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

1248 articles
  1. List

    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.

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    The second year graphic design students on Central Saint Martins’ BA course are about a year ahead of anyone else when it comes to their degree show planning. They’ve already put the wheels in motion to raise vast sums to help launch themselves professionally when they graduate. In order to do so they’ve got a pop-up shop in progress that aims to be the most expensive concept store the world has ever seen. In it they’ll be selling one-off pieces for up to one million pounds, although the more their website is shared through social media channels, the lower the price will get.

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    Toni Halonen’s work is almost unrecognisable from when we first featured it back in 2012. The Finnish designer and illustrator has more or less abandoned the CGI characters and distorted typefaces that populated his early work in favour of something altogether more natural and illustrative – which is probably because he now keeps his own design studio as well.

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    Paris-based graphic designer Michael Thorsby originally hails from Sweden, but has travelled across Tokyo, Copenhagen and London picking up influences and developing his work before settling in Paris with a visual language that’s entirely his own. His projects vary enormously from luxurious pattern design fro the likes of Sixpack France, beautiful posters for obscure bands and laboriously 3D rendered commercials for automobile brands. There’s seemingly nothing he can’t do.

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    CANADA’s recipe is usually a very simple one: take a selection of beautiful, scantily-clad girls, place them in mid-century surroundings and have them act out all manner of strange activities. The rest always seems to work itself out. For their latest reel of film, as part of Nowness’ #DefineBeauty series, they’ve added a magnificent cheeky twist to this winner of a recipe which you’ll have to wait to the end to enjoy – although that little bug-eyed guy below has a lot to do with it.

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    We’re furious to have only just discovered this (it’s almost two months old now) but one of our favourite designers, Nathalie du Pasquier, has recently launched a new collection with American Apparel. The legendary Memphis Group founder has created a selection of custom graphic prints, evocative of those she designed in her heyday, on a selection of simple garments for both men and women. Personally I’ve never been able to pull off bold prints, but for the fashion-challenged like me there’s a selection of beautiful blankets available too.

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    Personally I can think of nothing worse than spending months at sea in a giant frozen boat, risking my life night and day so that people lazier than I am can enjoy a fish supper once a week. Sounds hellish. And yet Corey Arnold spent seven years aboard various commercial fishing vessels on Alaska’s Bering Sea, battling gargantuan waves, sleepless nights and sub-zero temperatures rustling crab and fish from the arctic waters. Thankfully he took his camera along with him, meaning we get to experience this hazardous profession without having to set even one foot onto a boat. Easy!

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    I didn’t know anything about Iris Apfel until I started working at It’s Nice That, and now what I know about her can be reduced to a few words; she’s really bloody cool! In fact she’s so cool that Tate Modern invited her to offer some thoughts on their blockbuster 2014 show Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs in a short film. In it Iris chooses a series of unsurprisingly glamorous outfits that have been inspired by her favourite pieces in the exhibition. There’s a Dior cape that’s, “as heavy as a horse blanket,” some early Gianni Versace, “that kind of just goes doesn’t it?” and other garments that Iris declares are, “so Matisse-y!” In conclusion; “I guess everybody who worked with colour was influenced by our friend. Mr Matisse certainly knows how to carve through colour!”

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    Going back over our archive of posts on Nathaniel Russell you’ll find we’ve featured him – directly or indirectly – a total of nine times. This is the tenth. Sometimes we’ve looked at his multicoloured space capes, other times it’s been his giant drawings of potted plants, if not his exploration of wooden cut-outs, and there was one occasion where we asked him to write some nice words for our magazine. This time we’d like to look at his illustrations of California and marvel at his talent and the sheer variety of his work.

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    Sometimes we genuinely find some of the best creative work for the site while hanging out in the pub – in this case by mooching about in my local last Saturday night. I ran into an old friend from university who still lives with Liam Cobb (another old friend from college) a comic book artist who’s spent the last few years working absurdly hard on his storytelling and image-making, recently producing the beginnings of a futuristic dystopian opus, drawn with the flair of Moebius and balanced with witty, understated dialogue that makes the apocalypse seem really quite drab.

