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
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    When Rapha launched their brand ten years ago they did it with an exhibition on cycling history and a book that documented some of the greatest stars and stories of competitive road racing. The book showed candid shots of legendary riders like Fausto Coppi hanging out in his pyjamas and Bernard Hinault in a grump on the train, exposing these famous gents out of the saddle, carrying on like normal human beings. To celbrate their tenth anniversary Rapha have re-printed and re-released the book (no long out of print) upping the print and finish quality in the process. The results, we think you’ll agree, look pretty spectacular!

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    Behold! Dutch illustrator and designer Julian Sirre has a portfolio packed to the gunnels with beautiful futuristic design. His posters and prints take inspiration from 1980s sci-fi, Japanese printmaking and superhero comics, all amalgamated into a wholly unique visual language. He’s worked for Dutch science fiction magazines, London venues and a variety of extraordinary exhibitions including a group show with Jordy Van Den Niewendijk, Viktor Hachmang and Robin van Wijk – all exceptionally cool dudes.

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    I’m the third person to take a turn waxing lyrical about the art of Bryan Olson (he was discussed here and here in the past), but I don’t mind, I’m just happy to have the opportunity. The North Carolina-based artist is arguably the master of his medium; a creator of collages so delicately crafted it’s often impossible to tell they’ve been made from hand-cut paper. Though it’s by no means his only concern Bryan focusses a great deal on the cosmos in his work, leaving strange portals into the unknown at the centre of his images or placing earthly objects within inter-planetary scenes. It’s a heady combination that lures viewers in, making them feel like children gazing at a dense night sky or an adult on one hell of a trip.

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    Belgian photographer Wouter Van de Voorde started out as a painter in his homeland before discovering that photography offered him more of the creative freedom and opportunity for introspection than his original medium. Since taking up photography he’s exiled himself to Autralia where he uses his outsider status as a driver for creative expression, exploring the quirks and nuances of Australian culture and landscape in the hope of creating a sense of belonging through his work.

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    Belgian graphic designer Broos Stoffels has it all; great poster designs, great typefaces, great Dance Organ-powered drawing machine for the creation of custom vinyl sleeves – no really! The young designer is a former student of Sint Lucas in Ghent, a institution with proven design pedigree, and has spent the last few years honing his practical and conceptual skills into a fantastically coherent body of work.

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    Colombian-born, Spanish-based photographer Manuel Vazquez was an economics student before he decided to make his living from image-making. A quick transfer to Spain, some courses at New York’s School of Visual Arts and a Masters in Photography and Urban Cultures at Golsmiths later and he’s quite the photographic talent. The economy’s loss is photography’s gain. Now he shoots regularly for the likes of The Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times and The British Journal of Photography predominantly taking slick portraits.

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    If you watched any of this year’s World Cup you’ll most likely have noticed all the players strutting about in pairs of weightless neon boots. If, like me, you don’t really pay attention to that kind of thing, then you may not have known what they were. Luckily this stunning spot from ManvsMachine grabbed my attention for long enough to inform me that they were Nike’s latest Mercurial Superfly boot, capable of eviscerating a giant marble army of footballing warriors with their superhuman speed. But more important than my education in high-performance footwear was my appreciation of the phenomenal skill of Mike Alderson and his team at ManvsMachine whose ability to turn pure fiction into a believable, 3D-rendered reality is nothing short of breathtaking.

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    Photographer Benedict Redgrove has made his name shooting extremes: the fastest cars, the biggest yachts, the largest buildings and the most expensive of everything. But earlier this year he took off into the Scottish Highlands to make a series of personal images that are a radical departure from what we’ve come to expect from him. Fallen Giants is a series exploring managed forests and the toppled trees that litter the landscape. They celebrate the natural world and offer an escape from the day-to-day struggle of modern life. But they also tell a very personal story for Benedict…

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    Thomas Rousset and Raphaël Verona’s Waska Tatay is fairly ambiguous at first glance. The cover is a simple yellow-to-blue fade with the title placed inconspicuously on the spine; but the content is altogether more arresting. Using a mixture of reportage and staged portraiture the photo book documents the pair’s trip to the Altiplano region of Bolivia and their encounters with witch doctors, spiritual healers and medicine men; uncovering the rites and rituals of these ancient orders and illuminating some of their extraordinary mythologies.

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    As of 6.30pm last night Airbnb looks a little classier. Having spent the past seven years growing a vast community of country-hopping collaborators, the world’s largest online accommodation marketplace has decided it’s time for a change. Gone is the awkward, dated logo that still reminds me of a bad ice cream parlour, likewise the cold, clinical blue that serves as the accent colour for all San Franciscan startups; and in its place is something entirely more exciting.

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    Every year thousands of gloomy-looking characters descend on Whitby, a British seaside town that’s steeped in folklore and literary heritage. Bram Stoker set parts of Dracula there, Robin Jarvis created a mysterious series of children’s books on its streets and a ruined abbey stands at the top of one of its cliffs, maintaining a physical, eerie presence on moonlit nights – and those goths just can’t get enough.They host an annual goth weekend which this year photographer Annie Collinge decided to document, stopping the black-clad revellers on the streets and in graveyards to pose for her potraits. The resulting images offer a fantastic snapshot of one of the most longstanding genres of alternative culture, though I say that with bias, as I used to be one. “Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!”

