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

1641 articles
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    Considering it had been a while since I had had a proper delve through this great guy’s portfolio, revisiting his site was a refreshing reminder of just how talented Gwendal Le Bec really is. Sometimes people can be frowned upon for aping or mimicking a style from someone else but in Gwendal’s case it’s different as he successfully takes elements from all the most infamous illustrators of times gone by and adds them to his own style.

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    I’ve rarely spent as much time on an artist’s site as I did on Pooneh’s when first stumbling across it. Scrolling through her reams and reams of photographs is akin to waking up at a festival and trying to piece together flashbacks of the night before like some sort of stained, star-studded puzzle.

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    Hello and welcome to Studio Audience, the It’s Nice That podcast. This week the host is Liv Siddall and she’s joined by Maisie Skidmore and James Cartwright – The Triad. Wherever you listen to us, on the bus, the toilet or a whim, we hope you enjoy our cultural chit chat. You can listen via the SoundCloud below or subscribe via iTunes over here.

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    The curious work of Corinne Day seems to rear its ever-appealing head every now and again, just to remind us of a time gone by that we weren’t part of, and will never fully understand. Gaining worldwide notoriety with her famous, career-making shots of a teen Kate Moss on Camber Sands for The Face, Corinne’s groundbreaking photographs of quintessentially British, black-soled urchins were to become stuff of legend. Contrived shoots of hired models were never her thing, instead Corinne lifted her lens to those closest to her – the ones doing the washing up, smoking fags out of windows, watching telly. The fact that all her friends were rebellious models was just a bonus.

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    ‘Tis the mating season! Let us breed! Summer is HOT, and not just in terms of the weather. Everyone looks great in summer with their shiny hair, tanned skin and lack of layers – people you didn’t look twice at in winter are now incredibly alluring, which is why there are so many babies born in winter. Seed Animation Studio are in on this notion, and have made a somewhat steamy little animation entitled Cream Tease – a scintillating series of moving images that lead up to a summer twist to cool you off before you pop. If this was an actual film it probably wouldn’t be allowed on It’s Nice That, hence the beauty of animation. Nice one Seed Studio, phew!

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    There’s a reason behind the popular notion that black and white photography makes people appear better looking – it’s true. Not saying for a minute mind you that the girls that Jeff Boudreau has photographed of late aren’t some of the most beautiful, dewy creatures walking the earth, but there is a certain charm about their monochromatic portraits that you perhaps wouldn’t get with colour film. Jeff is from Florida but now lives and works in London, filling his days with editorial fashion shoots and advertising briefs. This latest personal series compares his subjects to wild flowers in the dark – beautiful.

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    Fantastic work here from Lyon’s boundary-pushing designers Antoine Eckart and Francis Josserand, also know as Alles Gut. How do you say Alles Gut? Here at It’s Nice That we say it as if we’re saying “all’s good” in a funny European accent. Each to their own. Anyway, Alles Gut make the kinds of fliers, posters and small publications that we are totally into – sharp, well-considered colours and well thought-out references come together to make modern printed matter with quick-witted retro aesthetic references. Personal favourites? I’d say the posters for the HASTE parties – they really, really make you want to go to those parties.

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    We’re all big fans of Connan Mockasin, we listen to him in the studio all the time and we were pretty sad to miss him at Wilderness festival over the weekend. When we asked him to do a My Favourite Music Video feature we thought he’d pick something truly obscure and spectacular that we had never seen before – and he did. The recording artist has chosen a music video from an odd corner of the internet, and has told us why he loves it so much. To be honest we’re hoping Connan’s next vid is as great as this one. He says it gets better after a few listens, and yeah – I guess fingers crossed maybe it will…

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    We’re all pretty used to Tumblrs chock-full of palpable images of half-naked, creamy fleshed men and women surrounded by bowls of figs, cherry blossom and thrift store rugs. Maybe one of them is casually smoking a cigarette out of a car window on a lakeside road trip, perhaps one is clutching a can of beer, wrapped in a towel after skinny-dipping, laughing into the night.

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    When reading some articles about Lianne la Havas it soon became clear that this incredibly talented woman has got an agenda to promote and champion female artists everywhere. She notes Laura Marling, Little Dragon, Erykah Badu as some of her primary influences, which bodes pretty well for the female-heavy mix she’s made for us today. Lianne’s put together ten tracks that deal with heartache, blues, dancing and attitude, and she’s also thrown in some Dizzee Rascal for good measure. Thank you Lianne, this mix is adding an extra layer of velvet to our Friday.

