Ms-300

Assistant Editor Maisie joined It’s Nice That fresh out of university in the summer of 2013 and has stayed with us ever since. She has a particular interest in art, fashion and photography and is a regular on our Studio Audience podcast. She also oversees our London listings guide This At There.

ms@itsnicethat.com@maisieskidmore

855 articles
  1. Unnamed

    If you’ve been waiting all week for Friday evening like a shipwrecked sailor eagerly watches the horizon for the first sign of a rescue mission, then the Weekender is that hazy pink flare in the distance – the sign that you’re almost there! This week we’ve got an animation about our dependence on technology; a deluge of interviews with super talented artists, designers, photographers and printmakers; a smattering of erotica; a collection of photographs of people who want to be mermaids and a round-up of what’s happened in the world this week, from a certain newspaper’s fascination with the humble nip to TLC’s hotly-anticipated comeback. Delve in!

  2. Hardyseiler-hannover-list-int

    When Hanover-based designers Bureau Hardy Seiler and web design agency Created by Monkeys decided to pitch to design the identity for the Freies Theater Hannover, they found themselves faced with a dilemma. The theatre hosts every flavour of live performance going, from puppetry and musical shows to experimental dance, and all in one flexible and family-friendly space. How could they create a graphic language to match that?

  3. Charlottedelarue-list-3-int

    Illustrator and art director Charlotte Delarue’s varied work shows her to be an uncommonly talented illustrator, conjuring incredibly realistic portraits out of paper and pencil safe in the knowledge that she doesn’t need to do anything more to make them impressive. Her art direction is of another ilk entirely, however – she works with the likes of electro acts Chromeo, Justice and Kavinsky to draw up impactful logotypes and album artwork concepts that can be spotted from miles away, from the golden legs which reappear on almost every Chromeo album cover to Kavinsky’s mysterious blue-tinged scenes.

  4. Atelierbingo-list-int

    Up to the point when I opened Atelier Bingo’s new zine Wogoo Zoogi I’d never wondered what two aliens in heated conversation might look like. Having had a read I can now confirm that the answer is “they are speaking, singing very strangely, and they have a hair on their tongues." The newest bout of work from French illustration and surface design duo Adèle Favreau and Maxime Prou is a wonderful celebration of playful, dynamic, abstract art; blending shapes, colours and patterns in a glorious puddle of chaos thinly disguised as alien chat. In fact, it’s everything we’ve been led to expect from the pair, who we’ve dolloped praise on in the past.

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    Faig Ahmed is an Azerbaijani artist doing remarkable things with carpets. He takes traditional Azerbaijani rugs – enormous, beautiful intricate creations – un-weaves them, and reconstructs them to create new patterns and shapes, subverting traditional usage of rugs as domestic objects to be walked all over, and rejuvenating them with optical illusions and techniques reminiscent of contemporary internet art. 

  6. Davidbatchelor-october-13-int

    If you go down to the Whitechapel Gallery anytime between now and early April you’ll be sure to come across a huge breadth of work chronicling the adventures of the black square, from 1915 all the way up to the present day. It’s fairly monochromatic, as you might expect. Upstairs, however, things get drastically more colourful – especially once you come to David Batchelor’s specially “disrupted” issue of October, one of the most respected art journals out there, first published in 1976 and edited by esteemed writers Michel Foucault, Richard Foreman and Noël Burch.

  7. Mobydigg-aaberaward-1-int

    How many design studios can you think of who are named after a mis-pronounced classic novel? Because Munich-based design studio Moby Digg is, and that fact, coupled with their fun, bright site, propels them above most straight-laced studios in our book.

  8. Fonshickmann-bookshelf-2

    It’s not very often we have a selection of vintage porn magazines masquerading as a book about the history of cinema on It’s Nice That, and for this special occasion we have Professor Fons Hickmann, founder of Berlin studio Fons Hickmann m23, to thank – he stumbled across the rare finding at a French flea market.

  9. Stephenshames-bronx_boys-list

    If the photographs in Stephen Shames’ series Bronx Boys don’t seem to sit comfortably alongside the funny, shareable, imagined-one-day-and-shot-the next photographic projects which we are so accustomed to seeing on the internet, then that’s because they don’t. Rather, Bronx Boys is the product of 23 years spent photographing a group of people living in the Bronx, New York City, and the photographs were taken not to garner likes or shares, but to publicise the plight of one of the poorest areas in NYC.

