes the pair produce unconventional results that delight and disorientate your eyes with their effortless surrealism. Their latest campaign for Loft is no exception, showing the brand’s brightly coloured collection folding itself into a state of geometric order.

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    Since 2001 Sebastian Cremers, Tania Prill and Alberto Vieceli have been working together in Zurich under the name Prill Vieceli Cremers, producing work for reputable cultural institutions, a selection of fine artists and working on personal projects ranging from the cute to the bizarre. With an approach to design that could easily be branded experimental they attack each project with an impressive vigour, tailoring their methodology to the project at hand – meaning their portfolio is loaded with fantastically diverse work.

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    It’s a popular misconception that graphic design is practiced solely by tight-lipped Europeans in freshly-starched shirts who sit around planning white space on fresh pages – it’s an industry renowned for its neatness. But Hong Kong’s finest documenters of design trends Viction:ary have just released a new volume that proves quite the opposite; that there’s room in design for fast, loose, expressive graphics that speak of an energy no Swiss Modernist could possibly convey. Making A Splash brings together over 150 of these projects that utilise tactile media and fluid forms to create striking visuals that express a wilder side to design that we often fail to acknowledge.

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    There’s a simple, iconic power to the work of Magnus Voll Mathiassen whether he’s immortalising Krautrock legends Kraftwerk or sultry pop princess Rihanna with his trademark crisp lines. His reductive approach to image-making means he’s ideally suited to creating bold work for album covers, but to really appreciate his work it’s best to blow it up MASSSIVE. Which is more or less what he’s done for his new show Hybridio in Oslo, enlarging some of his most iconic work to the size of an actually human man so you can appreciate his skill up close. He’s also showing a selection of hand-drawn work and some incredible watercolours, thereby proving that there’s even more strings to his bow than we’d first thought.

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    Last weekend we spent an intermittently rainy Saturday traipsing up and down ELCAF’s rows of tables, laden with brightly coloured printed matter of all kinds. There were comics, zines, pots and prints, giant hardbacks printed by the thousand and tiny little editions of hand-made graphic novels, not to mention the talks by titans of the comics community like Jesse Moynihan, Seth and Chris Ware. For those of us who compulsively collect anything that pairs paper with ink it was an extremely satisfying day out so we thought we’d give you a quick (and limited) rundown of some of the great stuff on display.

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    The pursuit of happiness is a preoccupation that concerns nearly all of the western world – job satisfaction, thriving inter-personal relationships and a constant sense of well-being are things we’re all convinced we need to strive for. And yet so few of us ever really find that balance. This is something that Eleanor Davis knows only too well and has sought to explore in her latest collection of comics How To Be Happy, an amalgamation of short stories and sketches created over the past seven years. It’s a stunning body of work that brings together loosely personal and wholly fictional stories about joy, anguish, fear and loneliness – emotions all motivated by that essential quest to be the best you can be.

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    We’ve discussed Peckham Print Studio’s work on the site before. The south London-based screen printing studio keep popping up at events and exhibitions all over the Capital, showing anyone who’ll watch how to pull a super-tight screen print and use the process to make the best of their artwork. As well as workshops and events, they also print commercially for the likes of Kemistry Gallery, Ozwald Boateng, Sunspel and Urban Outfitters. But what makes these guys really interesting (aside from the quality of their work) is their approach to their online presence. Having just re-launched a website that’s leaps ahead of their competitors we caught up with Mike Guppy, the man who built it all, to find out about how and why it was done.

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    It’s been about two years since we featured Swiss design collective Atlas Studio. Back then they’d recently graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and were setting up shop producing stunning book and poster design for some pretty auspicious cultural organisations. Since then not much has changed, although they’ve had a whole host of new clients and have just been nominated for a Swiss design award (told you they were good!). What remains is their commitment to challenging themselves from the outset of each new project, setting strict limitations on the parameters within which they create their work – whether through time, process or materials. Pictured are a series of posters for a Swiss club night, all created in a single day. They’ve still got it!

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    Spanish illustrator and artist David Mendez Alonso makes the kind of exuberant imagery that’s desperate to be displayed across as many different media as possible. His vibrant patters, cheerful paintings and humorous sculptural works all embrace a luminous palette of colours and motley crew of unusual characters, giving them immediate universal appeal. As a result he’s constantly busy working on all manner of exciting projects, including fashion collections for Paraiso, elaborate books of curious character design and giant gouache paintings rich with pop culture references. Very nice indeed!

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    Epiforma is a brand new Portuguese design studio founded by Felipe Ferreira and Francisco Ribeiro in Porto. In spite of their newness it would appear they’ve long been busy working on all manner of projects across many facets of design. As well as practicing the more traditional graphic arts of branding and type design, they also produce high-end modular furniture, unusual board games and limited edition products. Judging by their website they’re also pretty good web designers and art directors too. In short, these guys appear to be very much the complete package and we’re excited to see what their first year of business holds in store.

