1. Wemain

    Or, y’know, don’t; it is Friday, after all – you might have had a long, hard week, or gotten a bit too over-enthusiastic with the thermal undies, or spit your lunch all down yourself when watching something really funny, or just not quite have had time to get in the shower this morning. There won’t be any arm-throwing here, in any case. Gross. For hugging and non-hugging co-workers alike, it’s Friday night! Get away from your desks!

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    After handing over our Friday Mixtape to the guys at NTS Radio last week we decided to treat you to our own studio’s taste once more. Look, no one said we were really cool and into trendy music, we’re into art and shit, yeah? Deal with it. This week we’ve got Jon Grant who got the top spot on the Rough Trade albums of 2013 list some Black Sabbath and some Tom Waits. What more could you ask for?! It’s Friday afternoon, crank. it. up.

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    Like most people, we only have to hear the name “Maurice Sendak” and we’re immediately filled with a wave of joy that comes all the way from the hours spent poring over his illustrations as children, so you can probably picture our reaction when Brain Pickings posted this article about his little-known posters earlier on this week. The posters were created for plays, book fairs, art events and Broadway shows, many of them including his brilliant Wild Things, and they make us too happy not to share.

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    Graphic designer Leslie David has been making achingly cool artwork and identities for brands for years, with Givenchy, A.P.C., Colette and Surface 2 Air all included in her list, so it should come as no surprise that she’s got the notion down to a fine art. Her latest work, designing the album artwork for Metronomy’s newest offering, sees her shift back to basics armed with nothing but several helpings of pink, blue and lilac and an assortment of cut out shapes, with an unashamedly retro 70’s font the icing on the psychedelic cake. Is this a designer and band match made in heaven? We think so.

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    Whether we admit or not, jealousy plays a not insignificant role in the creative industries. In fact D&AD is honest enough to address this head on; when it comes to choosing pencil-winning work judges are asked to consider whether the entry stokes their creative envy and make them wish they’d done that piece.

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    The year may be drawing to a close but Studio Audience is showing no signs of letting up. We’re still here, hammering out weekly art and design chat whether you like it or not. So submit to this reality, download this week’s offering and enjoy what could be described as a podcast of two halves as we show off both our silly and our serious side. You can listen on the SoundCloud link below or subscribe via iTunes here.

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    Kids are funny, so are old people. The best way to make a project everyone’s going to enjoy is somehow combine the two, especially if you throw in some kind of artistic merit at the same time. Dutch artist Yoni Lefevre has been spending her time asking children to draw their grandparents and then setting to work building costumes out of the weird images they come up with. This is where the magic really happens, funny kids plus old people in costumes? That’s just a recipe for the best project we could ever have wished for. Check out the rest of this funny artist’s work over on her site.

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    As far as liminal spaces go, the beach might be my favourite one. Anything goes on the beach. A 70 year-old lady with purple hair wearing a thong bikini? Fine. A man wrapped in nothing but a flimsy leopard-print sarong, fluttering in the breeze? Also fine. Is that an entire family having a wee in the sea in unison? Not a big deal.

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    Clap your hands and spin around, the blessed day has finally come! The Walker Art Centre in Minnesota has commissioned those nice Nous Vous men to create six illustrations to grace the pages of their bi-monthly magazine for 2014. The much-loved trio of Jay Cover, Nicolas Burrows and William Edmonds decided to combine their talents and make one big drawing TOGETHER!

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    Winter can be gloomy, so just in case you were after a tequila slammer of happiness to dilute your grey afternoon we’ve got George McCallum in for this week’s Introducing. And he loves a colour, does George. Making work which revolves primarily around puns and wordplay – from a chair made out of Chairman Mao to a chest of drawers which lets you keep your socks in a muscle man’s six-pack – he’s guaranteed to pull half-smirk, if not a full belly-laugh, from your November face. Here he is in his own words…

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    Together Lexane Rousseau and Eli Horn form Fivethousand Fingers, a Montreal-based studio who list concision as one of their core design principles. This certainly rings true when considering their new work for the Black Visual Archive (BVA), an organisation that celebrates and contextualises the work of African American artists.

