Miscellaneous Archive

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    Following on from It’s Nice That directors Will Hudson and Alex Bec’s recent sojourn to New York, here’s another batch of short, sharp audio interviews the guys recorded while they were out there. Posing the fundamental question “Why New York?”, these snippets give us an insight into how the city and its creative scene informs and inspires their work. So scroll down to hear wit and wisdom from the likes of Rafael Rozendaal, Timothy Saccenti, Willy Wong, Craig Ward and Ian Wright.

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    You can try and avoid it all you want, but we all know deep down that it’s important in this day and age to have a social media presence that gets across your personality as best as a screen and thousands of servers can. If you haven’t yet made some kind of online portfolio it could be worth checking out Dropr, a new platform on which you can show off your artistic sensibilities in a simple and well-designed format.

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    Our new events manager Lisa Farrell has actually been here at INT HQ for a few weeks now but she has procrastinated on answering our hilarious introductory questions for that entire time. Now I’m not saying we forced or bullied her into finally getting this done, but I will say that her reluctance has now been overcome. Make of that what you will. So without any further ado, meet Lisa in her own words…

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    DJs often live like Sultans on this earth. As well as getting flown around the world for FREE, these cap-wearing tinnitus-bearers are constantly bombarded with booze, babes and luxury suites for their sins. The thing is, this hectic lifestyle isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, as is illustrated by witty Twitter page DJs Complaining.

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    Earlier this month It’s Nice That directors Will Hudson and Alex Bec went Stateside for a week of art and design exploration in New York City. They gave a talk, caught up with many old friends and met a whole host of creatives whose work we’ve long admired. While out there, Will recorded a series of short audio interviews with many of those the guys met, looking at the city’s creative potential, what first drew them to New York and how it affects their work.

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    Argh Play-Doh was so much fun, smelt so good, tasted grim but made everything look brilliant and you could even bake it so your multicoloured figurines could be set in stone forever, until a limb dropped off and was eaten by the dog. Everything was a masterpiece pretty much, but I bet you never did this. The brain child of artist Eleanor Macnair, Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh sees famous photos remade in the more-fun-than-clay material and then photographed, capturing Grace Jones’s uber flexibleness in fluorescence whilst ensuring Bill Brandt’s Nude with Elbow remains just as alluring. It puts all of those miniature animals to shame really.

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    Here’s a little bit of a confession; until last week my copy of Don Quixote was sitting quite nicely on my bookshelf, sandwiched between the other classics, unread, waiting. And then Visual Editions’ new Kickstarter campaign happened, and, let’s just say Don Quixote suddenly got a lot more appealing.

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    It’s interesting to see the different ways people choose to document their lives. J. Alfred Prufrock measured out his with coffee spoons, hoarders love to read back through old diaries, this man peels the skin off his feet and keeps it in labelled jars (apologies in advance). One day, though, as Justin Bairamian was digging through the boxes and cases in his grandfather’s attic, he stumbled across a suitcase full to the brim with matchbooks; another very charming way to record a life.

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    Hipster rock anthems, what would phone adverts be without them these days, hm? It doesn’t seem that hard to make a catchy pub stereo fodder these days, perhaps because everyone can make music in their own bedroom and there are videos like this that give arguably entirely truthful advice on how to write a song. Not just any song, though, these are instructions on how to write a hipster song. Clapping? Tick. Lyrics about childhood? Tick? We have BuzzFeed to thank for a lot of things in life, but this cynical how-to video takes the biscuit. Everybody say “hey!”

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    I didn’t know exactly who Conan O’Brien was really until last night. Turns out this flame-haired funny man helped create the The Simpsons with a bunch of other super-intelligent and hilarious men back in the day. Conan’s wry humour is the magic behind countless episodes, perhaps most notably the monorail episode, which he says in this film was inspired by, well, riding on a monorail.

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    I would apologise in advance for linking you to something that may well eat up a good few hours of your afternoon, but this is too good not to share. Simple concept: an easy-to-use online app that allows the user to zoom in and out of the history of the world in order to get to grips with the scale of things. Compare the size of planets to the Grand Canyon, check out how big Japanese spider crabs are, and see just how teeny tiny us silly old humans look in comparison to the infinite, sprawling universe. Keep the sound effects on, and make sure you click on the items you don’t recognise, I’ve learnt more than I have in the last hour than I did in my entire time at school.

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    I’m a massive fan of Game Of Thrones but there’s a line that divides that devoted viewer and the true obsessive. I know I fall under the former category because, for example, I had no idea that Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons even had names, let alone that they are Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion. No matter; this video from Wired’s excellent FX Guide series shows how Berlin studio Pixomondo brought these dragons to life on screen, using everything from digital wind tunnel simulations to tennis balls on sticks.

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    It’s not the first time a technology ad has been parodied brilliantly but College Humor’s latest spoof, Every Tech Commercial has got the tone of modern technology advertising down to an absolute tee. It’s scripted to perfection, timed with skill and absolutely nails the way ‘family friendly’ communications companies like to patronise us in their online and television promotions. Take note Apple, IBM and Vodafone, College Humor have got your number. Might be time to modify the template a little.

