Author Archive: Liv Siddall

Ls-300

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She is also a regular guest and sometime host on our Studio Audience podcast.

ls@itsnicethat.com@LivSiddall

1755 articles
  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.”

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. Emilyflake-itsnicethat-main

    I’m always slightly concerned about the dwindling amount of observational cartoons and “funnies” in the newspapers, but whenever you think the niche, historic skill is waning you come across another gem in a corner of a broadsheet. Places like The New Yorker are still very much championing this craft, and have recently been commissioning New York cartoonist Emily Flake to make dry comments on her city for their magazine.

  25. Hotchip-itsnicethat-main

    Can’t think of the last time I watched a music video right through to the end without skipping. Is there some kind of term for that nowadays? A non-skipper? A skipless? Whatever. This is one of those. Shynola, the film team behind classics like Radiohead’s Pyramid Song and that famous Junior Senior video with the pixelated squirrel, have just released the new music video for Hot Chip’s comeback single, Need You Now.

  26. Pitchfork-bjork-itsnicethat-main

    Have you seen the latest issue of The Pitchfork Review? The front cover is a candy-coloured landscape of frosted mountains and pink sunlight, in the middle of which is a black lake of goo with something emerging from it before your eyes. This scene, which continues along the gatefold and accompanies the interview within is Pitchfork’s creative director Michael Renaud and photographer David C Sampson’s interpretation of Jessica Hopper’s life-affirming interview with Björk within the issue.

  27. Studio-audience-lemon_top

    This week we chat Snowden’s bust, the Cortana ad, Frank Ocean’s magazine, and a viral campaign in response to Apple’s Shot on an iPhone 6 ads. In section two we discuss the cringeworthy brilliance of band merchandise, and whether or not musical memorabilia can be referred to as artworks. My guests today are art director of INT Works Rob Peart, and Printed Pages editor James Cartwright. What lovely men. As ever get in touch if you hate it or love it, or just think it’s alright. See you next week!

  28. Rachelthomas-itsnicethat-main

    The set designer that launched a thousand imitators, Rachel Thomas, has recently art directed, styled and designed the set for a hosiery shoot for Bare Journal. The magazine is a self-professed “ode to the raw beauty of realism and simplicity,” which perhaps explains why Rachel was roped in for the job: she’s the master of small details that fizzle together to form simple and engaging images. For this shoot, which she worked on with photographer Sandra Freij, Rachel’s task was to show off some of the best tights and stockings on the shelves at the moment, something that doesn’t sound that appealing. What she did with a bag of tights is far beyond the skill of anyone else, and she should be highly commended for taking something so mundane and making it genuinely covetable and exciting.

  29. Bella_union

    Recently I met Luke Jarvis from Bella Union, a small indie label in London which represents artists and bands like Father John Misty, Ezra Fuhrmann, Fleet Foxes, Beach House, John Grant… You get the idea. Luke kindly gave me a bunch of records when he saw me, and after a quick chat it became apparent that he was actually the one who has the job of designing the backs of many of the sleeves, even though he wasn’t trained as a designer.

  30. Main

    Matthew Houston or “Doctor Butters” as his web address proclaims, is an young illustrator working in a truly old-school way. The Ohio-based artist designs characters and worlds in a style he’s honed after years of studying drawing, which he took up after sacking in his job a few years back. I love how he’s embraced a fundamental branch of illustration in character design, and has strayed away from trendier styles in his quest to become an illustrator. The creatures and people he creates are a bunch of people seemingly inspired by video games, sci-fi, comic books, The Hobbit and anything to do with castles, folklore and legend. In an interview with Questioning Creatives Matthew says “I would recommend going to art school. It gives you time to focus on art. It gives you an excuse to create every day. Make sure to work on personal projects while in school, don’t just do homework.” Wise words.

  31. Things-list

    It’s been a very, very long time since I wrote a Things post, and what fun it is to delve into the box once again and pick out the best bits and bobs from the last month. This list is very publication-heavy and I apologise for that, but that’s kind of the majority of what we get sent anyway, so until people start sending us crates of cheese and wine or frisbees (anyone?) that’s just the way it is. So, without further ado here are the best gems the postman has delivered to the It’s Nice That studio this month. Enjoy!

