Archive

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    When a studio does everything it can to get to the very root of a client’s working philosophy, it often leads to the most interesting and effective identity design. This is definitely true of Toronto-based studio Blok Design’s work for Dallas film production company Lucky 21. Created to mark the company’s new venture – “taking on the highly competitive LA market” – the identity takes into account the brand’s character, which the studio describes as “full of humour and fiercely passionate” to create a set of visuals that fall close to home.

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    Ryan Hopkinson’s work is a mesmerising merge of science and technology with art. It therefore seems perfect that, as such a fantastically forward-thinking film-maker and photographer, he’s chosen Björk’s video for All is Full of Love directed by Chris Cunningham, as his favourite music video. We’ve written about Ryan quite a few times, and posted about his photography as well as his stunning film work, all of which uses special effects spectacularly and surprisingly. Here is the fascinating conceptual visual artist on what he likes best about the legendary video, which seems more 22nd Century than anything 20th Century:

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    It takes a special something to be able to photograph at gigs and festivals, you have to really not mind being covered in the bodily fluids of swerving waves of people, or potentially having your ankles and your camera shattered into a thousand pieces. Lord knows what things Greg Neate has seen in his last decade of photographing the much-loved and notoriously raucous ATP festival. His photos are often taken in prime crowd spots that even rubber-boned teenagers can’t reach – so how does he do it? We asked him some questions about his memories of ATP and what he loves most about photographing crowds. You can also see Greg’s photos on show at Neate at ATP at the ATP Terminal on Dray Walk until 13 July 2014.

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    How often is it that you come across a cartoonist who manages to combine space-age wicca, metal-head monsters and rainbow coloured dystopian cities, all on the same page? Dogboy, aka Philip Huntington, achieves this seemingly impossible feat in his kaleidoscopic illustrations, which he describes as working “towards the creation of an alternative reality.”

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    If you happen to be in north-west Corsica come Saturday then you’re in for a treat with the 12th annual Calvi On The Rocks music festival. My limited French and the beautifully baffling shortcomings of Google’s translation tools (“DJs take you in hand, scholars selectors make you smarter tan”) means I can’t give you too much detailed information, but a glance down the line-up and the fact that the irrepressibly brilliant Leslie David has created these posters for the event should be enough to convince you that it’s something worth knowing about. Leslie’s big, bold colour daubs offset the retro black and white pictures of the town with typical skill and evoke the spirit and energy about to be unleashed on this pretty coastal idyll.

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    It’s not often you get to hear the opinions of models. Unless you’re the next big thing in the world of cat walking and clothes-horsing – a Moss, Campbell, Cole or Delevigne – nobody really wants to hear what you’ve got to say. Which seems unfair really, particularly given that they live more exciting lives than most. It’s clearly something that bothered photographer Martin Zähringer too as he’s set up a side-project that gives some of his favourite models a voice.

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    One look at Francesca’s portfolio and we knew that this was a very, very exciting graduate. Channeling all the vibes of Rookie with the serene portraiture ability of Vermeer, Francesca’s lucid, candid photography depicts youth, friendship and true love. With a BA in Photography from the London College of Communication and a few cross-continental adventures under her belt, Francesca’s well on her way to becoming a much-loved photographer. We chatted to her about her time at University and her plans for the future.

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    It’s a well known fact that no matter how impressive the debut of new trends on the catwalk are, the ones hanging around outside the auditorium are probably more exciting. Responsible in no small part for the creation of this theory is Tommy Ton. He started street style fashion blog Jak & Jil back in 2005 with zero formal photography training, and has since become the go-to man for all things street style, particularly when it comes to the fashion.

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    You’re on the internet, so you probably like cats, right? Well, these woodblock prints by Tadashige Nishida capture all of those cat qualities that we love to love: his creepy but cute kittens are unafraid and alert, always listening and sensing, and very delicately, playfully poised. Tadashige renders the subtle lines of a cat’s body against brilliantly bold backgrounds, and it is very difficult to work out just what it is that makes his prints so hypnotically intriguing. Doris Lessing, one of literature’s best cat lovers, describes the curious creatures in the following way: “If a fish is the movement of water embodied, given shape, then cat is a diagram and pattern of subtle air.” Tadashige captures these dexterous and whimsical cat attributes beautifully in his surprising, minimalist prints.

