Author Archive: Liv Siddall

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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

1640 articles
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    No one photographs teenagers like Jamie Hawkesworth. For years we’ve been posting about his ability to capture the infinitely curious in-between stage of adolescence, and quietly knowing that he’s the guy who’s currently got the monopoly on this topic. Recently though, alongside shooting youngsters for mags such as AnOther and The New York Times Style, Jamie’s has been lending his skills to some corporate magazines and brands – a far cry from his time roaming the bus shelters of northern England or the Whitby Goth Festival. This year Jamie was approached by Lexus’ magazine Beyond to follow two chocolatiers on a journey into deepest Vietnam on the hunt for a rare cacao bean. Slight change of scenery.

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    It’s great when musicians are handy with pens as well as complicated musical instruments. Over the years we’ve always chatted about the wonder of people who don’t get enough pleasure out of one creative outlet and must pour it into another, and we’re pleased to welcome one to you today. JW plays in Leeds psych band Hookworms who have just released their spectacular new album Hum on Domino Records. JW is also a very talented illustrator and designer, and actually took it upon himself to design the sleeve for their latest release, along with a whole bunch of posters for their frequent, sweaty gigs.

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    Music publishing is in a strange place. There are certain places we go to get our fix: Dazed, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, NME, ’SUP and FACT to name but a few, but the atmosphere of the industry feels slightly scattered. Do people still want their music news in printed form when the internet will always get there first? We were curious to speak to Hanna Hanra who is the editor of BEAT magazine, on how she started, why the hell she’s doing it, and what the publication aims to do. I asked Hanna who the magazine was aimed at and she answered: “Well, myself, primarily.” Here she is…

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    Hands up who loves boobies and butts? The pervier of us will appreciate this brand new show from Mike Perry which sees him collate all his brilliant nudie drawings in one place, and if you’re not a perv you’ll just love the colours. They say the human form is a beautiful thing, but sometimes people forget that it’s also super fun too. Good for lovely, bearded Mike for noticing this and spending ages drawing people with legs akimbo on coloured paper to entertain us straight-laced British folk. If you’re into illustration and/or nudity, head down to KK Outlet tonight for this scintillating show.

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    The city being a lonely place is a constant source of inspiration to young creatives, sometimes to the point at which I think if I hear one more person refer to London or New York as a “concrete jungle” I’ll punch them in the face. In amongst the enormous swamp of projects that deal with this subject matter, there are some rare, beautiful orchids. Isolated by Fernando Vallejo is one of these. Fernando’s been prowling the streets of The Big Apple for a while now, snapping passers-by as they rush around the city like ants late for jury duty.

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    London’s a little greyer now one of our favourite illustrators Jean Jullien is trying out a new life across the pond in New York. Luckily for us his agent Handsome Frank grabbed him for a little while before he scooted off and made this lovely little film about his work. It seems we always talk about Jean, but to see him draw and actually speak honestly about his practice is a true joy.

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    Jack Cunningham is a young illustrator and animator living in London, and he’s got life pretty well sorted out. By day he works at Nexus, creating GIFs and animations and cute characters in a building crammed full of weird, wonderful people all doing similar things. When I last dropped in to see him he had a book on his desk by a guy called Guy Billout which he had been waiting for with bated breath for a long while. I had never come across Guy’s work, but I’m now as obsessed with him as Jack was/is.

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    Tieten met Haar is Valentine Gallardo, Alexander Robyn, Nina Van Denbempt, Mathilde Vangheluwe and Jana Vasiljević. The name roughly translates as “tits with hair” and their goal is “to create a platform for other upcoming artists, to present and publish their work as well as our own, and promote it, in Belgium as well as at different European comics and illustration festivals.”

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    Did you know that the first episode of Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared has had nearly 21 million views on YouTube so far? With that in mind, since launching three days ago, the third instalment of the cult series is marching quickly towards the million-hit mark. Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 3 is the much-anticipated follow-up to the very well-recieved previous epidoes which you can see here and here. This time, the characters are spending a day in the countryside, having a delicious raw chicken picnic when suddenly their day is dampened by a pesky butterfly landing in their basket of meat.

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    Just over a week ago It’s Nice That’s Jamie McIntyre and I took a train from London to Glasgow to the much-antiticipated Graphic Design Festival Scotland. We had been invited by Beth Wilson and James Gilchrist, two students who had recently graduated from Edinburgh College of Art. During their degree the two had found themselves working best when together, and decided to form Warriors Studio as a duo. They began thinking about the climate of graphic design in Scotland, the need for something new and exciting and – most importantly – what the hell they were going to do when term ends and they were turfed out to fend for themselves.

