Author Archive: Liv Siddall

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Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and worked across online, print, events and latterly Features Editor before leaving in May 2015.

@LivSiddall

1771 articles
  1. Citymapper-itsnicethat-main

    I remember many years ago my big sister moving to London and seeming so cosmopolitan: she did things like grab a quick bite from Pret, or go to the theatre, or eat sushi. She also carried with her at all times something called The London A-Z map in her handbag which she consulted in doorways when it was raining, or as we were rushing along busy pavements. It seemed so thrilling, but at the same time quite daunting: I wasn’t confident at map-reading and was nervous about having to rely so heavily on this minuscule printed map that had different parts of London on entirely different pages and expected you to match them up.

  2. Adamhigton-itsnicethat-main

    Did you ever see that copy of Die Zeit with the front cover illustrated by Adam Higton? A cheerful, smiley sunflower resting on a retina-searing yellow to declare to all the grumpy, cold commuters that SPRING was finally here! Adam doesn’t often do high profile mag covers like that, he tends to spend his time cutting out shapes, arranging them into creatures and characters, creating collages and photographing them in woodland environments.

  3. Cassbird-itsnicethat-main

    Cass Bird is so good she’s almost mythical. Sometimes I find myself just staring at her photographs, or writhing in jealousy thinking about the art directors who get to work with her to create some of the most memorable magazine covers in recent history. I get envious of companies like Vogue who have a long-standing relationship with Cass, and have the power to lean back in their shabby-chic chairs and say things like: “Get Cass on the phone, we’re gonna pay her big bucks to stand in the Met Gala bogs to take photos of celebs taking photos of themselves.” Genius. Well, that’s what has actually happened, and last night Vogue published Cass’ photo series on their site. BWI Magazine interviewed Cass about her time in the most decadent toilets in the world and she said she decided to photograph in there because “that’s where the fun’s at.” So true. Pity there were no pics of Rihanna trying to manoeuvre that dress in and out of a cubicle unsoiled.

  4. Alexanderrobyn-itsnicethat-main

    I wouldn’t say I fully understood a lot of Alexander Robyn’s comics, but it says a lot for his skill with a set of pencil crayons that I fully disregard that fact when I happily browse though his endless Tumblr stream. Alexander’s work is a patchwork quilt of sci-fi, human behaviour, sex, violence, talking mooses, cuss words and technology, illustrated on natural paper in vibrant crayon and graphite. Part of Alexander’s trademark style is the way he uses neat, childish stencil typography in his comics. The aesthetic of stencil type gives his comics and beautiful drawings a naive quality, which is totally offset by the wit, skill and wry, adult humour evident in the content. To top it off, he’s bloody great at drawing geodesic domes.

  5. Unnamed-1

    GIFs are just a part of life now, like shoes or the BBC. In a world overrun with these oddly satisfying little snippets of expression, the general vibe of GIFs so far has been leaning much more on the quantity level than the quality. When you find yourself scrolling cross-eyed through the internet and you come across GIFs with such delicate majesty such as these by Rebecca Mock, it hits you like a pixelated smack in the face. Rebecca is an illustrator from New York who creates exquisite digital illustrations for the likes of The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Medium among others. Her illustrations are subtle and somewhat tender moments represented in GIF form, un-showy and delicate. Sometimes the only thing moving in the whole image is a flashing light on a laptop, or the endless sideways scroll of an iPad. How refreshing to see someone leaping on this medium, and using it to illustrate the strange new digital world we’re in.

  6. Francescajaneallen-itsnicethat-main1

    What a combo, my fave photographer Francesca Jane Allen (Frenchie) and the spectacular woman of the moment, Jessie Andrews. Jessie is the kind of girl I would love to be friends with: she’s fun, confident, cool, intelligent, driven and she lives in LA where I’ve heard it’s sunny all year round and orange juice comes out of the taps.

  7. Psychpress-itsmicethat-main

    It’s comforting to know that while we flap about pre-General Election and gas on about things like house prices and the economy, down in deepest Cornwall there is a group of people dedicating their lives to publishing tomes centred around the relatively niche topic of psychedelia. Psychedelic Press UK is an independent publisher that “deals with the science, history and literature of psychoactive substances, and altered states of consciousness.” Their books and regular journal are a platform for fiction and non-fiction outpourings that seek to explore the enormous but rarely spoken about world of psychedelic experiences and belief. We caught up with Robert Dickins from the press about how it works, the backlash they face and why they’re doing it in the first place.