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    When Yoshinori Mizutani first moved to Tokyo and saw huge hordes of lime green parrots jetting through the city’s sky, he says that he was scared and felt like he’d fallen into a scene from Hitchcock’s The Birds. Getting over the initial shock, Yoshinori began to photograph the surreal spectacle, and he discovered that the birds were originally brought from the tropics to Japan as pets in the 1970s.

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    French illustrator Benjamin Courtault has been extremely busy since last we spoke, beavering away on a beautiful concertina book, La Descente. This lovely new piece of screen-printed magic reads like the opening of a Marquez novel, following the story of a technician working for the National Telecommunication Company who’s forced to take a road trip through an extraordinary world to fix some ailing antennas. With each spread rendered in varying three-colour shades, Benjamin demonstrates not only his prowess as a storyteller but also as an exceptional printmaker. Shame they’re all sold out!

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    Hi gang! If you’re reading this you’re probably not at Glastonbury, and neither are we so that makes us friends. We’ve spent our weekend listening to Eminem with the air conditioning on, which is kind of like our own mini festival – right? We often wonder what everyone else listens to at work, as we usually go for a heady mix of Simon and Garfunkel, Rihanna and that Bill Wyman song about him seducing a much younger woman. If you have any suggestions of what else we can listen to, or what you tend to listen to as you punch an Apple keyboard with the blunt ends of your fingertips for money, get in touch.

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    We are now just a few days away from unveiling our 2014 Graduates; 15 of the most exciting young talents leaving UK art schools this summer. For the first time ever this year we called on a panel of expert judges to help us select our final 15 and we’ll be hearing from them over the course of the next few weeks.

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    Next up in our footie themed Nicer Tuesdays talks is graphic designer Rick Banks who talked us through his 2013 book Football Type. As a ten-year-old boy he was left in floods of tears when the Manchester United goalie top his mum bought him had the name Schmeichel in the wrong font; from here grew a lifelong obsession with football typography. He explained how it took two years to get the brands and clubs on board for the book and shared some interesting back stories; for example the Barcelona typeface is based on Gaudi’s chimneys. His talk encapsulated the highs and lows of self-publishing from the militant attention-to-detail required to filling your flat with the packaged books ahead of sending them out.

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    The largely secular nature of the western world means it’s rare to find yourself up close and personal with a religious procession. But in Sicily the Processione die Miteri di Trapani is an annual occurrence, and no more unusual then Notting Hill Carnival is to a Londoner. The procession takes place during Holy Week before Easter and details the stories of the Passion – traditionally acted out by members of local guilds – up until the resurrection.

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    The only thing cooler than a girl gang is a girl gang of six-year-olds who are insanely good at skateboarding. Meet Pink Helmet Posse, a group of three astonishingly talented and cute little girls who are best friends, and love to skate. The New York Times have commissioned this spectacular short film about this curious trio as part of their consistently brilliant Opinion Pages, inviting the viewer to check out something that’s going to blow their minds and also make them think a little too.

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    How cool is this? London-based man-band Bombay Bicycle Club have made us an absolutely smashing mixtape to accompany your Friday and weekend. Jack Steadman, Jamie MacColl, Suren de Saram and Ed Nash collectively write and play songs that are at once heartbreaking and uplifting, a bit like Homeward Bound. Their mix, however, is a tropical cocktail of cross-continental tracks including bangers from Donnie and Joe Emerson (classic), Frank Zappa (wahoo!) and everyone’s favourite old crooner, Charles Bradley. A big thanks to these busy boys for making our weekend substantially better.

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    We stumbled across these bright floral posters for YCN by Mexican illustrator Elena Boils this morning, a lovely find that has perfectly coincided with the new edition of a baby spider plant on our communal It’s Nice That desk. Elena’s lively, layered plant patterns look like something you might find on Frida Kahlo’s dresses, and we love the angular, boxy backgrounds juxtaposed with her luscious, textured shrubbery. Now based in the UK, Elena is interested in “nature as well as surreal creations,” an influence which is prevalent in her vibrant layering of two-dimensional shapes against three-dimensional spaces.

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    Hands up who’s never seen graphic design in Hebrew before? Me! I am amazed at this collection of typographic posters created by third year students on the Visual Communication course at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Israel. Not just because it’s all in Hebrew, which of course makes it look even cooler because I have no idea what it means, but just the diversity in the work that’s been produced.

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    Hi podlings! You’re in for a treat this week. Rob’s away so Liv’s in charge and she, Maisie and James are here to chew the fat on all today’s cultural topics. There’s a shitload going on in the world of art and design at the moment, and there’s Glastonbury and the World Cup too, so it’s best you keep up with the latest facts to impress your mates with. Up for it? We are, get stuck in using the SoundCloud embed below or subscribe via iTunes here.

