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

776 articles
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    Peter Brookes is a demigod among political cartoonists. The septuagenarian is now in his 22nd year at The Times where he still produces a cartoon every day, distilling the frustrations, jibes and political unrest of the nation into one biting image to a looming and unmoveable deadline. This short film The Art of Satire examines Peter’s work in the contexts both of political cartooning and of The Times, who recognise Peter’s exceptional skill by allowing him to contradict the editorial direction of the paper in favour of following his own line.

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    I love that moment when big brands start to recognise the immense talents of illustrators who had previously been making work primarily for themselves, and duly commission them to do exactly what they do best. Linda Linko is a prime example; since being signed to Agent Pekka the Finnish illustrator has been gathering speed as well as commissions, creating her characteristically bold artwork for a number of huge posters and magazine covers.

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    If you were wise enough to pick up the Summer issue of Printed Pages you’ll already be familiar with Rami Niemi’s fine work. The Finnish illustrator is a comics artist the likes of which doesn’t come along very often, and he kindly crafted a 12 page story called Lonely Boys for the mag, which included the seven narratives of classic fiction.

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    When the sad passing of Louise Wilson, the head of MA Fashion at London’s Central Saint Martins, was announced in May of this year, it was received with a tidalwave of grief from former students, friends and industry professionals alike. For those who passed through the hallowed doors into the MA Fashion studios at Central Saint Martin’s, her influence was akin to that of a well-loved monarch. Famed for her brutal honesty and unapologetic criticism as much as for her fierce loyalty and warmth, Louise was instrumental in tutoring an astounding number of the most successful designers working in the fashion industry today – Christopher Kane, Stella McCartney, Mary Katrantzou and Louise Goldin among them.

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    Having founded London-based design studio Build in 2001, creative director Michael C. Place has amassed his fair share of books in his time, with a healthy combination of design knowledge to be found tucked between the spines on the studios (admirably well-organised) shelf. We’ve been championing Build’s work on the site for some time now, so what better way to get an insight into the inspirations behind their snazzy work than by hearing from the creative director himself about his favourite reading material? Between Letraset catalogues, reflections on legend Wim Crouwel and Michael’s mate Blam (who has excellent taste in books) we were not disappointed.

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    New York-based artist Daniel Arsham is a figure with fingers in a lot of different conceptual pies, from installation works to short films. While architecture plays an important part in his work, so too do the paradoxes and oddities of human nature, and that’s what’s under the microscope here.

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    If you ask me, the beauty of Maciek Pozoga’s work lies in the fact that it can’t be pinned down. He’s eternally “juggling between documentary, art and fashion,” as his website explains, resulting in a style which grows “from a specific conception of documentary images, naturalistic and authentic but tinged with poetry and humour.”

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    Growing up in a family of doctors, Swedish illustrator and paper-cut artist Petra Börner secured her first commission (illustrating medical journals) through her surgeon mother, which might go some way to explaining why her work is so reminiscent of botanical diagrams in biology textbooks. Petra’s principle subject is the flora and fauna of the natural world, which she creates using paper cut techniques so intricate and painstakingly-detailed that they scarcely look like they could be real.

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    Alright, we admit it – Peter Judson has made a lot of work we’ve been really into this year, and he’s had the props on the site to prove it. But why should we be made to contain ourselves when he keeps producing illustration of this calibre? Why, we ask you?

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    If you’ve just started uni and you’ve spent an entire week in student unions drinking vibrant blue booze from a questionably-shaped vessel (a goldfish bowl, say, or a shoe) then this Weekender is for you. If you’ve bought more IKEA textiles than your measly student loan will allow but you still can’t get used to the breeze-block walls of your dorms, and you think the mature student next door might have eaten cat food for breakfast this morning, or you accidentally squeegee’d paint onto every last remaining clean item of clothing you own in your first printmaking class (embarrassing) we’re here for you. Welcome to the Weekender.

