Trump’s inauguration and a design census: a look back at January 2017
It’s time for us to reflect on 2017 and this is the first of 12 monthly round ups where we dissect the events and stories that occurred across the creative industries this year. Here we will celebrate the projects, news stories and in-depth features we shared on It’s Nice That. Plus a few extra insights from the people that made them happen.
For many of us January 2017 brought moments of light and dark. The dregs of 2016 were behind us as the last of the mince pies disappeared without fanfare. The fresh new starts we’d promised ourselves on a teary New Year’s Eve felt like blossoming buds. But the year ahead brought uncertainty for many and like a predictably written and worryingly accurate sitcom, a slew of events confirmed it all a little too quickly…
The main story of January was Donald Trump’s inauguration on 21 January, which brought political and social unrest for many. However, there was a positive movement surrounding the landmark day with people showing their resilience with the Women’s March occurring the day after, which saw 2.2 million people protest worldwide against trump with 500,000 alone marching in Washington DC.
While Trump did dominate the headlines, especially with his ludicrous travel ban to the US for seven mostly Muslim countries, it wasn’t just about him in January – elsewhere, the Golden Globes announced Moonlight the winner of Best Drama, a report from Oxfam warned that the world’s eight richest billionaires controlled the same wealth between them as the poorest half of the globe’s population, the five nominees for Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth were announced and Salt Bae won the internet for some time.
It’s Nice That predicted the future…
For It’s Nice That, January saw us share our sparkly Ones to Watch for the year, in which showcased 12 creatives who we predicted would make an impact in 2017. They included: Marguerite Humeau who held three interconnecting solo shows this year, Jack Sachs who continued to create joyous work for Tate Britain and other huge clients, Joyce NG who collaborated with an array of exciting creatives including a recent shoot for ALL–IN, and Max Siedentopf who created one bizarre project after the next as well as working with us for our partnership with Dropbox.
Bigger, Better, Nicer
The month also saw us re-launch a bigger, better, nicer iteration of Nicer Tuesdays where we more than doubled the audience capacity and moved to our new home at The Oval Space. Month to month the speaker list highlighted exciting projects happening across the year in a variety of disciplines including Seetal Solanki, Anthony Burrill, Weirdcore, Mikey Please, and Raine Allen-Miller. Check out some insights below:
In the news…
In January it was announced that renowned photographer Martin Parr had created BBC One’s idents that featured “different groups of people coming together across the UK, united by their shared passions and interests”.
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Martin Parr: BBC One idents
Google and AIGA released the findings from its inaugural design census, which provided an insight into the economic, social and cultural factors that are shaping design in the US today. Among other things, the survey touched upon the ongoing discrepancies in relation the gender pay gap.
We celebrated the work and life of respected art critic and author John Berger, who died 2 January aged 90, by publishing an extract from his essay, Impertinence, which gave insight into his way of seeing the world.
Top 5 scenes found by Scenic Simpsons in 2017
We interviewed the anonymous creator Scenic Simpsons right at the end of the month to find out what goes into selecting the perfectly captured landscapes he selects for Instagram. We checked back in with the curator and below are some 2017 reflections:
“This year Scenic Simpsons went from being dorky side project to dorky side project with 280k followers. I was sure when I made it, it was something that people would like but it took nine months or so to get going, and then being given a platform by places like It’s Nice That, Vice, Metro, BBC really boosted the following. It was great to see how into it people are. There’s such a cool little Simpsons community on Instagram there’s been so many subsequent profiles set up dedicated to showcasing different aspects of the show.
"I've only posted around 350 of the 1,000 screencaps I've collected."– Scenic Simpsons
“It never gets boring – watching episodes over and over and finding these little moments. I think the only challenging or annoying thing I’ve been faced with is the real want to make a book. I think to produce something like that with these images would be brilliant, but with licensing issues and needing to have the backing of a big publisher, and Fox, it seems like an impossible task right now. I’ve only posted around 350 of the 1,000 screencaps I’ve collected so the project has longevity, but I just want to create something tangible.
“I think these images below are some of my favourite that I’ve found over the last year. I like them because I think they show the breadth of why I enjoy doing this and the different things I look for. Some more abstract, some purely based on colour, or some on set or product design.”
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Bart vs. Austrailia, Season 6, Episode 16
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We also marvelled at the work of Leipzig-based illustrator Stefanie Leinhos, whose work see her combine clean, crisp linework with two-colour palettes and repeated imagery.
3D animator and illustrator Julian Glander shared another genius idea of his with us, which saw him track down another Julian Glander through Facebook and create a series of works with his internet twin. Titled, Doppleglander, the pair of creatives interviewed each other about the project for us in what resulted in a surreal yet fascinating insight into the idea of collaboration.
Julian Glander and Julian Glander: Doppleglander
Julian Glander and Julian Glander: Doppleglander
Motion graphics studio, Mainframe, created an in-house project that was hypnotic and extremely visually pleasing. The idea behind the short was to “subvert the physical properties of objects and materials and have some fun with a viewer’s expectations of how those things should behave”.
Interviews, profiles and more…
We interviewed artist Lubaina Himid ahead of her simultaneous shows at Bristol, Oxford and Nottingham. In September it was announced Lubaina was one of the nominees for this year’s Turner Prize and the feature touches upon the long overdue recognition for Lubaina’s work.
“I guess what’s changed over the years is black people have started to become more visible. There are the written histories, the taught histories and then there are the experienced histories, which you have to interpret and that’s possible when you’re an artist.”– Lubaina Himid
We delved into the world of creative studio More and More and took a closer look at it’s project 50 days, which saw the studio close it’s doors and concentrate on their most ambitious and terrifying brief yet: creating unfiltered creative ideas. The final edit can be seen below.
Paula Day, Lucienne and Robin Day’s daughter spoke at length about the enduring legacy of her mother Lucienne, the modernist print maker who shook up post-war British textiles. As the director of the foundation dedicated to her parents’ legacy, Paula spoke passionately about her mother’s evolving style and impact.
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About the Author
Rebecca became staff writer at It’s Nice That in March 2016 before leaving the company at the end of 2017. Before joining the company full time she worked with us on a freelance basis many times, as well as stints at Macmillan Publishers, D&AD, Dazed and frieze.