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    Is it us or has everyone gone way more bonkers for Halloween this year than ever before? Whatever, we’re jumping on the bandwagon, and have put together a spectacular, terrifying mixtape for you. This year we decided to concentrate on a particularly fantastic sub-genre that is spooky, psychedelic songs from the 1960s. Back then countless bands were teaming up in groups and calling themselves things like “The Five Blobs,” “Don Hinson and the Rigamorticians” and “Frankie Stein” to deliver some of the creepiest, grooviest songs in existence. Even if you’re not that into it, putting this on at a Halloween party tonight for everyone to bop to is far, far cooler than just putting on Michael Jackson’s Thriller, again.

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    I’ve never wanted to applaud anyone more than the guys behind this project. Tech-wizards Jankenpopp & Zombectro have created a very special website that transports you back to your childhood and the days when you were just about getting to grips with a computer. Entitled Windows 93 the simulator is actually inspired by Windows 95 with its trademark grey, moveable boxes and somewhat threatening pixelated icons. The duo have thought of everything and have left no stone unturned when it comes to recreating how computers used to look and feel, which subsequently makes it totally hilarious.

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    This week we chat Rebecca Wright’s fantastic article about the drop-off rate of female design students, Graphic Design Festival Scotland and Darren Cullen’s controversial Pocket Money Loans pop up shop. You can listen using the SoundCloud embed below or you can subscribe via iTunes here. See you next week!

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    Back in March, Professor Phil Cleaver released a small but weighty new book entitled What They Didn’t Teach You In Design School. The book sought to fill people in on the finer points of design education often skimmed over by busy tutors, and the result is a funny, nitty-gritty-hitting publication that is genuinely useful! For our Back to School feature we asked Phil to share a few of his favourite, most memorable excerpts from the book. Enjoy!

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    No magazine gets snapped up and devoured like Apartamento when it arrives into the It’s Nice That studio – there’s something about its size, understated beauty and incomparable wit that makes it irresistable. It states that it’s an “everyday life interiors magazine,” but it’s so much more than that, providing in-depth interviews with some of the coolest people who walk on this earth, with snooping photographs of their dwellings to boot. Now on its 14th edition, I wanted to ask Omar Sosa, the magazine’s much-loved founder, a little about this issue, those in the past, and where Apartamento is headed.

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    Embarrassingly, I only recently realised the magic and majesty of The Paris Review. I came across it when a recent issue was illustrated by one of my favourite artists, Chris Ware. Eager to see who was responsible for this decision, I tracked down their art editor and came across Charlotte Strick. Charlotte is a fantastic, intelligent book jacket designer who is utterly seeped in the work that she makes, so much so that she writes about design almost as much as she practices it. I was keen to speak to Charlotte about what she did and what got her there, but I wasn’t prepared for the level of detail she was to go in. – she gives a truly spectacular interview. Here she is…

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    If you’re slightly unhappy in your day-to-day job and secretly feel that perhaps you should be doing something a tad more creative, look away now. This film leads you up whitewashed stairs to a gargantuan, high-ceilinged New York studio, inhabited by two well-known artists, Ana Kras and Devendra Banhart. We’ve featured Ana’s work a few times on the site for her beautiful, simplistic, friendly furniture design and works on paper.

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    It was hard to think of creatives that didn’t actually go to art school; we asked around but surprisingly few came forward to say they were never formally trained in their profession. We were surprised when Carl Kleiner told us he hadn’t completed a degree at an arts university, so we asked him to tell us why that was, and how, if at all, it has affected the way he works now. Accompanying this article is a new series by Carl entitled There Will Be Blood – further proof that a three-year stint art school wasn’t necessary for this talented man. Here he is…

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    Haven’t you always wished you were a flippy-flappy ol’ slice of bread, flopping all over a perilous kitchen and collecting grime whilst simultaneously completing complicated missions? I have, which is why this new game I Am Bread is so exciting. It was developed in London by Bossa Studios who create Bafta-winning games such as Monstermind, Surgeon Simulator 2013, and Deep Dungeons of Doom.

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    We often find ourselves discussing the role, and lack of women in the world of graphic design. Rather than try and cackhandedly work it out for ourselves we decided to ask someone at the frontline of the issue to help explain it. Rebecca Wright is programme director of graphic communication design at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. With Lucienne Roberts, she is also co-founder of GraphicDesign&, a pioneering publishing house exploring the relationship between graphic design and the wider world, and the value that it brings. GraphicDesign& will be launching a survey for graphic designers in early 2015 as part of a new project which uses social science to look at who graphic designers are and how they work.