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    It’s not exactly hard to please the viewers of the internet these days, and this website is the online version of catnip. There isn’t even much point in me telling you what to do here – when you go on a website like this you know the rules. If you are stuck, move your mouse around and maybe do a few tentative clicks until you get the gist.

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    Ah the drag of sorting the recycling out! We know it all too well. But persist, you are doing the right thing because even if rinsing your yogurt pots out for those weekly green bin empties doesn’t stop the polar ice caps melting straight away, you are one of millions of people agreeing that climate change is happening.

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    Fantastic observational project here from Brighton Photography MA graduate Charles Morgan Smith. Charles’ work is almost entirely inspired by the cosmos and all it has to offer, and he has spent his wise MA years using photography to filter his enthusiasm. “To the planetarium!” He uttered one day and strode off to make one of the coolest photography projects we’ve seen in ages, in which he actually got to photograph the night sky at a planetarium. In Parallel Cosmologies, Charles’ other absolute banger of a project and the one we’ve chosen to feature, he’s combed his way through every sci-fi blockbuster and photographed the director’s vision of the cosmos, collating it all in a rather sublime set of images. More please Charles, more of the same.

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    We’ve featured Iain Graham’s work on the site a couple of times now but always in the context of collaborations with others, so it’s about ruddy time we feted the freelance chef and food stylist in his own right.

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    So many beautiful things we don’t know where to begin. The new collection of jewellery from “illustrator, designer and general maker-of-things” Kaye Blegvad is stunning. Adorning necks with diving gulls or staring eyes, fingers with strands of laurel, posies or moonstones and wrists with tiny, tiny hands, they are beyond wonderful and we want them all.

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    Some combinations make sense instinctively, others need to be brought together to fully appreciate the brilliance of their mutuality. With that in mind we give you This Charming Charlie a blog curated by US-based graphic designer Lauren LoPrete whereby she adds Smiths lyrics onto panels from Charlie Schulz’ iconic Peanuts. There’s a lot of this kind of stuff that fires Twitter’s imagination on an almost daily basis, but these ideas have legs when they go above and beyond enjoyment of the random juxtapositions and actually become something more than that, which I think these do. Cheers Lauren!

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    You don’t often get celebrity juice on It’s Nice That, but when it comes in the form of really, really cool old photography ,we’re happy to give it a shot. So get a cup of coffee and immerse yourself in these sometimes cringeworthy photos of celebrity ex-lovers of the past in this amazing, and lengthy blog entitled Old Loves. Such an archive of images is really quite fascinating. See Brad Pitt move from woman to woman; witness Rita Hayworth marrying man after man; learn that Molly Ringwald went out with “Dweezil” Zappa. Some of these photos are cheesy, some are downright creepy (I’m looking at you Michael Caine and a very young Bianca Jagger) but all of them have one thing in common; the people in them were very, very happy together when it was taken, and as a result makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

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    Jammed between the molars or against the curb of the road, prised with the heel of a shoe, the belt buckle, the lighter or the key ring, alternative methods for getting that crafty bit of metal off the top of the beer bottle come in many guises. But the real deal, the bottle opener, is a work of beauty and simplicity and its wonder is being celebrated by Czech creatives OKOLO’s new exhibition Open & Drink!

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    Hey everyone, fancy getting to know the newest member of team It’s Nice That. You would? Well great – doff your collective cap to Emily Beber, our latest intern. Not content with a History of Art degree she is currently half way through a Masters in Critical Writing in Art and Design at the Royal College of Art, which not only proves her serious pedigree but also makes her better qualified than me. Before though we let her loose on the site to share her wisdom with y’all it’s right and proper to get to know her a little better; find out why her phonetic namesake has caused problems in the past and which fruit/crisp/sweet combination makes for a delicious snack…

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    I inherited some Delia Smith cookery books a few years back and was told they would be the first and last cookery books I’ll ever need. One glance inside showed mw that was certainly not the case. Gracing the pages were congealed stews, odd canapes and photos of eggs that made me feel weird about them to this day. I know it was probably all delicious in real life but what is up with retro food photography?

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    Typing things in capitals is hilarious, like when you write an email in caps lock by mistake and it comes out as an aggressive, incredibly loud “I’M GREAT THANKS HOW ARE YOU?” I’d like to say that this project is funny because of the capped title of HAVING A FACE but there’s much more hilarity to it than that.

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    Did you ever lose yourself lost in a mystical forest of some other world on a hot afternoon in your summer holidays, only to realise that the forest was in a game, and you had been playing a console for six hours straight? Me too! This collection of dreamy video game scenery, collated by a seemingly anonymous gamer, takes you back to the worlds you grew up losing yourself in. You can hear the fake sound of the fake waves lapping at the fake shore. You can hear the casio-tone twinkles as the fat, pixelated leaves rustle in the breeze. As far as I’m concerned, these worlds are, far superior to the grey, litter-strewn planet we are forced to actually reside in, and this man has done an excellent job of illustrating that.

