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

1456 articles
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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.

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    Only Bompas and Parr could phone up one morning and reveal they’ve recently heard back from someone they sent to the jungle confirming that yes, they have indeed found the shiniest substance known to man. The humble pollia berries (or marble berries to some) are "an intriguing iridescent blue colour, covered with a glossy cell matrix that reflects light equivalent to around a third the level of a silver-backed mirror " and have been used in a very odd and exciting new collaboration between Bompas and Parr and jewellery designer Maud Traon.

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    I knew these images would take me on a trip down memory lane, but I wasn’t quite prepared to open the little blue file of images and be hurtled back to being eight years old, with my nose in a thrice-read Jacqueline Wilson book. Anyone else who grew up obsessed with these incredibly famous children’s books will know about Nick Sharratt, the man behind the instantly-recognisable illustrations for Jacqueline’s stories. He took her tales about children facing up to the perils of adult life and invented characters with his pens that have stayed with us since, if not inspired many of us to pick up a pen and start drawing ourselves.

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    A well-shot film is judged by its ability to be paused and resemble a beautiful photograph. Similarly, in animation, each time the film is paused it should really resemble a very well-drawn, wall-worthy illustration. This film by the After Effects wizard that is Nexus’ Johnny Kelly and writer Scott Burnett does just that, and simultaneously promotes young people designing stuff at the same time.

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    EDITOR’S NOTE: This post was part of our It’s Mice That takeover on April Fools’ Day 2014. You can read our explanation post here or peruse the mice archive here.

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    EDITOR’S NOTE: This post was part of our It’s Mice That takeover on April Fools’ Day 2014. You can read our explanation post here or peruse the mice archive here.

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    You don’t get many bookshelves that are without a copy of Art Spiegelman’s legendary Maus; sometimes legendary gets bandied about a bit much (especially by us!) but we genuinely believe this book is a cornerstone of 21st Century literature.

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    EDITOR’S NOTE: This post was part of our It’s Mice That takeover on April Fools’ Day 2014. You can read our explanation post here or peruse the mice archive here.

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    WOW this is a good choice. Music video-director and generally wonderful filmmaker Tom Haines has picked an absolute classic this afternoon to show you all. Yes it’s a bit of a spoiler (don’t watch this if you plan to watch Once Upon A Time In The West, ever) but it’s so incredibly spine-tinglingly terrific maybe it’s worth the sacrifice? After you’ve checked his favourite music video out, go over to Tom’s site where you can see some of the terrific videos he’s directed for people like Devendra Banhart, The Temper Trap, Nick Cave and many, many others. Wowzah!

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    Seen this going round the internet of late? Well us too, but if you think this is just another bogus list of “things dogs do when they’re scared” or “cats that are really happy to be alive today” then think again. Gabriele Galimberti’s Toy Stories is a well-researched, totally valid project that explores the plastic glory that children of all ages and from all different backgrounds hold dear. In Toy Stories, she travelled around photographing young kids after asking them to select their most treasured possessions, with rather interesting results.

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    What a treat, here we have Otis Marchbank’s Friday mix specially made to make your afternoon that much better. As well as putting this fabulous lump of music together, Otis has also made us a rather nice zine which you can see below. Accompanying a mix with a zine? Uh, that is definitely what we are into, top marks! You may have heard Otis on NTS Radio’s “bi-weekly confederation of weirdos” Pipe Down show before today, and if you haven’t then pull your finger out and be sure to check it out. Thank you NTS! And thank you Otis!

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    Hello listeners! Listen up as that is your duty, to four monkeys talking about the art and design news of today. We have all your cultural needs plus a whole lot more. Really though, when I say “more” I mean if you like hearing people mercilessly take the piss out of Printed Pages editor James Cartwright then you’re in for a treat as he gets an absolute battering in this episode. Enjoy!

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    Here’s something unexpected for a Thursday morning, remember Canadian Rock star Bryan Adams? Remember him being all sexy and nice in Sherwood Forest and remaining in the UK number one spot for 16 weeks with wedding anthem Everything I do, I do it for you? And then later blowing us away with potentially the best duet – and certainly best karaoke classic – Baby When You’re Gone with Mel C? Anyway, let’s get to the point.