  10. Thomasprior-handball-list-3-int

    Thomas Prior is one of those sneaky names who first crept onto our radar with a stunning series documenting a firework fight in Tultepec, Mexico, and has since reappeared at six-monthly intervals with new and ever more adventurous projects from around the world. There was February last year, for example, when he photographed the YouTube awards for Vice magazine, and then a few months later he cropped up again with this brilliant series of images taken in Greece and Turkey for Afar magazine.

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    Andy Sewell’s new book Something Like a Nest is an archetypal portrayal of middle class Britishness, and it’s a picturesque, sentimental and charming one at that. To our delight, he steers clear of stereotypes and tired clichés – there are no weather-worn farmers nor Wellington boots in here, no sir – and instead creates a clear and honest portrait of country life. Placing perfectly centred shots of kitchen sinks and surrounding phenomena (plants, hand-soap, Fairy Liquid) alongside images of the English countryside coated in frost and glittering in the sun and frogspawn in Kilner jars, it’s enough to make even the most steely-hearted of expats teary-eyed.

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    On this day 96 years ago prohibition was passed by the U.S. government, plunging the United States into a parched wasteland of (mainly) sober, miserable people for a long 14 years. Thankfully this is the case neither in England nor in 2015, so we’re cracking open the beers and pouring one out for the prohibited. It’s the weekend! Here’s the Weekender, and our rundown of what’s happened in the art and design world this week. Have a good one!

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    If you were to search for a photographer who defines that gorgeous hazy middle ground between sleep and wakefulness, Marcelo Gomes would without a doubt be your best bet. He has built a career on creating images imbued with the kind of indistinct beauty that makes all of his subjects look about 50% more ethereal, nailing that dreamy aesthetic where so many photographers stumble.

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    If I’d had the good fortune to live in Mexico City in the 1980s I’d like to think I’d have gone to every disco night going, and wallpapered my bedroom with the flyers from the nights of debauchery I spent knocking back mescal with the locals and getting down to the Bee Gees. Alas, I didn’t grow up there – I wasn’t even alive then – but fortunately for us, Jose Luis Lugo Hernández, the owner of Panther Publishing in Mexico City, has been diligently collecting the flyers for disco nights since the birth of the scene there more than 30 years ago. So we can live vicariously through him.

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    Rand Renfrow is one of the illustrators we came across among the scores of upcoming artists and illustrators publishing with Clay Hickson’s independent project Tan & Loose yesterday, and seeing as how last time we featured him it was in our Introducing feature nearly two years ago, it seemed high time to check in.

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    The more we see of FKA Twigs, the more it becomes apparent that there’s no end to what she can do. She has a voice like nothing we’ve ever heard before, she dances like an extra-terrestrial placed on this earth solely to do so, and she directs all of her own music videos, because her creative vision for the visuals which accompany her music is such that nobody else could quite nail it. So the word talented doesn’t really cover it.

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    In 1915, two years before the Russian Revolution took place, an exhibition took place in St Petersburg which turned the art world upside down. Entitled The Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings: 0.10, it included one of Kazimir Malevich’s now iconic black square paintings, a profound and original offering in a 20th Century society which repressed modern ideas almost as furiously as it bred them, and it’s this spirit of radical thinking in the midst of a restrictive society which sits at the root of the Whitechapel Gallery’s new exploration of abstract art, Adventures of the Black Square.

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    “All hail Hickson!” were the words with which we finished our last post about Chicago-based illustrator Clay Hickson back in 2012, and while it doesn’t give us much to improve on, the expression certainly still seems to fit our feelings for him. Since we last checked in, Clay has developed his practice immeasurably, stepping away from pencils to embrace Adobe Illustrator and printmaking all the more enthusiastically, and making a heap of new work in the process. He’s stuck to his old penchant for pop surrealist scenes and funny-shaped girl parts – he loves a boob and a sausage, does Clay – but the calibre of the work has improved in a striking way.

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    Last week Apartamento’s co-founder and art director Omar Sosa mentioned an upcoming collaboration with artist Nathalie Du Pasquier in his Bookshelf feature, and purely by chance this week we have Nathalie herself running us through her favourite books. What a nice coincidence!

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    Presenting Matt Chase, the editorial illustrator living and working in Washington DC, who can transform a wishy-washy concept into a solid hunk of imagery with a snap of the fingers. You’ve likely seen his work already without knowing it – maybe in the New York Times, on the cover of one of Douglas Coupland’s novels, or perhaps in the Wall Street Journal if you’re that way inclined.