  8. Xiaoxika-itsnicethat-main

    A fantastic peek into the lives of some young basketball-lovers here by way of Shanghai photographer Ka Xiaoxi. A self-professed lover of street culture, Ka Xiaoxi churns out brightly-lit 35mm photographs for big brands like Converse, Bloomberg Businessweek, Volkswagen and The New York Times. This series entitled Basketball Kids was shot for Nike, and depicts some happy, healthy teens squeaking their sneakers around indoor and outdoor basketball courts all over Shanghai. Rather then your run-of-the-mill court side shots, Ka Xiaoxi has spent time with these young whippersnappers larking around after practice, cackling in sports shops and showing off in the way only teenage boys can. You can smell the Lynx and basketball rubber from all the way over here in the UK.

  9. Toroymoi-itsnicethat-main

    WHY has no one utilised the dry-ice in the fruit and veg section in a supermarket for the inspiration behind a music video before?! It’s strangely hypnotic seeing it waft all over the aubergines, falling gracefully over the shiny brown onions as if it were landing softly on the round toe of Gene Simmons’ shoe in 1975. Picture Pictures, the guys over in the US who have made some of the most fantastic music videos on It’s Nice That in the past few years, have recently completed this masterpiece for super nice man Chaz Bundick AKA Toro Y Moi.

  10. Tomium-itsnicethat-main2

    Last week a woman called Jaci Kessler emailed in showing us some of the art direction she’s done for Bloomberg Businessweek’s ETC section. As well as working directly with some of my absolute favourite illustrators such as Jan Buchczik, Golden Cosmos and Dan Stafford to make the spectacular, rule-breaking editorial features they are famed for, Jaci also introduced me to a whole host of other artists who totally blew me away. In particular New York illustrator Tomi Um, whose work is crisp, cute and funny and illustrates the chaos and cheerful aspects of modern life. Honing in predominantly on crowd scenes, Tomi is at her best when illustrating bustling ski slopes, busy shops or dramatic events like horse racing. Her piece for Popular Mechanics is neat as a pin, as well as representing the article she’s illustrating perfectly. No wonder she’s in such high demand at the moment. Well done Tomi, and thank you Jaci for the heads up!

  11. Harrymitchell-itsnicethat-main

    There was a time a year or two ago when we were inundated with hazy, throwaway-camera shots of far off places and short-lived holidays. Nothing wrong with that sort of thing, but we’re definitely receiving less. When Harry Mitchell submitted his work the other day I thought this was going to be another one of those projects born out of a gap year, a cheap camera and some long-limbed friends. Turns out I was totally wrong. Harry’s documentation of India is absolutely mesmerising, highlighting the cluttered corners, particle-thick light, chaos, street signs and throngs of people. His series for menswear brand Neuba sees him stepping into an Indian tailor’s and snapping the archaic wooden machinery and cheerful, dusty faces of the workers with a quiet respect to their craft. Just when you start thinking Harry’s a one-trick pony you then stumble across his editorial portfolio and realise that his style is constantly undulating from ultra sharp to mega lo-fi, always remaining very, very cool.

  12. Merijnhos-itsnicethat-main

    When I see someone’s work and automatically create sound effects for it in my head, I know it’s super special. I’ve always felt like that for Dutch illustrator Merijn Hos’ work, and I tend to I hear trombones and comedy parps, whistles and one-man-bands when I peer at his celebratory, fruity characters. In his more subdued work such as his latest wooden sculptures for Kinfolk, you can hear someone playing a cello in a room a few doors down a corridor. His ability to hop like a happy frog from brand to brand, creating work that is totally different but perfect for each one is evidence of his genius as a commercial artist. Who else do you know who would get away with that drawing he did for corporate, slick sound company Bose?

  13. Aleccastillo-itsnicethat-main

    Groups of teenagers tend to gravitate towards big expanses of open parkland and grassy knolls. I used to, even when my hay fever was so bad I used to wear swimming goggles to protect my eyes from the pollen. Maybe it’s the adventurous feeling you get when you’re out in the wild, and how totally different it is to life in the small box containing your parents that is your home. Alec Castillo emailed a few days ago with these black and white medium format photographs of him and his friends seemingly doing whatever possible to not veg around in a house.

  14. Oliviacharlesworth-itsnicethat-1

    At a time when debates surrounding art and design education and the way they prepare students for the creative industries are intensifying, Kingston University tutor Zelda Malan explains why it’s still so important that creative courses continue to teach ideas. You can add your thoughts using the comments thread below…

  15. Narcsville-itsnicethat-main

    Have you seen the mental health series that Vice is running at the moment? It’s brilliant. As well as pulling together witty, intelligent and truly necessary articles by a bunch of great writers, the artistic commissioning is bang on too. One of the artists they asked to create imagery to accompany these pieces – not an easy thing to do, I may add – is a guy who goes by the name of Narcsville.