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    The stooped, gangly characters in Barbara Dziadosz’s illustrations look like they’re on constant adventures in their bubblegum-pink world. Her energetic bunch are either deep sea diving, catching butterflies in nets, or peering speculatively through a magical telescope, always surrounded by the same blobby, stenciled flora. We love the scratchy lines and rough, overlapping components of the compositions, and Barbara’s consistent pink and purple colour palette. The images are surreal and summery and joyous, with plenty of cacti terrariums containing lurking leopards and oversized cats being led by their owner through a polka-dot jungle. These bold and bright illustrations will have you itching to join in on the surreal, summery fun.

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    “How’re things going this week?” You ask. Very well, thank you, especially since this week we’ve been sent yet another wonderful collection of Things. Included in the bundle is a plastic-bound zine dedicated to contemporary female artists and issues, ten bright and bold birthday prints, and a publication of photographs documenting the transformation process of the new Design Museum in Kensington. If that’s not enough for you, we’ve also got some heartbreaking photographs, and an extremely wacky and surreal collection of illustrative stories. They say all good things must come to an end, but judging by all the great things that we keep receiving, it looks like we’ll be writing this post for years to come.

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    I’m always up for a good story, so if a visual piece of work has some sort of narrative thread running through it my eyes instantly widen with intrigue and excitement. Take illustrator Davide Bonazzi’s series Day Trippers, individually these images are done well but when seen together as a whole package, the beautifully observed moments between an elderly couple exploring a city together tells a much deeper story of love and companionship.

  24. Menswear-list

    Living as the fashion industry does a full hop skip and jump ahead of itself, the menswear Spring Summer 2015 shows are currently in full swing, and though we might not have the discerning eye of Vogue we thought we’d share our favourite collections from the London Collections: Men and the Paris and Milan shows with you. Behold then, giant wooden frames, autobiographical shirts, 1970s details, kimono necklines and men in skirts. Plenty of men in skirts. Feast your eyes.

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    We don’t know all that much about Martin Groch, save that he’s a Slovakian graphic designer living in Prague and has a natural talent for combining type, image and abstract forms. His portfolio is vast, and showcases a whole heap of beautifully-crafted posters, exhibition identities and some slick experiments with deconstructed drawings. There’s also a whole heap of vintage-looking cartoon characters thrown into some of his projects for good measure, adding a sense of youthful excitement to projects that could otherwise feel less than exciting. All in all an impressive portfolio of work. Now we’re just going to have to find out a little more about this talented chap…

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    Five years ago Dave Tomkins uncovered a huge archive of photographs his Grandpa, Stephen Clarke had taken over the years. With his Grandpa unable to remember where he’d shot these images, Dave was determined to find out more and started reaching out to the big wide world to find out more about the places pictured and what they look like now.

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    Hey that girl’s sticking her finger into an elf’s butt! That can only mean this is the work of a genius. Sure enough, the drawing I’m referring to is by Frau Franz, the sweetheart of the modern-day comic book industry. Her being handy with a crayon is particularly useful to the rest of the world as it allows her to spill the contents of her brain out on to the paper so we can marvel at it. Cool little guy reclining on a lilo, someone fingering an elf’s butt, a dog woofing at a rainbow cloud lurking in the gutter – where does all this gold come from? At the moment Frau’s living in Berlin doing freelance illustration for cash, and is a living and breathing inspiration to those who have funny, silly and sometimes gross thoughts all over the world.

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    It’s been almost three years since we last wrote about Uno Moralez, the only man whose work can genuinely shock me into open-mouthed awe. This shock is threefold: for starters I have no idea how he creates his beautiful bitmapped images, secondly his subject matter is so deliciously terrifying that I’m constantly torn between staring at it for hours and flinching to look away, and thirdly because I literally have no idea how he makes these images (I know, I said that twice)! As one of comics’ most enigmatic characters, Uno doesn’t update his site all that often, but when the new work comes it seems only appropriate to make a song and dance out of it. So dance with me!

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    There’s only a couple of days let to catch this year’s Royal College of Art graduation exhibitions Show RCA 2014 and having watched it unfold over the past few months we’re thrilled that the final shows have been so brilliant. If you needed any more convincing that’s it’s worth heading to either the RCA’s Kensington or Battersea campus (or both?!) over the weekend, then hopefully this film might sway you. With more than 570 students’ work on show it’s impossible to fully appreciate the sheer scale of the exhibitions without being there, but hopefully this gives you a taster of just how good it is.

