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

631 articles
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    An audio-visual match made in heaven, animator Daniela Scherer got together with musician Tom Rosenthal to create the video for his new music video for As Luck Would Have It, and her Western theme, minimal colour palette and cowgirl-come-mother central character turned out to be the perfect animated accompaniment to Tom’s dulcet tones. The video is simple in approach, following a young pregnant woman as she becomes a mother, interspersed with effortlessly composed images of cowboys laid across train tracks, magic 8-balls which always tell the truth, and one particularly arresting shot of a woman absent-mindedly whistling while singing the ukelele. It’s a wonderful music video, and if you’re anything like me, one that you’ll feel inclined to watch on repeat for a full 15 minutes before you can click away.

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    The trouble with the wealth of magazines populating the shelves of newsagents worldwide these days is that too many of them purport to be something they’re not; a look at global culture in 100 pages, for example, or a snapshot of the newest, freshest, most exciting trends. Perdiz magazine, on the other hand simply claims to be about happiness; a humble goal, but one which this brightly coloured publication achieves very, very well.

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    Our weekly Bookshelf feature must be fairly nerve-wracking stuff for book artists like Owen Gildersleeve, whose recurring presence on the walls of It’s Nice That is about as unquestioned as the changing of the seasons. How do you represent your own book collection when half of your practice is about creating images for new ones? Fortunately Owen’s passed our test with flying colours, a 10 out of 10 for his five publications that have not only informed and educated him, but make excellent eye candy for us book-lovers too. And if you keep your eyes peeled, you might just spot a very exciting new one all of his own, due to hit bookshelves very soon…

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    Photo booths have been doing the rounds of fancy parties in London for a few years now, and while there are still few things more entertaining than having your drunk moony preserved in photographic form for years to come, there are only so many times you can pose with a fake moustache and a wig on. Cue Artomatic.

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    Filmmaker Andrew Telling is something of a rare gem in his industry, in that each film he makes bears his signature in every single shot, yet he’s able to shift seamlessly from one client to another. It’s pretty apt then that he picked an equally talented filmmaker for his favourite music video, Kahlil Joseph, whose short for Kenzo had us raving a couple of weeks back. He too has an inexplicable presence in his films, making sublime, quietly poetic works that leave his viewers stunned time and again. We owe Andrew a pat on the back for giving us an excuse to rewatch his masterpiece for Flying Lotus’ Until the Quiet Comes.

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    Italian-born Brooklyn-based photographer Gabriele Baldotto has colour-led curation down to a T. As far as subject matter goes his direction is almost ambiguous, treading the fine line between fashion editorial imagery, in which the garments his subjects wear appear to have been carefully chosen, and a still life series, with several shots of landscapes scattered throughout.

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    We featured Madeleine Waller for her photographs of swimmers at London Fields Lido way back in 2010, so you can imagine our delight to find that these very charming images have been published in a book all of their own, entitled East London Swimmers, by Hoxton Mini Press.

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    If you’re anything like us when it comes to music, you happily eschew all things super cool and underground (gabber, anybody?) in favour of letting Christina Aguilera and Usher blare out obnoxiously over the studio sound system. And in a glorious celebration of our unashamed love of pop music, this week Japanese-American singer-songwriter Kina Grannis has put together a Friday mixtape for us! Woooo! Crank it up and croon along, and enjoy every single glorious “ooooh.” Happy Friday!

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    Maybe it’s the world cup that’s dragging out the reluctant patriot in me, but I’m seeing flags all over place at the moment, and do you know what? I’m enjoying it. Perhaps nowhere so much as in this project, Multi-national Typeface by Grey Singapore. They’ve taken every single flag in the world, and reconfigured the shapes and colours which distinguish it to create the first letter of the country’s name. Sounds tricky, but fortunately Grey Singapore are also adept at putting together brilliantly functional and very entertaining GIFs which demonstrate the composition process, making the whole thing a damn sight easier to work out.

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    “Ah,” I can hear you thinking, “another process blog by a graphic designer!” but not just any designer, and not just any process blog, either. Leslie David is a Paris-based illustrator and art director to clients from the high fashion (Givenchy, Opening Ceremony and Chloé) to the music-related (Metronomy) and media-based (The New York Times and Jalouse Magazine) among several others, and tucked away on her page is a blog full of screenshots both of personal work and of work in progress.

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    Holding Bare magazine in your hands or flicking idly through it on the Tube, you’d be forgiven realising that there was something different about it without being able to put your finger on exactly what that is. Printed on heavy uncoated stock and without a single retouched photograph between its front and back pages, the difference is subtle, but it’s there.