  16. Carlindiaz-itsnicethat-main

    It’s rare to find people who can animate with true flow while still retaining their signature style, but in the case of Carlín Díaz it seems he’s mastered the art perfectly. An illustrator who dabbles in moving image, Carlín is one of the small but perfect little group of illustrators and animators that live and work in Paris. We’ve heard that over in Paris the illustration scene can be hard to crack, and even harder to earn a living from, but Carlin’s portfolio suggests he’s doing alright. Carlín’s charming mission statement is: “Let’s make attractive and expressive shapes.” Personally I haven’t seen someone with a strong a personal style as Carlín’s in a long while – kind of psychedelic with a hint of mysticism and sauciness, yet still retaining that hypnotic, liquid-like flow throughout.

  17. Astoria-itsnicethat-main

    Now here’s something we definitely haven’t seen before: the results of an artist-in-residence at some of London’s care homes for the elderly. London-based artist and producer Phoebe Davies was invited by Clod Ensemble to be part of their programme Extravagant Acts for Mature People, spending three months in two care homes observing what went on.

  18. Lea-itsnicethat-main

    Great work here from German illustrator and comic artist Lea Heinrich who, according to her online bio, “often dreams about being on a subway train traveling underneath the massive steel and concrete construction of New York City. Sometimes she observes the other passengers, sometimes there’s nobody else on the train, and sometimes she doesn’t know where she is going, but either way it’s always exciting.” Cool! Her work is a nice mishmash of urban cuteness à la Andy Rementer and old German folk tales, and her comics have a wit about them not dissimilar to someone like Frau Franz or Matt the Horse. As well as being totally adept at cartoons and comics and illustrations, Brooklyn-based Lea can also design a banging poster, which is always a big plus.

  19. Havingaface-itsnicethat-main

    Lucas Zanotto spends his spare time carrying around two paper plates with black dots on them and fastening them to stationary objects and landmarks such as trees, small huts and enormous boulders. This side project entitled Having a Face seeks to give life and personality to otherwise-overlooked characters in the natural world. We’ve posted about this project before but thought it would be nice to remind everyone about Lucas’ project, especially because a film he’s made about it is going to be opening the 2015 Pictoplasma Festival this weekend. What better way to kick start a conference of contemporary character culture than with a guy who sticks eyes to rocks, eh?

  20. Tomaslaar-itsnicethat-main

    Nice body of work here from Dutch design student Tomas Laar, who has a pleasing understanding of typography and the fun there is to be had in publication design. Even though he’s still studying he’s been very busy immersing himself in the design world, taking part in Hort’s raucous After School Club and a number of different group shows and workshops. What I like about his work is that he’s not afraid to mess around a bit, and the more professional journals he’s put together and professionally bound are contrasted by mini-projects that see him making posters in homage to designers he admires and pasting them up on walls around The Hague. Even his typography is light-hearted, and shows how unafraid he is to get stuck in with different materials and processes in order to get the best result. He’s also got an absolute ripper of a blog.

  21. Karinhagen-itsnicethat-main

    Pottery has had a bit of a bad rep until recently when people have slowly begun to realise that it’s FUCKING BADDASS. The pottery world is creaking under the weight of the amount of thrill-seeking clay-spinners popping up all over the place making vessels for cool people to put their cacti and fennel seeds in, and so we thought we’d highlight a few people who are taking the clay world by storm. Think for a minute, if you will, how few kilns there are on this earth, and how many universities have in recent years completely shut down their ceramics department due to lack of funding and demand. Then get your head around how these guys manage to create such brilliant work at such an astonishing rate while still keeping up their day jobs. Seeing as pottery is well trendy right now, I thought I’d run down a list of my personal favourite pot-heads out there.

  22. Pmu-int-main

    People in the graphic arts world have got an infernal problem with Pick Me Up. It’s the Taylor Swift of illustration events: everyone claims they’re not into it but when it comes on the radio they know all the words and are happily singing along. My opinion on it has undulated for years, but going to the private view last night made me realise that all this time I doubted it and listened sceptically to the rumours surrounding it, I was totally wrong.

  23. Adamnickel-itsnicethat-main

    I came across Adam Nickel’s work on a Mr Porter Journal article entitled How To Speak Professional-ese which outlined how the common man can attempt to understand office and business jargon. Adam Nickel’s perfect for a brand like Mr Porter. His drawings are inspired directly from packaging design and illustration in the 1950s and early 1960s, channeling the kinds of characters you may have seen rushing about in the background of The Pink Panther or chasing a pesky critter through some well-animated opening credits. Adam states on his site that he’s a lover of all things old – I assume he’s referring to design? – and is pushing out so-good-they-could-almost-be-actually-vintage illustrations at a mile a minute. Definitely one to commission if your brand or publication is lacking a spot of style and olde worlde charm.

