Archive

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    What is Daniel Gordon? Photographer? Artist? A hybrid of the two? We’ll go for hybrid. See, Daniel’s practice is made up of both photographic and sculptural processes, using found photos, magazine cuttings and coloured paper to build three-dimensional collages that are then photographed as a final 2D piece. It’s a complex journey for individual images, but one that Daniel travels expertly. The results feel like props from a Peter Gabriel video or a Guy Bourdin photograph made from paper; all bold colours, pouting lips and sensuously placed fruits. That’s what you get when you undertake an MFA at Yale; compositional perfection!

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    This year has been great for car adverts, we’ve had hilarious examples in the shape of dancing chickens Mercedes-Benz and the death-defying company president for Volvo. To complete the corporate hat-trick, we are pleased to present Ron Burgundy’s series of adverts for the Dodge Durango, whatever that is, in which he does what he does best: says mundane things and makes them hilarious. Watch him argue with a mute horse, attack ballroom dancers and rant about glove boxes in this seemingly endless series of mini ads that will make your day you worthless idiot. Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t see you had a child with you.

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    “Art is not always things created by people who call themselves artists,” said writer Barry Schwabsky, an observation that sums up an interesting new book from Phaidon. As shifting cultural, social and technological contexts change the way we look at art and how we define what is or isn’t worthy of this appellation, authors David Carrier and Joachim Pissarro have put together a collection of work that explores this brave new world. It’s a celebration of the kind of imagery which blows up the blogosphere but which wouldn’t normally trouble the so-called art establishment.

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    Look, we all love Wes Anderson films, no one likes them more than somebody else it’s just a universal appreciation in a similar vein to popcorn or oxygen. With that in mind, this is the kind of publication for which the world’s been waiting for years, an in-depth, affectionate look at one of the world’s most infamous and consistently brilliant yet mysterious directors.

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    Oh, the hours of my childhood spent with my nose pressed up against the TV screen watching every tiny pixel change colour, my mum barking in the background to “get back or you’ll ruin your eyes!” (Insert the voice of Brian’s mum from Life of Brian here). Nicolas Sassoon makes computer art that induces my tender memories of that experience, and to very cool effect. Alas, screenshots just do not do it justice; to understand the full impact of Nicolas’ mind-bending, headache-inducing creations you need to spend a good couple of hours on his website, gaping open-mouthed like you couldn’t care less what either a caring parent or your ophthalmologist might think. And frankly, we don’t. Sorry mum.

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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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    Chicago-based photographer Natalie Krick takes photos that are seriously good and very, very weird. She focusses her lens on women specifically, exploring themes of sexualisation, celebrity and the effect of age on gender roles. The latter manifests itself in a particularly striking way through incredibly personal shots of her mother, dressed up as Greta Garbo, as a teenage version of herself, wearing unflattering wigs and hastily-applied lipstick and posing like a pin-up. The series feels like an unhealthy obsession with a powerful matriarch but also really drives home some of the unhealthy ideas we all have about female sexuality through film, advertising, the fashion world and the music industry. Haunting, thought-provoking work executed with serious flair.

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    Right then Monday morning, despite the horrible rain, autumnal chill and stacks of work we – It’s Nice That and all who sail in her – stand toe-to-toe with you, steely-gazed and dry-palmed to say, as one, “We are ready!” And with that in mind, standing shoulder to shoulder with us is Andrew Diprose, art director of Wired and one of the brains behind the brilliant Ride Journal. Take it away Andrew…

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    Late on a Friday night, when city boys spill out of the bars with the smell of entitlement in their nostrils (that and cocaine), Shoreditch can feel a little bit like hell on earth. But this underworld connection became more literal last week when to mark their new show, Warren du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones installed an amazing mural of the Gates of Hell on an east London wall. The huge piece full of nightmarish writhing torsos was to help promote Erebus a new film piece from the talented duo. The photos are nice enough but the time-lapse below gives you a real sense of how this eye-catching work came together.