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    Daniel Adel is best known for his satirical illustration, as championed by the likes of The New Yorker and The New York Times; abnormally large-headed politicians sipping beverages next to scantily-clad babes, caricatures of famous faces with overgrown ears and noses. Over on his website, though, these cheeky images are more than matched by incredibly serious and very impressive portraiture which looks like it would be just as at home on the walls of an American president’s mahogany-lined office as it would over your grandmother’s fireplace.

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    There are doodlers and then there are doodlers, and then there is Félix Decombat, who has taken doodling to a whole new level with both a website and a Flickr site full to the brim with some of the best lo-fi illustration we ever did see. The incredible variety of styles in the heap is testament to just how much talent Félix has, dabbling in comic book-esque imagery and fully fledged sketch-style work alongside chunky, bold or monochromatic variations.

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    The world is a funny old place, full as it is with landscapes so far beyond my realm of understanding that I can barely even begin to comprehend they exist. To see environments such as Australia’s salt mines crystallised in a photography series is understandably quite impressive then, and no more so than the landscapes themselves; vast expanses of white populated only by the occasional crane and digger and overhung with a glorious blue sky,

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    There’s never really been a point where I’ve been halfway through doing the washing up at home and wondered what might happen if I mix two potentially dangerous chemical substances together and then photograph the results. Thankfully though, the more creatively-minded Davy Evans has done, and he came up with results so astonishingly beautiful that he was able to create some very beautiful album artwork from them for the likes of The XX and Fryars. Some of them like them so much that they have films of his moving images projected on the stage while they play.

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    You know those dreams you have swiftly after you’ve chomped your way happily through an entire cheese plate and you’ve fallen into a surreal, brie-fuelled adventure? At their most outlandish, mine look something like this video for Russian musician Mumiy Troll by Flakonkishochki. It sees a cute, china-bunned schoolgirl in a pink dress hop onto a train, and walk through carriage after carriage into a acid-trip-fantasy version of Alice’s Wonderland. In this Wonderland though, duck-headed children bathe in baked beans, walruses perch on the train seats and the walls give way to expansive mountain backdrops, and nobody bats an eyelid. Not one. It’s really bloody weird, but that’s exactly why we enjoy it so.

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    It’s not every day that you come across a photography project with so enormous a reach and so engrossing a subject that you find yourself losing hours flicking through its images, but that’s exactly the case with Uwe Ommer’s 1000 Families. Uwe, a German photographer, spent four years travelling around the world, driving almost 160,000 miles in the process, and photographed countless families across Europe, Africa, America, Asia and Oceania with a medium format camera.

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    Basement Jaxx are currently teetering on the cusp of releasing the first new music that they’ve made in absolutely ages, and I’m sure it won’t dampen anybody’s excitement to know that the visual accompaniment to their new song Unicorn does indeed feature a unicorn. It’s one that’s been magicked up by video artist and animator Tomek Ducki, who’s responsible for no small number of mind-bogglingly good animated shorts. This one is a true tribute to the 80s soulful disco culture that Basement Jaxx value so highly, with flashing wormy creatures, dancing under spotlights, and unicorn horns with minds of their own running riot all over the place. I think you have to see it to believe it.

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    We thought Molly Molloy and Gianni Tozzi set the bar pretty high with the first issue of Parterre de Rois which combined carefully curated content and first-rate art to create a seamless first instalment of a new publication, all based on the theme “carnal.” As the second issue proves however, even the excellent can be bettered the second time around.

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    Just when you think you’ve seen everything typography has to offer – bacon, for example, or some of the wilder creations Sam Winston has created, you stumble happily across the type design of a Japanese designer and everything gets turned on its head. Because not speaking Japanese I have absolutely no idea what these bold, graphic compositions mean, but in spite of all my linguistic inadequacies, I still find myself inexplicably drawn to them. The new combinations of lines and forms presents a whole new world as far as type design is concerned, and designer Shun Sasaki is taking full advantage of it, presenting unashamedly vivid colour combinations, and carrying over her myriad Japanese references to the equally fascinating examples of type design in English. Take that grid and throw it to the back of the cupboard, Shun has no need of it.