  24. Jaimezuverza-itsnicethat-main

    If you ever want to read a truly inspiring interview with one of the coolest designers out there, look no further than this one with Jaime Zuverza we ran on the site back in 2013. In it Jaime said: “Lately I have been inspired by the strange things the body and mind create. I think those things must be welcomed in a friendly manner. The body produces blood, tears, boogers, vomit, caca, gas, wax, urine, spit, odours, etc. The mind produces dreams, hallucinations, delusions, paranoid associations, psychic vibes, phobias, visions. All of these things are usually kept hidden but they play a big part in people’s daily lives.”

  25. Sacmagique-itsnicethat-main

    Sac Magique’s back with a brand new (magic) bag! The Finnish artist has updated his site – which I check almost as regularly as the news – with a bunch of new drawings in a new, sketchier style. As always his work has gotten funnier and more daring and I daresay he’s cracked up the weird levels a few notches. That’s why I love him, much like fellow Helsinki-based illustrator Rami Niemi, he approaches briefs from big brands with a carefree childish wit, unafraid to use cuss words, toilet humour and sarcasm in ample spoonfuls. He’s been making work for bands such as Fat White Family recently, and has been making personal work that rings of the cynical one-line cartoons found in pages of The New Yorker –the one entitled Drunk Online Shopping, and the London scene in particular. Sac, I love you. Let’s elope.

  26. Smilesuggest-itsnicethat-main

    “Make sure your face is well lit, without a light source behind you, for the best results,” reads the instructions on Smile Suggest, the web app everyone’s talking about. “Even with the best face tracking, Smile Suggest still struggles with beards. Beardist.” Smile Suggest is the latest project from Martin McAllister who we featured on the site last year for his project with Oli Kellett that rounded up all the locations in the UK with paradise in the title.

  27. Bernhardaxilko-itsnicethat-main

    Excuse the pun, but I’m a sucker for penis drawings. Birthday cards, desks, walls, Post-Its, other people’s books, car windscreens: to me the world is but a canvas for penile artwork. Judging by his startlingly extensive back catalogue of sexually charged, penis-infused illustrations, it seems Belgrade-based artist Bernharda Xilko is on the same page. His style is in the same camp as people like Patrick Kyle and Paul Paetzel but comes with a side order of terror, penetration and science fiction. For me, I like the depth of his one-panel cartoons, and how you can stare at it for a while like a saucy magic eye painting, and keep finding things you had missed first time around.

  28. Elenaschlenker-itsnicethat-main

    Elana Schlenker, founder of Gratuitous Type has recently opened a new shop in Pittsburgh which charges women 24% less for its items than men in order to highlight wage inequality all over the world. The shop, which sells a selection of well-designed objects and knick knacks created by women invites women to pay only 76 cents for something that would cost a man a dollar. This number relates to a figure released by Pennsylvania stating that for every dollar a man earns, a women in the same job would take home just 76 cents. Elana’s looking to take this shop on the road to get the word out there, which is fantastic. The more people know about this the better, and how great to see the concept represented in such a friendly and simple, but totally hard-hitting way.

  29. Paulsimonon-itsnicethat-main

    If you have a dig about on some Clash fanblogs, you can find illicit, well-zoomed-in fan photos of a man painting on a large canvas in various spots around London. That man in Paul Simonon, Clash bassist turned fine artist and motorbike enthusiast. Almost entirely self-taught, Paul picked up his draughtsmanship skills by spending hours at the British Museum with a pencil and sketchpad and taking canvases out and about London to capture the ever-changing city.

  30. Lencroyable-itsnicethat-main

    We’ve seen a lot of themed magazines recently. People having a whack at creating publications based around one topic or idea, a little like risky concept albums. Slightly less honed-in than, say, the magazine for redheads, dogs, or cats, this new glossy bi-annual from Paris is themed around adolescence. Created by designer and artist Clotilde Viannay and art directed by Raphaël Garnier, the magazine is centred around one big name – in this issue it is Juliette Greco – who is interviewed about her life, predominantly that sticky awkward bit around the teenage years, to see how it shaped her future.

  31. Studio-audience-lemon_top

    This week Liv Siddall, Anna Kinneir of INT Works and Maisie Skidmore chat Salone del Mobile, the stripy house in Kensington, a magazine for redheads and Secret 7" 2015. Thanks to Bendik Kaltenborn for a fantastic opening question and to all of you who got in touch for shout outs.

