Portrait15

Ross worked with us as an editorial intern after studying at the University of Lincoln. He wrote for the site between October and December 2012.

@ross_bryant

78 articles
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    The calendar is set and the show birds are in position. We even have an exhibition of what should aptly be described as grotesquely intriguing (Not quite the remit of Stephen Fry’s QI but we’ll go there all in the name of Things voyeurism). And just like the sandwich that doesn’t need any more sauce, we’re going to slap a ladle load of spiced gravy on top, wrapping things up with lovely illustration and art. Strap yourselves in people, Things are about to get real!

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    The world can seem so full of hate at times, especially when we surf the comment sections on websites or browse lively debates taking place within the world of Twitter every second of the day. It’s something we all have come across, and in general it also seems we’re all a bit partial in telling some of these people to go and, let’s just say, do one. And so it goes on until it feels like we’re all doing one, using ever increasing levels of harsh, abusive language.

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    As someone who has grown up in a household that included a father drumming to Phil Collins and a contemporary florist for a mother, flowers and music have always been thrust into my eyes, ears and nose. And now the Floral artist Azuma Makoto has fused these seemingly independent sensory entities, creating a project that explores their relationship. After spending time thinking about Distortion & Flowers, the fusion doesn’t seem alien in any way.

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    Using ink and a minimalistic style, Daehyun Kim has created a distinctive, individual identity with his drawings that mark themselves out as his own the moment any viewer spreads their eyes over them. And just like butter melting over warm toast, these drawings are elegant, simple and highly evocative. But let’s stop salivating, pull focus, and get to the jam.

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    Chickens can certainly rock a hairdo, strutting about the place feathered up to their eyeballs as though they’ve marched straight through Camden on New Year’s Eve. And Mitch Payne has found some of these proud, noble, fashionable little creatures that can sometimes – just like anyone on NYE after a few pints of the good stuff – be guilty of flapping and thrashing about the place. The Poultry Series captures these chickens wonderfully, epitomising their grace and dignity in the moments before, during and after take offs and the inevitable crash landings. Using a distinct backdrop to emphasise their spectrum of colours, Mitch has playfully transformed how we view the species of bird with the highest of all bird populations – the magnificent chicken.

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    We’ve seen some fantastic installation art recently, ranging from the Interactive Thunderstorm in Philadelphia, to The Rain Room in London. And now – joy of joys – we’re reflecting on more amazing installation art for y’all to dive into. This time we’re in the Bockenhelmer Depot, in Frankfurt, Germany. Ready? Right, let’s GO!

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    AHHH! This is SO good I have the urge to hang up my pen, forage for the more disposable objects in the world and try to furnish my life with colour instead. Perhaps it’s best to leave it to the masters, and Roos Gomperts has expertly transformed the everyday “throw-away” items we’re saturated with in our consumer-based 21st century into colourful, appealing nuggets of delight. Most of the objects transformed in Ceramics for Plastics are the functional, dull inconveniences that leave us scrambling for the recycling bin, or trying to hide them away in a cupboard that’s slightly too small for all the pint sized disposable cups.

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    We’re quite the fans of Emily Kai Bock and so once again everything stopped in the It’s Nice That bat bunker at the announcement that Emily has created another stunning new music video. As we crowded round the screen, waiting in anticipation for Sebastien Schuller’s latest single to prime itself in HD, I think everybody was expecting to experience the ethereal – especially with the knowledge that this video saw the return of Emily’s collaboration with cinematographer Evan Prosofsky (the pairing which propelled Grimes’ Oblivion video onto the worlds cultural radar, becoming a defining moment in 2012).

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    There are plenty of photographers out there throwing liquids all over their studios to capture what the eye cannot see in timely detail, and Japanese photographer Shinichi Maruyama is very well known for his elegant fluid photography. However, his latest project Nudes breaks from his usual output, tracing instead the fluidity of the human body, capturing it’s elegant, stroking movements which over a given time produce a visual effect that almost appears sculptural without losing the element of motion.