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    It’s all very well picking up a camera and messing around with it like everyone else, but not everyone takes it to the next level of “amateur photographer” and even fewer make it to “professional photographer.” Those that stand out from here on out are the professional photographers who do one thing incredibly well – whether it’s photographing food, naked women or simply landscapes – much like young Liverpudlian freelance photographer Sonny McCartney. Sonny’s got a knack for candid, lo-fi portraits of some of London’s freshest young talent. Does “young talent” sound a bit creepy? Maybe. That’s even funnier though, because even though a lot of his subjects are half-dressed, there’s absolutely nothing creepy about them in the slightest. The pictures of Mick Jagger with a microphone down his pants? A different story.

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    Sarah’s the first Bookshelf contributor (to my knowledge) that has used the phrase “yum” when describing a publication. And why not when the book is as lovely as the tomes Sarah has picked from her evidently weighty shelves? Only last week we were gushing about how spectacular she is at drawing but we just couldn’t resist peeking into her bookcase. What did we find? A bunch of beautiful short stories and some truly delightful art books, naturally. Here she is…

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    Nothing fails to warm my cockles and get the loose change in my wallet dancing about to be spent quite like Record Store Day. If the whole festival wasn’t good enough, Secret 7" is in their third year of bringing together a holy union of artists and musicians and have just announced some big-name creatives who have contributed artwork for this exciting project.

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    From Calvin Harris, to MSTRKRFT, or from Spiritualized to Jamie Woon, even from bloody Cheryl Cole and Will.I.Am – Vincent Haycock has made videos for a lot of the most important artists making music today. His work is fun, edgy and has a little bit of a dream-like quality to it, which is interesting considering his choice of favourite music video. Get the Kleenex out, re-watching this video and reading Vincent’s words is a surefire emotional blub-fest.

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    You know, all the time I spent red in the face, 50 quid down in the pub, screaming at a small screen for my horse to get a flipping move on I never once considered the history behind the Grand National. 4Creative have, and their new advert for the coverage of the famous race celebrates the place it came from – a somewhat legendary steeple-chase.

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    What a treat we have here ladies and gentlemen! The hungry, hooting, howling young men that make up Wild Beasts have graced us with one of the best Friday mixes we’ve had yet. Listen closely and you’ll hear the sounds that have inspired the band of late, from legendary, feminine wailing by way of the Cocteau Twins to a beautiful Sexual Healing cover from the lovely Kate Bush. Once you’ve finished weirding out to this, check out the new Wild Beasts album Present Tense. It’s really, really good, if you’re into that kind of thing. Which we are. A lot. Thanks, boys!

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    In the same way that you spend your days wishing your favourite band will bring their new album out, me and the other Geoff McFetridge fans spend our days subconsciously crossing our fingers for a batch of new work. Well, here it is, and guess what? It’s glorious. You’ve probably been reading about Geoff’s work for the designs featured in Spike Jonze’s Her of late, but that’s not all he’s been beavering away at. As of tomorrow, Geoff’s new paintings are on show at V1 Gallery in Copenhagen in a show entitled Meditallucination – a term coined by Geoff himself. He told us a bit more about the concept behind this new body of work.

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    There aren’t many things that ring of sheer joy more than hand-painted signs – probably due to their association with sunny leisure time spent at beaches, funfairs and food establishments. But just because those places call out for sign painters doesn’t mean that everywhere else can’t be decorated really, really nicely too. Thank God for the very talented Bella Pace then, who’s spending her days creating meticulously well-crafted, hand-painted signs for businesses all over London. From Brixton Bookmongers to food stalls in Borough Market, Bella’s signs are popping up all over the place, even in music videos like the one she made for Tom Rosenthal below. Long may Bella, and the age-old craft she has totally nailed, make the world a more beautiful place.

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    To me, a shiny-floored shopping mall signifies one thing: BORING. To those who prefer to be on wheels, this lacquered, square building with its wide corridors and seemingly endless open spaces indicate something entirely different: a perfect place to skate. As part of their 32LDN project, producer Simon Poon Tip and director Jake Green spent weeks haunting the deserted late-night mall of Stratfor City in order to find the bladers and skaters who whizz around these spaces into the small hours of the morning. The result is Smooth Floors & Open Doors – a beautiful film that highlights these strange, sometimes nocturnal creatures who whizz around pedestrians and see a shiny floor as something to be taken advantage of rather than ignored. Lovely.