  32. Mrc1-itsnicethat-main

    Last week redheads all over the world got really hacked off at the announcement of a bunch of new ethnically-diverse Emojis on the iPhone, angered that the flame-haired 2% of the world is still being underrepresented, nay disrespected. In the same week, MagCulture announced its faultless magazine of the week feature bearing a new publication entitled MC1R: A magazine for redheads.

  33. Itsnicethat

    There’s a reason why a long pan-out is such a recurrent feature at the end of feature films: it reminds us that the characters we’ve been engrossed in for the past couple of hours are just some more tiny ants in the nest of a bigger picture. The same goes for zooming in at the start of movies, and for the concept of this short by Luke Carlisle that takes us fleetingly into the serene, somewhat surreal life of a London drug dealer. We swoop around his day-to-day activities on steadicams, watching him (David Ajala) like a hovering dragonfly as people get in and out of his car, and his phone vibrates on the table prompting a Pavlov’s Dog effect.

  34. Toddterje-itsnicethat-main

    What a treat this is! We have for you today a special conversation between bearded electronic wizard Todd Terje and two very talented illustrators Espen Friberg and Bendik Kaltenborn about the fantastic new music video they have been working on. If you haven’t already seen it, it’s a hilarious whirlwind of illustrations painstakingly animated together frame by frame, and something the three of them have been working on since October.

  35. Robertbeatty-itsnicethat-main

    If they’re lucky, Robert Beatty’s succulent, airbrush-like artworks can sometimes grace the covers of bands’ albums, thus making them cool, successful and lucky in love and good fortune forever. Robert’s magic touch is a unique style lifted from way back when life on earth was cooler, and from some cauldron of fluid in his brain from which he draws impressive draughtsmanship and weird ideas. Robert’s in psych band Hair Police himself, and goes by the name of Three Legged Race when performing solo. He said once in an interview on Pitchfork that he creates artwork in the same way he makes music, by letting his body and his brain begin to create something and see where it takes him.

  36. Zoeghertner-itsnicethat-5

    I’d like to live in the world Zoe Ghertner creates with her camera. Sometimes I feel like I can almost hear her photos, rustling fabric over knees and the brush of neck hair against a collar, the sound that statues would make if they were quickly, secretly rearranging themselves into a more comfortable position without being seen. They’re fashion editorial photos, but with a sinister depth to them that is so often done in a ham-fisted way, but with Zoe is delivered as crisp as cut glass. The net draped over oranges like skin over joints, the spiked industrial hair curlers, and the uneasy pressure, suspense and delicacy of taut balloon animals. She’s fantastic.

  37. Montypython-itsnicethat-main

    I had forgotten the majesty of The Galaxy Song until this morning when Stephen Hawking decided to cover it in honour of Monty Python’s stage show. The rascal has recorded his version of the beautifully written song which is accompanied by an endearingly shit little video featuring him on his wheelchair whizzing off into the cosmos as he sings.

  38. Nathanaelturner-itsnicethat-main

    There’s something I can’t stop thinking about that Roger Dean said in an interview the other day. He was talking about people creating things, and was saying there’s no point in making something that looks like it is typically of this earth. He wants people to make things that look like they’re from another world, because why not? After reading what Roger Dean said, I came across LA photographer Nathanael Turner’s work, and realised that even though he’s shooting stuff that’s very much “of this earth” (people, computers, buildings) he’s fantastic at making them seem a little skewed from the norm.

  39. Rogerdean-itsnicethat-main

    The phrase “they just don’t make ’em like they used to” is almost absurdly fitting when it comes to the work of Roger Dean. The visual style and typographic skill on the album artwork and logo design created bands like Yes, Uriah Heep and Asia defined an entire era and bred hundreds of imitators. Roger, who describes himself a s a “landscape painter,” was once commissioned by Ronnie Scott himself to paint a mural inside the famous jazz club, and more recently redesigned the Tetris logo.

  40. Bjorky-itsnicethat-main

    Sometimes at It’s Nice That we get sent entirely hand-painted zines, or stop-frame animations that have taken months, perhaps years to complete. But then sometimes we stumble across projects like this, little nuggets of joy that took one second to contemplate, and an afternoon to complete. LA artist Bjorky went for a wander in the countryside with a small piece of acetate on which he had painted a frame and a tired, grinning face. He then held it up to inanimate objects, bringing them to life and transforming them from “boring tent” and “mountain minding his own business” into stoned teenagers. I think the lone rock is my favourite.