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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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    Of all the ways illustration is utilised in modern media, its ability to make charitable organisations more accessible to children and vulnerable people is still the one I find the most effective. Something about those pencil lines and roughly drawn faces is humanising and honest in a way that flashy, cutting edge graphic design doesn’t always manage to be.

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    We’ve all seen paper sculpture before; it’s the impressive 3D stuff cut from sheets of brightly-coloured modelling card that makes you wonder how anyone could have the patience to sit at a desk for hours and ruin their fingertips for just one piece of work. But what you probably haven’t seen before is sandpaper sculpture – same principle, much more dangerous material. Paper sculpture veteran Mandy Smith has just collaborated with photographer Bruno Drummond to produce these uncomfortable looking, hand-crafted creations. There’s a bikini that we’d suggest should never be worn, a slide that encourages severe chaffing and the less said about the toilet roll the better. That’s a nightmare hangover scenario that we never want to experience. Look at that torn roll just sat there, all unassuming looking, waiting to wreak havoc on your undercarriage.

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    If libraries are disappearing from the world as rapidly as it’s been reported then I’ve found the one I’d like to spend the last days of book borrowing in while all the other repositories of learning topple all around; Copenhagen’s central library. Hvass and Hannibal have recently finished an identity for this forward-thinking establishment, creating a modular system of shapes that can form different characters and patterns across a range of printed and online materials.

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    London-based illustrator Jess Wilson has been on our radar for some time. We’ve seen her work at shows, admired her live art at events and featured some beautiful prints she’s sent us in Things. But we’ve never done a fully-formed song and dance about her and her work. Until now! Jess makes fantastically engaging images with whatever materials she can get her hands on; from coloured pencils, crayons, pastels and pens, to ink, paint, screen print and temporary tattoos.

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    Never have I ever seen a turnip look as moody as these ones appear down the tunnel of Pippa Drummond’s lens. In fact, the way they’re shot all of her vegetables look like they might be entertaining secret lives as characters ruling over the larder, and with turnips, pineapples, parsnips, clementines and purple cabbage sprawled lazily across lengths of rich velvet and standing haughtily upside down like they’re divas rather than foodstuffs, quite a kingdom it must be in there too. Have I gone mad? Perhaps. At least I’m not the only one though, eh.

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    Personally, the idea of a novelty CV or résumé kind of makes me want to turn around and hurl into the nearest bin. But when the novelty CV is a colourful pastiche, nay homage to Super Mario, I’m prepared to swallow the vomit and get playing immediately. Animator and designer Robby Leonardi has clocked on to a few things in making this interactive CV, predominantly that people like to complete small games therefore will probably read the entire CV in order to do so. His animation skills are clear, his personality comes straight through and you can even get a pretty good idea of what he looks like. Robby, you’re hired.

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    First you’ll try and work out how on earth Andrew Huang has managed to make the movement in this video so beguiling; stop frame? CGI? Magic? Then you’ll start forgetting that and become completely enthralled by the beautifully undulating landscapes before finally feeling totally inadequate by the sheer quality of what you’ve just watched. Well, you will do if you’re anything like me. Stunning stuff from a supremely talented director.

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    The Weekender is much like a party bag you may receive at the end of a birthday gathering. The thing is with this party bag however is that the slice of chocolate gateau is a urinal cake, the lollipop is a bloodied handgun, the necklace is a string of chipolatas and the yo-yo is a wooden box of anonymous teeth. You can only imagine what the party was like.

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    I don’t really know how to introduce this week’s instalment of art and design chat other than to inform you that, alongside some handsome graphic design, a dose of undiluted Grayson Perry and a round-up of The Modern Magazine Conference, this week our merciless editor-in-chief had us broaching the most difficult subject discussed in all Studio Audience history. Cheers Rob. Onwards into the awkwardness!