  12. Tris

    Sleek vintage cars, mousetrap swings, chance encounters with rainbows and days out at the races all feature in the varied portfolio of Tristan Cluett, a recent graduate from Kingston University. He’s spent three years immersing himself in his medium, getting out in the field to shoot cyclists in action or creating polished sets in the studio to provide backdrops for his unusual ideas. What seems key to the success of Tristan’s work is his openness to experimentation – he’s not content to be a one-trick pony – and the level of polish he applies to every one of his projects.

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    Bold printing, toying with scale, subverting nature and confounding the senses seem to be the defining elements of Richard Woods’ work. The artist and designer made a name for himself mimicking wooden patterns in bright colours on the surface of furniture, but his skills extend beyond simple tables and chairs. In his latest show at Albion Barn he’s been given free reign to customise every inch of his exhibition space; the walls, floors and furnishings of an area in which he’s exhibiting a selection of original prints. It’s a pretty bold move to allow an artist to reinvent the entire gallery, but Richard has undertaken the task with characteristic flair, turning the whole environment into a vibrant, cartoonish set in which his work seems entirely at home.

  14. Hannah

    LCC Photography graduate Hannah Burton has spent her three years of undergraduate study working out ways to get as close as possible to her subjects. She’s worn their clothes and camped out in their rooms for shots in which she embodies the subject, trawled east London’s Gascoyne Estate, getting to know its inhabitants as she shoots their pictures and explored her personal relationship with her mother in a series of intensely revealing portraits.

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    Dutch illustrator and designer Eline Van Dam (Zeloot to her clients) belongs to the same circle of pals as Viktor Hachmang and Jordy van den Nieuwendijk, which goes some way to explaining why her work is so god damn beautiful. Although she’s about as versatile as image-makers come – her portfolio covers a variety of styles ranging from the niche to the commercial – it’s her posters that really stand out for their 1970s-inspired phychedelic iconography and bold, experimental use of colour; any colour she can get her hands on! Now we just need to work out what we can commission her for.

  16. Tool-list

    Art director, VJ and music video director Hans Lo can usually be found crafting retro-futuristic visuals for up-and-coming electronic acts like Com Truise, Jagwar Ma and world renowned acts like Simian Mobile Disco. So it may surprise you to discover that he’s really just a die-hard metal fan at heart – in particular a lover of the heavyweights of the early 1990s. His favourite music video reflects this perfectly; a stand-out track and seriously creepy piece of Savankmajeresque stop-motion for the legendary Tool directed by their guitarist Adam Jones.

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    Just over a year ago to the day, Erik Brandt bought a piece of wood and stuck it to the side of his garage in Minneapolis, inviting graphic designers from all over the world to make type-based posters for him to exhibit in this secluded outdoor gallery. The response to his project was immense, growing from a select few, invite-only contributors to a sprawling mass of over 500 submitted pieces that he’s shown in the last 365 days.

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    The Tour de France is now well underway and, in case you hadn’t heard, its first three stages took place in our green and pleasant land. Now that the riders have left us and begun the real journey down through France, we though it was high time we took a look at some of the best Tour-inspired projects to have emerged over the past seven days, because for some reason bikes get the creative community REALLY inspired.

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    Franz Kafka, Vladimir Nabokov, Nick Hornby, T.S Elliot, Richard Dawkins, Ian Banks and Martin Amis – what ties them all together (aside from their stratospheric levels of success in the literary world)? Well for one thing they’ve all had the good fortune to have the mighty Jamie Keenan, London-based designer and book fetishist, lend his skills to their covers. Jamie’s designed more beautiful covers for works of fiction and non-fiction than I’m capable of wrapping my head around, including my absolute favourite cover for Lolita – a novel that has sent numerous designers into panic spirals when tasked with its reinvention.

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    Having just won magazine of the year at the SPD awards it’s probably of little surprise that New York is a magazine with serious design pedigree. They turn out bi-weekly editions of fantastic journalism all packaged in a manner that makes the content leap from the page, practically forcing you to engage with it. Karishma Sheth is responsible for a large part of that leaping, working full-time on feature and supplement design to create layouts that remain illuminating and exciting week on week. Prior to New York Karishma worked for Doyle Partners and Pentagram, so she’s already racked up some pretty solid design credits. For our money though, it’s her editorial work that really stands out, particularly this witty digest of the Big Apple’s must-see artworks. Very nice indeed!

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    Though it’s been only two weeks since we wrote about Anders Nilsen’s beautiful Rage of Poseidon he’s just knocked out another brilliant piece of graphic art (albeit satirical rather than fantastical) so we felt compelled to feature him again. In this instance he’s lampooning online retail giants Amazon for their detrimental effect on publishing, using some magnificently wry visual metaphors to discuss what appears to be a quite unpleasant situation.

