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

1772 articles
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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…

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Angiewang-int-main

    Angie Wang is FANTASTIC, she’s hands-down my absolute favourite new illustrator. Her work is an explosive, jelly bean-coloured tangle of cool girls, comic books, hair, nature and clouds: dreamy waves of cuteness and attitude floating along on the backs of ghosts. Some of her drawings may appear silly and adorable, but underneath the fuzziness is a melancholy wisdom of the world around her. She has an ability to capture what only the best kinds of comics do: aspects of life that are loving, scary, otherworldly and magnificent.

  20. Craigoldham-int-main

    Last week a book arrived in our office via the hands of It’s Nice That director Alex Bec. He told us all it was created by Craig Oldham, who he had just seen give a brilliant talk about the creation of the publication. It’s called In Loving Memory of Work, and it is a spectacularly well-designed, excitingly and refreshingly well-informed book documenting the UK miners’ strike between 1984 and 1985. For something so long, violent and shocking that happened in recent history, I’ve sometimes felt that the miners’ strike hasn’t really been talked about as much as it should have been. But I can see why: it’s hard to get to grips with something that horrible happening to so many people and so nearby.

  21. Studio-audience-lemon_list

    Fantastic podcast this week in which we discuss some art and design news including the new Alexander McQueen show at the V&A, a Tinder bot sensation sweeping over SXSW Festival, and how you can delve into the creative culture of a city when you are only there for a short while. Thanks to everyone who got in touch this week and for your kind words and a BIG thank you to designer David Pearson who submitted our opening question. Any other feedback much appreciated, just tweet in or leave comments in the box below. See ya next week!

  22. Claudialegge-int-2

    Just off the coast of Cancun there is an area of ocean floor that has been transformed into a mysterious sculpture park. Aside from the occasional tourist and bull shark, it’s pretty deserted but for the stone figures scattered in the white sand, placed there by artist Jason deCaires Taylor back in 2009. Claudia Legge, a London-based photographer with a passion/addiction for shooting underwater, found out about this creepy tranquil sculpture park when she was in Mexico and wasted no time in getting below the surface with her camera to check it out. We spoke to her about the pretty breathtaking results of her dive, and the technical difficulties of doing such a shoot.

  23. Gmnieves-main-int

    The only thing more joyous and fascinating than peering at Geoff McFetridge’s paintings is seeing the sketches that were made by his hand in the lead-up to their creation. We’ve gushed before about Geoff a lot, particularly about the fact that he more often than not works from his mind rather than from life. His sketchbooks are full of diagrams and viewpoints invented by his brain and scribbled down before evolving into beautiful, serene paintings, and have just been collected into a new publication from my very own favourite publishers, Nieves.

  24. Tomvek-main

    This month we are going to be studying the much-recognised connection between art and music. To kick things off we have designer and musician Tom Vek to make a speech of sorts about this very connection, and who better to do so than someone so involved in both fields. Lately Tom has been working on Sleevenote, a new free app that allows you to view artwork LP-style on your phone, which is well worth a look once you’ve read this fantastic piece of writing on the beautiful relationship between art and music.

  25. Jasongalea-int-main

    I came across Jason when I was ogling at this poster for the Panache Spring Fling featuring White Fence, yet another ear-watering gig that I won’t be able to make it to because it’s across the Atlantic. Panache is a boutique booking agency in LA which represent bands like Ty Segall, Chris Cohen, Jacco Gardner, Fuzz, Juliana Barwick, U.S Girls…I could go on. In keeping with its roster it commissions the likes of Melbourne-based visual artist Jason Galea to make the posters and sleeves look as cool and apt as possible. Jason clearly knows what he’s doing with these posters, record sleeves and animations. This is the work of someone who has studied the music visuals of the past, sat around a Ouija board, reincarnated them, and smoked the spirits up in an acid-green infinity bong before splurging them out as art. It’s okay to rip stylistic qualities from eras gone by, but only if you, like Jason, genuinely love the music, and know exactly what you are doing.

