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

1447 articles
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    In case you were wondering (which you probably were) what Kyle Platts has been up to recently, the answer is rather a lot. Don’t worry, he’s still churning out drawings that resemble the illegitimate love-child of the Bash Street Kids and Beavis and Butthead at an unstoppable rate. His latest lump of work is, satisfyingly, much like his old work but even better – the detail is tighter, the colours and brighter and his choices of materials are getting increasingly varied. We caught up with Kyle for a chat about residencies, Pick Me Up, his new work and some fellow artists he’s excited about at the moment.

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    A very professional beyond-his-years film here from Kingston University student Scott Carthy. For two days he followed some very fast-moving street performers around New York and discovered their talent and the jeopardy they have recently found themselves in. “Manhattan, since mid March, has seen an urgent reform, with arrests of performers using the cars as their stage trebling in a New York minute,” Scott told us. “Section 1050.6© of the New York city Transit Rules of Conduct states that performers are ‘free to use the subway stations, but can not operate within the cars themselves.’ Understandably this crack down has come as a result of complaints, but a bias becomes apparent as attitudes towards these dancers seem to be split right down the middle.”

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    People look better under coloured lights – think nightclubs or Icelandic people smiling beneath auroras – and that’s especially true when they’re prancing around with their naughty bits flailing around all over the place. Beautiful humans lit with rainbow colours and smoke is my idea of a perfect project, which is why Maciek Jasik is a surefire new favourite. His hazy portraits of men and women of all shapes and sizes careering around in a studio evoke a strange feeling in my gut that I haven’t had since I first discovered Ryan McGinley – as if Maciek’s discovered something about humans that we weren’t previously aware of but now we have to live with.

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    There’s a reason why everyone stopped watching Pimp My Ride and that’s because the before-and-after process isn’t as effective when you’re making something look fundamentally worse. In this much more appealing makeover tale, director Laurie Lynch has taken a vehicle and transformed it into something inexplicably better, and used it the new video for I Wanna Feel by Second City.

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    I knew the Bookshelf of Present & Correct would be beautiful, but I was in no way prepared for this. Each of Neal’s books makes me so jealous that I’m working out a way to break into his house and raid his shelves for more beauties. From rare Ken Garland books to old publications dedicated to stitching typography, Neal’s got it all, and it’s beautifully photographed too. Wait a minute, who exactly is Neal? He told us in his own words.

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    Like hyper-real paintings or 3D printed sculptures, it’s easy to hear the words “biro art” and feel like shrugging and wandering off to look at literally anything else instead. In this case, I think we can let it slide, as Kevin Lucbert has blown our presumptuous minds apart with his work this morning. That specific Bic colour of blue used in all of his work reminds you of exams or filling in forms, so when it’s used to portray doorways into parallel universes, suburban streets with a mystical glimmer or a white-robed being strolling through an enchanted nay dangerous forest, it’s something of a breath of fresh air. His ideas aside, Kevin is also a spectacular draughtsman with a diploma from the National School of Decorative Arts in Paris and in his spare time he “realises drawings for the French Press.” What a guy.

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    Fantastic choice today from famed animator and Pick Me Up Select Julia Pott. Julia’s cute but informed work is known and enjoyed by many, particularly because it’s usually pretty hilarious, cute and touching all at once. Here she is telling us about why Jamie Thraves’ video for Radiohead’s Just is the best music video ever made. After you’ve checked this out, have a read of a great interview with Julia we did a few years back, it’s a real insight into her career as an animator.

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    Life ain’t bad if you’re a freelance photographer as good as Thomas Prior, he just spent a few weeks roaming around Turkey and Greece taking shots of sun-drenched stairways, charcoal skies and craggy rock faces dotted with humans for travel magazine Afar. These are in no way your clichéd travel shots of old men clutching baguettes or stray cats asleep in rhododendron bushes – Thomas has managed to document fairly touristy places without making them look cheap or tacky at all. If anything he’s actually embraced the tourism and dwelt on it, mixing in images of souvenirs, tourist police and water-slides with honest shots revealing the true characteristics of the country’s landscapes and inhabitants.

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    Cornish Ninja Tune singer songwriter Fink has kindly made us a Friday mix! If you know Fink’s music then you’re going to absolutely bloody love this, 12 tracks of his personal favourites to get you through this afternoon. It’s got everything: BB King, Paul Simon, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Joni Mitchell and more. He’s got a new single out called Hard Believer which you can listen to over here if you prefer his own music to his recommendations. Until next week!