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    Is anyone else slightly unnerved by how happy Bill Callahan has been of late? His songs no longer deal with loneliness and somewhat terrifying obsession and now dwell on nicer, every day things such as driving in the car with your loved one as a snoozing pillion passenger. Yes I know it’s nicer to listen to songs about that sort of thing, but I kind of miss wigging out to some of his earlier classics where he would, for example, go into stark lyrical detail about arranging a woman’s lingerie into the shape of a little dolly on the bed while she’s out.

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    Pretty much anything created in the style of an old video game is fine by us. This partiuclar pixel art music video created by animator Mattis Davier is a thrilling, erotic voyage into creepy suburbia where we’re faced with a Twin Peaks style horror story and a lot of visuals that kind of remind me personally of the Are You Afraid of The Dark? intro.

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    I don’t go to Mr Porter to wistfully scroll through their accessories section like I used to, now I just visit them to go and meander through their journal – an online magazine put together by the team there that champions the important things in life: holidays, booze, sunglasses, cars and art amongst other things. Over the years the features in this section of Mr Porter’s webspace has become increasingly stylish, representing the brand’s core values using only the best editorial accompanied by staggeringly good commissioned illustration.

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    Bees are precious, you hear me?! But you don’t need met to tell you that, people have been wigging out about bees dying for years. Rather than pool their minds together and sort out a solution to keep bees safe, these creative types were asked by bee-loving initiative The Honey Club to just create special artwork to help raise money for the bees instead. Way better!

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    The word “sumptuous” shouldn’t be thrown around willy nilly, but in the context of a new Johnnie Walker whisky ad featuring Jude Law lounging on what could be the world’s most expensive antique boat, lolling about on the sapphire Mediterranean, it’s totally acceptable. You may well have seen the Johnnie Walker ad in collaboration with Mr Porter going around the web last week, a 6-minute visual feast that is infused with style and money and a Talented Mr Ripley-vibe. Tom Cockram, a photographer we hold very dear to our hearts, has put all the behind-the-scenes shots from this ad that was directed by Jake Scott up on his site, and I’m tempted to say that I’m enjoying these even more than the ad itself.

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    Remember that moment when you stopped thinking of festivals as modern day Woodstocks and realised what they really were: enormous parties full of diseased people in Kigus in an arena of sponsorship deals? When you wake up in a shit tent with the side of your bedroom stuck to your disgusting face with only a warm Strongbow and a dead phone to look forward to for three days in a row, it becomes increasingly apparent that you are not in Woodstock, and Jimi Hendrix is not, and never was, going to play Star Spangled Banner for you today.

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    For someone whose go-to backdrop is a pastel-coloured sheet or a field of newly blossomed wild flowers, you’d be surprised at the weight at which Jody Rogac’s photographs can pack a punch. Her countless snaps of intelligent, powerful men and women are infused with a discreet elegance which is the end product of her wild combination of styling, choice of subject and ever-perfect composition.

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    It’s such a pleasure to feature powerful, cool women on the site. Today we have something of a double whammy in DJ, editor and journalist Hanna Hanra telling us about fellow powerful female, Siouxsie of Siouxsie and the Banshees fame. Just to make this even more meta, the chosen Banshees track is about a very powerful, female-oriented Middle Eastern story – how cool is that? As well as being one of the last people to ever interview Lou Reed (jealous) Hanna is also the editor of trendy music mag BEAT and has written for bigwigs such as Vogue, ELLE, The Sunday Times, The Evening Standard and GQ. Here she is on her love for a very rousing Siouxsie video…

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    I think you’ll agree with me when I say there there is something magical about mixed-sex bands. Band of Skulls is Russell Marsden, Emma Richardson, and Matt Hayward – a band from Southampton who are now mega big and famous and touring all over the place. I always breathe a sigh of relief when a band sends through a mixtape and it’s full of gold – how shit would it be if a really great band had really, really bad taste in music? Anyway, Band of Skulls are into James Brown, Sister Rosetta Sharpe, Beastie Boys and Buddy Holly – which is a selection totally fine by our standards.

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    There was a time when we at It’s Nice That were inundated with internet art – we were having so much submitted to us on a daily basis that it was pouring out of our ears in waxy gifs. It’s pleasing to be faced with it again, a year or two after the craze has kind of died out, when it’s created by someone who actually has a passion and an eye for this stuff and isn’t just jumping on a weird bandwagon.

