The Twittersphere went cuckoo for the Emmys this week, but those stingy folks over the pond only hand out awards once a year; here at It’s Nice That we give a big thumbs up to five lucky Things every single ruddy week! Sitting around the table of Things in their tuxedos and posh frocks today we have a book collecting together the splendidly surreal works of Jim’ll Paint It, a poster from master print-maker Anthony Burrill and a new zine exploring the passions and peculiarities of crafty creatives. There’s also a pack of Artists Top Trumps and a book full of photos of a toy town Tokyo. Pop the champagne: let Things commence!
Electric Dreams: The Collected Works of Jim’ll Paint It
There are plenty of masterworks made from paint; there are fewer made in Paint. But that’s Jim’s forte. Using the free Microsoft programme, Jim devises hilarious images of just about anything: Tinned Lenin, Prince Philip discovers the internet, A shoal of Michael Fish. Their brilliance comes partly from their utterly random nature, but they’re also amazingly intricate and downright funny. At first Jim took suggestions from friends, now he takes them from all over the world and it’s become a full-time job. This book is a smile-a-page, from Ainsley Harriott, son of God “As requested by Stephen” through to Jeremy Paxman for sale in a vending machine “As requested by Laura” 200-pages later.
Starveling, Snout, and Snug: Issue #1 & #2
There’s a lovely idea behind this new bi-monthly zine. Each issue centres on individuals and delves into their passions – whether coffee, TV, organ playing or photography. The idea is to create a portrait of these creatives and revel in the minutiae of their world and livelihoods; fascinating to read over a slowly sipped flat white in the 3FE cafe in Dublin which publishes the zine. It’s designed by Conor & David, risograph-printed and, in case you were wondering, takes its mysterious name from three of the mechanicals in Shakespeare’s Midsummers Night Dream; the dopey creative antecedents of those featured in the zine.
Anthony Burrill: Woodblock Poster for Peter Werth
With work in the V&A’s permanent collection, Anthony Burrill is one graphic artist and print-maker doing rather well for himself. His latest venture is a limited-edition print inspired by fashion designer Peter Werth’s heritage. Unlike some of Anthony’s most popular poster slogans – “You Know More Than You Think You Do,” or “Work Hard & Be Nice To People” – this one makes no sense. But it’s uplifting all the same, like a battle cry for creativity in a language we haven’t quite got the hang of yet. “Button up Trojan Inter-City Mayhem Unique Kryptonite Chaos!”
Ben Thomas: Tiny Tokyo
It’s amazing how photographic effects can make us look at a scene in a whole new way. Ben Thomas has been taking tilt-shift photos for years now and he says that Tokyo is ideal for this style; such a giant place with so much bustle and business. The people of Tokyo “display meticulous attention to detail in all things from signage to train timetables” and I think Ben’s images encourage us to look in a similar level of detail. It’s fascinating to pore over pictures of an unknown city or another way of life in any case, but with these images there’s something even more intriguing. I always loved the scale models in museums as a kid and looking at this book reminds me of that – wondering what the little man driving the truck around the loading bay is called. We’re invited to see these people like toys and bring them to life with stories we construct around them.
Laurence King: The Art Game: Illustrated by Mikkel Sommer
When I was a wee lass I once spent a long car journey learning the names of all of the kings and queens of England from a novelty pack of cards. And the order in which they ruled. Even the Edmunds, Egbert and Eadwig. What can I say? I had a great memory and not much else to do. So I think seven-year-old me would have a riot with these Artists Top Trumps, pitting Andy Warhol against Frida Kahlo, putting Damien Hirst in the red ring and Banksy in the blue. The artists are ranked by how influential, shocking and expensive their artworks are, their critical reception and versatility. Mikkel Sommer illustrated the cards which are published by Laurence King. Who is the top trump? I guess you’ll have to play to find out.