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    The month of October is synonymous with new pencil cases, stiff Clarks shoes and uncomfortable Freshers week outings, and what better way to celebrate the unique but unmistakeable interval of Back to School-feeling than by looking at some of our favourite films to feature art schools and classes? Here we list some of the classic blockbusters to capture creative education in all of its iterations, including characters from Laney Boggs to Enid Coleslaw. Exercise books out then, pencils at the ready…

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    If, like me, you spent many an hour in your teenage years gazing absentmindedly at Larry Carlson’s experimental website Medijate, you’ll no doubt be similarly transfixed by The Landfill from the very talented Santtu Mustonen. Stitching together a “collection of unused sketches, leftover drawings and rejected ideas from forgotten projects” to a mesmerising soundtrack by Tuomas Alatalo, Santtu created a hypnotic animation that’s a work of art in its own right.

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    Art in Film is the kind of online resource you don’t imagine is likely to come in especially handy in your life, but you find yourself scrolling through transfixed anyway. Run on a submissions basis by its curator Martin Cole, the set pulls together every imaginable example of an artwork (real or imaginary) included in film or on TV, from the famous scene at the potter’s wheel in Ghost to Lisa admiring Matisse’s Cut Outs in The Simpsons.

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    Mr Bingo is the master of Hate Mail and endless sarcastic humour delivered in intricately rendered illustration, so naturally he was an obvious choice to invite to contribute to our School Drawings feature in our Back to School Month. He did not disappoint. Back when he was a kid, his drawings consisted mainly of slow sadistic punishments delivered to long-suffering characters, complete with a running narrative in speech bubble form – “I’ve been in this cube for 13 years now, I’m a little cramped” for example – and they’re absolutely bloody brilliant. Here’s Bingo on the characters he used to draw, his favourites and the themes you can spot here that still resonate in his work today.

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    All too often these days we stumble across a jaw-dropping example of set design, only to discover the impressive final image is actually the result of some clever visual trickery and digital manipulation. That’s an impressive art unto itself, don’t get me wrong, but pure CGI can leave me feeling a little shortchanged.

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    Producing graphic collateral for one of the world’s largest international contemporary art fairs is a brief that would have some graphic design studios quaking in their boots, but when London-based Studio Frith was approached by Frieze Art Fair they accepted with relish.

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    Designer Shaz Madani has had an extraordinary year. As if it wasn’t enough to take on the art direction and design of Riposte Magazine, now in its second issue, she’s also been involved with a whole host of other projects. From the stunning exhibition catalogue to accompany Lalla Essaydi’s exhibition at Baku MoMA, to the identity for the 2014 summer shows at London College of Communications, and a documentary photography publication with Giles Duley, the diversity of her work is fascinating. Moreover it never dips below excellent. Each project is created with her clean, pared back aesthetic, unobtrusive and yet bold in its approach. We’re in awe. Can you tell?

  18. Weekenderlist

    Back in the glory days (i.e. when we were at uni) each triumphant essay hand-in or project completion was followed by a quick dance around our bedrooms, a trip to Tesco’s to stock up on cheap booze and, if we were really lucky, an evening spent in fancy dress in a sweaty club stuffed fuller than a new beanbag. Now we’re working 9 till 5, that jubilant sensation is saved up for just one day of the week and, you guessed it, it’s Friday! So do a swift wiggle in your deskchair, because it’s time for the Weekender!

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    The friendship between prolific Japanese artist Takashi Murakami and Pharrell Williams might be one of my absolute favourites; the pair have worked together a number of times over the years, culminating in this super-special new music video. Animated by Takashi and subsequently remixed by Pharrell to create the visual accompaniment to It Girl, it’s a gloriously maximalist affair with influences in manga, video game graphics, watercolour animation and (obviously) Pharrell’s hat. It’s an explosion of colour, bubble writing, tiny bikinis and glittering stars, because why not? This is Pharrell, after all, and if anybody has the power to recreate his celebrity prowess in animated form, it’s Takashi Murakami.

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    Hiro Murai’s new music video for Flying Lotus’ Never Catch Me is the kind that demands your total attention, and if you can give it, something very strange happens. It might be due to the subject matter – two children rise out of their coffins midway through their own funeral and dance down the aisle to escape in a hearse. Or even the magnificent shots, of which there are plenty – from a choir dancing and clapping in silhouette in front of a stained glass window to the boy leaning his head out of the car window in the final moments with a look of utter happiness on his face. Either way, it’ll transport you completely.

