Archive

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    There are music videos, and then there music videos made to take the form of a slowed-down and then sped-up mysterious event, which is quickly followed by a pop quiz for the viewer. Complicated? Yes, but also absolutely brilliant.

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    At last month’s Nicer Tuesdays supported by Park Communications we were celebrating all things print and were delighted to be joined by Bruno Bayley of Vice who talked us through the title’s history and examined why the publication remains a core part of an expanding media empire. You can watch his talk above to get some real insights into the way this much talked-about but often misunderstood publication operates.

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    Turning food photography into images of a sexual nature is hardly the most original thing in the world, but turning it into a festish certainly is. Does anyone else get shivers when they see those ragged hang-nails next to that juicy, plump raspberry in the photo below? I do. Bobby’s got a knack of taking fridge matter, and actually anything in the category of ubiquitous and turning it into a cosmic, textured reminder of how odd the world is. Take the pile of cheeses above, for example, when has brie ever made you want to get naked and roll around in it until now? Exactly. Check out the rest of Bobby’s huge portfolio of work and editorial commissions for the New York Magazine and Strategist over on his site.

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    What an honour it is to be alive in the same century as talent such as Ollie Schrauwen. He flew into my life back in May 2013 and has resided in the penthouse of my brain ever since, evidently working hard on this majestic new book. My Boy follows a small, strange baby through his life spent with his exuberant, wealthy father and is a testament to Ollie’s talent in that from page one of this hardback treasure you are completely and irrevocably immersed in a different era and family. The fact that it’s split up into a series of chapter resembling life events makes it the perfect, readable book for anyone wary of the format of a graphic novel. In my opinion, this is the best kind of fantasy, fiction and illustration all rolled into one and will put the rest of your books to shame.

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    Oh hey guys! Good week? Yeah ours wasn’t too bad either. We watched Geoff McFetridge paint a table while his tea brewed, watched the Sochi Olympics frame-by-frame courtesy of The New York Times and enjoyed this brand new in-flight safety animation for Virgin Atlantic. Fun, huh? We also threw some paper balls around, span on our chairs, hid people’s pencil cases and spat in each other’s coffee. That’s just the kind of place this is.

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    We’re all big Micachu fans at It’s Nice That. The London-based producer and experimental musician caught our attention last year when she decided to make 10 music videos inspired by her housemates in one go for her new album. It’s Friday, and she’s kindly taken time out of her day to make us an exclusively reggae mix. So go get a beer, tell your girlfriend/boyfriend you love them, and turn it up.

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    I know it’s foolish of me to expect anything less from the photographer who won the Taylor Wessing Portrait prize only a few years back, but Jooney Woodward’s series of photographs of horse riders is truly a shock to the system. Her disarmingly honest portraits, entitled The Riders, are a product of the time she spent immersing herself in the culture of equestrianism, and her dedication to finding out about her subjects is evident in everything from the glimpse into the subtle, guarded relationships the riders share with their horses to the theatrical costumes the riders wear. Beauuuuuutiful work!

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    I always think that one of the hardest things for a studio to design must be their own identity; trying to encapsulate every element of your practice in a series of visuals that’s both clear and informative and yet still aesthetically pleasing. Fortunately for Berlin-based illustration and design studio Frida von Fuchs, they had the talented hand of Jonathan Garrett to turn to instead! And my, did he do a good job.

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    The final week of our month-long investigation into the nitty gritty of the client-creative relationship with Represent Recruitment is upon us! This week we interviewed five more fantastic designers, from Why Not Associates to Ronojoy Dam, to bring you a whole selection of different tips on how to make the most of your working relationships.

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    Creative conferences come in all shapes and sizes and they all have different reputations, but Dublin’s Offset is renowned for its combination of great speakers and a super-fun informal line-up.

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    Right now in It’s Nice That towers we’re listening to a combination of an old Jens Lekman summer mixtape and the rain pattering on the skylights above our heads. What better time then to banish away the cold than with these glorious drawings by Belgian illustrator Ellen van Engelen? Ellen’s work is all sunshine, teenage bedrooms, psychedelic vinyl sleeves and Marge’s Bouvier family quilt from The Simpsons. Her vitamin D-infused work has been featured in (deep breath) The New York Times, The New Yorker, Nobrow, De Standaard, De Morgen Magazine, The Bulletin, The Guardian, Mixmag and countless others. Why? Because her illustrations are stylish, nostalgic, and give off rays of genuine, contagious happiness.