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    Stop. Collaborate and listen. G-Technology’s back with their latest competition. Ok that’s as far as I’m going to push that, but do listen up gang because the technology storage solutions company are running their annual Driven Creativity contest giving creatives the chance to win 5,000 Euros and some top of the range G-Technology products to boot.

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    Before you laugh, this isn’t just some stupid internet-friendly cats Photoshopped on to rice, it’s much more than that. Neko-Sushi is “an extremely unusual life-form” the website tells us, “although several references have come down to us through history from various researchers and witnesses, their existence is still shrouded in mystery and actual sightings remain rare.”

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    The contribution of plastic bags to my emotional development has been limited at best. Oh, sure, I got a bit misty-eyed about that one blowing around the empty street in American Beauty (who didn’t?) but other than that they’ve been a largely pragmatic part of my life… until now. Back in 2005, creative agency Mother launched a range of Uncarriable Bags adorned with embarrassing motifs and they’ve just launched a second range “to make people think about plastic bags in 2013.”

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    Much of the cultural world’s attention will be focussed on Edinburgh and its famous festival over the coming weeks but it’s no secret that Glasgow is really where cutting-edge creativity shines in Scotland. Now Talenthouse and O2 are offering young artists, illustrators, designers and graffiti artists a cool opportunity to create an original piece of work to take pride of place at the city’s O2 Academy, one of Glasgow’s most popular live music venues which is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its relaunch this year.

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    It seems somewhat rich of me to sit here at a computer tapping away at a keyboard writing an article about how handwriting is a lost art. But, I am, and it is, and the current Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art exhibition on the handwriting of influential artists warrants no less of a wildly hypocritical gesture.

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    Spanish restaurant elBulli helped change the way the world thinks about food through its ceaseless innovation and experimentation. A new show at London’s Somerset House charts its remarkable story but it does much more than that – presenting one of the most insightful and inspirational studies of the creative process I have ever come across.

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    In more ambitious moments I sometimes fantasise about launching a dating service for creatives, like Uniform Dating but with designers and illustrators instead of firemen and nurses. The long hours, obsessive nature of the work and achingly aesthetic sensibilities may not be conducive to forming meaningful attachments, which is where my grand plan comes in. Over in New York, Jessica Walsh of Sagmeister & Walsh and Tim Goodman have come up against this familiar roadblock to romance and decided to take action.

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    The ominously named Project B have but one aim – to rediscover brilliant vintage photographs and reprint them in limited editions so that people can adorn their houses with images which would, otherwise, have lain undiscovered in dusty treasure chests the world over. It’s a lovely idea, isn’t it?

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    This is the kind of Tumblr that really floats my boat. Devastatingly I can’t find the genius behind it to give him/her due credit, but there may be a reason why they want to remain anonymous. In essence they have taken some of the ridiculous emails that are sent to all the staff in their company and collated them on a blog with appropriate visual representation. We all know how strange people can be, and this can be accentuated in the workplace; this blog is a celebration of our bizarre at-work behaviours.

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    Amid the pantheon of brilliant characters from The Simpsons, Troy McLure has a special place in my heart. From his love of Selma to his slightly disturbing obsession with fish, his presence enlivens any episode but of course he’s best known for his ridiculous CV. Now one Christopher Coleman has collected a bunch of them together to make this supercut which is guaranteed to perk up your day. Just imagine the writers sitting around trying to come up with these!

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    A six-month exploration of sound design culminated in a two-day symposium bringing together leading sound designers and some of the city’s best creative students. The event was put on by Be Open, a global creative think tank dedicated to “fostering creativity and innovation.” With a year-long theme of design for the five senses, Be Open used London to take on the exploration of sound, which launched at last year’s London Design Festival with the Be Open Sound Portal in Trafalgar Square.

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    Ever wanted to rob a bank? Me too, but I don’t fancy prison so this “what if?” project will have to do. Ilona Gaynor has been quietly planning a highly organised heist of five major banks in the downtown Los Angeles area for the past two years, and is now reaching out for some funding to allow her to complete her mission.

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    It’s competition time again folks and we’ve got a great opportunity for an incredibly talented illustrator to provide the packaging design for next year’s Beefeater 24 super premium gin.

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    We’ve all been there, cruising through Ikea’s giant field of homeware dreams only to find that the geometric patterned rug you’ve travelled for hours to purchase isn’t available on the shop floor. Off you go to find the nearest assistant to fetch you one from out back, and then you freeze. How do you even pronounce the name of the thing? “Hall-knop,” you mutter apologetically. “Haller-um…” the disdainful look from the yellow-clad employee is enough to send you scurrying away so that no other customers can overhear your linguistic failings. You head straight for the door and return to your woefully spartan flat empty-handed.

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    Yeah nice one May, just be wet and miserable and make my hair go all fluffy at the back. Really good work. Anyway despite your best meteorological efforts to crush our spirits we will not be broken! As if to prove it, we are dialling up the enthusiasm factor to 11 as we are thrilled to introduce our newest editorial intern Maisie Skidmore. And to help you get to know her better we fired some questions at Maisie on her very first day which she was good enough to answer. So without further ado…