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    French designer Caroline Aufort is one of the co-founders of Acmé Paris, a design studio we’ve written about before, but her personal work as art director of Passion, a fanzine-like publication with roots in the mystical and the strange, deserves some attention too. Issue #3 of the publication is heavily influenced by the sublime, and takes as its theme the symbol of the blue flower from German Romanticism, representing a mythical truth which is sought by everybody. This flower crops up again and again in the publication as it references different aspects of this legend, and the mystery inherent in the subject is reinforced by design elements, from the woodland imagery which serves as a backdrop to overlaid articles to the calligraphic hand-drawn types used for headings. A bit gothic? Yes, but beautiful with it.

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    Flickr is one of those magical treasure mines of the internet that’s sure to yield gems if you just look hard enough, and every now and again on our travels we stumble across a great hunk of uncut diamond. To continue the metaphor, Dave Glass is one such treasure.

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    Is there nothing Tim and Eric can touch without turning it into a gleaming hunk of gold? I’d have imagined that homeware would be simply too dry for their unique brand of slapstick, but somehow the American comedy duo have succeeded in making an ad for GE Link lightbulbs, dreamt up by BBDO New York, which is pant-wettingly funny and super slick without undermining their usual offerings on American channel Adult Swim.

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    You can do a lot in a year, I’m told, and proof if any was needed comes in the form of Cynthia Kittler. Just last year we listed her as one of our Students of the Month for her “kind, quiet illustration,” and checking by her website again this year I found that not only is she no longer a student, but she’s being regularly commissioned by the likes of The New York Times and Die Zeit magazine for editorial illustration which is not only as quiet and kind as it was last time we checked in, but also incredibly resonant now.

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    As the reigning royal family of fashion culture, i-D has built up an impressive roster of friends – designers, models, photographers, and magazine editors have been affiliated since Terry Jones first set up shop in 1980 – and they’re all happy to lend a hand when called on. So when fellow online daily resource Business of Fashion announced its index of the 500 most influential figures working in the fashion industry today, I guess it only made sense to cast them all together in a film with a suitably flamboyant brief.

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    Satirical artist and very funny woman Miriam Elia is something of a pro when it comes to books; last year she self-published We Go to the Gallery, a satirical reinterpretation of a 1960s Ladybird book which seeks to help parents explain sex, death and contemporary art to their young ones, complete with a handy glossary of new words to learn. She’s since co-curated an exhibition about Pastiche, Parody and Piracy at London’s Cob Gallery, while other past works include I Fell in Love With a Conceptual Artist… and It Was TOTALLY MEANINGLESS about her relationship with Martin Creed. Hilarious? Yes. Yes it is. Miriam’s Bookshelf includes lovingly weathered books about typography, photography, flesh-eating plants and Butlins holiday camps, giving a neat insight into her brain.

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    I’d say that when one of the few companies lauded by children the world over commissions you to design artwork for the interior walls of their HQ, you know you’ve made it. This actually happened to Patrick Savile, the graphic designer and illustrator responsible for splashing his irrevocably diverting artwork throughout the building that houses kids TV channel Nickelodeon, resulting in playful digital illustration, typographic experiments and cartoon eyes a plenty.

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    It takes a very discerning eye to photograph the famous faces who’ve already graced posters, ad campaigns and magazine covers in a new light, but somehow Boris Kralj has made this fine-tuned art his bread and butter. His subjects range from some of the most famous figures in contemporary culture – Susan Sarandon, Vivienne Westwood, Brian Ferry and Karl Lagerfeld – to models in fashion shoots and commercial work, but all faces receive his attentive treatment. It feels as though he’s spent hours with each subject observing their characteristics and flaws in able to mild this knowledge into a uniquely insightful portrait, and thought I’m sure this can’t be the case it certainly is an impressive thing to master.

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    The closest many of us Brits ever come to a machine gun is when we’re hiding behind a bucket of popcorn the size of a small child in the front row at the cinema, so you can imagine our fascination at seeing this new series by Brian Finke. Brian spent four years photographing US marshals, the longest standing law enforcement agency in America who work under the federal courts. They are “tasked with protecting judges, prosecutors and witnesses, and are also responsible for transporting prisoners and tracking down the country’s most dangerous fugitives,” the book explains.