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    Now I’m no mathematician, but surely the internet + the ancient craft of ceramics = slick pots with a rainbow fade. These are like online catnip to girls who are into Flight of the Conchords, zine fairs, and houseplants. Ceramicist Angel Oloshove is way, way ahead of the pottery game with these sherbert-coloured beauties she calls Little Creatures.

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    Sure the branding for Daft Punk’s merchandise leans towards the more sexist types of adverts from the 70s, but boy is it done well. The tongue in cheek posters that look like something out of an old copy of LIFE magazine are promoting the French duo’s latest range of merchandise, which in itself is as cheesy as the ads.

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    I love Pick Me Up, especially the private view. Fine cheese, meats, booze and the best illustration and graphic arts you can hope for under one roof. In its fifth year the festival seems to have graduated from being a trade fair at which members of the public could by prints and knick knacks they wanted to hang in their kitchen, to being a place that celebrates the true craft of the world’s youngest and most talented artists.

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    The people at It’s Nice That – including me – who aren’t really into football get reprimanded for referring to it as “the beautiful game” or “the game of two halves” or “the game of the reds and the blues.” But you know, it’s hard for someone who isn’t into football to get emotional about it. Sometimes you see footage of a screaming crowd or a kid in a stripy scarf crying in the stalls an it makes you weepy, sure. But when you see photos like this, of kids running around in the evening sun playing “the beautiful game” with a makeshift ball with some twigs as goalposts then yeah, it does seem pretty unbelievable. Well done Austen for taking this series of shots, and for making the most of his trip round the world rather than just sitting in cafes reading The Celestine Prophecy with a bunch of vest-wearing Etonians.

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    Another Flickr prodigy rears its multicoloured head in the form of Nadine Redlich, a German illustrator whose work is a dangerous cocktail of hilarious and magical puerility. I did some quick digging around for some more information on Nadine and came across a short bio of her on German illustration blog Rotopol Press: “Redlich was born around 1879. In her early life she began her studies at the Fachhochschule Düsseldorf in the field of communication design. She was able to end these studies with a diploma after more than 100 years.”

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    Some photographers like to take beautiful photos of their mates hanging out in parks, or portraits of famous people standing by nice windows. Other photographers, and I have to say my personal favourite photographers, prefer to take wild, rainbow-infused images that capture your imagination and fling it into the corner of a psychedelic brain festival. Brooklyn photographer Brian Vu does that to me, his compositions of precious stones, human flesh and scenes are like slices of a history that doesn’t exist, or just a mash-up of The Holy Mountain and Topshop in 2008. Amazing.

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    Despite sharing his surname with one of literature’s most dastardly characters, Paul is actually a really nice guy. He’s a well-known, London-based artist and illustrator and is also the creative director of Human After All and the former creative director of Little White Lies magazine. So yeah, pretty talented really. He’s given us a very, very concise peek into his bookshelf today and my oh my does he have some gems! A book of Chinese apothecary packaging design? Yes please.

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    Sam Vanallemeersch’s website proclaims that he “draws for you” – and what an honour that is. These images are updates from the man who had the most viewed article on It’s Nice That in 2013, and you can see why. Not many illustrators or artists can boast a portfolio so rich, unique and powerful, but Sam’s got this ability to transport us into his chaotic world with just one glance at one of his hectic, jittery scenes. Interestingly, his piece of work for International Women’s Day is aesthetically very different to his trademark style, but it’s just more proof that Sam is exceptionally talented. His drawings give you the feeling that you’re at once terrified, lost and out of your depth in a strange apocalyptic land, but you’re happy to be there because to be honest, Sam’s world shits all over the reality of our own.

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    Will looking into artist’s studios ever get boring? I think not, and neither do Freunde von Freunden who make this activity their profession. The Berlin collective travel to the homes and workplaces of some of the world’s most quietly spectacular people who choose to adorn their little nests with beautiful objects, and take pride in things such as ancient rugs, houseplants and hanging crystals.

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    Here ya go! Another installment from the music men at the ever-brilliant NTS Radio, this time from Shane Connolly (or Shamos), creative director of the station. “I run a night called LIFE which has been running for almost three years where I invite record collectors and music lover to play the music they love,” Shane tells us. “This mix is quite different to what I play out, but is definitely music I love and listen to on my own so this is a good chance to play it.” It’s Bank Holiday, so it’s the perfect time to make a fresh batch of coffee, get the daffodils in the vase, put your feet (no shoes) on the sofa and turn this up.