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    It takes a considerable skill to be able to capture the amount of emotion that Lucile Godin does in her images; quietly beautiful and full of grace, her subjects seem to possess a stillness which elevates them beyond human realms. Her fascination with faces manifests itself through the portraits which recur throughout her portfolio, with her series Laure an especially lovely example; focused on a woman with a well worn face and a strange kind of serenity, Lucile captures emotions so subtle that they usually go unnoticed. Beautiful stuff.

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    ‘Tis the season of furniture adverts and we’re getting bombarded from all sides by bogus pine warehouses flogging their beige leather numbers at ‘only one nine nine!’ To counteract this is the cooling oasis of Nick V. De Marco’s website, which showcases his extraordinary, ultra non-boring furniture. Sure, Nick’s more of an artist than a carpenter, but it doesn’t mean we want his molecular Void table in every room of our house. Check out the rest of his rather colourful portfolio over on his site.

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    On a school trip to a show dedicated to the work of Tomi Ungerer, Philippe Apeloig remembers being thrilled by poster showing an elephant from behind, dipping its trunk into a tin of green paint. From that simple starting point we can trace the development of a designer who went onto produce an extraordinary body of work; who worked for the Musée d’Orsay producing posters for their exhibitions, studied under Wim Crouwel at Total Design and now ranks as one of the most interesting and important graphic designers working today.

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    “This booklet explores visual and conceptual analogies between ice-cream and geology” begins the latest instalment in Studio Fludd’s Ephemera & Miscellanea series, this one entitled Gelatology. And woe betide any naive so-and-so ready to argue that everybody’s favourite sweet frozen snack has nothing in common with the geological composition of the earth; Fludd’s delightful project is ready and raring to prove you wrong with their mouth-watering collection of riso-printed illustrations, mixed-media images and flashes of candy pink and blue.

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    It’s difficult to do more than open a website today before you’re faced with a semi-hilarious internet meme, but Javier Mayoral’s small surrealist paintings are easily the best of them all. The artist, who has received no formal training, paints in his spare time when he’s not working as a chef – a fact that makes the sheer quantity of work that he has produced astounding. Over the last three years he has made around 4,600 of these pieces, usually painting at least five a day, which he then sells on eBay.

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    Christmas came early yesterday afternoon when the lovely Thibaud Herem came to visit us bearing his beautiful new publication and a whole load of original drawings for us to gawp at. To many people, Thibaud is ‘the guy who draws those amazingly detailed buildings’ and that’s fine, because that’s what he is. What I mean by this is that nobody else in the entire illustration world, nay world, creates anything like Thibaud.

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    Ahhh, pizza, universally adored and still delicious the morning after… Or even the morning of, if you’re graphic designer Amanda Berglund. She’s created a rebrand of the fictional pizzeria Pizza Presto, where you can get a slice of pizza with your morning coffee on the way to work, and the whole identity is pure excellence.

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    For the final Nicer Tuesdays of the year we’re returning to Downstairs at Mother London for a very special evening of talks celebrating what we feel are some of the creative highlights of 2013. 

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    Anyone can travel around America with a camera and come back with photographs, but few people can return with an edited selection of images that truly captures the essence of such a vast amount of land. We’re over-saturated with gritty New York portraits of the general public, and we’ve seen enough projects and films about middle America to last us a lifetime, so for Jack Davison to come along and give us a modern, concise window into that vast dreamworld, we are eternally grateful. This man has got an effortless, delicate talent with a camera which is even more exciting when you find out that he didn’t even study photography. He’s available for commissioned work, and if I were you I wouldn’t dawdle unless you want to find yourself at the back of a very long queue.

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    It’s fair to say that Christmas marketing campaigns are – on the overwhelming whole – pretty cheesy. Kudos then to Daniel Fisher and Richard Brim of adam&eveDBB who managed to persuade Harvey Nichols to subvert the spirit of the season with their Sorry, I Spent It On Myself range. It constitutes a series of rubbish presents (think a bag of gravel or some toothpicks) with an explanatory apology that the giver had splurged their Christmas cash on the person who really matters at this time of year – themselves.

