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

625 articles
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    Some artists, immensely talented and original though they may be, simply don’t make work that fits in the grandest art galleries of the world. Fortunately for them there are super-cool concept stores created specifically to house such work, and queen of all of these is Colette. Hiro Sugiyama’s surreal, hilarious and altogether unsettling artwork is a natural fit for Paris store Colette’s carefully curated collection of the avant-grade and the offbeat.

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    When we received a copy of illustrated sine Steak Night through the door a couple of weeks ago (check it out in Things here) we were pleasantly surprised to find that Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke is not only a musician, but a keen writer too. Intrigued, we hunted him down and grilled him about his Bookshelf, which turns out to be an incredibly well-stocked selection of graphic novels and comic books, with a little photography thrown in too. He’s multi-talented and he’s got great taste! Here’s Kele telling us about his choices.

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    It’s not especially often that creatives flock to Cornwall en masse, but the little nook of England has been awash with activity this weekend due to Port Eliot festival, featuring musicians, artists, fashion designers and journalists. It also saw the launch of The Girl Who Fell to Earth, a story written by Luella Bartley and illustrated by Zoë Taylor, a graphic artist we make no secret of our love for.

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    New York-based director Rajeev Basu has made plenty of curious projects that have kept us occupied for hours at a time, from this video game where your character punches itself in the face to stay awake to this collaborative project in which he invited a bunch of our favourite creatives to imagine what drones might look like once they become legal, so it makes perfect sense that his favourite music video be equally fascinating. And it is – if a little gory (it’s not for the fainthearted). Here he is explaining why he loves it so.

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    Never a brand to risk complacency, Kenzo are pushing the boat out yet again this season to scale the parameters of the online store. They’ve created an elaborate narrative to accompany the online shopping destination of their Autumn 2014 collection, cooking up a fictional exhibition of which all but one of the featured artworks is stolen by the show’s star the night before it opens. In this story the exhibition opens anyhow, and the works are replaced with film footage of the thieves – Sudanese-American model Grace Bol and her accomplice – at work, with a sack full of their booty and all.

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    Ping Zhu is a force to be reckoned with in the world of illustration. Not only is she talented, mastering an inimitable style in every way imaginable, and then using it as very efficient bait to reel in the big clients, The Sunday Times, Pentagram and Nobrow included, but she’s also future proof – developing her style with every project she undertakes to make her as exciting as she is reliable, and delivering consistently good work to a broad spectrum of briefs.

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    Not that you need to be quiet for this showstopper; if the Weekender was a film, it’d most likely be the grotesque, just-about-legal but nonetheless strange story of a desert island. It’s lorded over by a tyrannical prince clad from head to toe in purple velvet who was incapable of walking three steps without doing the Macarena. He wouldn’t be the only weirdo on the island though, no sir; he’d be accompanied at all times by an a cappella choir of singing and dancing monkeys who happily joined him in his choreography.

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    This year for the first time ever Istanbul is to be included in the Venice Architecture Biennale, and will showcase the work of five contemporary Turkish artists as curated by Murat Tabanlıoğlu. So how do you go about celebrating your country’s participation in one of the greatest celebrations of architecture? If you’re anything like graphic design studio Future Anecdotes Istanbul, you put together a glorious identity and accompanying publication to celebrate the event.

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    Marcello Velho is one of a school of graphic artists subverting the forms of internet art that we’re becoming used to seeing, and doing something completely unanticipated with them. His abstract compositions are experimental and ambiguous, but that’s exactly what makes them exciting. He’s a pretty dab hand at design too, working on magazine covers, art directing features and just generally applying his magic touch wherever it’s needed. It’s only a matter of time until a global fashion brand with a wildly cool following happens upon his work and immediately has him applying his learned eye to look books, textile design and event invitations. Just for the record though, we got here first, yeah?

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    There are several reasons why we love Kyle Pellet and everything that comes out of his Pellet Factory, but first and foremost on the list is that his work is good, plain, unadulterated fun. There’s no need to muse on his choice of medium, or the narratives which seem to run from one image to the next, or the squishy-faced characters who pop up again and again, because why would you when you can look at them, laugh and imagine you’re running through a gallery with a pack of assorted animals? Turns out he’s been incredibly busy churning out work at an impressive rate, so here’s an update on what he’s been up to! If you’re curious, you can also check out five of his favourite books over here on his bookshelf.