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    Day three of the southern hemisphere’s biggest design event is under way and once again we’ll be bringing you the highlights as they happen here in Cape Town. Today’s line-up includes Stefan Sagmeister and David Goldblatt so it promises another mass of creative insights. Sing with me now!

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    Yesterday this project came to us via an enormous, floppy, colourful publication with each page dedicated to a teenage girl from Leeds. This is the photography project of my dreams. Photographer Casey Orr has a Ph.D in photography and is a senior lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University, she took time studying the type of girls you see around Leeds and was so fascinated by the day they expressed themselves through their fashion and hairstyles she decided to make a project out of it.

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    Joseph Guerra and Sina Sohrab are Visibility, a New York-based design studio specialising in the creation of simple, functional products. None of their designs rely on the use of expensive materials or fitting into a collective design aesthetic. Rather, each answers its own unique problem, exploring the limitations of products that currently exist on the market and improving them through small but important modifications to their function. Among other things they’ve created a beautiful briefcase fashioned from laser-cut polypropylene – which transforms it from luxury item into universal object – and they’ve revolutionised the humble broom, adding a pivoting head to give it increased usability and minimise damage in storage. Seriously clever stuff.

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    Hello! Welcome to this week’s episode of Studio Audience. Completely unintentionally, we managed to get three mentions of faeces into this 28-minute beaut, so apologies and watch out. Alongside that, we also chatted about some truly inspirational and intriguing things happening in the world of art and design this week. Your host was Liv Siddall, and the guests were James Cartwright and Maisie Skidmore with the added special guest, Jamie McIntyre of INT Works.

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    We talk a lot about simple pleasures on It’s Nice That, but this very short little film kind of takes the biscuit (sorry) in the sense that it’s pretty much an eyeball massage from start to finish. First of all, While you were Steeping is a great project: asking creatives to do something in the time it takes for their beverage of choice to be prepared. I had a kind of personal veto against any tea-related project until we saw this yesterday, because frankly anything Geoff Mcfetridge wants to do that’s tea-related is completely, 100 percent fine by me. In this case he’s painting a white table in such a beautifully gentle, skilful way that it made me zone out and clumsily spill my own tea all over my desk. Thanks a bunch, Geoff!

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    Dividing his time between Oregon and Norway, illustrator Max Estes must have no shortage of influences contributing to his vibrant work. His style is pronounced and individual – characters are contained by their thick black outlines and ping-pong ball-round heads – allowing his images to appeal seamlessly to both adults and children.

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    Our famed Things feature is back this week, and like the 35 year old man who has finally decided to move out of his mum’s house and into a bedsit all of his own, it’s shuffled uneasily out of the Weekender and now has a whole post to itself! On a Thursday, no less!

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    It’s not often you have the pleasure of settling down with a book and taking the time to properly read the introduction, but in this case I did, and was struck by what the publication’s curator Olivia Triggs and editor Antony Leyton had to say on Cat’s project. “Do not open this book expecting to find sample art, finished pieces, or examples of what each contributor is ‘most famous for.’ There are other books for that. Cat’s book is about the life, not the work.”

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    The trees are luscious and green, the skies bright blue, the houses palatial and… empty. Greek photographer Alexis Vasilikos took to photographing the newly-abandoned and somehow sad-looking houses of the Greek suburbs after the economic began to take its toll on the middle class, leaving these symbols of burgeoning wealth desolate and deserted. The resulting images are a fascinating portrait of the financial ruin facing many countries after the crisis hit, with drawn shutters destroyed walls communicating as much as a dismayed face can do in normal portraiture.

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    These new images from Brea Souders might seem like simple abstracts, but the concepts behind them have its roots in traditional photographic practice and a simple scientific phenomenon. They are a continuation in her quest to explore static electricity, something she began working on back in 2012. “the result of an imbalance of electrons on the surface of an object.” She says. “When it occurs, the object is no longer in a state of electrical neutrality; it carries an invisible attractive charge.” In this instance that invisible attractive charge is taking effect on abstract scraps of photographic material; old negatives, contact sheets and coloured acetate.

