Author Archive: Liv Siddall


Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees 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.

1541 articles
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    Who needs stupid real flags when fictional ones are this beautiful? Mariana Abasolo (cool name) has created these magnificent, bright images that are somewhere in-between celebratory bunting and the backs of playing cards, and make her Flickr account look like some sort of culty party. We don’t know much about Mariana, but we do know that her work hasn’t always been like this – a quick scan through the rest of her portfolio shows that she’s been making some truly curious drawings for a while now – browser windows drawn in coloured pencil and strange, surreal living room scenes to name but a few. Very impressive, Mariana. More please!

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    Nicos and Tom are a powerful animation duo from London whose recent project Tharis Sleeps was perhaps one of the most ambitious stop-motion films made in recent history. If you haven’t checked it out yet, go over here and then buy frames here. If you have, and you are already fans of these very talented young men’s work, have a read of their joint-favourite music video, the classic Money for Nothing by everyone’s Dad’s favourite band, Dire Straits.

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    Whenever you’re in a group of people discussing where you want to go next in the world, Japan is always the place people have at their top spot. I’m with them, and this work by Yuki Kitazumi pretty much encapsulates the magic that’s so enticing – cloud-thick blossom swirling over gangs of uniformed schoolchildren, tiny birds tweeting above the heads of a delicate garden party, gaggles of windswept tourists crossing over grey waters on enormous bridges. Yuki Kitazumi’s washed-out collages and pastel water-colour images depict just that – adding in some truly moving illustrations of caring for the elderly and women in the process of getting dressed. If only all illustration was as palpable as this.

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    Hello pod listeners! We don’t know how many there are of you, potentially a dwindling amount, but hello to those of you that do listen – we love you very much. This week it’s Liv Siddall in the host-throne, with her lovely minions Maisie Skidmore, James Cartwright and Rob Alderson. Ready? Let’s go. As ever listen using the SoundCloud embed below or subscribe via iTunes here.

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    I love projects that are an homage to something cool from days gone by. I even get a bit weepy when I see the statue of Prince Albert outside The Royal Albert Hall that a heartbroken Queen Victoria commissioned. This project by Belgian illustrator Jangojim is not one of heartache and desolation, but a series of film posters created with his pal Anton Van Steelandtas as an homage to two mysterious Belgian filmmakers, The Jangton Brothers.

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    I must have written Jan’s surname about 30 times by now and I still can’t remember how to spell it. It’s that curious, somewhat sneaky “z” that peeks cheekily around the “h” with a personality not unlike the work of the talented man himself. What a long way this guy has come after drawing that inexplicably charming image of a guy with a face on upside down a few years back, to this in-demand freelance illustrator doing work for The Plant, NB Studio and most recently the newest issue of our own publication, Printed Pages. You can see why everyone wants a slice of Jan, his cheerful, confident lines, refreshing colour palettes and facial expressions of his characters (their little smiles always remind me of Dougal from Father Ted) are absolutely splendid. Nice one Buchczhzizhk.

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    This week, editor Liv Siddall gets excited about the upcoming ELCAF festival in London, and tells you all sternly why YES it is very important that we keep going to live events surrounding graphic arts and comics.

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    As well as providing you with a platform upon which to lurk the new girlfriends of boyfriends past, pretend your life is better than it actually is, and make fun of old classmates who are now obese, Facebook is also a place to find corkingly good magazine content. When illustrator extraordinaire Rose Blake posted a photo of her and her dad Peter chilling out in front of one of his paintings, we asked Rose if she had any more where that came from.

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    Wahey! We love booze and books in equal measures here at It’s Nice That, so it’s our pleasure to introduce Simon Lyle and his five favourite books to you today. Simon is the editor of Hot Rum Cow, the printed publication containing the hottest news on all things booze – from cocktails to beers and from bartenders to barflies, this magazine’s got it all. Here he is on which publications have inspired him along the way to becoming editor of Hot Rum Cow

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    What I love about Wonderland magazine is that each issue gets more and more Wonderland every single time. They stick to their pop culture, cheesy-without-being-tacky, fun-championing guns in a big way, which is why when I saw their new issue had a huge feature on Mariah Carey, I couldn’t wait to tuck in to its heavily-glossed pages. The interview with Mariah was conducted by deputy editor Jack Mills (who also edits Rollacoaster) and after reading the interview with Mariah, we had a million questions about what it must be like to interview such an infamous, sparkling enigma. So read on to find out as we asked Jack all about it…

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    Oh hey guys! This week’s podcast is an absolute banger. Sans Rob Alderson the terrific trio Liv, Maisie and James are joined by It’s Nice That co-founder and kind-of celebrity Alex Bec. To be honest we had to get him in because one of the topics was football-based and we three don’t know anything about that. As ever listen using the SoundCloud embed below or subscribe via iTunes here.