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    This week James Cartwright wonders what the V&A is up to with its policy of “Rapid Response Collecting” and whether it really marks a shift in their curation policy. As ever you can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below.

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    It’s no secret that Studio Swine are forever pushing boundaries in the world of product design, taking uncommon materials and putting them to universal use. But their latest project is extremely unusual, even by their own standards. For Hair Highway the pair ventured into the heart of mainland China to the epicentre of the global human hair trade. There they acquired enough human hair to use it as the basis for a number of luxury bespoke objects – the carefully-maintained strands preserved in deep amber resin, creating stunning patterns and textures. To top it all off they’ve made this lovely film to document their journey, the people behind this strange trade and the finished products themselves.

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    Arguably the most distressing thing about growing up is that sudden realisation you reach one day that all the trappings of your childhood have disappeared – all the people you knew have aged, the places you went have disappeared and it’s impossible to ever go back. Bleak! But although this is a feeling we all feel at some point, very few get the chance to walk into their past and document it again.

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    London-based artist Aleksandra Mir has been busy over the past month investigating the process of drawing in a collaborative experiment that invites participants to contribute to a giant collage of the London skyline, rendered entirely with Sharpies. The process of creating the work was part of the exhibition itself, with Aleksandra and her team engaged in drawing everything by hand during the first days of the show. But for those that missed it there’s also a beautiful time-lapse film of the process, providing context and insight to this giant piece of collaborative draughtsmanship.

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    Since we last featured Joe Cruz almost a year go to the day, we’ve commissioned him to work on editorial pieces for Printed Pages and had him into the office to check out his stunning portfolio in person. Suffice to say, in the flesh, Joe’s beautiful oil pastel creations do not disappoint – the unusual mix of deep, rich photocopier toner illuminated with oily strips of neon colour is a surefire winner online and in print. But it’s not just the colours that keep Joe’s work fresh and exciting; his constant experimentation with theme and composition means he’s just as likely to be enticing you into his portfolio with a sultry fashion illustration as he is making you leap from your skin with the needled jowls of an incensed doberman.

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    It is a universal truth that Andrew Telling plus extraordinary cyclists equals fantastic films. The London-based filmmaker is a regular fixture at Rapha HQ, heading out on the road at the drop of a hat to produce stunning films that showcase both the brand’s expertly-made wares in action and the thrill of cycling itself. In honour of this year’s Tour de France, Rapha sent a team of cyclists out across Yorkshire to take in the sights and sounds of the race’s latest leg. Unlike this weekend’s Tour activities however, the pace on this ride is a leisurely one, drinking in the English countryside and stopping for the occasional pint of ale and piece of cake. Nevertheless the film-making is as beautiful as we’ve come to expect from Andrew, creating simple, satisfying narratives around what is essentially a leisurely weekend jaunt.

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    I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking; “How on earth did that priest train a dolphin to carry him like that?” Or maybe you’re thinking; “Where did the photographer have to stand to capture that image?” Or perhaps, in fact, you’re thinking; “This HAS to be fake.” But all of these lines of inquiry are valid in the world of Joan Fontcuberta, the Spanish artist and photographer who’s latest exhibition has just landed at The Science Museum’s Media Space.

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    There’s no end to illustration projects that revolve around the observation of daily life – in fact that’s the main skill an illustrator needs to possess in order to communicate visually. And yet there’s surprisingly few that result in work as lovingly scathing as Grace Wilson’s. Her latest publication Eyes Peeled details the trials and tribulations of studying abroad, travelling the world and returning home to mundane conversations with parents huddled around pints in a pub.

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    Surely the most nerve-wracking job a designer can undertake is a wholesale brand redesign. The public-facing nature of the work combined with the threat of vitriol from the brand’s loyal fans must be enough to keep you up for nights on end. So imagine the pressure if you’re tasked with creating a new set of brand guidelines for two of publishing’s biggest names and their 250 individual imprints. It hardly bears thinking about.

  31. Rob

    It’s a brave undertaking to create your own typeface at any stage of your design career, let alone when you’re a student, but Rob Headley threw himself into the process and wound up creating something truly unusual – a deconstructed font that progresses through various stages of legibility. He’s also designed some beautiful book covers for Ian M Banks’ sinister oeuvre and produced an experimental animation project that teaches users the animation process though analogue printed media. In fact there was so much variety on show in his graduate portfolio that we knew almost immediately that we had to name the Liverpool School of Art student as one of this year’s It’s Nice That Graduates.

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    Israeli illustrator and cartoonist Tomer Hanuka needs no introduction. Ten years ago (before this website even existed) he was making extraordinary illustrated works – some of which inspired me to go to art college – for the very best editorial clients out there. He’s done Rolling Stone, the now defunct Spin, The New York Times and GQ, he’s worked for Marvel, DC, Universal and Lucasfilm. In fact there’s very few people out there worth working for by whom Tomer hasn’t been employed.

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    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.