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    With trends and zeitgeists evolving faster than us mere mortals can keep track of, sometimes a helping hand in watching over what’s going on in the creative world can be necessary. Fortunately branding and communications agency 3 Deep have taken it upon themselves to help us out by creating a broadsheet which redefines “our engagement with luxury while celebrating those at the nexus of creativity, art and commerce.”

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    “Breath of fresh air” might be an expression used mainly by teachers when describing particularly astute pupils, but it’s so applicable to Dutch designer Bram Kinet’s lo-fi posters that I can’t help but bandy it about. The type is large and retro, the colour combinations are unexpected and there’s a collage-influenced, freeform element to his style that’s reminiscent of the posters junior school kids use to advertise their school discos, in the absolute best way. A man with an owl head and a red felt-tip penis surfing on a large flat fish, for example? How could we resist?

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    On New Year’s Eve in 1965, photographer Lisetta Carmi met and photographed a group of transvestites living and working on the Via de Campo in Genoa, Italy. It was the beginning of a seven year relationship with the group, considered outsiders by Italian society, and led to the publication of I Travestiti, an incredibly controversial book of all the images Lisetta took over this stretch of time. Now, almost 50 years later, Jacopo Benassi, a photographer already famed for his work documenting prostitution and gay culture, has retraced Lisetta’s original steps, tracking down the two remaining subjects from that body of Lisetta’s work – Rossella and Ursula.

  24. 2

    There are cool designers, and then there are those of Leslie David’s calibre, who gaze nonchalantly down upon their pretenders with a talented eye and a practice so diverse that it firmly establishes their spot among the higher echelons of creative standards. Paris-based Leslie has a been around for some time now, and her client list is an incredible testament to the quality of her work, featuring some of the greatest players across fashion, music, media and retail. Specialising in brand image for fashion and culture brands, her aesthetic blends illustration, design and typography in an always unexpected and never less-than-excellent blend.

  25. Weekender-image

    Given that it’s the first week back at work after a long fortnight spent cramming mince pies and Baileys into our faces while flicking between The Wizard of Oz and Call the Midwife, you’d think the creative world might be slow getting back into the swing of things. Oh no. This week we’ve seen the cartooning world torn apart only to rise up even stronger, a mad new interactive website launched by Panda Bear, some seriously impressive new identity work from the likes of Pentagram, and books, films and adverts spewed out all over the shop. Here’s our pick of the best of the week.

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    Of all the places to for a mooch about, a cactus nursery has to be one of the nicest choices out there. What better way is there to spend a weekend afternoon than surrounded by curtains of luscious foliage, tables and tables covered in stout green plants and with a couple of charming aficionados to teach you everything they know about botany? India Hobson’s series taken inside Abbey Brook Cactus Nursery is a testament to the fact; she documents the peculiar Englishness of the greenhouse garden with a gentle watchfulness, shooting the plants as though they were tiny green spiky aliens to be observed curiously through her lens. This is just one of a bunch of wonderful projects on her site, from shoots for The Garden Edit and Kinfolk, proving that we’re not the only ones to admire her talent.

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    January is a time for new beginnings, and our inaugural post about Bureau Sandra Doeller proves that to be very much true. Sandra, who was previously one half of Doeller-Satter, has broken out alone, anointing her new studio with a remarkably striking project for Frankfurt’s Museum Angewandte Kunst. Overlaying bold but simple text-driven posters with playful hand-drawn type, a grinning smiley face and huge drippy lettering, Sandra breaks out of the traps of rigid uniformity with both the exhibition newspaper and the posters which accompany it.

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    Of all the subcultures that have shaken Britain to its stuffy, reserved core, skinhead culture is perhaps both the most influential and the most misunderstood. Marked by an instantly recognisable aesthetic comprising fashion, music and print media, it has seen so many markedly different variants, from rudeboy culture to neo-Nazism, that it’s little surprise it’s so often misinterpreted.

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    When it comes to a company with as global a reach as Pepsi, the possibility for commissioning brilliant creative work seems almost limitless, and this suggestion is truly put to the test at New Years. To celebrate the beginning of 2015, Pepsi brought London-based art directors and filmmakers HarrimanSteel on board to recreate the process of nuclear fission on an enormous scale.