  26. Studio-audience-lemon_list

    WELCOME my little podlings to this week’s episode of the It’s Nice That podcast Studio Audience. Join me, Liv Siddall and my guests Rob Alderson and Maisie Skidmore in talking about this week’s most pressing art and design news Including Bjork at MoMA, Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel designer Annie Atkins, Apple watches opening garage doors, Zoolander sequel and Women of the World. Then we move on to discussing Dublin’s Offset festival and what makes an event worth going to. We also chat about the sheer brilliance of seeing or reading about a sage older creative speak about their career gone-by. Thanks to Nelly Ben Hayoun for her bizarre opening question, and thanks to Perrin over at AIGA’s blog for their gush-worthy post about this very podcast.

  27. Icinori-int-main

    French duo Mayumi Otero and Raphael Urwiller are a couple united by their unbridled love for print. When their visual arts/illustrative forces are brought together they go by the name of Icinori, and create some of the most beautifully considered, traditional publications, pamphlets, concertina books and posters around. Considering the staggering detail present in every single image they piece together and print, it’s shocking how much new work they’ve just whacked up on their site.

  28. Graphicmeans-int-main

    Ever stopped to think as you adjust text, step backwards and copy and paste at the speed of light on InDesign that once upon a time you would be doing all of that with GLUE and PAPER? It’s obvious, but when you really think about it, your respect for the graphic designers of yore increases tenfold. Briar Levit, an assistant professor of Graphic Design at Portland State University, decided to bring this to light via a film in which designers who never used computers are interviewed about the difficulties they had. It wasn’t all doom and gloom of course – you could easily argue that the hand-designed work they produced back then was much more considered than it tends to be now.

  29. Rubenfischer-main-int

    Aha, some “digitale malerei und grafiken von Ruben Fischer,” a new protégé of Eike König over at Hort in Berlin. It’s no secret that Eike has spectacular taste in who he hangs around with in terms of design talent, and Ruben is a prime example. His digital collages in fun, primary colours are all untitled, which suggests that he’s not yet doing work for clients and the like. But to see someone crack out posters, record sleeves, identities and illustrations just for the hell of it is fantastic and refreshing. Something tells us Ruben has a unique way of looking at the world, and some computer skills up his sleeve – some very important strengths in this day and age. You can see some of his more recent work on his very, very colourful Instagram feed.

  30. Main-books

    Guys it’s World Book Day! One of the only “days” of the year that people should really give a shit about (yeah I’m looking at you “National Play your Ukulele Day”). People all over the world are encouraging kids and adults to get their hands on a brand new book, or just glance at the spines of your well-thumbed publications on your dusty shelf that perhaps changed your life at some stage or another. In honour of this sacred day, we book-lovers at It’s Nice That have decided to pay homage to our own favourite tomes by listing them here for you today in our very own It’s Nice That Bookshelf. So in no particular order, here are the It’s Nice That editorial team’s favourite ever books. Tweet in yours too!

  31. Euan-int-main

    Before I begin can I just say that what you see in these photos is not LARP (Live Action Role Play), it’s SCA which stands for The Society for Creative Anachronism. The difference is where LARP is more playful, going out with your mates wearing costumes and wearing padding and bashing each other on the head, SCA is actually recreating aspects of primarily Medieval history down to the smallest detail in trams of craftsmanship. A bit like a theatrical production, but with jousting.

  32. Mirandajuly-badman-int-main

    The problem with Miranda July is that everything she says or does is great, so editing the interview I did with her the other day has been a bloody nightmare. In this half of our two-part feature Miranda discusses health, drugs, sex, ideas, and – of course – some of the themes in her spectacular new novel The First Bad Man. You know what? Here’s some homework for you: read part one of this interview, then read this, then go read the book. Trust me, you will enjoy all three. Here she is…

  33. Mirandajuly-badman-int-main

    Last week I went to visit Miranda July in a somewhat archaic hotel in Mayfair. Turns out she wasn’t even staying there, but had been placed in a small room on a sofa to talk to journalists all day about her new book The First Bad Man. Although she was meant to be speaking primarily about that, I wanted to talk to her about some of the themes in the book and how they tie in to her own life – particularly as a few times in the past she’s almost cast herself seemingly unawares into her own projects. Miranda had a baby while she was writing this novel, and so this interview also covers how one continues to stay creatively motivated when confronted with eternal busyness, and the ways LA shrinks and doctors can help – or hinder – your work ethic.