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    Phwoarr! This is good. I’m pretty sure we’ve done a post on any person who has ever done an editorial shoot for ’SUP magazine, and Leonard is our latest find. He’s most well-known for a black and white photo of Sebastien Tellier that he took a few years back, but delving further on his site proves that he’s way more than just a cool guy with a camera who hangs around with French singers. Fluoro still-lifes, gloved hands (creepy) and apples resting terrifyingly on old video games give you a weird itching sensation in your brain, like Leonard has sneakily tapped a nerve that has never been tapped before. If you prefer his music photography, make sure you drag that photo of the Emeralds singer holding two tabby cats into your favourites folder, stat.

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    I’m reading Just Kids by Patti Smith at the moment (aware that I’m late to the party) and I’m constantly stricken with jealousy over how she was alive and in New York at the best possible time, and that magical era of art and music will perhaps never happen again, in my lifetime anyway. What I can take comfort in, however, is that I share the same earth as a bunch of illustrators and artists who make such weird, spectacular work – and that too is a rare and unforeseen period in history. These artists are people like Derek Ercolano here, whose primary colour comics and distorted images are the work, I think, of a preternatural genius. I don’t know if he knows the other contemporaries in his clan: HTML Flowers, Simon Hanselmann, Patrick Kyle, Tom Sewell, Rob Pybus and Sophia Foster-Dimino to name a few, but if he does, I hope they’re all partying in a wet cave somewhere together.

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    Here we are, round two of our Graduates catch ups in which we get back in touch with our grown-up children from last year and see what powerful things they’ve been up to since we let them fly the nest. Turns out they’ve all been doing exceptionally well, which is nice. Here’s some absolutely fantastic grads Edward Monaghan, Lottie Brzozowski and Ollie Willis sharing their knowledge on how you earn a buck or two in this big bad world these days.

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    Such good illustration here from one of Agent Pekka’s sparkling roster of artists, Sanna Mander. If you like vintage cars, Edward Scissorhands, The Flintstones or I Dream of Genie then this is going to be right up your street. Fantastic cluttered illustrations illustrate magazine fantastic articles all over the world with little 1950s-style trademarks such as pronounced wood grains, pointy eyeliner, cute tablecloths and basically any aesthetic that you might see in, let’s say, the 1976 Freaky Friday intro. Some people get bothered about illustrators taking from the days of yore, but personally this kitsch style is right up my suburban American street. That illustration for Brummell magazine is absolutely beautiful.

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    When someone’s work looks like the legs of David Hockney’s painting trousers, or the vomit of someone who’s just nailed a pack of Skittles, you know it’s gonna be the kind of thing we want on our site. Like the spectacular Minna Gilligan or Jordy van Den Nieuwendijk, artist Adam Sultan’s weapon of choice is COLOUR.

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    We’ve long been enormous fans of Ally Capellino, for the timeless bags and vessels she creates that seem to adhere to and stand up to everyday problems of a “doing” person who rides bicycles, carries a lot of books, or just needs a sturdy bag as a tool rather than something to show off. Saying that, everyone I know who’s got an Ally Capellino bag definitely shows it off, and it’s normally so beautiful that no one really minds anyway.

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    My Mum emailed this to me yesterday with the subject title of “try and guess what this is advertising.” Wrongly thinking I’d outwit her, I watched it the whole way through and was still stumped until about three seconds from the end. What a triumphant piece of advertising from none other than some graduates of the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. The ad’s three years old, so we can assume the men behind it, creative Andre Price and direct Andreas Roth, are both powerful filmmakers or ad-men nowadays. You don’t get much better than this fantastic, thrilling advert for what is promoting, in all honesty, a very dull product indeed. It’s dramatic, it’s spine-tingling and it’s genuinely funny enough to make you squeak a little giggle out at the end – and you can’t say that for many ads these days.

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    What a joy it is to come into It’s Nice That and have a filthy, hardback comic book that you’ve been waiting patiently for for what feels like FOREVER sat on your desk. Forming II is the brainchild of Jesse Moynihan, infamous comic book creator and storyboarder for widely-loved cartoon, Adventure Time. For some reason I personally cannot get into the latter, but the former I love with all of my heart.

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    Wow, what a treat this is! Singer, songwriter, comic-book maker and generally nice guy Jeffrey Lewis has made us an extra special It’s Nice That Friday mixtape! He’s even kindly told us a little about each song that he’s chosen. Turns out Jeffrey’s taste in music reflects his own, something that I really love in a mixtape. From Gravediggaz, Lou Reed and spoken word to psychedelic Christian music from the 70s and more, this mix is Jeff through and through and is the perfect accompaniment to your Friday, nay your entire weekend. Let’s all take a minute to be thankful that we’re all on the planet at the same time as this guy.

