January's Things: from 365 UK-based creatives to a killer robot sex festival

2 February 2018

January’s over! Here’s some stuff to celebrate the end of the worst month of the year, officially. As always, the pile of things posted through our letterbox was overwhelmingly impressive but we somehow managed to whittle it down to this ten. With photos to remind you of your childhood shivering on a rainy football pitch on a Saturday morning, to a collection of work that all uses the colour red, this month’s Things is not one to be missed!

Judith Erwes: Some Scottish Football Players

“Is any nation so passionate about a sport it’s been so bad at, for so long?” reads the opening line of London-based photographer Judith Erwes’ Some Scottish Football Players. This small-scale publication features 60 portraits of young footballers taken on “windy pitches, rainy nights and ice-cold afternoons” at various Scottish clubs. The black and white images are full of youthful spirit – their floodlit faces framed by white netting evoking nostalgia for anyone who spent their childhood running around a pitch. With a foreword by Andrew Gray and designed by Mark Evans this publication is a pocket-sized delight.

Reena Makwana: When in Rome

In March 2017, illustrator Reena Makwana visited Italy’s historic capital, Rome. While walking around during her weekend break, she turned away from the city’s renowned architecture and started to draw its inhabitants and fellow tourists. Her felt-tip observations, including women chatting and a man playing the accordion, are now available in her self-published zine When in Rome. Reena, who also works with objects, embroidery, print and drawing, will be donating one pound from each sale to Macmillan Cancer Support in memory of a friend who passed away when she was working on the project.

Tom Phillips: The Orectic Oscillator

London-based Risograph printer, Tom Phillips, sent us issues two, three and four of his self-published “news page” The Orectic Oscillator. The project, which he writes, produces and prints monthly serve as an outlet for his creative writing. “It’s a playground of experimentation with words, in the hope of creating intimate scenes, ambience, depictions of strange character, situations, dreams, farce and poignancy,” he describes. Printed at Housework Press in South London, the double-sided paper is charming in its traditional design and spirited content. Oh and top marks for the headline “Killer Robot Sex Festival”.

Hotdog Zine

This deliberately lo-fi looking zine of poems was co-founded by Megan Conery and Molly Taylor as a firm middle finger to the elitist world of poetry. Featuring contributions from “queers, femmes, bipoc, LGBTQ, trans/gender non-conforming, people with (dis)ability/ies and women”, the pair’s editorial policy is a response to the male-dominated literary sphere. Now in its third issue, delightfully unprofessional, Hotdog Zine also host events, panel discussions, organised workshops and collaborates with charities.

Fedrigoni: 365

To commemorate the year 2018, producers of high-quality paper Fedrigoni reached out to 365 leading UK-based creatives and asked them to create an original artwork based on a number. The result is a striking all black book that functions as a calendar. Each contributor was given a date at random to interpret however they saw fit. Printed in metallic silver ink, the book features the work of many an It’s Nice That fave, including Pentagram’s Dominic Lippa, Craig Oldham, Kate Prior and Joey Yu.

Floris Hoorelbeke, Costa Ragazzo

Floris Hoorelbek is a multimedia artist originally from Ostend, a small town in Belgium but now based in Ghent. His expressive, mark-making lead work functions as an archive of his personal life and everything that happens around him. “He uses Photoshop, graffiti, a pen, food, a scanner, tabloid magazine cutouts, pictures of his girlfriend, a flower and everything he feels attracted to lying around his house to construct a visual stream of consciousness,” explains Pov Books, the Italian publishers who recently released Costa Ragazzo. Founded by graphic designer Lennart Van den Bossche in 2015, Pov Books aims to archive the work of contemporary artists, at risk of getting lost in the void of the internet, in the form of printed matter.

Ditto Volume One

Founded by Paul Lyward and Phil James, Ditto explores the joy of the physicality of production: “the sound of paper whirring, the smell of freshly printed ink and, most satisfying of all, that moment of realisation; when potential gets transformed, finally, into something tangible, touchable.” What started as a conversation between Paul and Phil, is now a 160-page magazine packed full of stories of people who are committed to what they do. Ditto’s first issue features an essay by Emma Marson, author of A Sense of Place discussing the remarkable work of Helena Markson – one of only a few female printmakers working in the post-war years. It also profiles the deviation of Alicia Waller from the “well-trodden pathway” of a classically trained singer.

Chróma No.1

New publication, Chróma, is a magazine dedicated to the depiction of colour. “Our first issue features a fusion of talented international individuals: contemporary poets, thinkers, artists and photographers with one uniting factor, the colour red,” explains Chróma’s editor Emma Phillips. Currently in her final year at Sussex University, Emma chose the colour red for her first issue due to its topical relevance. “2017 was a year of blood, shooting, wild-fire and extreme politics,” she describes. Despite this, it also explores the beauty of red through its relationship to love, landscape, lipsticks and gender.

Zeichner als Reporter

Zeichner als Reporter, which translates to “draftsman as a reporter” in English, is a collection of visual essays by students from Lucerne School of Art and Design. The book is a collaboration with the Cartoonmuseum Basel and celebrates the renaissance that drawing has experienced as means of documentation since the 1990s. Printed on newsprint, the book also features a discussion between Lucerne’s director of illustration Pierre Thomé and draftsman Yves Nussbaum on the potential of the genre.

Mike McQuade: Mass

Mike McQuade’s illustrations have featured in the likes of The New York Times, The New Yorker and Wired and are known for their Rauschenberg-esque appropriation of found imagery to convey political messages. In this 127-page newspaper however, his work is presented in a much more relaxed and freeform fashion. Although featuring his usual cultural detritus, these collages place Mike’s process at the forefront so that “the messages aren’t traditional messages anymore.” Art director of the New York Times Book Review, Matt Dorfman, writes in the paper’s foreword, “written out like this, it sounds like so much pretentious and faux high-minded art BS but spending time with these collages is a genuinely uncomplicated pleasure.”

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About the Author

Ruby Boddington

Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor.

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