  21. Rami-list

    Rami Niemi has been one of our favourite illustrators for a very long time. According to folklore the hilarious Finn lives in a cabin in the woods where he makes the kind of laugh-out-loud funny imagery that appeals universally to adults and children alike – although there’s often a good deal of smut thrown in too – creating ridiculous stories about folks with giant round heads.

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    I’ve always enjoyed Cleon Peterson’s work, even though the subject matter seems to focus solely on the most horrific aspects of human nature. But until now I’d only seen pieces that seemed to be set within an ancient and barbaric civilisation. Now it seems his depictions of orgiastic ultra violence have had an update, and there’s modern policemen in uniforms getting truncheon and trigger-happy on every poor sod that passes by.

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    Manheim-based design consultancy Deutsche & Japaner are incredibly varied in their output. Not in terms of quality of course, but in their approach to projects and the clients with whom they work. Not only have they designed websites for erotic magazine Tissue, created merchandise for Jay-Z’s Magna Carter Holy Grail tour and brought together Nike and Liberty in a set of beautiful posters, but also their recent branding for an upmarket hotel in their home town has made beautiful an area of design that is so often tawdry and tedious. Keeping things varied is clearly good for the creative brain if it yields results as good as these!

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    I’m going to admit to a certain bias towards Nicos Livesey’s latest animation before I say anything more about it. As a teenager every bag and garment I owned was plastered with patches that I’d picked up in Camden – or at a horrible little shop in my hometown called Tiger Lily – paying homage to any number of death metal bands I was obsessing over at the time (and some embarrassingly poor nu-metal ones too). I couldn’t get enough of them. But in spite of this penchant for embroidered badges I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Tharsis Sleeps will appeal even to those who don’t like to wear their bands on their sleeves.

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    It’s no secret that in spite of the increasing digitisation of contemporary culture, we still dearly love to hold actual objects in our hands – and the more elaborate the better. It’s a fact that record labels, magazines, publishers and most other spheres of the packaging industries have been exploiting for some time, fashioning beautifully ornate objects for which fans are only too happy to part with vast sums; whether it’s a die-cut, debossed, double gatefold or otherwise.

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    “Summer summer summertime,” sung The Fresh Prince’s backing singers in his smash hit song, Summertime. Why? Because he freakin’ loves summertime – and so do we!

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    If I had to write down a list of criteria for becoming an artist or illustrator that I obsess over, it would probably go something like this: 1. They have to show something of themselves in their work. 2. They can be cutting edge, but in no way trendy. 3. They have to be 100% batshit crazy – otherwise I’m not interested. The mysterious El Neoray has all of these attributes, brought together in a portfolio that features an unflattering portrait of Grimes, a spirit animal crapping in the hands of its ward and all manner of grotesque characters that seem vaguely human but have a stunted neanderthal edge. Add that to a rudimentary use of colour and frantic, childlike line-work and you’re on to a total winner. I can’t get enough of this guy and think you really ought to feel the same.

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    Last time we bigged up Norwegian/American studio Non-Format it was for an anthropomorphic animal head serving as the identity for Only Connect Festival of Sound in Oslo; so it seems only right that the following feature also explores the visuals for that same Nordic gathering. This time the festival has been dedicated to the late, great J.G Ballard – a man for whom much graphic design and illustration has already been produced, both for his books and film adaptations, as well as in his cult magazine, Ambit. But the Non-Format team have steered clear of any Ballardian visual clichés and adopted a retro-futuristic, geometric approach to the branding, utilising a glitchy typeface for the logo mark and a variety of pixellated patterns to tie the programme’s contents together. And not a smashed-up car or crash-test dummy in sight!

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    By all accounts Kevin Harris is an extraordinary badass, working only for the very coolest record labels and publications, with collaborators like Mario Hugo and Tim Lahan in tow. Part designer, part illustrator, with art direction and animation skills aplenty, he’s carving out a niche for himself producing effortlessly awesome work that references 1990s web art, stoner comics, tie-dye fabrics and pulp pornography with serious conceptual flair. He does his OWN comics too which obviously makes him OK by us. Look out for this one, he’s going to be huge!

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    Ed Anthony is a self-taught artist based in London who specialises in the creation of large-scale graphite portraits. His enormous works on paper demonstrate an extraordinary understanding of texture and tone, using a single, simple medium to render the faces of his sitters in strikingly realistic detail. In this particular series Ed has focussed his attention on some of the biggest names in architecture today – he works as an architectural model-maker by day – and immortalised them in graphite, interviewing them while he did so to better understand their relationship with physical media. He’s also got a show opening at the Palazzo Bembo in Venice this week, where you’ll be able to see more of his portraits in person.