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    This week whilst Graham McCallum’s show is on at Kemistry, Liv Siddall looks back at some of British TV’s best-loved graphics, idents and opening credits and asks you to submit your personal favourites.

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    As one of the UK’s foremost fashion designers, Sir Paul Smith is a major figure in the cultural landscape. As a new show at the Design Museum celebrates this singular talent and restlessly creative personality, we went to spend some time with him in his office to get behind some of the headlines.

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    Last night Nicer Tuesdays returned to Downstairs at Mother London for a packed-out evening of talks focussing on creative projects which involve some form of participation; ranging from active collaboration to an enhanced watching brief.

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    The Barbican’s current show is all about examining the relationship between all-conquering cultural phenomenon Pop Art and the design world, and when it comes to graphic design in particular, few people are better qualified to discuss the creative culture clash than Nigel Waymouth. As part of the legendary (and perfectly-named) Hapshash and the Coloured Coat design and music collective, Nigel and his partner Michael English helped revolutionise the way we see posters as an art form. Their colourful, psychedelic screen prints for the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd were a huge part of establishing the visual vernacular with which we still associate London in the Swinging Sixties and the significance of their work was confirmed when the V&A Museum held an exhibition of their posters at the turn of the century.

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    Legendary designer Neville Brody has often stated that he would use his presidency of D&AD to focus on promoting up-and-coming talent. Of course talking the talk is all well and good, but Neville has made good on his promises, not least in his selection of the designer for the organisation’s 51st Annual. Eschewing big, established names, Neville instead plumped for Fleur Isbell, a recent member of the D&AD Graduate Academy now at Wolff Olins.

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    The peerless Adam Buxton has long proved that there’s comedy gold to be mined from the strange and sometimes terrifying world of YouTube comments. Kudos though to the Dead Parrot comedy collective who’ve taken this idea and run with it in the shape of the tremendous short film YouTube Comment Reconstruction #1: One Direction, That’s What Makes You Beautiful.

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    Giant food! That you can sit on! But in spite of the title The Importance of the Obvious, that’s not all there is to Matthias Borowski’s MA project in contextual design from the Design Academy Eindhoven. Matthias decided to base his thesis around the transformations of various materials and with the cooking process being one of the most complex and common material transformations to to take place, he figured food might be a good place to start. Drawn in by the material conditions of sweets and confectionary (who isn’t?) Matthias set about translating the colours, textures and layers of sweets into his product design. I’ll take the liquorice allsort for my living room, if you don’t mind.

  29. Nicknight

    I think it’s really cool when great photographers have really fantastic Instagram feeds. I mean, if you were a DJ you wouldn’t publish your shit mix tapes would you? When photography big dog Nick Knight’s not switching on the wind machine and putting another shirt on Kanye West, he devotes his time to building up a seriously impressive Instagram feed. There’s no club sandwiches or sister’s new baby in sight in this scroll-worthy account, oh no. Nick focuses on the really beautiful things in life, by which I mean birds, models, models’ hair and most importantly FLOWERS! But Does it Float have collated all the floral pics together and I think we can all agree, they’re quite something.

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    Another Wes Anderson Tumblr? Go on then. Only because this one features some of the best Bible illustrations we’ve seen since Bible camp. Lane Severson and Al Cedeno together form The Guilty Conscience – a duo that create blogs for the entertainment of the general public. In this particular work of genius they have matched up quotes from Wes movies to things that happen in the books of the Bible. Simple! (Weird, yes, but simple.) I think there’s a lesson to be learned here and that is anything you notice that has a faint whiff of similarity to anything else – make a Tumblr out of it immediately.

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    In our second instalment of majestic set design for our collaboration with oki-ni comes in the form of Andrew Stellitano and Sam Hofman’s misty landscapes. This series of images which look as if smart watches and brogues have been born out of a sulphuric geyser are perfectly extravagant, and are inspired by aesthetic present in Chinese Shan Shui paintings. With the clever aesthetic talents of photographer Sam Hofman, these guys formed something of a dream team and have created a set for oki-ni’s products that kind of blows coloured paper or white, MDF plinths out the water. Very nice!

