Archive

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    This weekend the clocks went back in the UK, meaning the start of a stretch of pitch-black mornings and frosty evenings to keep us company until well into the new year. Usually, this would also mean the death of morning runs and fitness regimes, but the Dirty Projects are here to save us. Instead of rolling over and hitting snooze on that alarm clock, wack the dirty projectors in your ears and pretend you’re running through Yellowstone National Park, like this lucky chap. Breathtaking, impeccably timed stuff from Adam Newport Berra.

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    Colin O’Brien is a street photographer in the truest sense of the word. Born in Clerkenwell in 1940, he took his very first photograph at the age of eight and continued to snap pictures of London as he grew up; images which now exist as beautifully preserved snapshots of a city which has long transformed into something very different.

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    Find a marker pen in your hand and, as I’m sure many will agree, it’s hard not to draw two goggly eyes, a nose and a grinning mouth on the first object within reach. So when we excitedly posted a picture of one of the little characters Jiro Bevis has illustrated for the It’s Nice That Annual 2013 on Instagram the other day, and were delighted when Clara Bahlsen had commented on it with her own project, You Say Potato I Say F*ck You.

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    Books don’t come much more beautiful than a French, screen-printed publication about a tiny Japanese man and his adventures through the mystic, marigold-coloured world. This very special tome is the latest work of Icinori, a French publishing house who slowly churn out some of the most wonderfully made books we’ve ever laid our eyes upon. Personally, I think it’s safe to say this story of the Japanese equivalent of Tom Thumb is their best work yet, full of dream-like spreads depicting Issun Boshi hopping over lush vegetation and running through bustling markets of be-robed Japanese men and women. Informative, endearing and almost impossibly easy on the eye, this is a publication you’re going to have to be quick to snap up.

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    Ever go on one of those ancestry websites where they track down your long lost relatives? You always go in believing that you’re a descendent of Christopher Columbus or a second cousin of Cher and then end up a bit upset at the realisation your descendants were so poor and stupid that they couldn’t even afford to get to the census office. The Weekender descended from a long line of slightly crude, slapdash TV shows and magazines over the years, yes it’s true. The Weekender is actually the lovechild of Viz Magazine and Fun House. What a night of loving that was. Always wear a condom.

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    Right now in the studio we’re listening to Peg by Steely Dan and I’m here like “Why didn’t we put this on the mixtape?” But it’s too late, the mixtape has spoken. This week it’s a collaborative effort from all the music lovers at It’s Nice That. The selection is, as always, odd, but whoever said we were DJ’s? We’re a bloody publishing house, alright? Anyway, the tunes this week range from the new Kwes album to some early Rolling Stones to some flirty Snoop Dogg. Tantalising? You betcha. Crank it up and have a great Friday afternoon.

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    If sugar skulls, enchiladas and those huge sombreros that every Mexican cartoon character seems to wear are the first three things to pop into your head when you think of Mexico then you (like me) could do with some serious education in Mexican culture. 

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    Hey pod fans! Nice to see you again, please accept this latest offering of Studio Audience with our compliments. Your spotter’s card for this episode includes the phrase “sibling-cum-romance vibe,” an unsubtle call for cake and Liv Siddall interjecting weirdly. Oh yeah and more art and design chat that you can waggle a stick at. Not sure why you’d want to do that though.

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    I think we can all agree that no part of the world does prints quite like the kind of tropical, kaleidoscopic patterns that Africa provide us with, and it seems to be only in recent years that people have really started to sit up and take notice. KISUA is an online fashion brand that scouts out some of Africa’s most talented textile and fashion designers and gives them the financial support and tools they need to create their garments. A portion of the profit goes straight to the designer and the clothes are sold to the rest of Africa and all over the world to pattern-hungry fashion lovers. Judging by these pretty outstanding press shots by Misha Taylor combined with KISUA’s seriously procrastination-worthy Tumblrs, we’re pretty sure this is going to take off like nobody’s business.