  31. Bartkira-list

    Fan art is a weird and wonderful world with laws entirely unto itself. Long-term lovers of comics, film and heavy metal bands (it’s usually these three demographics) with even slight artistic leanings love nothing more than to scribble their heroes onto any spare surface they can find – acetate cells, copy paper and even their own skin. In the field of fan art though, one recent project is head and tails above the rest: Bartkira.

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    Studio Hato have been around in some guise or another since 2009, although they’ve only recently given themselves an official name. They’re the design branch of a multi-faceted organisation that also includes Hato Press (an exceptional Risographic print studio) and Hato Labo (a digital design and programming team) all based in north east London. Its founders, Jackson Lam and Ken Kirton, have been around since the very beginning, working away on a multitude of commercial projects behind the scenes, while the reputation of the press has grown.

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    Every time a new erotic title comes through the door we wonder how long they’ll survive. There’s so many “intelligent” magazines out there with a penchant for nudity that we assume only a few will last more than a couple of issues – even if the quality is superb. One title in the erotic stable that continues to grow and develop is Odiseo, a publication from Barcelona’s Folch studio that’s more of a book than a magazine. In it you’ll find a sensitive approach to erotic subjects and a wealth of illuminating opinion pieces all of which subvert what we’ve come to define as erotic in the digital age.

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    Usually we feature Jorge Primo for his refreshingly sunny approach to advertising and branding. We’ve long admired him for his careful combination of washed-out colour palettes, vintage type and regular nods to traditional and more rudimentary print processes. But today it’s just a personal project we want to talk about; a new series of posters Jorge has produced that build abstract totems from a visual kit of unique geometric forms. There’s no complex concepts here or intellectual pretence, it’s just simple colours and simple shapes brought together to form charming characters. Lovely stuff.

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    There’s a lot of photographers out there shooting images of inanimate objects on coloured backgrounds (we know, we’ve worked with a bunch of them for our magazine covers) but there’s only a few that manage to put such a unique twist on the genre as Wyne Veen. The Dutch photographer possesses a mastery of her medium that allows a stack of peeling lemons to appear as a sinister totem, carefully-arranged cups of coffee to become an optical illusion and cartons of ice cream to look sensual and exciting in their own right, without the faux-orgasmic posturing of a model that’s the advertising default. There’s also (wait for it) real ideas behind her work; some based on serious editorial, others on experimentation with materials and that keeps the work endlessly fresh – you never feel like Wyne’s photographs are just about the aesthetics.

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    The Mill’s Aran Quinn and Jeffrey Dates have just finished work on an utterly charming animated rendition of American poet Kenn Nesbitt’s Wayne The Stegosaurus. The poem details the shortcomings of a dinosaur named Wayne, who’s bizarre antics are the result of a tiny brain. “He can’t remember up from down. He thinks the sky is chocolate brown. He wears his bow tie on his tail and likes to eat the daily mail.” In spite of this stupidity, Wayne’s life is incredibly entertaining when brought to life by Aran and Jeffrey, and their bug-eyed and gormless, pink protagonist is sure to warm even the iciest of hearts.

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    We don’t do this very often but one of our heroes, Brecht Vandenbroucke, turned up at the studio this morning all the way from Antwerp, just to say hi. It reminded us of what a thoroughly nice chap he is – he always hand-paints any envelope he sends our way – and what an incredible talent too. He kindly signed and drew in a copy of the Autumn 2013 Printed Pages, for which he created an exclusive set of White Cube comics, which we’ll be giving away later today on the Printed Pages Twitter. But for now remind yourself of what a terrific chap he is by enjoying his latest portfolio updates. Bye now!

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    Book cover designer Peter Mendelsund has just finished work on a publication that brings together the fruits of his career thus far in the form of a rather beautiful monograph. To those of us that know his work well it seems like a deserved achievement to have it represented in a book of his own, but he’s typically modest of the honour: “After producing enough passable design to have established a reputation – and after having participated in the requisite interviews, given the obligatory talks, and pursued the necessary whimsical side projects of varying natures – it is de rigeur that a designer should then publish a book of his or her work.” And so he has.

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    In 1978 Greg Reynolds was a closeted homosexual working as a youth minister for a large, conservative, religious organisation in the USA; the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. His role was to train young Christian men and women to evangelise their peers in their hometowns. During term-time Greg would travel the country to colleges and universities, then in the summer his work would take him to Bible camps in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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    Graphic designer, photographer and collector Marc Walter has amassed an extraordinary collection of photographs for TASCHEN’s latest publication An American Odyssey. With them he creates a comprehensive picture of the new world in its earliest days, all ramshackle mining towns in the Midwest, steam boats in New York’s first ports and an explosion of new industrial cities. Not only does this collection of images provide a unique examination of life over a century ago, it presents it all in full colour by virtue of techniques called Photochrom and Photostint that predated autochrome by almost 20 years – capturing “the rich ochres and browns of the Grand Canyon” and “the dazzle of Atlantic City” for all to see.