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    Todd Eberle is an acclaimed New York City based photographer who has focused his lens on both art and architecture since breaking into prominence in the early 1990s— most famously gaining international recognition for photographing Donald Judd’s art and furniture. After looking back at some of Todd’s projects, we were struck by the precise portraits of America’s architecture and landscape which act collectively to reveal observations on a society unified by a distinct, minimalist architectural identity.

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    Let’s all play Sonic the Hedgehog and ride our bikes naked! Graphic designer Sebastian Koseda has an ability to produce visual communication in a way that’s always fun, intriguing, striking or simply beautiful. Recently graduated from Middlesex University, Sebastian has picked up various awards from YCN, ISTD and D&AD, and the reason for all the accolades becomes very apparent as soon as you look at the variety and strength of Sebastian’s portfolio.

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    “Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” Yeah maybe Voltaire had a point, but I’m sure if he’d known about Things and the lovelies who send us them, he’d have added: “Let us send tonnes of post” to that list. So join us on our jolly trolley stacked high with the Things that blew our socks off.

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    We love introducing new people to you and we’re always happy to see the creative juices positively flowing through the blood of graduates each year. And so it is with graphic designer and illustrator Abigail Burch who has recently graduated from Nottingham Trebt. Abigail grabbed our attention with her self-promotional book which allows viewers into her world, welcoming everyone with personal insights such as her love for a cup of coffee – a fondness shared only with the sound of rain and old books!

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    Take a moment in your day to gaze in amazement at these fantastically creative transformations of the humble, versatile garden chair. This particular chair design is embedded in our perceptions of garden life, yet hardly registers on our conscious visual radar. I mean, how often do we notice the noble plastic providers of adequate comfort while we chow down on the delights of a summer BBQ?

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    Andrew Lyons is an illustrator based in Normandy, France where he discovered a love for bandes dessinées with their clear line styles, but his individual method developed when he took a break from the exhausting process of trying to work a style towards the abstract/minimal and figurative methods. “One day I tried drawing without giving it too much thought and it all just came together,” he says and Andrew’s client list – which includes Wired, Creative Review and many more – seem to agree as they clamour for his jazz-age infused illustrations.

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    Here’s a project that warms the creative cockles. Designers Michael Willows and Wayne Trevor Townsend, who between them make up Not on Sunday, have launched their first publication – a magazine with a worthy cause as well as beautiful design. The concept is based around giving one day back and designers, artists, typographers, and illustrators from the UK and Ghana came together collaboratively to produce a poster inspired by the figures 24/6.

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    Welcome to the subversion of ordinary, overlooked and everyday things into new, intriguing sculptural forms. Welcome then to the world and work of Chris Labrooy, who uses the advancements in 3D technology to explore CGI as a creative medium. After initially using these tools to visualise the projects he couldn’t afford, Chris then developed a practice that takes on the conventional visual codes; throwing the surreal into battle with the ordinary while introducing them both to a pot of colour and a family of effects. The way this process has worked out isn’t the disjointed scrap for attention between each element you might expect, but an overall feeling that the ordinary and surreal can sit together harmoniously – complementing each other in their mutual eccentricity. This alone makes the Shrink Wrap Stills both believable and realistic to our senses while inducing a level of absurdity. It’s almost a visual paradox, but one I’m very happy to live with.

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    We’ve all heard the phrases “you are what you eat” or “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” which unconsciously barge into our thoughts seconds before we bite into a second helping of delicious guilt drizzled cake. With this in mind it’s far too tempting when speaking about Paris-based artist Mathilde Roussel to say we’re hungry for more. Limping cliches aside, the politics and importance of food to our existence is central throughout Roussel’s Lives of Grass. Her living grass sculptures marry recycled materials with soil and seed to create a living representation of life, growth, and inevitably decay.

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    The human form is a beautiful thing be it small, large, wobbly or as taut as Robin Hood’s bow. This beauty is the starting point for artist Kohei Nawa’s solo exhibition TRANS presented at Sandwich in his home town of Osaka. Kohei begins his transformation of the human form by utilising cutting-edge sculptural techniques involving 3D scans, computers and a whole load of distortion, manipulation and even more smoothing out. This computer process is called ‘texture mapping’ whereby the collected data can be tinkered with to create things that, at times, only hint to their original state. The resulting fluid, three-dimensional surfaces evoke a sense that these forms are not part of this world, but parallel to it.

