This month’s Nicer Tuesdays was all about bizarre sources of inspiration and the art of winging it.
Rob Flowers kicked off the evening of talks by sharing his immense collection of retro toys, some of which even joined him at the lectern, and how these have influenced his work. “I collect mostly 80s toys,” he said, holding a watermelon car. “One of my favourite toy lines, ad campaigns and creative worlds is definitely McDonald Land.” He shared old adverts and photos featuring the fast food chain’s characters, such as Hamburglar and Officer Big Mac, and then images of his own illustrations, animations, toys and costumes for Burger Shack and Converse among others to show how this obsession has fed his work. “I love odd characters, food related toys and 80s gross-out toys, and some of my work is pretty disgusting.” To conclude he showed his recent animation for Maynard Bassetts, which was originally inspired by the giant head of Grace Jones and the lift full of blood in The Shining.
Next up was Roberto Rosolin, who has been in-house art director of nightclub Fabric for 17 years. “The connection with me and Fabric began with this piece of paper,” he began, showing a flyer he saw that inspired him to get in touch with the club – he had a conversation that then became a job. He gave the enthralled audience fascinating insights to how he made all the posters for the club, with scant resource. “For most projects there was no brief and no budget. It was about using what we had to create something simple to communicate what was happening at Fabric.” One poster featured incredible photography of mushrooms, depicted as an “alien and unexplored environment, showing the mushrooms’ shapes and colours”. Another used sugar glass, smashed over the head of a slightly nervous volunteer/mate of Roberto’s, while one used the UV effect on quinine to create an amazing visual effect. He finished off showing photos from one of his last posters, showing a guy jumping on a trampoline with six people throwing powder paint at him “I wanted this to represent the energy of the people at the club.”
Liv Siddall told us the brilliant story of creating Rough Trade Magazine. “I was so excited when I got the job, because it was my dream job, but then I suddenly realised, oh shit I have no idea what I’m doing.
“I looked at what else was out there,” she explained, showing photos of other music mags such as DIY, Crack and Clash, “and lots of them were very techy, inaccessible and serious. I wanted to put in the stuff I find fun and interesting, not just add to what’s already been done, and add some irreverence.” This included not resorting to just putting a celebrity on the cover, but a parrot instead, and including features such as an agony aunt column with Jonathan Richman and getting bands to write horoscopes. “We can do anything, there are no rules and no one really checks it, it could be really offensive, no one even knows,” she laughed, talking about her work as editor in collaboration with designer Bruce Usher. “So we just want to have fun, because when will we ever get the chance to do something like this in our careers again?”
Topping off the evening was designer and director Greg Barth, who showed how he’s made some of his most mind-bending and crazy films. “We 3D printed a Greek statue to mould it, so we could make a white chocolate version, just to melt it, all for two seconds of screen time,” he said, showing photos of the process. “But it was fun.” Greg also made a spinning machine to simulate anti-gravity for an iPhone advert, and showed some behind the scenes tomfoolery the crew got up to with it; and a series of “human-powered instruments” also using sugar glass for a symbol, and a guy wearing a spiky bum pad for a snare drum. Lastly he presented his work with animator Jack Sachs, which came together for a Red Axes video mocking VR. “I was mesmerised by how stupid people look wearing VR headsets, and I imagined the worst case scenario of an office VR party,” he explained. “It was all about how people react to things.”
Supported by Park Communications
Nicer Tuesdays is supported by Park Communications one of London’s eminent, most friendly and approachable printers.
Nicer Tuesdays is a monthly event curated by It’s Nice That held at Protein Studios in London. Tickets for the event sell out quickly, to buy tickets ahead of general sale please sign up to our newsletter.