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    Oh hey guys! What better thing to do on a cold Friday than to put this playlist on for your colleagues and have a good old sing song to some classics ranging from Seu Jorge to David Bowie to Kevin Lyttle (don’t pretend you don’t remember the dulcet tones of Kevin). So all you gotta do is press play, sit back and enjoy your Friday afternoon with twelve songs to drive you slowly into the rabid jaws of the weekend…

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    So you know when you start to see a project popping up all over the place and you’re all like “Yeah is it that good?” and then you actually investigate and your jaw drops and you lose your sh*t because it’s not just good, it’s BRILLIANT? You know that? Well that exactly sums up my past couple of days since first getting wind of the genius that is Michael Paul Smith. The American model-maker and photographer builds these 1/24 scale replicas of scenes which he then photographs against natural backdrops to create the most perspective-bending images imaginable.

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    This month’s Nicer Tuesdays will take place at Downstairs at Mother and we’ll be exploring the world of satire. We’ve invited some great speakers who have combined their creative skills with a sharp sense of humour to provide insightful and down right funny social commentaries. 

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    It’s rare that I get to write about a book that I’ve just ordered with my own cash money. Usually kind people send us all the comics and design books we could ever dream of to read and review, but I couldn’t take the gamble that Simon Hanselmann’s latest offering might sell out before I got a chance to see it, or that I’d have to shelve it in the office archive for good. So it’s on the pre-order and when it arrives I’ll set aside a weekend afternoon to read it from cover to cover, because Megg and Mogg deserve my undivided attention while they drop acid in their grubby little flat and throw up on each other. My GOD I’m excited!

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    The first thing that springs to mind when thinking of Russian entrepreneurs is not “How could I make their lives easier?” but that’s probably why I’m not the CEO of a wildly successful tech start-up. Curse you brain! For the founders of Knopka, however, the streamlining of entrepreneurial life for Russian entrepreneurs is pretty much their raison d’être, and it seems like their service is littered with good ideas, combining banking, accountancy and personal assistant services within one simple app.

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    Falling in stark comparison with many of the fashion editorials we come across from day to day, filled as they often are with angry-looking faces, angular bodies and digitally enhanced everything, Jamie Stoker’s images of London Fashion Week are the essence of classical ethereality. When the photographer was hired to shoot backstage at the event this autumn and found himself in the midst of beautiful girls in beautiful dresses on all sides it seemed only natural that he bust out the very same Contax he used to take these shots at Wimbledon, but this time with high speed grainy black and white film to capture some of that niceness.

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    “Ah!” You’re thinking. “A handy diagram! Whatever could that help me with?” And that dear reader is where you’re wrong, because the answer to your question is nothing at all. Appearing though they may to contain some shred of useful information, the truth is that these drawings do not, none at all, and any apparent reference within them is just pure coincidence.

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    When the full-length trailer for a new Wes Anderson film comes out, the internet begins to tremor as if the plates beneath it are shifting in time to The Kinks. So here we are, it’s time for a new one, and it looks really, really good. The Grand Budapest Hotel is a story of a young lobby boy who is taken under the wing of a womanising concierge in the form of the inimitable Ralph Fiennes. Once again, the cast list for what will be Wes’s 11th film looks like the queue for the bar, nay the smoking area, at the Oscars. The Grand Budapest Hotel looks to be a tender masterpiece of characters only Wes could dream up, playing out their emotional lives in settings so visually arresting that only the sporadic arrival of Bill Murray’s tired face can save you from becoming complacent. See you at the cinema!

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    Times when bigger is DEFINITELY better; burgers, hugs, nights out, thread installations. This last truth is proved beyond doubt by Chiharu Shiota’s new piece for Eastbourne’s Towner Gallery, where she has created a jaw-dropping piece using thousands of metres of black wool that seem to have colonised the space like some sort of organic nightmare. The piece includes five wooden doors (taken from old Berlin apartments) which suggest beginnings and endings within a context that seems to have neither. This is an astonishing piece of work that probably needs to be seen in the flesh to be properly appreciated, but these photos do a darn fine job as the next best thing,

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    This week we caught up with designer and illustrator Joe Melhuish to hear exactly how he goes about getting down to “some serious picture inventing”. Recently graduated from Kingston (that well known rockpool of as yet undiscovered gems) Joe makes work with an eclectic range of methods across the realms of design and illustration, using graphic elements alongside hand-drawn techniques to create a collage-like effect. Here’s the man himself talking about his working day…

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    Now for a collection of children’s toys to blow your snakes and ladders sets out of the water. 20 architects have been asked to create dolls’ houses, each including one feature which might make life easier for a child with a disability, and funnily enough, with architects from Zaha Hadid to Wayne Hemingway on the list, these aren’t the miniature two-up two-downs you might find in your average toybox.