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    For an image maker whose craft relies on capturing light to take all of his photographs by moonlight might seem a little impertinent, but Alejandro Chaskielberg doesn’t seem to care about following any preconceived ideas. The Buenos Aires-born photographer has fully replaced lighting equipment with the natural environment by taking images by the light of the full moon. His technique comes as a breath of fresh air to those familiar with photographic projects which aim to muster sympathy for subjects living in underprivileged areas; this is something else else entirely.

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    My favourite thing about Paris-based design studio Twice is that they continually combine texture and colour in such a way that I’m practically banging my hands into my computer screen with wanting to hold their publications in my hands. That’s the trouble with tactility – it’s not practical – but that shouldn’t mean designers abandon it altogether in favour of a wipe-clean, stark, sterile aesthetic that makes us lose all hope in print.

  13. Michael

    Graphic designer and Manchester School of Art student Michael Crook is the 15th and final of our Graduates of 2014, securing a spot up there with the best of ’em with his incredibly sharp and effortless-looking design. The projects he won us over with include an identity for an event called The Science of Fashion in which he used thermochronic ink to create a disappearing design, a book about American hobo culture and the secret written languages nomads use to communicate with one another, and an original take on book cover design, in which he made Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 look like a book of matches ready for the striking. Read on to find out about his favourite project to date, and the perfume-soaked tab he’s hoping never to encounter again. Well done Michael!

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    Our penultimate It’s Nice That Graduate of 2014 is Falmouth Illustration grad Lauren Humphrey, whose style is fun and playful and brilliantly authentic without sacrificing her message. It’s not often that you find a creative fresh out of university who so effortlessly aligns meaning with a recognisable and accessible aesthetic, but Lauren does so effortlessly, combining a style she has firmly established with the brief she’s set. She’s one to watch out for! Find her in a swanky studio, or potentially restoring an old boat, before you even know what’s happening.

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    I’m sure there are plenty of documentary photographers for whom going to Brazil to capture the World Cup would be something of a dream, but as far as I’m concerned none of them even come close to the exceptional Jane Stockdale. After having her application to photograph the crowds watching the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow turned down three times, she decided to take matters into her own hands, and jumped on a plane to Brazil to shoot audiences there instead.

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    When a studio does everything it can to get to the very root of a client’s working philosophy, it often leads to the most interesting and effective identity design. This is definitely true of Toronto-based studio Blok Design’s work for Dallas film production company Lucky 21. Created to mark the company’s new venture – “taking on the highly competitive LA market” – the identity takes into account the brand’s character, which the studio describes as “full of humour and fiercely passionate” to create a set of visuals that fall close to home.

  17. Charlotte

    University of Brighton graduate Charlotte Bassett’s work is so carefully considered that if you saw it in an art gallery or publishing house, nobody would blink an eyelid. There’s nothing rash or impulsive about her design, which focusses primarily on “curation, interdisciplinary collaborations and publishing”; instead, she combines diverse elements and a thorough knowledge of her subjects in a measured, sensitive and effective manner to create lasting impact.

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    Illustrator and longtime mate of ours Michael Willis is straying away from illustration and into something altogether more design-focussed. The elements at the heart of his images are the same; placing retro and contemporary influences side-by-side to create something so contemporary that it feels ahead of its time. He’s been working recently with Mood NYC, providing photographic manipulation and graphic treatment for their look book as well as helping create an overarching aesthetic for the brand, one which evades the recurring trends and repetitive styles that seem to permeate many designers’ portfolios.

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    We’ve almost finished our selection of It’s Nice That Graduates 2014, and we’ve well and truly established that this year has produced some of the most talented and exciting creative talent to date. We had a selection of handpicked judges to help us select the entrants who most deserved to make it through to the final 15, and in corner of publishing are Lydia and Lucy from Accent Magazine, “a global celebration of lives lived outside the ordinary.” They kindly left us with a few nuggets of wisdom for new graduates to show what they were looking for.