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    Carson Ellis has a compelling story to tell in more ways than one. She’s been a “hot dog vendor in California, a chairlift operator in Vermont, and an artist’s model in Montana.” Nowadays she’s happy to be an illustrator based in Oregon, and what an illustrator she is! Carson received the Silver Medal from the Society of Illustrators in 2010, and has also provided artworks for not just two, or three, but FOUR New York Times bestsellers. So, it seems we have quite some talent here and this Saturday sees Carson Ellis’ return to Nationale with Mush, Mush, The Sloping Midnight Line and it’s all too enchanting not to have a good gander at.

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    For all the magpies among you that need to decorate the squishy brain nest just behind your beaks, flock frantically around these bright beauties! Nick Franks’ architectural photography project Mira got us all a-flutter with excitement as soon as we laid our beady little eyes on it and it seems to get better and better with every viewing. Like Matthias Heiderich Nick’s work takes something relatively humdrum and transforms it into a thing of breathtaking purity.

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    I look in the Things box the way Professor Brian Cox looks at the stars — smiling like the cow that got the grass. And let’s be honest, when it comes to Things, you’re like a fiendish cat frothing at the mouth lusting after the mouse dangling before your nose. We sense your pent up exhiliration people, and never wanting to disappoint here’s your fix of Things that dropped like they were hot through our letterbox.

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    Stepping into another world created by the vision of Jess Littlewood is an experience that maintains a resonance with its viewer. This eerie otherworld is The End. We all know the iconic introduction sequence to Apocalypse Now right —the unbearable humidity, burning rain forests, and choppers scurrying through the air like mosquitoes over an acrid pond, all while The Doors’ anthem to oblivion effortlessly plays alongside the insanity and destruction. Now imagine that world could only be glimpsed once abandoned, perhaps forever. Well these are the emotive, reflective worlds Jess Littlewood creates; worlds where: “Utopia is always strived for, yet lies beyond grasp and instead, acts as a continual force of destruction and folly.”

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    As I sit here in my tweed jacket, pondering whether or not I’d like a pipe to smoke, it seems apt that I dip into a bit of history – so let us dive military boot first into 1980s Romania. Under communist rule, Romania’s debt to the outside world grew sharply which led to a huge austerity push, impoverishing Romanians and crippling their industry. Nicolae Ceaușescu (then autocratic leader) began to increase the authority of his police state, ruthlessly enforcing a self-styled cult of personality. It culminated in his execution in the revolution of 1989.

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    I don’t know if you’ve all heard, but there was a small election off the west coast of Cornwall recently – in fact, it was all the way over the Atlantic in the land of the free. But I hear you ask: “’How did it all happen?”

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    Here’s a timeless formula for top-shelf eye candy – take 50,000 multi-coloured polystyrene balls, suspend them in mid-air to create a dense spectrum of colour, turn a nearby fan on and let the balls move gently. To seal the deal, wait for the viewers to pick their jaws up from the floor and watch their collective desire to walk through the valley of coloured balls grow to climactic proportions.

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    Jason Evans seems to attract a cult-like status through his youthful, rebellious attitude towards the subject matter of his photos. That could sound like they centre on themes of disaffection and angst but the truth is that Jason moulds conventions, fusing them relentlessly, working with a dynamic happiness rather than a sledgehammer of doom. His approach never dismisses what should be at the heart of our lives — fun and frolics.

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    Stuart Griffiths is a photographer with an unflinching gaze. We mentioned him back in 2010 after he documented the lives of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, capturing their brave struggles to face afflictions both visible and hidden in their civilian environments. What really struck us about this project was the places Stuart focused our gaze; places we’d normally avert our eyes from, or areas we wouldn’t think to look in the first place. On the whole, Stuart’s technique portrayed a strong message highlighting the phycological and physical trauma that was being suffered by those you might meet in a pub or pass in the street.