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    Paris is constantly referred to as the fashion capital of the world, awash as it is with chic ladies dressed head to toe in black, with the occasional breton stripe thrown in to liven up a dreary ensemble. What they aren’t talking about, on the other hand, is the people who really make up Paris’ burgeoning street style scene; the people who are obsessed with wearing all one colour, the people who are obsessed with wearing every colour all at once, or the people who go out with a tiger-print shawl thrown nonchalantly over their shoulders.

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    Yann Faucher’s website is full of polished, carefully constructed images for fashion editorials – crisp, clean and multi-layered, they ooze the kind of feeling he is known for and commissioned to create. And it’s very beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but over on his Tumblr the overriding aesthetic is one of rawness, and somehow that’s far more exciting.

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    Barcelona-based studio Forma & Co. is Joel Lozano and Dani Navarro, and my, do Dani and Joel know how to take a rather unexciting brief – creating communicative posters for government organisations, or posters to advertise debates about neuroscience – and make it 100% more interesting. Example A is this identity for Can Felipa’s Civic Centre, the name of which doesn’t exactly inspire a flurry of excitement.

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    Discos can be oddly liminal spaces in even the most ordinary of venues, but when they’re held in buildings which used to serve as Houses of Culture during Soviet era Lithuania, they quickly become even stranger. Fortunately, Lithuanian-American photographer Andrew Miksys had the good sense to photograph them; he spent ten years travelling around the youth discos in small villages throughout Lithuania, brilliantly capturing the unsettling juxtaposition of a new generation who are transforming old spaces. Some of the rooms in the images are littered with old Soviet memorabilia, from portraits of Lenin to discarded gas masks, creating the sense of a new generation trying to build a life among the ruins. It’s a beautifully candid and incredibly poignant reminder of how some periods in history continue to resonate long after they’re over.

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    The nature of the fashion industry (determined, pervasive, ubiquitous) means that after a while those ads that are on every magazine stand, every billboard and every double decker bus get a bit… boring. Even the most impressively designed garments can become as objectionable as an itchy animal onesie when you’ve seen too much of the same glossy images, and this is perhaps why Charlotte Trounce’s work is so easy to enjoy.

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    French illustrator Amélie Carpentier is to thank for this slice of pleasantry; she has a diverse range of styles in her portfolio, and nestled happily among various different projects is Amour Trouble, an illustrated comic book-esque publication about one man’s trials of the heart. The frames used to delineate each scene in the story act as a kind of signature to Amélie’s style, switching from circles and squares to hexagons progressively as the story advances, lending it a geometric theme and a cool alternative perspective. She’s got the knack of outlining stories with little more than recurring forms and simply-constructed characters, both traits which are sure to see her create many more cool books yet.

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    Rosa Verde is a documentary photographer based in the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain, who recently gave up a career in news reportage to pursue stories she felt to be more meaningful. This led her to Basketball is Life, a poignant and touching series about the universality of the sport, and yet the diversity in reasons that people pursue it.

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    It’s usually only when watching The Sound of Music on a Sunday afternoon (happens more often than you’d think) that I muse on what my life would be like if I lived in a convent, but Giulio Ghirardi’s got me pondering it today. The reason being A Different Life, the photographic series he created inside the walls of the Monastery of San Giovanni in Parma, Italy. He photographs the quiet serenity of the buildings and the monks wandering inside it, and even the most unlikely of objects seem imbued with calm when seen through his lens; a bag of bread hanging on a wall, a statue of the Virgin Mary among some foliage. It’s a wonderfully tranquil project, shot through with saturated chunks of light and activity. Lovely stuff.

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    This is something of a niche reference so please forgive me if I lose you, but do you remember that episode of The Magic Schoolbus where the bus shrinks to molecular size and travels inside Ralphie’s body? Well Kraftfolio’s recent project for Bit Hotel in Barcelona reminds me hugely of that; together with Karina Eibatova and Lesha Galkin, Edgor Kraft who heads up the studio painted the walls with a mural which looks exactly like what I imagine the inside of an illustrator’s brain to look like if you were to shrink and then travel inside it. Covered in ambiguous shapes, squiggles, colours and forms, it’s quite the transformation for the space, turning it from a plain white box into a highly original, almost biological-looking room. Just like inside Ralphie.

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    I’m always interested by the paradox which means that small exhibitions are often the most impactful, and the new show at the Design Museum, entitled Time Machines: Daniel Weil and the Art of Design is a prime example. Though it occupies a relatively small space, tucked in on the top floor next to the expansive Designs of the Year show, it seems to catalogue Daniel’s original approach to design perfectly.His new series of clocks demand attention first; finely made with all of their parts exposed, they maintain the dematerialisation that he first established with his Bag Radios, exploring new means of conductivity, but they seem to have progressed to a more finely-tuned, beautiful state.