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    Another week, another tidalwave of amazing stuff that comes flying through our letterbox faster than we can spring up from our chairs to catch it. And another slight exaggeration to describe how popular we think we are. Regardless, here’s some more cool stuff we’ve been sent this week, including books, totes, zines and books!

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    When it comes to archives, they don’t get much more impressive than that of Andrea Aranow, the designer and ethnographer who has been collecting samples of textiles that take her fancy since the late 1960s. She’s made snakeskin ensembles for Jimi Hendrix, travelled through the mountains of Peru, China and Japan collecting, consulted designers from Louis Vuitton to Dries Van Noten and even curated exhibitions for the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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    Creatives and mood boards go together like Daphne and Celeste, and try as Tumblr and Pinterest might, up until now nothing has come anywhere close to challenging the satisfaction that comes from wielding a handful of drawing pins and some print-outs over an unassuming noticeboard. Curator might be in with a shot though. The brainchild of architect and app developer Daniel Nordh, Curator is an iPad app which “allows users to collect, organise and present mood boards mixing websites, images and text using a simple, intuitive tap-and-drag interface.” And for once, it really looks like it might do the trick.

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    As far as I can tell, there will always be a place for clean, stylish, witty illustration in the pages of today’s most esteemed media outlets, and for as long as that is the case illustrator Ben Wiseman isn’t going to have any trouble finding work. He’s nailed his aesthetic, communicating funny, satirical observations in neat, stripped back images and vibrant colours, and sure enough, clients have cottoned on. His portfolio includes a TIME magazine cover alongside work the The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde and This American Life, a corker of a list which just about makes him Brooklyn’s poster boy for editorial illustration. And thank god, because the black and white pages of the aforementioned publications sure would be dull without him.

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    As artisanal skills go, the world of ceramics is one of my favourites to peer into, and it’s as much because I know I’d be as useless as Demi Moore if I were plonked in front of a potter’s wheel as it is about the beauty of the craft itself. Whatever admiration I have for potters has just been magnified tenfold by this wonderful short film by North Sea Air about French ceramic brand Astier de Villatte. Founded by Benoît Astier de Villatte and Ivan Pericoli 18 years ago, the pair pride themselves on their traditionally-inspired handmade ceramics, and the authentic olde-worlde aesthetic that inspires everything they do.

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    There are fashion photographers, and then there are fashion photographers who have pioneered the very definition of the genre, branching out and experimenting where others wouldn’t even dare to tread and doing so 20 odd years before their time. Hans Feurer is such a one. Born in Switzerland in 1939, he worked as a graphic designer, illustrator and art director before deciding to take up photography during a trip to Africa.

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    David Doran is an illustrator so on top of his game that he’s already knocked up a cracking client list, and he’s only just finished his degree in Illustration at Falmouth. It’s not hard to see why, though – his skill is second to none, interweaving layers of soft texture, muted palettes and characters so animated that you almost recognise them, to create some of the snazziest tableaux we’ve seen in ages. We can’t wait to see what he’s got up his sleeve next, but in the meantime, get a load of this! Cor.

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    To tell the truth, when I heard that Morph’s creator was bringing him back around again for another go, I wanted to hate it. Being a true child of the 90s I feel like our little orange plasticine friend belongs solely to that era, and to attempt to bring him back for the soiled, desensitised, X-Box-obsessed youth of today is akin to animating Rosie & Jim and plonking them on a speedboat with a robot where the duck should be.

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    There are a couple of key points that underpin all really solid identities which, if one is removed, causes all the others to come tumbling down like marbles in a disastrous game of Kerplunk! It needs to be thorough, clear and communicative, it needs to be just as effective when pasted onto a giant billboard as it does on a tiny flyer, and it needs to contain elements which are applicable across the board including stationery, signage and printed collateral. I can just imagine Post Projects happily ticking all three of these golden rules off on a billboard upon finishing this identity for the 13th annual New Forms Festival, a festival celebrating arts, science and grassroots organisations across Canada and the rest of the world which took place last year.

