This month’s Nicer Tuesdays delved into the processes behind an epic music video, intricate paper set design, street photography, a blog about pub carpets, and it was fascinating.
Hattie Newman kicked off the evening, drawing audible gasps from the audience with images of her incredible paper-cut sets. Hattie spoke about her childhood in the countryside leading to her obsession with towns, which has popped up in her work ever since, from editorials for Stylist to posters for TfL and the model map of London’s Olympic Park. She then took us through Canon City, a project for camera brand Canon, for which she was asked to make an intricate paper model city representing architecture from around the world – “the ultimate town!” She then took us through the project from sketches and templates to hand-cutting the buildings and finally building the set in Paris. “I like to hand cut as much as possible, because I think imperfections add personality.”
Next up was Phil Sharp, a London-based photographer who’s having quite a year having been nominated for the Taylor Wessing portrait prize and chosen for the British Journal of Photography’s Portrait of Britain cover. Phil spoke more in depth about his Ermine Street series, for which he photographed people who roamed 100 yards from his front door. “I feel I have a responsibility to document my environment and the people that share my habitat,” he said, speaking of his feeling towards photography as a profession. “It’s hard not to be exploitative as a street photographer, and it’s sometimes hard to tell where representation and exploitation begins and ends. I always stop and ask people if I can take their photo, because I enjoy their reaction to me. But I’m plagued by the subjects who say no. Some people ask what it’s for, and sometimes I just say ‘art’, and people are like ‘oh OK, as long as it’s art.’”
Kit Caless spoke about his book, Spoon’s Carpets based on a blog documenting the rich tapestries underfoot at Wetherspoons pubs around the UK. He set the scene: “There’s an old man having a pint, it’s brightly lit, there’s a couple arguing, we all know it.” But perhaps, he said, we’ve never appreciated the stories embedded in the carpet designs. The idea was inspired by The Way Inn, a fictional book by Will Wiles where the protagonist discovers the dark secrets of a chain of hotels by piecing together all the artworks in each location. “I wondered, does Wetherspoons have one giant tapestry of carpets, that when put together unlocks the demonic secrets of Spoons? The answer is no. But the carpets do tell their own stories."
Last was director Sam Pilling, who gave a fascinating insight to his latest music video for Nobody Speak by DJ Shadow featuring Run the Jewels. “The idea for the video came about because of this guy,” Sam began, showing a picture of Donald Trump. “I thought political debates are quite similar to rap battles, going head to head with words. But what if it wasn’t just words?”
Sam shared photos from behind the scenes on the set in Kiev, showing how the vast production came together, and hilarious video clips from his creative process. This included a mood film where he cut footage from Frost/Nixon with the track, to show how it could look, and screen tests of the lead actors rapping their lyrics. He also cited his directorial influences: “_House of Cards_ has slick cinematography, amazing art direction and that grey/blue colour palette I was going for. Also I wanted the close-ups to be like the climax from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”
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Supported by Park Communications
Nicer Tuesdays is also 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.