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    Remember Caroline Larsen, the artist responsible for weaving huge flaming car crashes and expanses of smoking tarmac not out of needle and thread but with oil paints on canvas? She’s back with a new project, and this time she’s set her unique method to recreating the fronts of California houses, complete with luscious greenery, grey sidewalks and succulents. Lots of succulents. Imagine if you took Joan Didion’s California essays and David Hockney’s swimming pools and combined them with the help of a truckload of plasticine, and that comes somewhat close to channelling the mood that permeates Caroline’s novel works. They’re weird and fun, and they score ten out of ten for technique.

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    You know how, when going to the hair salon, you automatically and perhaps unfairly expect your hairdresser to be perfectly coiffed? We had a similar sense of anticipation when it came to admiring Omar Sosa’s favourite books – a kind of nervous hope that the man responsible for getting together with Nacho Alegre to co-found Apartamento, an eclectic and deftly-curated compilation of cool characters and the spaces they inhabit, has a similarly intriguing collection of books in his own home too.

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    If you share a studio with a friend or a co-worker and happen to be reading this on your lunch break, please take a moment to flash them an affectionate glance. Why, you ask? Because if anything can help you to view your relationship differently, it’s photographer Geray Mena with this sweet series Atelier.

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    Some truly lovely new work here by Riikka Laakso, a Berlin-based illustrator with a light touch. Riikka’s fondness for coloured pencils sets her poles apart from many of her tablet-wielding contemporaries, lending her editorial illustration a tactile edge which contrasts neatly with her incisive storytelling style. The commissioning moguls over at Die Zeit have already picked up on this cool combination, resulting in a number of pieces by Riikka for Zeit Campus, as well as work for Psychologie Heute and Berlin’s International Festival. If you don’t know her work yet, rest assured that this won’t be the case for long – if her grasp of textures and retro style are anything to go by we’re going to be seeing a lot more of Riikka in the months to come.

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    There’s something irrevocably confident about a super clean line drawing, and Italian illustrator Jonathan Calugi is king of them. He can take the subtlest of squiggles and manipulate it to suggest an abstract and complicated human posture, from a gymnast performing a pirouette to a giant pile-up of bodies. His shapes have grown in complexity since we last checked in with him, with new projects for the likes of Google and Shutterstock the freshest in his portfolio, and they’re just getting better every single time.

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    One of the best things about being at It’s Nice That is the incredible multitude of brilliant, hilarious, weird and insanely talented people we get to talk to on a weekly basis, whether we’re dragging them around the corner from our studio for lunch in Euro Cafe, trying to squeeze as many questions as physically possible into a 20 minute Skype call or emailing back and forth for weeks at a time. The end of the year is a time for looking back, or so I’m told, so here’s my selection of the very best interviews from the site this year across photography, art direction, game design and illustration. feet up and off you

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    This year I travelled a bit, read a lot and learned to cook a roast dinner. Here are some other good things I picked up along the way.

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    Photography is basically unique in its capacity to preserve moments of time for evermore, so recapping the top ten photography projects of the year feels akin to stepping into a Labyrinth-esque alternative realm where you can look over the whole of 2014 in one neat glass ball clutched in David Bowie’s capable hands. This year we’ve got a woman who photographs herself every year in a pair of Y-fronts, two grown men re-enacting childhood photographs and some inimitable music photography from the 1990s, so step back, picture Bowie and let through our highlights.

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    December might be a time of festive joy and giving, but it’s also the month of unsigned Christmas cards, weird crackers and press releases disguised as Christmas gifts, so naturally we decided to eschew all of the above and bring you all the other brilliant stuff we got sent this month, with little or no relation to the 25th. It’s not that we’re Scrooges, we just really love handmade zines, independently published books, funny printed plates and build-your-own virtual reality players, so we’re channeling our festive spirit through that instead. Okay? Great! Enjoy.

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    It’s the overriding rule of all things trend-driven that as soon as we take a big leap forward in technology we start to look back nostalgically, triggering all manner of retro imagery, touches and techniques. At least it seems that way, and I’m sure I’m not alone in how often I’m drawn to graphic design which places hand-drawn type and recycled imagery alongside high-tech touches.

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    There are coffee table books, and then there are huge, fantastic publications so weighty that they’re likely to shunt your table a couple of inches closer to the floor, as in the case of this staggering beauty by TASCHEN. The Rolling Stones is a 518-page testament to the incredible wealth of photographs that have been taken of the iconic band over the course of their 50 year career, and it’s breathtaking.