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    What a doofus am I, visiting Jeremy’s site for like two years and thinking “why the HELL is he not making any more work?” And then realising that yes, he has been making work, it’s just all on his blog. How pleasurable though to click on a link to find pages and pages of new and previously unseen Liebman snaps. What I’ve always loved about Jeremy is that he takes the standard job of going to photograph an artist and does it in a way that no one else does. It’s not rocket science to go and photograph artists in their studios and make candid, pleasant shot, but it is much more difficult to leave with the kind of photographs that Jeremy takes.

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    Here it is, that time of year again, doesn’t a year swing by quickly now we’re all getting older? After launching our Graduates 2014 we then turn to the Graduates of 2013 to ask what they’ve been doing with their year as professional post-grads. Up first is Alice Tye, Ed Cheverton and Charlie Patterson. Hip hip hooray for them all being very powerful and creative still. Let’s start with Alice…

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    There’s a poem often read out at weddings by A.A Milne that starts “where there’s me, there’s poo.” I feel that even though I dislike that poem, it does ring true to my life in that every time I host the pod we end up talking about toilets for at least five minutes. This week is no exception, we hear about toilets, James’ trip to Iceland and some exciting art and design news. As ever listen using the SoundCloud embed below or subscribe via iTunes here.

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    Usually illustration provokes a really happy feeling in me, a feeling of envy mixed with passion and cheer. Sophia Foster-Dimino’s is probably the first I’ve seen that brought me really, really up and then super down because to be honest, why bother doing anything or looking at anyone else’s drawings anymore because it will never be as good as this? We found Sophia through Pitchfork Review creative director Michael Renaud who commissioned her to do a comic for their latest issue. What a great move that was, although that wasn’t her first commission by any means – she’s been a Google Doodler in San Francisco for years. How cool is that? Her work is some of the best I’ve seen in such a long time, a sparkling bag of Rookie, teen films, Moomins, Chris Ware, Studio Ghibli and lobsters. What a woman. More please.

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    This week Apple turned down an application for an app that promotes female masturbation on the grounds that it’s inappropriate. Liv Siddall wonders whether, despite the criticism over the design of the app, that was really the issue here. As always, get involved with your own comments below.

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    Hats and horns off to Charles Fréger who has blown everyone else’s LAME projects out the water with his showstopper of a photography series The Wilder Man. Charles travelled around a total of 18 different European countries in order to investigate the folkloric traditions and legends that surrounds each individual culture. In many festivals, events and traditions across Europe, there is usually a time when a man is dressed up as something wild and fearsome and paraded around a town to signify something or other that happened long ago. Charles decided to put these terrifying characters on a pedestal and shine a light on what they truly look like, away from the pushing crowds of the festivals and rituals. The National Geographic site describes Charles’ quest beautifully:

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    It’s nice to be alive in a time where something so close to home has become such a cult. Becky Sloan and Joe Pelling and co. have just launched their new Kickstarter to fund some more episodes of everyone’s favourite animated series, Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared. The first two episodes saw Sesame Street-like characters try to decipher slightly heavy issues such as creativity and time in a weird, usually pretty manic way that left the lovers of the unusual all over there world dribbling and moaning for more. The two videos combined have had over 20 million views (!!!) and now the duo behind them are keen to make more. The only problem is they haven’t got any money. Luckily for them, and us, Kickstarter exists!

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    No video could open more perfectly than this one from The Lonely Island, which starts with a brilliant Made in Chelsea-esque parody of a windswept British girl on Waterloo Bridge with the London Eye behind her. She’s saying in a horrific Ab Fab accent “Hi this is Bridget, should I come over later?” to a Brooklyn-based Andy Samberg dressed in his finest American lad gear, not giving two effs about what she has to say.

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    Coming across Alexis Beauclair’s work on the enormous, vacuous gravel pit of the internet was like driving past a yard sale and screeching to a halt upon seeing a rare pinball machine you’ve been lusting after for years. Where did this man come from? Check out his bone china-coloured works spattered with post-apocalyptic, bald creatures and lines so delicate they’re like hairs that have dropped on to a scanner from above. Mixed in with all that sci-fi and whimsy is a clear passion for geometry – who knew making a series of pictures in navy triangles and circles could be so beautiful? Thank you Booooooom for showing us Alexis, he’s made our day. The only annoying thing is now we want to buy every single one of his small, beautifully-printed publications.

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    From someone who makes animations about the characters in Guess Who coming to life or short films about small characters meeting and falling in love in treacherous, alien landscapes, it’s pretty weird that Kirsten Lepore is utterly obsessed with Aphex Twin’s Windowlicker. But then again, who wasn’t completely hypnotised when they first saw it? It’s one of those things that remains with you forever, and yes, one of the best music videos of all time. 10 points to Gryffindor for Kirsten sending us a photo of her and a friend dressed up as Richard D. James and one of the creepy dancing girls.