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    We don’t want to seem like we’re showing favouritism to particular publications by featuring them repeatedly on the site, but even though we profiled Edition 9 of Process Journal back in October, Edition 10 is equally deserving of attention, and so we’re covering the Aussie mag again.

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    We haven’t caught up with Jan Van Der Veken since January 2013 – there was that massive magazine article we wrote on him, but that hardly counts. Since we last spoke he’s had his first monograph published with Gestalten, started a family and set up stock illustration archive Lekstock, which allows users to download great imagery from Belgian illustrators as easily as they would photography. Lots of changes! But what hasn’t changed is Jan’s unwavering skill as an image maker and master of the clear line – a skill that has the ability to delight us even though we’ve long been familiar with his work.

  18. Willumsen-list

    I’ve prattled on before about what a great talent I think Connor Willumsen is. The American comics artist is still so young and yet seems capable of producing the most extraordinary compositions and unorthodox narratives within a body of bizarre comics. His draughtsmanship alone is enough to incite serious excitement, but his unusual use of composition is what really gets our juices flowing. Recently he’s been experimenting heavily with the use of broken grids, chopping and changing composite squares of imagery to create unsettling and disorientating collages that tell whole stories in a single image. A couple of them feel like traditional satirical pieces, pulled from the pages of an old MAD magazine, and then rearranged into something altogether more sinister. Striking stuff!

  19. Brinkworth-lead

    It was just the other day that we featured some striking new work from Graphic Thought Facility, but they’ve clearly been busy working on all manner of interesting projects so we thought, what the hell, let’s get them up on the site again.

  20. Rime-list

    Swiss photographer Marie Rime is just about to graduate from her BA in photography at ECAL. In spite of her young age she’s managed to accrue an impressive body of fine art photography that experiments with unorthodox costumes crafted from everyday materials (in this case board game pieces). They concern themselves predominantly with the theme of power, exploring the role that armour and costumes play in the amplification of status in the perception of the viewer. As a result of this coherent and highly stylised portfolio, Marie has found herself shortlisted for this year’s Hyéres photography festival – which seems like an entirely deserved honour to us.

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    I Love Helvetica and I Love Times are Two Points’ latest additions to their I Love Type range; books that bring together modern examples of classic typefaces in use across cutting edge graphic design and illustration. Within each are examples of today’s best practitioners breathing life into often-dismissed serifs like Times and reimagining the hugely celebrated (generally overused) sans serif Helvetica. Also included in the series are Futura, Avant Garde, Bodoni, DIN, Gill Sans and Franklin Gothic – all of which have sold out, but which Hong Kong publishers Vition:ary have plans to re-release later in the year. Consider this your heads-up!

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    German graphic designer Hagen Verleger produces all manner of beautiful print design for a roster of fashion and arts-based clients. He’s particularly adept at the creation of book covers and crisp typographic layout having studied at both the Muthesius Kunsthochschule and Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig. His reductive approach to design means that all his work exudes a refined simplicity with only rare additions of devices that feel purely ornamental – and it’s this skill that particularly distinguishes a recent personal project.

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    I’ve had Benjamin Swanson’s portfolio bookmarked for about nine months now and I like to check back in on him every once in a while to see how he’s getting on. The BA Photography student from Nottingham Trent University has consistently showed such promise that it feels like he’s constantly on the verge of producing something really extraordinary. Looking at the list of people he’s assisted (Sam Hofman, Michael Bodiam, Thomas Brown, Sarah Parker) it seemed obvious that when the time came, that stand-out project would be a still life shoot – and indeed it is.

  24. Main9

    In the four years since we first featured him, Mitch Blunt has transformed from a fresh-faced graduate with a penchant for traditional print processes into an editorial illustration maven whose images are in demand by the most elite publishers of breaking news. This demand is the result of Mitch’s innate ability to tell complex and often politically charged stories with the simplest of imagery; analogising the current climate in Ukraine with a rowdy bear or transforming handcuffs into a pair of swimming goggles to accompany a story about an Olympic athlete’s fall from grace. Their universality means they’re always a welcome addition the the accompanying editorials, summarising succinctly what a journalist may take hundreds of words to communicate. Always a pleasure Mitch!