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    Day two of Design Indaba sees another eclectic line-up of creative thinkers taking to the stage and we’ll be here throughout bringing you the best of the insight and inspiration. Let’s do this everyone, these liveblogs don’t write themselves…

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    Calling all budding photographers! Or really, calling all budding people-with-brains-full-of-great-ideas. Samsung needs your contribution to their latest endeavour, a collaboration with movers and shakers such as Rankin Idris Elba, Paloma Faith and Gizzi Erskine to discover some of the youngest, most talented people in the country. “Gizzi, Idris, Paloma and Rankin will each choose one person to work with one-on-one, helping to bring their ideas to life and launch their project,” Samsung say. “This is your chance to show off your passion, your personality, and your project idea, to get the attention of our mentors.”

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    This week editorial assistant Maisie Skidmore is considering the growing influence of the emoji on the art and design community. As ever, you can let us know your favourite examples of emoji-based-creativity or just voice your eternal hatred of the tiny yellow faces and miniature fruits in the comments section below.

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    The rules are you can’t wear a denim jacket with metal patches on unless you are GENUINELY into it. The heavy metal rule book does not state, however, that you can’t make a ludicrously ambitious animation inspired by the patches that have forever been sewn directly on to its very heart. Nice, creative young men Tom Bunker and Nicos Livesy have decided to drop what they’re doing and embark on this very mission, and are in the process of raising money to complete the most intricate, time consuming, metal-inspired, embroidered animation for Nicos’ band, Throne. Is there anything more metal than pouring your blood sweat and tears into something absolutely shitting awesome? Didn’t think so. Get your mind blown even more (particularly in the “process section”) over here on their Kickstarter.

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    Californian artist and illustrator Jon Han makes work that’s unlike anything else we’ve seen. though his practice is predominantly grounded in painting, he regularly brings digital elements into the mix that pull otherwise traditional illustration into the here and now – slicing and dicing with Photoshop. This strangely anachronistic approach to illustration lends itself beautifully to the documentation of the present day, in which we’re stuck between a hyper-technological future and the practices of the past, meaning Jon’s regularly commissioned by the likes of The New York Times, The New Yorker, Plan Sponsor and Businessweek for his on-point observations. We really can’t think of a better person to document our strange daily lives.

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    Last night we were at Mother London for this year’s second instalment of Nicer Tuesdays, with four fantastic creatives from the publishing industry speaking to us about the charms and challenges of the printed page. As ever, our fantastic event sponsors Park Communications were showing off their wares with a whole array of their own printed works – Printed Pages and Riposte among them!

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    GraphicDesign& founders Lucienne Roberts and Rebecca Wright are on a mission – to take the discipline out of its (sometimes self-imposed) cultural ghetto and prove how it relates to almost everything around us. Nearly two years ago they tackled literature, challenging 70 designers to reinvent the first page of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Now for their second book they have maths in their sights, working alongside Alex Bellos to set 55 leading creatives a mathematical design challenge; to respond to the famous golden ratio articulated by Euclid.

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    In the hurly-burly whirlwind of everyday life in the bustling city, what we all really need is a 38 day-long teaser trailer for an album. No, really, we do. It took creative genii KesselsKramer to realise this, and here they are with just that. Opel Mantra is the latest album from Dutch music makers Awanto3, who have been blessed with having infamous Amsterdam-based creative agency KesselsKramer look after their PR. A lot of musicians may have frowned on the idea of a 54,720 minute teaser video, but those who know what’s good for them will just swiftly get into the car and shut the door behind them.

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    I often feel that lyric videos were made for me and my fellow kids of the 80s and 90s . If you turned teenager in Smash Hits’s heyday then you too will recall tearing eagerly at the perforated edges of the lyrics to various Sean Paul belters and trying desperately (but to no avail) to learn every word so that you could sing along to Top of the Pops come Friday.

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    A year ago yesterday I introduced you all to San Franciscan illustrator Niv Bavarsky and prattled on about how talented I thought he was. That’s still very much the case, although I’ve now had a year to stalk him on Instagram and really reflect on his status as my new favourite illustrator. Normally I’m fickle about this kind of thing, but Niv still holds the top slot in my eyes. You probably don’t really care why, but I’m going to tell you anyway.

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    Hello from Cape Town! Design Indaba kicks off today and Editor-in-Chief Rob Alderson is there to capture the wit and wisdom, insights, inspiration and intelligence. There’s a stellar line-up coming over the next three days including Stefan Sagmeister, Thomas Heatherwick and David Goldblatt who’ll be taking the stage at the southern hemisphere’s biggest design event.