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    You could argue that even a video of Jeanne Damas cleaning out a blocked drain would be enjoyable, but how refreshing to see France’s answer to Alexa Chung doing something rather curious in this nice little film from & Other Stories. They recruited filmmaker Wendy McColm to venture into the beautiful parquet-floored apartment of Jeanne Damas to capture her portraying the “tormented soul of the self-indulgent ‘Bohemian’ who can’t decide which pieces from & Other Stories’ collection to wear.”

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    A very beautifully put-together Bookshelf this week from Duncan Campbell, a writer and creative director know predominantly for his work with the Acne Paper. After spending a few years helping brands such as Bulgari, Hermès, Penfolds, Rizzoli and Veuve Clicquot look better, he has now the creative director and co-founder of Campbell-Rey – a new agency “specialising in cultural and visual storytelling for lifestyle and heritage brands.” You might guess that Duncan has a pretty stylish bookshelf, and you’d be absolutely right. It’s visibly creaking with weighty, beautiful and intelligent tomes, which makes it even kinder of Duncan to take time to pick his top five for us today. Here he is…

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    Back in 2011 Sarah Maycock was one of the It’s Nice That Graduates, and has since been fondly remembered in the studio as “the one that did the bear” – referring to her enormous print of a bear we exhibited in the small show that gained her a truckload of fans. Since then she’s been non-stop illustrating, with an enormous amount of high-end clients hounding her for her beautiful, instantly recognisable artwork. It’s been a while since we caught up with her, so Sarah kindly sent over a bunch of new projects and some information about what she’s been up to of late. A lot, it turns out.

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    Get the Kleenex ready, this is potentially going to make you blub all over your Pret sandwich. This is a simple, well-excecuted and very well-researched project from New York-born, Paris-based photographer Lauren Fleishman. This project sees her hunting down New York couples that have been together for 50 years or more and photographing them hanging out together in what is probably the most touching, life-affirming series of images you’ll see this year, or your life.

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    People like Gilbert Blecken are some of the most important people in music. Gilbert has dedicated his life to making fanzines, buying records, waiting for bands to finish practice to he can interview them and, most importantly, take their photo. Despite having had his photos printed in the likes of Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly and Kerrang!, Gilbert’s body of work is still relatively unknown. Perhaps it’s because he never really set out to be a photographer, he was just making fanzines. The reason why his photos are so clear is that he was worried they wouldn’t photocopy properly, and the reason he took the photos at all was because he had already interviewed the subjects and felt it would be weird not to.

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    We’ve been fans of Rose Blake’s illustration for a long time, everyone has right? But did you know that as well as being ace at drawing, Rose also has an absolutely BANGING taste in music? If you’re into deep house and happy hardcore then you may not think so, but if – like me – you feel like you were unfairly born into the wrong era and you’re happiest hanging out with a bunch of dads (and friends of dads) then this is for YOU! Once you’ve finished shimmying your shoulders to Kevin Ayers, Elvis Costello and the Everly Brothers, go over to Rose’s side-project Studio Music where you’ll find mixtapes from some of the best creatives in the world. Take it away, Rose!

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    Doesn’t it just boggle your MIND how good every single record sleeve is? Whether you’re rummaging through a mouldy box at a car boot sale or flicking through a friend’s collection, it’s always astonishing to see the level of craftsmanship by potentially entirely unknown artists that decorates this packaging. For me the illustrated ones are always my favourite – pastel colours, psychedelic typography and cute happy cartoons – which is why when we came across this archive, it kind if made my Friday.

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    “Peng” isn’t a word everyone knows. I didn’t know the definition until about three minutes ago when I visited truth-sayers Urban Dictionary where they informed me it means “Sexy Girl. Adjective. ’There’s some proper PENG over there!’” Interesting. I don’t know what it’s like to leer after a sexy girl, but I do know what it’s like to stand in a kebab shop, dribbling, praying for them to call out my order so I can bury my face into its greasy, greasy loins.

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    Delightful stuff here from London-based, self-pronounced “architects of experience” Silent Studios, who have recently launched a new film to celebrate the Spring/Summer 2014 collection from Anya Hindmarch. This beautiful short was created in-house by their little team of very lovely, very experienced people who were briefed by Anya herself to make a piece of promotional material that explored the theme of “weightlessness.”