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    Josh McKenna (jshmck to his mates) is in his final year studying illustration at Falmouth where he’s become “A passionate screen-printer, competent in Photoshop and Illustrator,” taking inspiration from the "tropical way of life.” What this means is that Josh’s work is awash with pastel-shaded images of busty women sunning themselves by modernist poolsides and gentlemen in panama hats conducting shady business in angular rooms. Alongside the rich visuals there’s also a growing understanding of editorial imagery in Josh’s portfolio, something we’re excited to see him develop in the future.

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    Interstate US Studio Public Library have just finished work on an app that we’re very excited about indeed. 5 Every Day is a web and mobile platform that presents a curated selection of five daily events, exhibitions, activities and venues to explore in Los Angeles. All the research is done by the band YACHT, so you know their recommendations will be fun. Each list only lasts for 24 hours and then is completely refreshed, meaning every selection is unique and you won’t ever repeat your day’s activities.

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    As part of this year’s DesignMarch in Iceland, one of our favourite illustrators and designers, Siggi Odds, got together with a few collaborators to produce something 3D and tangible. He and Geir Ólafsson, Hrefna Sigurðardóttir and Þorleifur Gunnar Gíslason all work in a predominantly digital fashion, producing things that are transient and rarely made physical. To counter that they partnered with product designer Jón Helgi Hólmgeirsson, and working under the name Børk created a selection of bespoke quilts, printed with custom graphic imagery that’s evocative of Iceland’s landscapes and natural environments, borrowing elements from traditional mythology and folklore.

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    Architect and designer Ana Varela was born and raised in Madrid, Spain, where she graduated from the Superior School of Architecture with a bachelors degree in 2007. Since then she’s led an impressive professional and academic career, directing Spanish design magazine Pasajes Diseño and pursuing a masters in Design for Luxury and Craftsmanship at ECAL in Lausanne. Now she teaches at ECAL and maintains a professional practice as an interior and product designer in Lausanne.

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    Swiss type foundry Grilli Type have just released GT Sectra, a bespoke typeface based on the calligraphic forms of a broad nib pen. Originally designed for Swiss news magazine Reportagen, GT Sectra was designed to be ornate in its construction, yet refined enough to be comfortably legible when used in long-form journalism. As a result the Grilli Type’s greatest efforts were spent refining and standardising the face beyond the remit of a traditional serif, paying particular attention to the proportions of the letterforms and the integration of capital letters. The resulting font families are beautifully angular – dispensing with curves almost completely – and distinctive for their obvious modernity despite being grounded in more traditional typographic practice.

  30. Main

    It was in 2007 that Yusuke Miyagawa’s Funky Jamaica first came out, but we were only just starting up then, so excuse us for missing it. In the intervening seven years the Brooklyn-based, Japanese photographer has become a regular at Dazed and Confused and INDIE, repeatedly commissioned for his beautifully up-close-and-personal style of documentary photography in which he consistently confronts his subjects head on. That said, we’ve yet to see him produce a body of work as cohesive as his Jamaican masterpiece.

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    Bird-spotting, Santa-papping photographer Luke Stephenson has recently turned his attentions to the documentation of a Great British culinary staple; the humble 99. For international readers allow me to explain: the 99 is Great Britain’s answer to France’s crêpe, or New York’s one dollar pizza – an article of questionable nutritional value that’s available in any number of strange locations throughout the summer. It’s a glorious swirl of vanilla ice cream spat unceremoniously into a flimsy synthetic cone and we eat them in their thousands.