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    Wow! This is such nice work. Visual identities, posters, books and brochures have never looked so cutting edge and friendly at the same time. Eps51 (cool name) have the great ability to be able to combine classic, historic imagery and typography with modern flourishes to build up one of the richest portfolios I’ve seen in ages. Not only is it rich, it’s really interesting. With a lot of design portfolios you get an idea that they’re “cool” and everything but you don’t necessarily see the substance behind the nice fades and gilded type. The Eps51 site gives you a friendly, informative blurb about each one of their worthwhile projects that convey not just a hell of a lot of design knowledge, but also a true passion for what they do. The bonus is that they’re looking for freelancers, go, go, go!

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    Like inhaling helium or unexpectedly getting a free meal, there’s definitely something magic about messing around with slow motion or playback on film. It’s an easy and very pleasurable art form, and has been taken advantage of a lot in the world of film, possibly most impressively in Spike Jonze’s video for the Pharcdyde’s Drop. In this case, filmmakers Simon Bouisson have wandered the streets of Tokyo backwards and then played it backwards to make it look as if the star of the film is making his way through a city of backwards-walking people. Get your head around that? Never mind, just watch it.

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    Sometimes the best projects are just people injecting some light into dormant, ubiquitous objects that lurk in corners waiting to be transformed. Ever contemplate how the clutter of objects on your shelves don’t really fit on your shelves? No problem. Kyuhyung Cho – creator of such design classics as the Poke Stool and Oneness is back with collaborator Erik Olovsson to give a new answer to our interior design prayers in the form of ROOM, a collection of mismatched boxes that can be arranged to form a curiously beautiful shelving unit. As well as being easy on the eye, it’s also pretty hilarious, particularly the part that has a separate hole for each of your pens to sleep in like a stationery version of a dovecote. Lovely.

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    It’s funny, this here comic. It’s the gift that just keeps on giving. Once you’ve been seduced by the candy colours Vincent’s chosen for his palette then suddenly you meet the host of hilarious French characters he’s invented. Then you realise that the storyline he’s written is actually one very, very long image that he wants you to scroll along to read. How’s that for a modern day comic book? We spoke to Vincent about this appealing project that he made for Professeur Cyclope magazine, mainly because (most of us) have no idea what the words say. Should have paid more attention in class, yadda yadda yadda.

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    Never before have we had someone on the Bookshelf feature who has admitted to stealing a book because it was so engrossing. Okay so it was accidental theft, but it still counts, right? Today we have brilliant Canadian director Jonathan Van Tulleken whose directorial work includes that of Misfits and Top Boy. He was keen to show us his books, and you can totally see why – he bloody loves them! If you’re not logged on to Amazon by the end of reading this article, I’ll eat my hat. Take it away Jonathan.

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    Stamps deserve to be emblazoned with heroes. Remember when artist Steve McQueen made a series of soldiers killed in Afghanistan? or when the Royal Mail chose to promote classic characters from British children’s television? It’s the perfect medium with which to send national treasures across the globe. Even if you only ever use the postal system when writing your grandma a postcard.

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    Raise an earthenware mug of ale to the Nous Vous boys, as it’s time to celebrate the launch of their fantastic new website. As with all of their lovely work, this concept of this new site seems to have been approached wisely and with tactile, gentle care. As you enter, a smiling figure encourages you to use your keys to navigate your way around slowly to take in all their wonderful work, old and new.

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    How cool is this? Fantastic photographer Dan Martenson got asked to photograph The Yeah Yeah Yeahs for Holiday magazine and decided to make it look like a set of passport photos taken in some old photobooth. Why does this work? Because The Yeah Yeah Yeahs remind us of being teenagers and our brains being constantly infused with love, excitement, getting drunk and the possibilities of life. What does a photo booth remind you of? Travel, friendship, memories and wild times. The combination of both great band and ubiquitous image-making tool is a match made in heaven, and testament to what a great photographer Dan is.

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    Good choice, Camilla! Surprised no one else has chosen Jonathan Glazer’s career-making epic of a music video yet. Camilla is an expert filmmaker whose work stretches across fashion films, music videos and promos. We particularly like her because she’s responsible for putting a member of Franz Ferdinand in one of those creepy horse masks for a music video. Here she is talking about one of the most legendary music videos of all time, Radiohead’s Street Spirit.

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    If you’re into hand-drawn type then look away now in case you wet yourself with excitement. A quick visit to collaborative blog Friends of Type last week was enough to show us that they have been very busy in the last few years since we posted about them. Well, when I say busy I don’t mean busy as in staring at a screen all day like a chump, but busy making beautiful letter-pressed posters and examples of swooping, colourful letterforms.