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    There are some that cower under their bedsheets the moment a flash of lighting is perceived. Then there are those (my imagination relies on this being true, so please leave it untarnished by “facts” who grasp the nettle bare-handed, heading out into electrical storms fully dressed in medieval battle attire, heroically bidding to investigate a fascination with nature’s great electric zapper first hand. Had they been aware of Patrick Gallagher and Chris Klapper’s interactive thunderstorm project – Symphony in D Minor, perhaps we could have saved them some trouble.

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    There are plenty of beautiful urban regeneration projects around the world that achieve their aims just splendidly (for example, my attempt to regenerate a very drab looking concrete back-yard by adding a pot plant). But let’s pull focus on scale because every now and then we come across a project that stands alone with its awe-inspiring ability to evoke emotional responses within us; it will amaze, excite and stun us with its vision and ambition.

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    We might be locked into the drudgery of a scarf-wearing, umbrella busting, mitten-biting November, but let’s take a moment to relive that feeling when the cold buggers off to Siberia somewhere and the mornings are bathed in warm sunshine. The smell of freshly-cut grass flirts with your nose (or just makes you sneeze) and the urge to ditch sensible, water-tight shoes for outlandish sandals (sometimes forgetting to remove socks) seems quite uncontrolable. This time can only mean one thing– PARTY TIME!

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    It’s that time of the week again ladies and gentlemen, all together now; Uh-hmm, “Things, glorious Things! Hot sausage and mustard. While we’re in the mood, cold jelly and custard! What’s next?” is the question. And what’s next is this weeks Things, sent to us from all across the world. So sit back and enjoy this tuneful round-up of the delicious objects that landed on our plates this week.

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    Sometimes just the one word is sufficient – wow! Now I’ve got that out of the way let me expand on these sentiments a little. Joanna Neborsky is an illustrator inspired by mid-20th Century illustration who alongside working for a client list that spans HarperCollins, Straus & Giroux and The New York Times, has created a visual representation of Flaubert’s belongings. The idea came to her when a book fell open onto the very page showing the inventory compiled 12 days after his death which cataloged all of his worldly possessions, and we’re jolly glad it did.

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    A year or so ago we came across an exceptionally talented young illustrator with a beautiful portfolio. We proceeded, as we do when excited by such stunning work, to describe Sam Brewster as someone who had it all, even good looks (although for the record, we did mention this might not be true).

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    To Have & To Hold is a reflective reminder of the objects that visually flow through our lives everyday. By presenting these seemingly insignificant consumer giveaways ranging from the early 1970s to the late 1980s, Tim Sumner allows us to revel in what feels like a more innocent design age, “an era of the logo type rather than the brand, the filo fax as opposed to the mobile, the fax machine instead of the internet and a time when the word virtual had not yet become a reality.” Prepare to lose some of your day on this….

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    Sitting in London, our thoughts are with all those suffering the devastating effects of Storm Sandy in the US and elsewhere. For those anxious to track its chaos, this fascinating live data visualisation created by Fernanda Vegas and Martin Wattenberg on HINT.FM represents the destructive force of nature in all its complexity. The Wind Map was created as a “living portrait of the wind currents over the U.S,” which artfully reflects the weather patterns and their emotional impact on our lives.

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    While we have seen similar photographic projects to the Skin Deep series by French photographer Julien Palast, there’s something about the execution of these vibrant images that lingers in our mind’s eye long after first viewing them. The beautiful silhouettes of male and female forms are created from a shrink-wrapped effect set on arrays of gradient colour that works to both reveal and conceal simultaneously. The series entices the viewer to gaze on human forms in fresh ways, perhaps inspiring budding photographers to get creative with shrink-wrap styles themselves- although at It’s Nice That HQ, we obviously don’t endorse any impromptu and spontaneous trips to the kitchen draw to wrap unsuspecting friends in cling film for that “perfect” shot!

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    Do big art institutions represent the here and now? Amber van den Eeden and Kalle Mattson didn’t think one of Amsterdam’s most famous institutions did: “The Stedelijk forgot the internet,” they say, “it overlooked the abundance of young and promising artists that the city itself has to offer. It’s as simple as that.”