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    Considering I love smoking, guitars, bright colours and farts, I’m pretty overwhelmed by how great this work by Spanish illustrator Puño is. In a recent exhibition entitled Miseria the multi-faceted artist stuck drawings and coloured squares all over the walls much to the delight of his seemingly really good-looking friends who came to see it. Work like this, made in the gaps between Puño’s rather professional editorial illustration, is just joyous isn’t it? You can almost imagine him grinning as he cut out the yellow butts and sticky-out legs from the pastel-coloured paper. Don’t even get me started on this GIF that he made. You can see some shots of the exhibition plus arty French babes over here

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    Welcome Podlingtons of Podlingtown. Welcome to our weekly podcast. This week is actually a really good episode in which Liv, James and Maisie put the world to rights with some fun (and at times funny) art and design chat. Interested? You should be. You can listen via the SoundCloud below or subscribe via iTunes over here..

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    The difference between artists and normal proles is shown in the ease at which an artist can convey a very simple idea with visuals to make it shine. For instance this new work by our much-loved local artist Tom Sewell, in which he created a 31-day lunar chart when asked by digital art blog Post Matter to take part in a month-long residency. To me, Tom’s work is like having a toe constantly submerged in anonymous, otherworldly fluid – he takes the online world and melts it down until it resembles pools of history, typography and coding all glooped together into one. This series of serene planet GIFs gives me the same ambient pleasure as my desktop Mountain, and I’m going to keep up with this lunar July calendar even though it’s August tomorrow.

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    Edward Cushenberry actually wrote to me to show me a really interesting photography project he’s working on at the moment. Unfortunately that was about the millionth interesting photography project we had seen this week, but one thing we were a bit short on was brilliant, entertaining, lo-fi illustration we could relate to. Let’s give a warm welcome then to Edward’s comics in which he deals with traumatic or memorable experiences from his own memory, or borrowed from this friends. His drawings cover such life topics as How to Properly Bury A Turtle and that awkward moment when the girl you kissed says that making out with you was “like drinking a glass of water.” Classic. Edward’s got his fingers in a lot of creative pies, but I’d say these comics were our personal favourites.

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    I love how Beck is always pushing the boat out and doing something that bit more creative than other recording artists. Remember when he released stickers with his album so you could design your own CD artwork? Or that time he discussed the meaning of creativity with Doug Aitken for his show at the Liverpool Biennial? Or his astonishing Song Reader? Exactly.

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    With over 600,000 snap happy visitors a year, you can imagine that Elvis Presley’s infamous Graceland mansion is pretty well documented. But it takes someone truly special to photograph something famous and still make it seem brand new, which is why we’re glad that Hedi Slimane – lover of rock and roll, and young, good-looking, rebellious men – took a trip to Elvis’ Memphis home late last year and brought his camera along.

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    Anyone in New York had better gallop over to Ed. Varie gallery to catch a new show by the ever-wonderful artist Ana Kraš. We’ve posted about Ana a few times, mainly about her beautiful lamps and designs to make your home/life better, and her fun collaborative photography projects. Her show at Ed. Varie entitled Mothers with Spoons and Relationships is an exploration into her more recent love of drawing, using predominantly back-to-basics art supplies such as wax, crayon and oil pastel.

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    What a TREAT we have here! Ninja Tune artist and DJ Slugabed is here to make your Friday 88.8% better with a fun mix to get you through the last few hours of the week. Slugabed is the man behind south London-based label Activia Benz and has been DJing around the world for many a year.

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    I came across Graham Little when going through content from the site, he was one of the first people I ever put on the site about three years ago. To revisit his work reminded me just how much I loved him the first time around, particularly as he’s been very busy in the last few years and has created some absolutely stunning new work. There’s something about the poses, and the calm nature of his nymph-like female subjects that makes me slightly uneasy.

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    Greetings podlings! Great pod this week, lots of swearing and use of the word “aping.” There’s also obligatory shaming James as an ex-goth and arguing about whether sending flowers into space is an act of genius or clever PR stunt. Anyway, off you go, get involved. You can listen via the SoundCloud below or subscribe via iTunes over here..