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    You know when you stare at the sun for too long and your eyes turn everything dark around you? That’s the feeling that pervades Dawn in Luxor, Kahlil Joseph’s new short for KENZO, which falls alongside their Spring/Summer 2014 collection. The LA-based filmmaker is known for the “fragmentary, paradoxical and beautiful” lens he casts over the world he captures, and all three adjectives are at work here.

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    Webcomics are another medium to emerge from the digital sphere, and a very interesting one at that; Bird’s Eye China is just another example of how funny, accessible and scathing they can be. The Tumblr blog is made up of screenshots from Baidu maps, a kind of Chinese online mapping service not dissimilar to Google Maps, but brilliantly, looks just like SimCity.

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    We first came across photographer Colin O’Brien last autumn, when we interviewed him about his stunning 1987 series Traveller’s Children in London. The book which housed the series was an understated affair, allowing his monochromatic images to speak for themselves, which they did in volumes of sentimentality and nostalgia. And while understated can be lovely, Colin’s back catalogue is so extensive – beginning as it does in 1948 and stretching all the way to the present day – that we couldn’t help but feel that he deserved something more.

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    Held in any number of unusual venues and with a line-up of acts who break boundaries all over the shop, Eastern Electrics is a festival unlike any other, so when Accept & Proceed undertook rebranding it it made perfect sense that they create something appropriately cool. They created a new mark which they describe as a “lightning bolt E” and a “bespoke electrifying variation of Simplon Mono font,” drawing on classic heavy metal motifs and a gloriously sunny palette.

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    Hand-painted book covers give that rare pleasure that comes when two seemingly unrelated genres collide, and this only gets greater when several very different creative minds come together to create them too. Such is the case where Rebekah Miles’ collaboration with fashion house Rodarte is involved.

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    Alongside Harry Griffin, Eva O’Leary is one half of photographic duo Two States, whose war enactment project Devils Den had us stunned and delighted back in December. As we’ve just discovered though, Eva has some brilliant work of her own, too. Her portfolio is full of images which, through her lens, seem ever so slightly more extraordinary. From a man in a dressing gown and wellies sipping nonchalantly from a red mug as though the deep, mysterious blue forest he’s standing in is perfectly normal, to a pair of outstretched arms hugging the wall space between two windows; everything looks just a little bit surreal. Her photographs have an intense depth to them that’s not often found in portraiture, and frankly, we can’t stop staring.

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    Swedish illustrator Siri Ahmed Backström describes herself first and foremost as a storyteller, and judging from the projects in her portfolio, of which there are no small number, it’s the fine art of creating narrative illustration to accompany a tale that she’s so good at. These images are from a book called Syskondagen, which translates as “Sibling’s Day,” and tells the story of two siblings spending a day together. The imagery is unlike anything I’ve seen before; a gloriously tactile-looking mishmash of textures, colours and shapes, with triangle print patterns on jumpers and checked tights all drawn in charmingly intricate detail. Illustration for children’s books comes into its own when you can glean the vague shape of the story without any text at all, and the fact that this is true here is an excellent testament to the quality of Siri’s work.

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    If like me you spent a large chunk of your teenage Saturdays sticking price tags to near worthless objects armed with nothing but a price-gun and a roll of orange stickers, you’ll feel a warm wave of nostalgia at seeing BL76’s work. The mysteriously named French artist creates large-scale artworks with nothing but the tiny labels.

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    A boutique creative agency based in New York, New Zealand and London, Hardhat Design have a side range of projects under their belt. We were particularly taken by this identity for interior stylist and store owner Alex Fulton, whose work is characterised by her use of colour and forms. In accordance with these elements of her practice, Hardhat designed a fun and playful identity which utilises shapes that can be viewed in a number of different ways. We spoke to the design director Jenny Miles about their key references.

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    Metronomy frequently astound us when it comes to producing videos and album artwork – it was only a heartbeat ago that they had Michel Gondry direct this absolute stonker of an audio-visual offering – so we probably shouldn’t be surprised that their latest one is so good, but we are anyway. Directed by Daniel Brereton and animated by Matt Lloyd, the video for Reservoir uses felt-tip animation in what might be the best way we’ve ever seen. Watch out for the band’s voiceover towards the end and just see if you aren’t utterly won over. Can’t wait to watch this one in all its analogue, homemade glory on an actual TV screen, speakers blaring.