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    Bankers have been the butt of a number of jokes over the past few years. They’re easy prey for satirists, what with their wholesale destruction of the global economy and flagrant disregard for fiscal responsibility. But Ninian Doff’s latest video for Peace’s Money adds a whole new level of surrealism to banking satire. In it we see an upwardly mobile yuppy climb the city ladder by unusual means. You see it’s not through tidy hedge fund management that he gains the respect of his bosses, it’s his badass dancing skills, and they gain him entry into a weird and wonderful finale that I really don’t want to spoil for you. See for yourselves…

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    Carlos Jimenez is a Spanish photographer and filmmaker living and working in London who caught our attention last year for his work on Nobrow’s promotional film for ELCAF 2013. It provided a slick overview of a massive, messy event and displayed some extremely nice editing flourishes. But Carlos’ most recent project is an altogether more refined proposition. Commissioned by the V&A to produce a film about the renovation of their plaster courts, Carlos has produced a slow, sweeping piece of cinema that glorifies some extraordinary works of Renaissance art including some rare close-ups of Michelangelo’s David. There’s also interviews with a few key players in the V&A’s conservation and curatorial teams who give a real sense of the important work they’re involved in.

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    In 2011 San Franciscan artist Tauba Auerbach held a solo show at the Bergen Kunsthall in Norway that cemented her reputation as a fine artist with heavyweight conceptual clout as well as being a maker of extraordinarily beautiful objects. Tetrachromat suggested that there was a fourth colour spectrum only perceptible to women and Tauba created a selection of objects that experimented with this theory – including vast books printed with rainbow gradients that are still some of the most beautiful objects I’ve ever laid eyes on.

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    Magdalena Wosinska has something of a reputation for creating exciting images that all the big brands want to buy into. Her photographs convey a sense of unreserved excitement and fun, strewn with gangs of achingly trendy twenty somethings with effortlessly beautiful physiques. But her style isn’t some affectation born out of a desire to be cool, Magdalena grew up photographing her friends in the skate and metal scene just doing their thing, inadvertently creating a vernacular that people want to buy into.

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    We first fell in love with Ramon Haindl’s work about a year-and-a-half ago when he was still finding his feet as a freelance photographer. We were immediately drawn to his sensitive treatment of subjects, his extraordinary use of light and his collaborations with the likes of Haw-Lin Services and Deutsche and Japaner. Arguably one of our stand-out photographs of 2012 was his shot of a model’s beautiful auburn hair resting on the neck of her knitted jumper – it’s a truly exceptional image.

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    As far as we can tell the only criteria Leif Podhajsky has for collaborating with a musical artist is their current level of cool. A swift scroll through his now expansive portfolio reveals nothing but exquisite imagery for the very finest artists of the moment. Usually he seems to work for musicians on the cusp of global success (Foals, Tame Impala and Lykke Li being perfect cases in point) but his latest collaboration is with someone much more established; Kelis.

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    Sara Andreasson is about as multidisciplinary as creatives come. She’s a designer hailing from Wermland in Sweden who has seemingly made a conscious decision not to specialise in any one area. Equally adept at fashioning furniture from extraordinary materials as she is at illustrating exuberant images of altered classical sculptures and abstract digital images, it would be fair to say that Sara’s portfolio is a mixed bag of projects. But the consistent element at the heart of all of them is her attention to detail. Whether sketching portraits in soft graphite or taking still-life photographs of taxidermy birds she’s certain to craft each piece with care, displaying the talents of an expert despite clearly being a jack of all trades.

  39. Wolfond-list

    We’re absolutely gutted not to be at the Salone Del Mobile right now as it turns out this is the year that everyone is there (that’s right, EVERYONE). Among them is Jamie Wolfond, one of Brooklyn’s youngest and finest furniture designers, who’s there to launch his debut collection at Designersbloc. If last year’s display is anything to go by the whole Designersbloc show should be a treat, but Jamie’s work in particular is well worth the journey.

  40. List

    We’ve featured Brinkworth’s beautifully designed skate parks on the site before when they launched Nike’s BaySixty6, a community project under London’s Westway that invited people of all ages to pick up a deck and try their hand on the ramps. The initiative was such a success that Brinkworth have become something of an authority on skate park construction and have since been invited to create a temporary set-up at the Old Selfridges Hotel, located inside Selfridges department store.