  32. Blur-int-main

    Blur used to be up for starring in their videos, back when they were all so good-looking that girls used to actually camp outside Damon Albarn’s house. I don’t know about the yoof of today and what they’re into, but I think I speak for all of the women in the It’s Nice That studio when I say that I still fancy each and every band member a LOT. With that in mind I was slightly disappointed when I saw they weren’t featured in this new video by Ben Reed. Still, you can’t complain when you’re met with a cool old Chinese guy with sweet moves having a good old shuffle in an old village hall with a bunch of women and a dove. Nice work. And welcome back Blur, let me know where’s best to pitch my tent.

  33. Pm-int-main

    Paweł Mildner’s style keeps changing. He jumps between crisp renders, oil pastels, Riso prints, paintings and drawings like there’s no tomorrow, and has a particularly interesting portfolio because of it. He lives in Wrocław, Poland where I can only imagine he spends his days in a well-lit, affordable studio creating zines and books that appear to be for children, but are actually cynical and witty enough to appeal to your discerning comic book-loving adult as well. I sometimes find myself lurking on his Flickr page, not really up to much, just loitering about, dragging his images on to my desktop, hoping one day he’ll notice me.

  34. Harley-weirlandscapes

    How can Harley Weir take photographs of landscapes and capture a natural or industrial scene as if it were a pubescent teenager? Each one of these photos is vulnerable, oily, undulating, smelly, confused and slightly sad: like a grumpy 15-year-old fumbling about for clues of its existence.

  35. Studio-audience-lemon_list

    This episode of the podcast finds me, Liv Siddall, having a good old chinwag with assistant editor Maisie Skidmore and art director Ali Hanson about all things news-related. Here we chat the new episode of Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared, Tracey Emin’s My Bed, and whether or not celebrity-backed projects such as Lauren Laverne’s The Pool or Jay-Z and co’s Tidal Wave should be immediately classed as any good.

  36. Dhmis-int-1

    PESKY BEE! Today is the day fans all over the world wring their little tiny/big hairy hands together for: the day when a new episode of Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared is released! Did you know that the first episode of Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared has over 24 million views on YouTube? With that many fans to please, Becky and Joe have been working overtime on this one, collaborating with a bunch of new people as you’ll see in the increasingly lengthy credits at the abrupt end.

  37. Dandeacon-int-main

    Have you ever been to a Dan Deacon gig where he makes the whole audience do a whole bunch of stuff to involve them in the performance? He makes everyone sit down, stand up, lie down, run in circles and, recently, control their phones to create a sea of rainbow lights clutched by sweaty hands throughout the crowd. What’s even better is that these chaotic sweat-fests more often than not take place in galleries. Yeah, galleries! Full of expensive art and priceless old stuff. We wanted to chat to Dan about why he tends to gravitate towards this kind of venue for his immersive performances, his brand new music video (below), which comics he’s into, and why his album artwork is always SO good. Here he is…

  38. Traceyemin-mybed-int-

    Sometimes I don’t really “get” modern art, but I get Tracey Emin’s My Bed. She displayed it as a piece of art in 1998 after practically living in it for about a month following a bad breakup. Back then she was rake-thin and impish with an appetite for booze and fags, in that odd age where you’re left to fend for yourself but are not perhaps quite ready.

  39. Metronomy-db-int

    Since 1999 Metronomy have been releasing singles you can’t get out of your head for weeks, accompanied by fantastic album artwork by the likes of Leslie David, and incredible music videos that were like an oasis of sparkling water in a barren wasteland of indistinguishable pop and R&B videos. It’s only when you see them all together you understand just how fun, fearless and clever the band are. Not just for acting in the videos, but for enlisting the help of some of the most talented up-and-coming filmmakers working today. Here’s Joseph Mount, the frontman of the band, on the rather haphazard creation of these videos, and what it was like to work with greats such as David Wilson, Michel Gondry and Daniel Brereton.

  40. Isis-int-main

    I met Derek when I was at a a talk by rock and roll photographer Jill Furmanovsky in London’s Rockarchive space. Back in 1985, Derek Barker set up a zine specifically designed and printed for Bob Dylan fans called ISIS. The publication, which comes out every two months and is sent to subscribers worldwide, is a collection of news stories, photos and open-sourced articles all about the ever-touring, legendary man himself. Fanzines and fan-related music content has changed a lot since the 1980s, and so we decided to ask Derek some questions about why he makes the magazine, and how his audience and the general concept of a fanzine has changed over the years. Here he is.