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    It’s an uncomfortable but unavoidable fact of life that awkward social situations will arise at some point in your life. Whether an innocent but over-enthusiastic conversationalist sneezes on you mid-sentence or you find yourself alone in the corner at a party looking like a sourpuss, sooner or later you’re going to find yourself in a tight social squeeze. Praise the Lord then that you can prepare yourself for such difficulties, with this series of short and hilarious clips!

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    Studio Swine have found themselves back in São Paulo where they’re continuing to produce some seriously exciting work that makes extraordinary use of recycled materials. Last time we checked in with them they were recycling beer bottles to use as lighting fixtures, but they’ve taken their sustainable objectives even further, democratising the means of production for the city’s population.

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    British photographer Chris Peun spends the majority of his time shooting still life images for fashion and cosmetics brands, using his instinctive eye for colour and composition to create standout images from otherwise fairly ordinary products. These are lovely in their own right but we were particularly drawn to these abstract compositions resembling nebulae that Chris has undertaken for the sheer hell of it. We think, THINK that they’re made from close-up photographs of nail polish (they’ve got that iridescent shimmer to them) that’s been lit from behind, but however they’re made they’re beautiful things to look at. Cosmic mani-pedi anyone?

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    It was back in July that we first heard about intern magazine, a publication showcasing the best talent from this significant strata of the creative world pitched straight into what is an increasingly heated debate about these kinds of placements. From a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to huge press attention, Alec Dudson and his team clearly hit a nerve, and now we’ve seen the first issue we can confirm that they’ve executed their idea with real skill.

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    We’ve already seen Google’s predictive search function used in a charming creative way this year but now that same technology has been harnessed to socio-political ends, with blisteringly powerful results.

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    A couple of weeks ago we introduced you to Charlie Clift and his brilliant series of photographs that captures the Brits who move abroad. Allow us now then to acquaint you with Jorge Luis Dieguez, the photographer more interested in the ones who stay at home and revel in some of England’s nicer beaches.

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    I’ve written before how one of the best things about compiling the It’s Nice That Annual is going back to revisit some of the creative talents to have graced the website and stumbling across some brilliant new work. Such was the case with Comet Substance – aka Ronny Hunger – who I went back to in the course of arguably the most mindnumbing of editorial tasks, checking URLs. So imagine the glimpse of life amid the drudgery when I saw these ace new posters promoting gigs at the Elmo Delmo venue in Zurich, Switzerland. We already knew that Ronny was a super-talented chap, and these prove once again that he is one of the most consistently excellent poster designers around at the moment.

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    Fresh out of his MA studies at the Design Academy Eindhoven, Lithuanian furniture designer Vytautas Gecas has many an innovative idea to share and he intends to get them out there via the medium of furniture design. His projects thus far have been conceptually sound and brilliantly executed, demonstrating complex ideas with the subjectivity of design at the forefront.

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    I saw Jules’ work at Frieze this year, glowing like a beacon through the endless throngs of people flocking to see their reflections in a Koons. His paintings are huge, which is probably because he likes to cram a tonne of stuff inside them making each masterpiece like a scene from an exciting, adventurous novel. I don’t know if he’s taking these incredible epic snapshots from old books on blunderbusses or italian romance or if he’s drawing inspiration merely from his own memories. Either way, his foggy rays of sunlight, breezy boat outings and portraits of Clint Eastwood are transporting me to different and far more favourable worlds, and I’m incredibly glad I came across his work.

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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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    I’ve sung the praises of brilliant website Spitalfields Life before. Through its fantastic imagery and elegant writing, the blog celebrates London both as it was and as it is now, with no pejorative lens on either. Now the site’s enigmatic creator The Gentle Author has brought together some of the best of the site’s visual treasures in his new book The Gentle Author’s London Album.

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    I spent a solid hour on Sunday afternoon trying to fashion a crane out of a piece of origami paper using nothing but my own fair hands and a YouTube tutorial. It was very difficult, and ultimately I failed, but at least with my newfound experience I can now assure you that the masterpieces Lydia Kasumi manages to conjure out of what must amount to reams of coloured paper is nothing short of miraculous.