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    There’s nothing better than having a nosey around someone’s bookshelf as it tells you such an enormous amount about them. In the case of a creative studio, the contents of the bookshelf are a direct inspiration to conversation around the work and the finished results. Popular UK is a multidisciplinary studio whose work offers fresh solutions to clients in the music, fashion retail and publishing sectors. For me, their bookshelf holds the stuff of dreams, which seems to translate directly to their very interesting portfolio.

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    Promotional film posters are a dime a dozen in most major cities – plastered over walls and on electronic billboards as far as the eye can see – but few know how to nail them quite like Agatha A. Nitecka. The film photographer has shot posters and promotional materials for films from Wuthering Heights to For Those in Peril, and unusually for her profession, she works entirely on film.

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    Travel back, dear reader, to the day you were struggling with an enormous black portfolio on the way to a town you’d never heard of to blow the trumpet of your questionable artistic merit. If only Andy Baker and Thomas Slater had been in the carriage you eagerly perched in to give you some sage advice on how to go about your art school career. This short animation is a must-see for anyone about to embark, or even midway through a creative degree – full of tongue-in-cheek reminders of token university jargon such as collaboration, self expression and thinking outside the box. Thank you Thomas and Andy! Not just for a really, really enjoyable and informative animation, but also for that little naked alien penis at 1:42.

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    If his artwork is anything to go by, Job Boot looks like the kind of guy who created masterpieces from iron filings in his physics lessons and left his classmates awestruck with his powers of composition while they were still fiddling about with magnets and equations. His illustration uses combinations of tiny lines, dots and dashes alongside bright primary colours to create the vaguest suggestions of forms, which in turn are all the more effective for their minimalism. If it’s evidence you’re after, the Anglepoise lamp below should be all the proof you need; constructed from a series of thick lines and yellow blocks it’s like a mishmash of minimalist formations and Mondrian influences.

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    Why has no one else done this yet? This is exactly what I wanted after the Sochi Olympics but I didn’t even know I wanted it until the New York Times just casually PLOPPED it on their front page yesterday. Oh man, this is too great. Hefty creative team (deep breath) Wilson Andrews, Larry Buchanan, Nancy Donaldson, Jon Huang, Bedel Saget, Archie Tse and Joe Ward have painstakingly created large images of some of the most incredible Sochi sports men and women and broken them down frame by frame. What this does is gives us even more of an idea of just how complex and strenuous yet utterly beautiful these sports really are. Hands up if you thought figure skating looked pretty easy until about two minutes ago?

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    Short films can often fall into the trap of a jarring sentimentality, but Alice Dunseath perfectly treads the line between quiet grief and witty observations about those around her in this beautiful animated short. Hunting for Hockney documents the journey she and a friend made to find David Hockney’s Yorkshire home in the midst of the grief of losing a loved one, and the frustrating difficulties of organising a funeral. Sad and funny in equal parts, she succeeds brilliantly in capturing the otherworldly pastel colours of English landscape with fragile snaking lines, intertwining the soft Yorkshire accents of people they happen to meet and elevating Hockney to an lamppost mystical figure in the process.

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    We English-folk are told from an early age all about “England’s green and pleasant land”, but seldom do we actually sit back to enjoy the famed views we’re so lucky to have access to, not least because they’re so seldom visible through rainclouds and fog which dominate the landscape. Fortunately we’ve got Australian-born, London-based photographer Ross Jenkinson on hand to capture those momentary glimpses of beauty that our drizzly country has to offer. His dreamy shots take full advantage of the light, encompassing luscious green meadows and rocky mountains to create an atmosphere taken straight from the hymn Jerusalem. We starting to wonder if perhaps we should get out more.

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    Three cheers for directorial duo Stephen Ledger-Lomas and Phoebe Arnstein for their work on Jamie Isaac’s new song, She Dried. Together they take us to a stark, monochromatic room where we are third wheel to a curious dinner date between Jamie and a fascinatingly beautiful older woman. This peculiar little love story is spliced with shots that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end – a lightbulb in a vice, white thread (or hair?) dragged between rusty nails, dark liquid dripping on to a calloused hand – the stuff of short, sharp nightmares or the more bloodcurdling scenes in Twin Peaks. What’s so refreshing about this video is the simplicity of it, as it serves as a reminder that for a great video all you really need is a few props and two very, very talented filmmakers.