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    Remember back in 2012 when that guy Wlodzimierz Umaniec vandalised a Rothko painting in the Tate Modern? He got jailed for two years, and the mixed reaction from the public was an incredibly interesting one. The painting was taken away by Tate and, since the incident happened, not much has been said about it. For 18 months however, Rothko’s vandalised Black on Maroon has been gradually repaired by the world’s finest restoration crew.

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    Seeing a photo of Earl Sweatshirt rolling a spliff in an open JFK shirt and a terrifying blade being held next to his face as he grins, pink-eyed to the camera is not your everyday kind of photojournalism. In the world of Michael Schmelling, whose instantly recognisable photography has won him editorial spots in magazines like WIRE and our personal in-house favourite, Die Zeit, this is pretty standard.

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    What could be better than a design studio that not only provides the public with cutting-edge designs and album artwork than a studio that also provides their fans with the music they’re listening to while they make them? New York studio Mogollon, founded by Francisco Lopez and Monica Brand in 2004, have got a tasty portfolio of young, colourful work that is accompanied by a number of popular mixes they’ve made. They’ve kindly gifted us our very own, extra special, It’s Nice That mix tape – so crank it up and hear what kind of stuff those design cats across the pond are into.

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    Top tip: if you’re making a toilet paper advert, just get your hands on the nearest soft baby animal and make them do cute things (I’m looking at you, Andrex). The formula for advertising what we really only use to clean our butts after doing a poop doesn’t necessarily need changing, and what better way to detract from how gross that is than with a newborn animal softer than a cloud? Saatchi knows this, and their Stockholm arm have released this advert featuring a lamb wandering around a house trying to find the softest pile of stuff to have a nap on. I don’t blame you Lambi, I don’t blame you. Anyway, the point is we know this isn’t rocket science, and we know that you’d probably click on a land-mine if it had a picture of a cute animal on it, but we had to share this with you. Happy Friday. Maaaahhhhhhh!

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    Apart from being a stark reminder of how horrible sunburn is, there really aren’t any qualms worth noting about Fan Yang-Tsung’s utterly unique paintings. A lot of artists seem to be inspired by swimming pools, the way they distort the lower body and send off messages of leisure, and murder, and sex. In this case, Fan Yang-Tsung has taken his watery muse and represented it in a series of images so bold that you can almost feel the chlorine up your nose. Simple colours, a good knowledge of pool-side plants and some very small paintbrushes can take you far in our books. Swimming caps off to Fan Yang-Tsung!

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    A good, hard pat on the back is deserved for the guys over at The New York Times for the excellent and timely new string to their online bow, The New York Times: Cooking. It is a cosy nook in the World Wide Web that offers the public a wide variety of affordable, seasonal recipes suggested by an interesting but very well-curated selection of wise, up-and-coming chefs. Currently this is just a test site that The New York Times say “will be available to approximately 10,000 users. The Times will use the beta to develop insights on how users interact with the product, and to learn from those insights as it approaches the launch of the full product later this year.”

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    The words “urban art” don’t often conjure up images of spectacular, ground-breaking installations in my mind, rather dodgy tags on piss-stained walls behind the local supermarket. In this case though, urban artist SpY has made something worth writing home about. MOON is an enormous, lit crescent moon that hangs suspended over a plaza in Lausanne by an enormous crane. In the day it looks ghostly and sad, then when night comes and the lights get switched on (I’m always so envious of the people who get to turn really big lights on) it becomes something pretty magical indeed. Check out more of his genuinely enjoyable “urban art” over here and over on his site.

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    It would be easy to live in London and take for granted the brilliant posters and identities promoting shows at some of the capital’s best galleries. When you’re shoving past someone 30 metres below street level you barely have time to take in the work someone’s gone to to tell you to go and see a show at the weekend, you just sort of absorb it.

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    Rearranging the furniture with Tim Walker and having a fully-grown lion wandering around in a room that looks like something out of a Tim Burton movie is just another day at the office for set designer Rhea Thierstein. London-based Rhea is whizzing through a stellar list of clients who are begging for a drop of the magic she sprinkles on to shop windows, fashion shoots, adverts and editorial features.

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    People who champion the smaller, artier, cuter, brighter, funnier publications there are flopping around all over the world are our kinds of people. Katja Chernova is one of those, so who better to ask to recommend us some publications for our weekly Bookshelf feature? Katja is the founder of Ti Pi Tin, a small but powerful art book shop in London’s weird cousin, Dalston. Ti Pi Tin stocks small publications, zines, and basically anything printed and bound and sometimes unnecessary that you inexplicably just really, really want to own. Here she is on her personal top five reads…