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    It’s sad these days to walk around the streets of the United Kingdom and see so few people wearing real statement items of clothing that define their interests. And I don’t mean someone on the Kingsland Road wearing an M&S bag as a dress, I mean real uniforms of taste like the old days. This blog, What We Wore, allows members of the public to submit photographs of themselves in their glory days wearing pieces of clothing they feel defined them at the time. From the guy who wore love beads in the 90s because they were “compulsory” to the girl who didn’t feel her crop-top outfit was complete without Tommy Girl perfume, all these stories are funny, touching and reminiscent of people who just wanted to have fun and be cool.

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    Here’s an exhibition we wish we were over the Atlantic for. Pulling in bits and pieces from their very own collection, the Museum of Modern Art has just opened a brand new show celebrating women in contemporary design from the years 1890 all the way up until 1990. The exhibition gives women in modern design the nod they deserve by crediting them not only as muses and wives, but as designers, performers and educators, listing creatives from Charlotte Perriand and Ray Eames to Eileen Gray and Denise Scott Brown on the bill.

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    The best thing about cameras (vs. eyeballs) is that when you look through your stupid old eyeballs you don’t get nearly as good colours or red fade around the edges of your vision. That’s why everyone talks about cameras all the time and not opticians. Nick Meek’s photography’s packed full of special effects that your eyeballs don’t even try to imitate. The skies are bluer, the mountains are pinker and the sun seems to be filling the space around you with fat, glowing dust. As well as making the world look better, Nick also photographs space shuttles and gets his friends to dress up as Yetis and run through snowy mountain ranges so he can photograph them. Each to his own. Nick’s great.

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    It’s been a few weeks since we launched The Annual 2013 into your lives (and, yes, your hearts) and since then we’ve been beavering away on it day and night. We are thrilled to announce that this behemoth of a book is now on press, and with that we are pleased to reveal the first look at the cover.

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    “What does America taste like?” is the burning culinary question posed by Phaidon’s new title, Taste of America. Well, by the looks of things it’s all cured meats, thick, rich seafood dishes, various combinations of nuts, caramel and chocolate and dried cereals – which quite frankly everyone who’s been across the pond knows you can’t beat. In fact a few of us are recently returned from the US and have the bellies to prove it. Still, despite its intentions there are no flavours to be found in Colman Andrews’ book, (you can’t taste a damn thing!) but there are wonderfully nostalgic accounts of the author’s favourite food stuffs, histories of some of America’s best-loved brands and 125 sensational illustrations.

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    Occasionally on our daily It’s Nice That safari of creativity, we come across a big beast who we assume has long since graced these pages only to find that for some inexplicable reason they’ve slipped through the net. So it gives me great pleasure to present the work of Kevin van Aelst. For four years his weird and wonderful photographs illustrated the The Medium section of The New York Times and his work has also appeared in titles like Time, Wired, and Scientific American.

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    I’ve spent the best part of my early adolescent years bemoaning the departure of Smash Hits magazine from newsagents’ shelves nationwide. Sure, there was NME for my indie years, Rock Sound to cater to my brief but potent grunge phase and I think I bought an issue of Q once to impress my year ten boyfriend, but nobody does it like Smash Hits did. I went nuts for those pull out posters of J-Timbs in the ‘N Sync era. I gazed dreamily at them whilst reciting the Sean Paul lyrics I’d learnt from the centre spread to impress all my friends with in the playground.

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    This week ahead of taking up his new role as visiting creative director at Wolff Olins, It’s Nice That director Alex Bec asks whether a wide range of influences is an imperative part of the creative process or a distraction. As ever you can add your thoughts using the thread below…

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    We’ve all been there, sitting under blankets and screaming at the TV “DON’T GO IN THERE!” at mind-numbing horror films showing busty, sweaty teens walk absent-mindedly into abandoned shacks to meet their early graves. It’s those standard horror film formulas that, although predictable, seem to have us enthralled during each and every film they present themselves in. As antidote to this universal problem that will probably never go away, Director Joe Nicolosi has created this faux trailer to poke fun at the textbook horror movie clichés. In Joe’s version, the teens don’t enter the abandoned shack, they can’t be bothered to play with the Ouija board, and decide against watching the video that kills anyone that sets eyes on its content. Very well done.