  34. Paulinelepape-int-main

    Exciting new student alert! Meet Pauline, currently working on her advanced degree in type design at École Estienne in Paris – how glamorous does that sound? It’s rare to find a student with as much consistently fantastic work on their site, and for a while I didn’t actually twig that Pauline was still studying. She’s designed typefaces, had a bash at letter pressing for her business cards, and made some publications that I’d actually buy. The way she represented a bunch of Stéphane Monnot short stories is well-designed without overshadowing the writing, and that publication about the concept of an ornament just looks fantastic. Remember this name: Pauline Le Pape, she’s got big things ahead of her.

  35. Californiasunday-markmothersbaugh-int-main

    When you hear the words “branded content” you probably don’t get that excited, right? Well, times are changing. No longer do brands want to settle for something that isn’t going to whet the imagination of an audience, and so they’re recruiting fantastic creatives and partnering with cool platforms to make it actually worth everyone’s time. With this in mind, check out this pretty breathtaking animation created by Google Play in collaboration with Creative Sunday.

  36. Geicoad-int-1

    When an insurance company challenges you to not skip through their latest ad on YouTube, your first reaction is likely to be “try me.” But you know what? They have actually pulled something pretty remarkable together for their latest advert. Well, I say remarkable, it’s pretty low-budget, but the idea behind it is great. Knowing that the majority of people wouldn’t watch an insurance ad on YouTube unless you were holding a gun to their head, they made their advert two seconds long. Then if like me you enjoy the first two seconds, you can stay for the whole thing. Best thing about this ad is how they didn’t even green screen the family, and you can see them wigging out and twitching as that dog goes all Beethoven on their dinner. Well done The Martin Agency for keeping us on our toes.

  37. Stefaniemoshammer-int-main

    “Las Vegas is the strip club capital of the world,” says Stefanie Moshammer, an Austrian photographer whose recent project led her to the underbelly of Nevada’s shimmering city. Stefanie began work on a series called Vegas and She, in which she documents strippers, nightclubs, and various bits and bobs that represent Las Vegas culture: bright pink limos, dust trails, palm trees, and diving boards into sapphire pools.

  38. Stevenchorney-int-main

    The reason design blogs and Pinterest are overcrowded with hand-painted signs, hand-made furniture and hand-printed textiles is because (you guessed it) it’s made by hand – and the joy of seeing craftsmanship is never, ever going away. The world is changing, and the more we demand, and the shorter our attention spans become, the less we’re spending time on getting things just right.

  39. Jc-int-main1

    London Fashion Week is officially over, and we have now come to the end of our Workwear feature. We thought we’d round the series off with Jack Cunningham, a London animator who works at Nexus Productions. We chose to finish with Jack because he represents an enormous chunk of mid-twenties creatives in London – he’s just a nice chap who wants to not look like a scumbag and be able to get his hands on good quality clothes. Below Jack tells us how to get away with buying expensive things for cheap, and chats about how shit men’s high street fashion used to be compared to nowadays. Once you’ve read this, check out how good he is at animating things.

  40. Gaeanwoods-int-main

    Gaea Woods caught our eye the other day with the portraits she took of her friend Samantha, seemingly covered all over in Vaseline. A bit of research led us to finding out that Gaea is actually a photographer with a whole host of talents under her belt, particularly when it comes to shooting things really close-up. Gaea was born in rural northern California and now resides in LA, where she’s making her career as a photographer.