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    This is nuts. When you thought OK GO couldn’t do any better in one take than their last, famed effort then think again. The foursome are back with one of the most staggering efforts in the history of music videos, this time set in some sort of airport where the gang ride around on electronic unicycles popping umbrellas with about 1000 extras to form kaleidoscopic patterns when shot from above. The jaw dropping first few minutes is totally trumped in the last minute where the whole formation quadruples in size leaving you with your jaw resting on the desk in front of you. Unreal.

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    There’s a reason Jeremy Leslie is one of the most knowledgable guys on the planet when it comes to magazines, he spent a good few years at London College of Communication back in the 1980s honing his skill when magazines and printed matter were in their absolute heyday. We were curious as to the experiences Jeremy had at art school in the early 1980s and how much (if at all) it informed his love for publications today. Naturally, we wanted to see what he looked like back then. Turns out it’s similar to what everyone looked like in the 1980s: the same, but with more hair. Here he is on student life and the value of a good education with fantastic tutors.

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    Francesca Jane Allen studied Photography at the prestigious London College of Communication. Since then she’s been an It’s Nice That Graduate and is now on a total rise – 70,000 adoring Instagram followers and emails flooding in from established publications from all over the world to commission her. A few weeks ago we wrote to Francesca asking her to write a piece about her time at art school. She was one of the few people who responded with a negative point of view on the subject, so we asked her to elaborate on why it wasn’t for her, and how even though you’re encouraged to go, perhaps sometimes it isn’t always the right thing to do. Here she is on why you don’t have to go to art school to be a spectacular photographer…

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    IKEA are known for using their stores to promote their goods (I’m referring of course to the highly successful ad where they filled one of their shops with cats and filmed it) and today they’re back with a new spot to celebrate Hallowe’en. This time they’ve taken the famous scene from The Shining where Danny rolls around on his trike and inserted that same ominous fear into their own store. I swear anyone that puts a Rail Cam anywhere and follows a kid on a small tricycle around for a while is going to give everyone the heebie-jeebies, and this is no exception. The ending’s a bit weird, but at least you’ll be able to sleep after watching it, which is more than I can say for the original.

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    Don’t know who King Zog are? SORT IT OUT. Okay fine, they’re four strapping lads who all went to uni together who absent-mindedly, perhaps drunkenly dreamt of forming a collective upon graduating. Unlike most people who have dreams, they actually went and bloody did it. Now they’re all rather successful and clever I thought it might be funny to humiliate them online and ask them to show us their best and most catastrophic university projects – turns out even their shit ones are better than most. Oh well. Take it away boys.

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    I’m super into these portraits by Maya Fuhr, I think I spent about 45 seconds staring into the pond-coloured eyes of the guy two pics down. Maya’s got this magic touch when it comes to photography, her work is so simultaneously humble and powerful, making her the perfect candidate for quietly strong editorial and personal work. We’ve covered her editorial before – a brilliant photo shoot of girls in messy bedrooms – but something about the power of her portraits made us want to write about her again. She also recently opened up to us about her days as college a fresher, and the perils of choosing the wrong degree (with some brilliant photographs of her in 2008 to accompany it, naturally).

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    Setting up a design studio and changing your name to a cool pseudonym is a good two-fingers-up to life on the quiet side. Parisian designer Julien Ducourthial decided to make this leap, and now overseas The Jazzist, offering bold, fluoro design work “serving in fields of graphic design, illustration and art direction in digital & printed media.” When Julien emailed us he told us he was inspired by 8-bit imagery and cartoons, which gave us an immediate inkling that we were going to like his work. Anyone looking to commission a great French designer any time soon? Julien is your man.

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    This week the whole of London has been going nuts for art – what with Frieze, The Sunday Art Fair and the Turner Prize all going on at once. None of these events would be nearly as good without a specially curated (sorry) mixtape that features strictly art-related songs. Think there aren’t that many songs about art? Think again, there are loads, and I’m as surprised as you are. If you think we’ve forgotten any gems just add them in via the comments box below and we’ll add them in. Happy art-ing everyone!

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    There is something incredibly pleasing about this odd collection of passenger-less log flumes. Without the crowds of families and awkward first dates there’s something a little bit sad, maybe even philosophical about them. The photos have been collected by Falmouth grad Zef Cherry-Kynaston whose website boasts one of the most brilliant CVs in existence. “A log flume winds its way around a watery course and slowly climbs the lift hill,” Zef says on his site. “Reaching the top, it then hurtles down the slope. A camera flashes moments before the flume plunges into the water below. Splash! The resulting image is a souvenir; a snapshot of joyous exhilaration.”