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    When we look back in years to come we’ll all slap our hands to our foreheads and realise that in his crass, Beano-ish drawings Kyle Platts was actually the Pied Piper of an enormous movement in illustration. His meticulous, often hilarious work spills out of his head, past his eyes, and on to the page at such an alarming rate that it’s genuinely hard to keep up. So what books inspire a man who is fast becoming one of the most well-known illustrators in London? Read on to find out.

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    An oddly determined kind of detachment seems to be photographer Kevin Tadge’s speciality. In his still life series Guided Tour his camera provides a secondary layer that distances him from the objects he photographs, providing a strange snapshot into museum collections around the world. It’s funny how when taken out of context the wrapped leg of a mummy seems like the kind of thing you might have on the windowsill in your bedroom and a collection of priceless gems resembles the window display from Claire’s Accessories. We can’t wait to see what other objects Kevin can make look entirely surreal with his still life aesthetic; the possibilities are endless.

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    For Shoreditch-based creatives who have exhausted all eventualities on What’s for Lunch (a favourite for us masters of indecision in the It’s Nice That bunker) then perhaps London-based studio The Plant have the answer to your questions. They’ve just put together a full identity for new restaurant Foxlow, created by the makers of Hawksmoor, and it looks delightful. Their aim was to create a restaurant which served its neighbourhood (Clerkenwell), and there’s no denying that they’ve succeeded in that goal. If the signage, wine list and corresponding stationery don’t get your belly rumbling them I’m sure the food will do it.

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    How joyous and naughty it is when a large, classic fashion house takes a risk with an exciting studio to create something like you’ve never seen before. I mean, did you ever expect legendary scarf-makers Hermès to allow their shop to be turned into what looks like a cross between an abattoir and something out of Jeepers Creepers? Studio Toogood decided that the store needed to be “an antidote to West End slickness” and set about coating murdery gloves and tools in red resin to give a nod to the ways in which the Hermès products are made. This is a triumphant step forward for Hermès and should be a red warning to all the other shops in the area: start doing something exciting and new or risk being left behind.

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    This music video made me cry. Then my friend Greg watched it, and he cried as well. We don’t know how Emily Kai Bock does it, but everything she shoots seems to have this weird, emotional energy running through it – even the strip lighting in her films makes me feel giddy, romantic and lost.

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    We’ve all been there; two Hollywood superstars lounging around on set waiting for the next shot. It’s hot, you’re bored. Lunch isn’t for another hour. Talk idly turns to the new Kanye West/Kim Kardashian video directed by Nick Knight (below); an idea takes shape. What recreate the whole thing? Shot for shot? We couldn’t James… could we? They only ruddy did…

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    James Chororos studied architecture, painting, graphic design, art history and engineering before stumbling across photography and finding that this was in fact the medium he felt most comfortable with – and boy, are we glad he did. It’s not every day you come across a photographer with as keen an eye for landscapes as for tiny, missable details.

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    More stupendous simplicity from our favourite German graphic design student, Jan Buchczik. Aside from being blessed with one of the most unexpectedly complicated names to spell, Jan is also incredibly good at drawing. So good in fact, that this new series and set of postcards entitled Tourists has completely sold out! And why not? These drawings of lonesome wanderers in strange towns are aesthetic perfection. Look at the textures on those clothes! If I was a fashion designer, I’d get him to design my look book, stat.

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    Here’s a textile designer certain to earn you a second glance from your neighbours when you pop to the cornershop for a pint of milk. Ning Wang studied in Beijing and Glasgow before moving to London to continue with fashion and textile design. Her designs, which are strongly influenced by her illustration, are colourful and flamboyant with no small dollop of pop culture mixed in among what seem to be classical references. Above all else, her look book consists mainly of pouty boys in long pink silky shorts surrounded by classical sculpture, which is a suitably weird juxtaposition to meet our very acquired taste.