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    Ovid once wrote that “The gods favour the bold,” and if it’s true, then Anders Nilsen must be quite high in the gods’ good books at the moment. Not only is his new comic an accordion-style that you can wrap around your desk about three times, but it also contains all kinds of insightful and humorous modern day parables about humans and their gods. The illustrations are simple but expressive: black silhouettes on sparse backgrounds that are alarmingly life-like but also enigmatic and mystical, like the shadowy puppets from Pluto’s cave. Inside the book’s folds, Anders imagines Poseidon in the 21st Century, in a world where Venus works in Hollywood and Eros runs a thing called “The Internet.” Cupid’s arrow has darted straight out of the spell-binding pages, and I think I’m in love with Anders’ new work: all I can do now is just thank the gods that such an extraordinary comic has fallen into my hands.

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    Sometimes it can be weird when you see people doing things differently, like watching your friend cut a sandwich into rectangles instead of triangles. But creatively speaking I feel it should always be embraced with open arms, which is why Verena Michelitsch’s project Reflections created with Tobias van Schneider instantly intrigued me.

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    To outsiders the art industry tends to come across as a fairly shielded place, where dealers and customers are shrouded in tales of mystery and all deals seem to go on behind closed doors. As Andy Freeberg argues in the statement to his project Art Fare however, this isn’t really the case.

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    Swiss Graphic designer Simone Koller is all about experimentation – with typography, layout and concepts – investing heavily in the visual language of each new project she takes on so that no two pieces ever feel similar. Her work encompasses branding and identities, artist books, theoretical publications, posters, packaging and zines, all with a focus on contemporary cultural discourse and sociological theory – plus the occasional poster for a show. But her radical approach to design ensures that even the most heavyweight of subjects feel visually engaging, urging you to pick them up and interact with their content. No small feat when one publication deals with how people move around public space.

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    At It’s Nice That we spend more time on the internet than we do with our friends, lovers or parents combined. So it’s only right that we start selecting the best fruit that the internet-tree has borne and handing it to you in manageable, well-written doses. At the moment the craze is music videos without the music, something that as yet is proving its staying power and is still hilarious.

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    There are some people in the world who just ooze coolness and FKA twigs is one of them, who knew Gloucstershire was able to produce such fine specimens of slick elegance?

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    Nomadic photographer Jessica Barthel has had a fairly illustrious career to date. Having studied Fine Art Photography at Parsons in New York she’s floated between India, Berlin, Buenos Aires and LA shooting stories for the likes of Harpers Bazaar, Dazed and Confused and Glamour as well as producing heaps of personal work along the way. Not content with her photography degree, she also studied graphic design in Berlin, which has almost inevitably influenced her crisp, angular fashion shoots. On her travels however Jessica takes loose, hazy photographs that crackle with the energy of exotic locations and serve as tantalising, abstract snapshots of what seems like one big adventure – an adventure we’d all like to be on.

  37. Opinion-list

    This week assistant editor Maisie Skidmore asks what makes a good group show. Are they really all they’re cracked up to be, or are they poised for failure? Tell us what you think of them and which you’ve been to that were especially brilliant or terrible in the comments section below.

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    There’s no shortage of comics, books, films and radio programmes that deal with the subject of dystopian futures. If you believe the predictions of our greatest sci-fi auteurs, the distant future will be one in which governmental control is complete and our civil liberties and basic human rights lie in tatters; emotion, procreation and relaxation banned in favour of order and efficiency.

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    It’s Nice That favourite Christoph Niemann has been keeping very busy recently. Between creating a football web essay about Brazil’s World Cup curse for the New York Times, and delivering an incredibly inspiring speech at our creative symposium Here last month, he’s found the time to put together a sleek new website to showcase all of his spectacular work. The site is easy to navigate, and it’s big and bold and bright, and we can’t think of a better way to spend the afternoon hours than by browsing through all of Christoph’s witty GIFs and whimsical illustrations.

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    We’ve focused a lot so far on the students- taking part in this year’s Royal College of Art graduate exhibition Show RCA 2014. But it’s an intense time for the staff too, so in our latest video renowned graphic designer and Dean of the Communication School Neville Brody talks to us about this year’s work, and why the show is still such an important time for an institution like the RCA, against a challenging educational landscape.