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    What’s more terrifying than a street gang? I’ll tell you, a Maori gang called the Mighty Mongrel Mob. In this haunting short film by filmmaker and photographer Tom Gould we are thrown into the personal history of famed Mighty Mongrel Mob gang member Martyka Brandt, whose tattoo-covered and weathered face speaks volumes of his turbulent life. In this short film we learn about the perils of being in a gang like the Mongrel Mob, the near-death experiences Martyka has escaped, and how a man can truly turn his life around to something rather magical indeed.

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    It was something of an honour to have illustrator Jean Jullien in the studio to help judge this year’s It’s Nice That Graduates. Not only is he a really nice guy, but he’s also one of our favourite artists who – in our eyes – can do no wrong. His style is effortless and full of humour, grinning at our modern world through a wry squint – an ability that most of the great illustrators through time have nearly all had in common. Another thing we can all learn from Jean is that he works harder than most people we know and rarely says no to a project, making him in-demand and always on everyone’s radar. Here he is on what he learnt from helping us judge the It’s Nice That Graduates 2014.

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    Think about the sheer amount of books, articles, lectures and podcasts there must be floating around the earth on what makes a good record sleeve. We tend to consult designers, or record labels about the images that, thrown against sound, create something that sticks with you your whole life, that you could probably draw from memory. It’s rare when get an artist who creates the music and the artwork that makes it shine, but Tim Presley does.

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    Last night It’s Nice That and INT Works had a party to celebrate our new studio. We had a keg, pastel-coloured cups and a whole load of old friends round and it was wicked kewl. The playlist we put together was an absolute banger, and we’ve edited it down today to give you a small slice of the music that makes us want to get drunk, dance, say inappropriate things and touch each other. Enjoy!

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    You don’t get much better than an award-winning National Geographic photographer, unless of course it’s one that spends most of his time underwater snapping away at enormous whales. Parts of this series make me want to cry, others make me want to jump for joy at the wonders of nature, but mostly they make me want to shit my pants with terror. Imagine being underwater, where man is not supposed to dwell, and being in the company of a prehistoric beast with a mouth as big as a 4×4, imagine how scared you’d be. One flip of its tail could probably shatter your legs. Anyway, the point here really is that one-time Photographer of the Year Brian Skerry is not only excellent at being brave in the presence of beasts, he’s also a superb photographer with composition skills and a knack of capturing wildlife with a flair that evokes raw emotion in you. Don’’t forget to check out his sharks series. If you dare.

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    Greeting podulators, we’re back again for another episode with Rob Alderson in the hosting-throne and peasants James Cartwright and Liv Siddall kneeling at his side. You can listen via the SoundCloud below or subscribe via iTunes over here..

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    Wise words here from Peckham design collective King Zog. They’re back with a new website that will fart up the nose of your website faster than you can say “rainbow gloves.” The lads – a cocktail of Ben West, Jack Slee, Josh King and Felix Heyes – have collected all their work and put it on the World Wide Web the manner of a really, really personal business card. By that I mean that one look at their new site tells you everything you need to know about this lot. They’re some of the only people who can truly pull off funny design while simultaneously being eons ahead of everyone else in the ideas department. Special lads.

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    Going through nearly 600 applicants for the It’s Nice That Graduates was a long process, and in it we saw countless photography submissions. To come across a portfolio like Portsmouth graduate Alecsandra’s was truly special, as her website was utterly brimming with fascinating, in-depth projects that stood out as being truly well-researched, full of passion and rather unique. Her love of storytelling led her to focus on politics, family, tradition and emotion, making her body of work alive with folklore and wisdom. How great is it when someone’s work truly opens your eyes to something you had previously never encountered? Here she is on her degree, her passion for photography, and her future.

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    Err, where has Jenny Lewis been for the past few years? She could have been running some sort of underground, political guerilla group, or designing jewellery, or maybe she was just locked in a cupboard. What I’m getting at is that it just doesn’t matter in the slightest – because she’s back with a totally killer video that she’s directed, and we all know that 99.9% of the time a brilliant, timely music video is the perfect solution to a difficult comeback.

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    It’s so great to see the Nous Vous lads continuing with their quest to bring a gentle spark of inspiration to the general public. Their latest venture is an exhibition in the enormous old factory-turned-cultural centre, The Tetley in Leeds. A Watery Line will exhibit “drawings, prints, paintings and objects, producing new artwork in on-site open studios and working with a selection of other artists to deliver a programme of performances and workshops.” Ahead of the opening of this exciting, friendly show, we asked Nicolas Burrows to tell us a little more about the planning of the exhibition and what they hope the public gets out of it.