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    Just for the record I realise this is a pretty pretentious sentence I’m about to write, but I have a bit of still-life product photoshoot fatigue. We know that it’s an important part of a lot of publications’ business models and that it’s a great commission for photographers to help pay the bills, but it’s not that often we see something genuinely interesting in creative terms. All the more reason then when we do come across something out of the ordinary that we make a bit of noise about it, if only to prove to fellow jaded observers that there is better stuff out there.

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    Speaking to people out in New York earlier this year, a common refrain was that the design scene there is more fragmented and less cohesive than here in London. Whether that’s fair or not, this cracking new resource Image of the Studio brings together 75 NYC studios, from big agencies to one-person operations, and looks at everything from their work to their principles, their music arrangements to what they have in their kitchens. The website is a rabbit-hole down which you can lose the best part of a day as there’s video interviews and great data visualisations. If you’re in New York it all ties in with an exhibition currently on but no worries if you’re not, there’s more than enough insight here to get your teeth into.

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    What do you get when a comic book artist and psychoanalyst join forces for the greater creative good? (This isn’t a joke by the way.) You get a bloody brilliant graphic novel about Sigmund Freud, the most respected, revered psychoanalyst in the history of the discipline. Freud is a graphic novel written by economist, historian and psychoanalyst Corinne Maier with visuals provided by Anne Simon, one of France’s finest young cartoonists. The book strikes a fine balance between informative storytelling, charming imagery and witty dialogue to the point that even if you find psychoanalysis abhorrent, comic books a waste of time and Freud the greatest charlatan of the twentieth century you’ll be hard pushed not to crease your lips in wry amusement. Check it out! Education and entertainment rarely come in the same beautiful package.

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    When I was a kid there was a huge encyclopaedia in the school library that had a great selection of different eye tests in it, designed to screen for colourblindness, highlight blind spots and just generally demonstrate the quirks of the human visual system. That book was INcredible and I used to kill a lot of lunch breaks staring at the pictures inside of it.

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    Here’s what Marta Veludo taught us today: if you’re a dab hand at creating an aesthetically pleasing image, why not print it on a silk scarf? In fact, why not print a whole collection of scarves, photograph them really nicely and then compile them into an equally fun lookbook?

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    Fashion illustration is something of an overlooked art when it comes to sartorially-led projects, but TASCHEN’s beautiful new tome Illustration Now! Fashion is a weighty (literally) testament to its importance both to the creative process and as its own art form.

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    Today an all star line-up of the great and good of the magazine world are descending on north London to share their insights into how the publishing landscape looks in an era increasingly defined by the digital. Editor-in-chief Rob Alderson is there and will be liveblogging all day bringing you the best of the wit and wisdom shared from the stage. You can join in by commenting below and Tweet us @itsnicethat or @RobAlderson. Let’s do this…

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    Ah, October. Greenday are waking up from their September-induced slumber, WHSmiths have nothing left on their stationery shelves, you’ve washed all the Glasto-mud and holiday sand out of your hair only to replace it with grease and pot noodle juice because you’re so busy making fantastic new work that you haven’t showered in several days.

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    Editorial designer Mark Porter, who oversaw the redesign of The Guardian newspaper and its digital output, spoke at Here 2013 about his unusual route into the industry, his design philosophy and how the fast-shifting digital age impacts on his profession, both in terms of challenges and opportunities.

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    Flippin’ ‘eck, we’re rather startled to find that we’ve never featured Joe Wilson on the site before save for a single image included in a Little White Lies show post way back in the summer of 2011. Allow us to rectify that oversight Joe…