We’re very excited to introduce you to the first global Graduates class of 2018!
With more applications than we’ve ever had and entrants from North America to New Zealand via Sweden, we were bowled over by the ridiculously high talent spilling out of universities across the world this year. Below, we share our final 15 graduates, each carving out their own path with work displaying vibrant personality across photography, product design, illustration, fashion, animation and graphic design.
It’s Nice That initially launched The Graduates ten years ago, hunting for the greatest young talent from the UK’s undergraduate courses. Since then, The Graduates has grown in both applicants and reach, and a decade on from when it first launched, the creative landscape — and It’s Nice That along with it — has changed immeasurably.
In the current state of affairs where borders and communities are increasingly divided by forces beyond our control, we want It’s Nice That to be as open as possible, to be inclusive of everyone no matter what age, race, gender or location. We write about creatives from all over the world on a daily basis, so we threw the logistical reasons for keeping The Graduates UK-based out the window and opened it up globally.
It goes without saying that it has been more than worth it.
We’re immensely proud of our Graduates this year but whittling the applications down was by no means an easy process. We’d like to thank everyone who shared their work with us. A massive congratulations to anyone who has graduated this year — hats off to you guys from the It’s Nice That team!
Rollerblade hats and crocheted football ballgowns: meet fashion design graduate Paolina RussoRuby Boddington —
In the closing months of her BA (Hons) Fashion Design program at Central Saint Martins, Canadian-born Paolina Russo produced a final collection which has since been talked about. A lot. A line-up of garments which repurpose the material objects of various sports – from footballs to trainers to shin pads – it’s a love letter to suburban life and teenage sentimentality.
Jackson Joyce's melancholic illustrations inspired by childhood nostalgiaEmma Latham Phillips —
Louisana-born illustration graduate Jackson Joyce claims he spends most of his time stuck in his head. A thinker that illustrates the daydreamer, he captures characters gazing melancholically into the distance. Be it from painting in coffee shops, on aeroplanes or in the studio, Jackson’s illustrations play with proportion and mood; their cool colour tones, soft shadows and sad, dark eyes create strange and foreboding narratives.
Can Yang's graphic design style is deep-rooted in her Chinese heritageLucy Bourton —
The work of graphic designer Can Yang is steeped in history and philosophy. Context is the backbone of her works, consistently relating back to her cultural upbringing in China, but translated through the teaching programme at Rhode Island School of Design where she’s just graduated.
Natalia Poniatowska employs photography to convey the emotions, truths and challenges of modern realityEllie Robertson —
Natalia was 13 when she first picked up a camera. A friend from primary school had talked her into trying a regular photography class at a local youth centre (in Bytom, Poland) – the friend stayed two weeks, Natalia for five years. The course focused on film photography, so she dug out an old Zenith 12xp from her grandparent’s basement and taught herself how to use it. “The smell of a darkroom, the first artistic community I belonged to, capturing moments – I don’t know exactly what it was that I fell in love with, and even though it all started 12 years ago, I’m still just as passionate about photography,” Natalia tells us.
Daniel Spencer's hilarious animations are "quite intensely bonkers"Josh Baines —
The first things you’re likely to notice when you sit down to watch one of Arts University Bournemouth graduate Daniel Spencer’s bright, brash, and brilliantly funny 3D animations are a pair of glossy and googly eyes and a set of plump red lips.
Photographer Miranda Barnes offers softly witnessed glimpses into the human experienceBryony Stone —
It’s Nice That Graduates has traditionally been the highly contested territory of art school leavers. So it was to our surprise and delight that humanities grad Miranda Barnes applied with a remarkable photography portfolio of softly witnessed glimpses into the human experience; images which have both challenged misconceptions of people of colour in America and won her pages in The New York Times, ESPN and Vice magazine in the process.
New Zealander Luke Hoban designs websites that not only have form and function, but flairLucy Bourton —
Despite initially thinking he was going to forge a career in the fine arts, Luke Hoban quickly fell for the form and function that graphic design embodies. He was born, and studied in, New Zealand and is now based in Sydney, but it doesn’t actually matter where in the world Luke lives; it’s the digital counterpart of design where he’s fully at home.
Illustration graduate Alva Skog's energetic practice is rooted in female empowermentEllie Robertson —
Illustration has always been a way for Alva Skog to communicate and express herself, “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t draw” she tells It’s Nice That. “Whenever someone had a birthday in my family, I drew a family portrait. I still do.” After a two-year art course in Sweden (where she is originally from), Alva headed to Central Saint Martins where, despite studying Graphic Design, she kept coming back to illustration, along with a brief interlude into animation.
Alex Sizemore is the industrial designer pushing our world towards meaningful physical futuresRuby Boddington —
University of Cincinnati graduate Alex Sizemore’s portfolio is one of those that not only impresses because of its technical abilities and adept concepts but because it induces questions in its viewers. Having studied industrial design, Alex combines traditional sensibilities and industrial production processes to create work which explores how our choice of materials – and what we do with these materials – can improve the human experience.
Graphic designer Andy Liang merges art with artificial intelligenceEllie Robertson —
“I wish I could say I was one of those designers whose parents were artists or designers, or one whose parents exposed them to different types of art and design at a very early age,” Andy Liang tells It’s Nice That, but as a child of working class, first generation immigrants, they just didn’t have the means or the resources to do so.
Aga Giecko's illustrations show the personality of someone who loves a good laughEmma Latham Phillips —
Fun, playful and downright comical, we’ve gone bananas for Aga Giecko’s illustrations.
Photographer Nathan Cutler adds a softer tone to the conversation of masculinityLucy Bourton —
Manchester School of Art graduate Nathan Cutler has a sensitive eye, despite his masculine subject matter. Born and raised in Brighton before venturing up north for university, Nathan’s work provides an insight to groups, communities and clubs. He never peers in on these clans, instead his photographic eye nestles in, it gets comfy, has a cup of tea and a chat. Then, he takes the shot.
"What is my opinion?": Graphic designer James Aspey's research-focused, typographic practiceRuby Boddington —
Originally from Portsmouth, graphic designer James Aspey has a propensity for all things type-related. Having found inspiration early on in some of the great 20th Century typographers, his own practice consists of interesting, speculative and unusual letterforms, used in both conceptual and commercial contexts.
Liam Waters' physical images question what photography in the digital age can beJosh Baines —
Created largely using a combination of Cinema 4D and Corona, the works of south east London-based Liam Sielski Waters hone a distinctly experimental take on what photography can be in the 21st century.
Meet Adelia Lim, a graphic designer not afraid to poke a little fun at the industryLucy Bourton —
Singapore-based Adelia Lim has been playing with the medium of graphic design for years. In her experiments, Adelia’s work has become playful too, but only on the surface. Each project is properly funny in parts, and always uniquely and incredibly well executed.
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