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    The latest video from our creative symposium Here held in September features Es Devin, who must have one of the busiest diaries in the creative industries.

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    For a studio whose serious design pedigree we’ve long admired, we were delighted to hear that Barcelona-based Folch are bringing out their own publication. Eldorado is described as “an editorial venture” in its promotional material and promises to take a different experience per issue based around “the observation of context.” The first one entitled Surf Morocco is a celebration of this sublimely aesthetic sport and Albert Folch sums up the ethos of the new magazine by saying "We’re not talking about a place but a sense of sensations you feel. " The task of communicating those sensations falls to photographer by Dizzy Dias and illustrator Angela Palacios and it looks they’ve pulled it off in some style; the short promo video below is also a thing of real beauty. Nice one Folch fellas!

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    Oh to be in Ryan McGinley’s studio, listening to Pavement and rolling around naked on enormous sheets of emerald-coloured paper while he shoots his youth-elixir camera and winks at you through the viewfinder…We can only dream. Any lucky person who’s living in San Francisco should pop in to Ratio 3 Gallery this week to catch the tail-end of McGinley’s show Yearbook. I don’t know who curated this show, but whoever did deserves a medal for hanging the photos with such apt teenage bedroom wild abandon.

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    We introduced you to the work of Portuguese illustrator and designer Braulio Amado earlier in the year and showed off some of his lovely work. Since then he’s hit the big time and had a really expensive film made to showcase his talents. This is as big budget as illustration gets, with no expenses spared; there’s explosions, half-naked ladies and Braulio even manages to shoot bullets from his own human fingers. Who said the creative industries couldn’t be action-packed? Braulio’s like the Stallone of drawing. BANG!

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    If we told you that Siggi Eggertsson had done some new, spectacular work, you probably wouldn’t find it hard to believe. But this time the boy’s really cracked it creating more of his mind-bending illustration, this time at a a scale we can scarcely comprehend. His latest show Skvís at the Spark Design Space, Reykjavik plasters every inch of floor, wall and ceiling in a pattern of his own creation.

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    How’s this for a platter full of surrealist artwork to tuck right into? Eun Ji Ryu’s abstract paintings call up notions of weird wonderlands and graphic art inspired landscapes, and with two of these very unique paintings named “Living Room” I can barely contain my curiosity as to what Eun’s house might look like. Just to add to my already inquisitive mind, the series is called Gaze Inside raising all kinds of interesting questions about interiority, visual architecture and the like.

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    What could be better than hopping on to a fast train and travelling through America with a bunch of musicians, artists and free-thinkers all summer? Artist Doug Aitken recruited musicians such as Beck and Cat Power to perform on stops along the way and made sure that the passenger’s journey was packed with creativity as they hurtled towards the end destination of San Francisco. AnOther Magazine managed to hitch a ride on this train and interviewed Doug Aitken about this nomadic crusade. Check out their exclusive film by Matt Black to hear a little bit more about it…

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    For a while our studio was centred around a dartboard and the daily doses of arrow-based psychodrama gave us a new rhythm to our working lives. For some studios it’s ping-pong, for others it’s table football but these kinds of activities unite work-colleagues by playing them off against each other, and act as a good valve through which to release creative tensions.

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    What an honour it is to have friendly illustration whizz Matt The Horse do a Bookshelf for us. He was so keen to perform the task that he did a tour of Leeds to all the best bookshops to find his favourite tomes as his are all locked away. I’ll let him explain: “I’ve don’t have many books in my life right now. They’re in my Grandad’s garage near Preston. I just moved into my friends basement so had to audit my belongings. Some precious books came with me, but most are in garage limbo until I get some more space. As a result, I’ve pieced together my selection by visiting the bookshops and shelves of Leeds. I miss my books. Thanks Leeds.”