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    They might seem like a load of gobbledygook, but the words Shapeshift, Trumpalump and GOB all have one thing in common; they’re singles by UK rapper and hip hop artist DELS, wordsmith and It’s Nice That Friday Mixtape-creator du jour. We have it on very good authority that he’s been known to dabble in graphic design and filmmaking too, which makes DELS alright in basically all of our books.

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    In my opinion there are no photographers who walk the tightrope between the mediocre and the exceptional so expertly as Dutch photographers Anuschka Blommers & Niels Schumm. A previous project for Baron magazine saw them charge everyday images from lightbulbs and IKEA lamps to book spines and sheets of paper with such eroticism that it was hard to look without blushing. Their most recent project for that same title, Baron, which Nowness aptly describes as lying “at the intersection of art and pornography,” follows in the same vein.

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    Furniture company Fioroni had the wise idea to turn to Swiss design consultancy CCRZ when it came to designing their logo, catalogue and website, and they must be mighty glad they did. Their products channel a “contemporary reinterpretation of the Alpine constructional tradition, combined with carefully crafted details and a clever use of solid wood and industrial plywood.”

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    What do we have here, then? Editorial illustration with a Cubist slant and an entirely unique style? We’ll take that, thanks. Polish illustrator Gosia Herba’s website is basically a treasure trove of projects for diverse clients, but we think her work is the most exciting when the faces are in profile, the bodies buxom and the colour palette muted, so that’s what we’re bringing you. The balance between malleability and a strong aesthetic is a difficult one to strike, but somehow Gosia has it down.

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    Deep in the heart of Alaska is a 200 resident strong town called Whittier, accessible only via a 2.6 mile long tunnel which runs through the neighbouring mountain, and which closes at nighttime. This leaves Whittier incredibly isolated overnight, even more so due to the fact that almost all of the town’s inhabitants live on top of one another in a 14 storey condominium.

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    Thomas Petherick is a set designer with a client list including the likes of Dior, Nike, Nowness and Wonderland, and considering the strength and consistency his aesthetic it’s no surprise that there are so many absolute stonkers in there. He works often with large abstract shapes, creating backdrops and props which structure entire editorial shoots with his vibrant colours and light tricks. This editorial, shot by Michiel Meewis for Fucking Young! magazine is based around Yves Klein’s famous blue, and for it Thomas created what is basically a giant wooden cheese and projected light and clouds onto it to make it look like the coolest, most high fashion object ever. It’s no mean feat, but he pulls it off with panache.

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    In a world where everything is in a perpetual state of flux, from the way you brush your teeth to the fastenings on your shoes, food packaging has stayed more or less the same. Sure, the crisp packets have gotten a bit fancier and pricey organic veg comes in marginally more environmentally friendly materials now, but on the whole food has been left far behind the crowd in terms of progression.

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    Self-initiated projects are the best, aren’t they? I think of them as an excuse to peel the dollar signs off your eyeballs and replace them with love-hearts for a while, and more often than not it’s a transaction that pays off a hundredfold in the long run.

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    Deceptive though it might sound, I think the task of taking something boring sounding and making it engaging is one of the most fascinating elements of design – the craftsmanship involved in showing something to its full potential through a limited set of visuals is not to be sniffed at. Interface design is a prime example of where this skill comes to light, and designer and art director Roger Dario does it brilliantly.

  38. Alice

    Like the large majority of my generation I spend a disproportionate amount of my daily life on the internet, but probing the way that digital spheres function within our actual lives is a task which requires a very specific – and hard to come by – kind of creative brain. Cue the arrival of Alice Stewart, a digital and interactive illustrator from Kingston University whose handle on internet-driven concepts is second to none.

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    Do you remember Peter Judson’s bold geometric constructions from earlier on this year? He had us bowled over with his vibrant, brick-like compositions, and as his website proves he has plenty more strings to his bow. Focusing principally on Memphis-influenced design and architectural illustration, he takes familiar shapes and transforms them into something so simple that it goes full circle and becomes incredibly complex again.

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    I’m loathe to use the term “coffee table book” for a publication which seems to demand to be read anywhere and everywhere, rather than sitting untouched next to a selection of coasters. Still, the new tome by photographer Kenny Braun necessitates it; Surf Texas is a book so good that you’ll be desperate to keep it where it can be seen by anyone who might be passing idly through your living room.