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    Another one pilfered off Haw-Lin here I’m afraid, (I can’t help it if their taste is better than everyone else’s can I?). This charming selection of photographs of aesthetically-blessed chaps hanging out with pedigree dogs is by Philippe Jarrigeon, the man who once charmed us with square oranges back in the day. This shoot was commissioned by the spectacular Double Magazine, and is testament to why they’re currently on their 27th issue – they clearly know what they’re doing content-wise. If you think cute boys and pups are click-bait then I’d be inclined to disagree – the world needs happy photography, and you don’t get much more joy in an editorial than this. Like what you see? Let me point you this way to another fantastic shoot with a similar concept from 2012.

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    What a podcast this week! Rob’s away, so the kids’ table that is Liv Siddall, Maisie Skidmore and James Cartwright reigns supreme! This week we chew the fat by way of Iggy Pop’s John Peel Lecture about the state of the music industry, and the treasure-packed spectacle that is Frieze London and Frieze Masters 2014.

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    Victoria Siddall has worked at Frieze for just over a decade and two years ago was made Director of Frieze Masters. Excitingly, just a few weeks ago she was appointed Director of Frieze Masters, Frieze New York and Frieze London. As well as being one of the most powerful women in the art world, Victoria is also my sister, so I was curious to find out how she’s feeling on the dawn of her new career.

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    People try for decades to become “good” designers, but sometimes your mate’s Dad can pull something out of the bag that trumps your every effort. Frustrated at the time it takes to build and launch paper planes, this man used cutting-edge 3D-printing technology to create a machine that does the hard work for you. Just when you think the design of the plane-wielding machine doesn’t look too exciting, he turns it upside down to reveal the intricate workings inside. How fantastic to see someone put 3D-printing to a unique and very silly use, rather than making something we’ve all seen before.

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    Self-proclaimed “Charlie Bucket lookalike” Stuart Heritage is one of the It’s Nice That team’s favourite writers. Working primarily for The Guardian, Stu’s now famous live-blogs embrace television black-holes such as The X Factor, First Dates and Gogglebox and put a carefree, humorous spin on footage that could otherwise make you lose faith in mankind. His observational humour is what’s got him where he is today, so we knew he’d be the perfect candidate to speak tellingly bout his days as a wide-eyed, floppy-haired Fresher. To read more of Stu’s writing, you can find it over here.

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    “In February 2013, 18 weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer.” That’s the opening statement on the website of graphic novelist Matilda Tristram, who channeled this painful chapter of her life into a bestselling comic entitled Probably Nothing. We interviewed Matilda a while back on the site and were so intrigued by her story, we had to know more. In this revealing, insightful Bookshelf, Matilda shows us the fantastic books that have inspired her to be one of the most important and engaging graphic novelists working today. Here she is…

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    It’s tricky to put Ilona Gaynor into a specific art and design category. In a way she is a situation designer who invents plots and circumstances to explore complicated themes and ideas that are displayed like immaculately-designed premeditated detective stories.

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    I came across the work of Matthias Geisler over on Booooooom the other day and was reminded that we hadn’t posted something like this in a while. Matthias’ work is a swirling blend of spirits and creatures that are created with meticulous use of pencil crayons and water-colours. Is it me or are watercolours real in at the moment? All the cool kids seem to be using them.

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    Anyone who’s worked for Ryan McGinley is probably covered in a lil’ pinch of magic dust when it comes to photography. Eric Chakeen proves this point – his personal and commissioned shots are a wild mix of humour and professionalism that is hard to come by. Working in New York, Eric’s skill lies in his ability to roam the streets and take portraits of people with true personality. From a guy munching on a cigar on a scooter to a dog in a post-vet neck cone, anything he turns his lens on turns to gold. You could argue that it doesn’t take much to get a good shot of Alexa Chung, but would many people choose to photograph her in such a stripped-back way? I think not. How great to see someone doing something that so many people are experimenting with right now, but adding that extra bit of style and wit. Cool guy.

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    Welcome aboard the weekend! This week at It’s Nice That HQ we’ve been talking about the gripping new podcast from the guys over at This American Life, Serial, pondering getting on trains that don’t actually have drivers, wallowing in the sweet, sweet cheesy goodness that is the new BBC cover of God Only Knows and replaying the fantastic animation about online dating below. What have you been doing?

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    It’s funny how much of this interview with Kyle Platts resonated with me, as I’m sure it will with you. When you’re a kid violence is so cool – any excuse to watch the last scene of Braveheart or go to The London Dungeon is leapt upon with an enthusiasm you probably don’t experience as much now you’re older. As part of our Back to School month we wanted to ask some of our favourite illustrators to share with us some drawings they made when they were at school. I knew we’d get some gold, but I never expected anything this good. Here’s Kyle Platts on how his drawing has evolved over the years, and why he was so obsessed with blood and guts.