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    Hello! Here we are. How’s your week been? Great, great. Yeah not bad, thanks. Playing Monument Valley mostly, mixed in with listening to a lot of Beyonce, talking about Nirvana and washing out our dirty tupperware after use, drying it, and placing it back on the shelf where it lives. We thought it might be nice to accompany this Weekender with a song, so before you read on, press play on this lovely Weezer cover by naughty Mac DeMarco.

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    Ever heard Anna Calvi sing? It feels like you’re on Odysseus’ ship being led to the rocks but you don’t mind about your imminent death one bit because her siren sound is that brilliant. Anna famously taught herself to sing from scratch in her kitchen when her parents were out, and has since stunned audiences all around the world with her tremendous, booming voice and terrifyingly beautiful face. To celebrate the launch of her new single Piece by Piece she’s kindly made a mix for us this Friday, and it is bloody brilliant. She’s chosen the likes of Pixies, Cocteau Twins and Ennio Morricone for us today – thank you Anna! Enjoy.

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    A lot of websites and magazines have technology and creative digital media as the forefront of their coverage. I never really got it before, until visiting Resonate festival in Belgrade last week when suddenly it dawned on me: turns out technology really is the future. Whoops!

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    Beautiful video here from the mystic Brooklyn siren that is Sharon van Etten. It was directed by Michael Palmieri whose impressive back-catalogue of music videos includes the likes of The Strokes, Belle and Sebastian, Foo Fighters and Beck. In this video for Sharon he’s taken her song title Taking Chances quite literally, setting her in a spiritual environment surrounded by smoking cups, plants, and classical, illustrated tarot cards. “When I first heard the song the lyrics immediately made me think about the opening sequence to the great Agnes Varda film Cleo from 5 to 7, one of my favorites,” Michael says of the video.

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    StoreDot have just invented a small, rectangular device that when attached to your Smartphone can charge it from 0% to 100% in 30 seconds. I don’t want to appear shallow and disillusioned, but this is quite literally the answer to my prayers. Sometimes you wonder, don’t you, why things just don’t exist when they should, and this is a totally classic example of that. Just think in our lifetimes we’re going to wave goodbye to all of life’s annoyances. Goodbye, tangled cables! Sayonara, no WiFi! People still insisting on riding horses? See you later. I’m so excited about the future, and this is MERELY THE BEGINNING.

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    This week, editor Liv Siddall wonders why you don’t see that many autobiographies from creatives. Seen any? Disagree? Throw in your two cents in our comments section at the bottom.

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    We reviewed the Jean Paul Gaultier show that everyone’s talking on the site earlier today, and mentioned the astonishing amount of contributors to his career. As well as photographers, stylists, make-up artists, wig-makers and seemingly the entire population of London, Jean Paul had a selection of people who, over the years, inspired him to make some of his most well-known pieces of work. For the show, curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot had a brainwave and decided to commission artist Annie Kevans to create portraits of each of Jean Paul’s most iconic muses, from Boy George and Amy Winehouse to Kate Moss and David Bowie.

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    Okay so before we begin let’s set the story straight here and lay down the fact that I know very little about fashion. That’s kind of the reason why I was so curious about going along to the Barbican to see the preview of their latest show that everyone is talking about: The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.

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    Feeling a bit blue? Too many shandies on the weekend making you have a bit of a two/three-day hangover? I’m with ya baby, but don’t fear, Ed Cheverton’s here to inject some serotonin back into your grey brain. Lovely Ed was an It’s Nice That Graduate back in the summer of 2013 and has since been doing what we like best – continuing to make fantastic work and putting it out into the world.

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    Remember that amazing animation of a skeleton running through the shelves of a bookshop commissioned by handbag-maker and book-lover Olympia le Tan? Simon Cahn worked with Spike Jonze on that masterpiece, and has since been making a whole bunch of incredible films for the likes of NOWNESS, Hanni el Khatib and Hermès. Simon’s a pretty cool guy, and a loyal one too it turns out – for his favourite music video he’s picked a somewhat overlooked piece of work from the Spike Jonze back-catalogue. I don’t know about you but I always forget how hilarious Ludacris is.

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    In case we haven’t told you a billion times already – oh wait, we have – Tavi Gevinson and Minna Gilligan very kindly had a conversation on the theme of Doing it Differently for our Spring issue of Printed Pages. They covered some of life’s most important topics including Madonna, hoarding, being the CEO of your own life, felt tips, and not giving a shit about people hating stuff you create.