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    The South London Gallery describes Lawrence Weiner, whose new exhibition All in Due Course opened there last Friday, as a “reluctant pioneer of conceptual art,” which must be one of the coolest epithets going. The American artist has been creating his typographic wall sculptures since the 1970s when he first pioneered his unique medium which he maintains is not conceptualism but a kind of sculpture made using “language + the materials referred to.”

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    We love Thomas Slater. We love how he manages to dollop a fat helping of fun to subjects from art school to financial advice, how he so accurately distils the defining characteristics of his subjects in one fell swoop, and how his work offers a universal joy which makes him appealing for near on every audience imaginable.

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    Emily Kai Bock is the filmmaker responsible for music videos for the likes of Arcade Fire, Grimes and Grizzly Bear, which explains why her eye is so well-trained at spotting the moments she captures in her photography, too. Shooting strangers in the street and yet capturing strangely warm and intimate portraits she seems to form immediate bonds with the people she spots on her travels, from a girl waiting in line to pay for her groceries to a glamorous but frustrated woman crossing the road. There’s something transfixing about the vulnerable but unwavering eye contact her subjects fix on her, almost as though they are the only two people in the scene to recognise her existence. It’s a rare talent, but it seems to come very naturally to Emily, and we can’t help but feel grateful for it.

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    This weekend galleries, zines, publishing houses and rare book dealers are getting together at London’s Whitechapel Gallery for the UK’s biggest annual celebration of international art publishing, taking place concurrently with the New York Art Book Fair. Three solid days of events ensue, including book signings by Bridget Riley, Nadav Kander and Douglas Coupland (who is launching new publication everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything at the fair, too) and events such as Unbinding the Book challenge the tradition concept of publishing altogether.

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    If the pseudonym Synchrodogs calls to mind a troupe of people dressed in a trippy barrage of Cyberdog-influenced body suits sprawled across luscious green meadows, in front of waterfalls and crouching on cracked deserts, then you’re on the right track. Tania Shcheglova and Roman Noven have been working under the moniker since 2010, and their unique brand of out-of-this-world fashion photography set in apocalyptic environments has earned them a reputation for making fascinating, if bizarre, imagery.

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    London-based brand Heresy presented its new collection this week in the guise of its Autumn Winter 2014 lookbook. Entitled Forming, the collection is a quiet amalgamation of illustration and traditional workwear, combining illustrated elements and hand-drawn type with carefully crafted structural staples made from loop-back jersey and felted wool.

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    Switzerland-based artist Pascale Keung makes delightfully diverse work which is inspired by her chosen country’s stunning natural landscape as often as it is by wild fantasies. This series Muttsee is an example of the former, a collection of images about “a very special place in the Alps of Switzerland” where she goes to fish with her friends from time to time.

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    If you’re concerned that your bookshelf is starting to look bit run-of-the-mill then allow us to present you with a new publication to blow the others out of the water. Eventually Everything Connects is a new publication by Loris Lora, published by Nobrow, illustrating the largely unknown but absolutely fascinating commonalities which joined many of the architects, designers, filmmakers and photographers working in southern California in the Modernist era.

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    John Tebbs is an English gardener who, frustrated by the fact that “many of his working days are held hostage to the weather” founded The Garden Edit in the winter of 2013. His idea was to spend his downtime as productively as possible, creating an online store of beautiful objects which he sourced and sold himself. The resulting curated collection reflects John’s faultless aesthetic, selling “minimal, well-designed products from craftspeople, artists, publishing houses and family-run businesses” alongside a Journal which features short articles by some of his favourite figures about their own horticultural escapades, from rooftop gardens to illustrations of plants.

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    I’m all for embracing new modes of experiencing literature, but when choosing to read novels on an iPad or tablet requires that you select a dull digital alternative cover – one with a hunk of Helvetica slapped thoughtlessly over a low-res image, or similar – I can’t help by find myself reaching for a paperback. Fortunately publishers like Frenchies Les Livres Mouvants are a step ahead of their game, commissioning beautiful books covers for their digital reads which will even out the playing field.

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    The Google robot is an odd creature. We have Marion Balac to thank for the discovery that, in a bid to maintain the anonymity of the people caught in its shots for Google Street View, the search engine blurs out every single face it comes into contact with. This includes the likes of Las Vegas’ Sphinx monument and giant gold-covered Buddhas, resulting in a bunch of monuments who have been forced into anonymity by the tech giant’s stringent privacy measures.