From a global heatwave to a GoT photoshoot: a look back at July 2017
In July, temperatures in the UK may not have been soaring but the month was proclaimed the hottest July recorded on Earth in 137 years
Weather aside, excitement brewed when was announced that the first female Doctor Who ever would be played by Jodie Whittaker. Roger Federer won Wimbledon, again, and er, Despacito became the most streamed song ever. Elon Musk claimed he had “verbal govt approval” to build 29 minute Hyperloop between New York and Washington D.C. but it was bad news for Justin Bieber, who was banned from China, despite his highly streamable music. The UK and France announced a ban on gas and diesel cars by 2040 and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos became the world’s richest man — for half a day.
In the creative world, fashion photographer Miles Aldridge caused a stir when he shot the cast of Game of Thrones for Time Magazine on the occasion of it’s penultimate series. For the shoot, which features Kit Harrington, Maisie Williams, Peter Dinklage and more, Miles sought inspiration in Renaissance portraiture and combined them with pop-art and psychedelic colours. In an interview with Time he cites Albrecht Dürer and Lucas Cranach as influences for the photos, stating both artists worked with “bizarre super reality of detail” with top notes of “Protestant Lutheran purity. These sort of images were fascinating because of their insane attention to detail.”
The New York Times Magazine was back on our screens — again — this time exhibiting an impeccable range of typographic highlights at the Type Directors Club. The magazine’s design director Gail Bichler told us “We looked for instances where both the design and imagery were standouts and where they worked together in meaningful or unique ways,” Gail said. “We also tried to show as much variety as possible in terms of topic and visual tone.”
As the UK encountered further instability with June’s snap election and the continuing car crash that is Brexit, applicants to UK arts and design university courses declined by 5%, over 14,000 in 2017.
What we watched…
Filmmaker Greg Barth is the gift that just. keeps. giving. Greg wanted to make a film that questioned reality and how “fake news” can influence it, and the “clear fact that current political discourse does not connect with young people”. The result was Epic Fail, a film which depicts what would happen if world peace was simply put to a public vote, and satirises society’s current situation in a (not-so) ridiculous way.
Animator and illustrator Marcie LaCerte’s short film Summer of Love is about a young woman in pursuit of a significant other. “It’s also very hot right now where I live and I wanted to go swimming (still do), so I drew the main character in a swimsuit for vicarious relief,” Marcie told us.
We got up close and personal with…
2017 was the year that McDonald’s released a Rick and Morty-themed Szechuan dipping sauce, promptly ran out, leaving the fast food chain in a spot of bothered when they were faced by angry fans in a PR stunt gone spectacularly wrong — unless, that is, you were one of the people selling the sauce on eBay.
In July, ahead of the keenly awaited launch of season three, James McDermott who creatively directs the show’s art team shared with us some of his sketchbooks showing the birth of many of the show’s creatures and scenery.
Staff writer Lucy Bourton took a trip up north, or north of the M25 anyway, to visit True Faith, a large retrospective of creative works inspired by the audible and visual language of Joy Division and New Order and to hear Peter Saville pronounce his singular views on, well, pretty much everything.
It’s Nice That regular contributor Billie Muraben spoke to David Queensberry, product designer and former Paolozzi student Robin Levien and designer Nicole Fahri to remember the teacher Eduardo Paolozzi, and hear about his devil-may-care philosophy.
We championed the work of…
We tripped across Takashi Nakamura’s exquisite line drawings celebrate the quiet moments in life from close crops of fruit and veg and glasses of water, to bigger scenes of parks and libraries.
Illustrator Christoph Niemann and creative director of The New Yorker Nicholas Blechman published Conversations, a six-month project which saw the two creatives exchange drawings and photographs via their smart phones. After starting the project in the 90s, a time blissfully free of smartphones, the pair picked up the project again in 2016.
After a youth spent “obsessively drawing”, during her teen years, Lois Cohen found photography and her "whole life turned into obsessively taking pictures”. In the decade since, Lois’ work has transitioned from “super theatrical studio shots” to shooting portraits primarily on location. We honed in on Amsterdam-based photographer’s “absurd” portraits
Perth-born, LA-based designer Brodie Kaman applied his DIY ethos to posters and record sleeves. His work is driven by “constant experimentation” and the artwork of the late 70s and early 80s punk movements.
Over 20 years after her initial project, Family, created in 1994, Margaret Mitchell returned to the Raploch, Scotland, to re-shoot her sister’s three children at home, two decades after the story left off.
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Margaret Mitchell: Family
We hunted down the UK’s finest graduates
Whittled down from over 1,000 applications, in July we were proud to introduce 11 individuals whose work demonstrates originality, high quality, great execution and real purpose across the disciplines of photography, illustration, animation, art and graphic design for The Graduates 2017
We first launched The Graduates nine years ago, as a way to champion the best young talent coming out of UK undergraduate courses. Those selected in July were given their own profile on the site, the opportunity to get help and advice from the It’s Nice That team and become a part of our creative network. Their work – along with two of our grads — travelled to New York for an event courtesy of our supporter A/D/O.
For Review of the Year 2017, we caught up with all 11 young creatives to find out how they’ve been keeping busy since the summer.
“Since I graduated, I moved to Berlin for three months to work for High Snobiety. Then, when I came back, I shot Pamela Anderson in Marseille and a Carhartt job in Kent in the space of two days. Then four days later, I shot the Vision Streetwear lookbook, so was a whirlwind few weeks! Since then, I’ve been shooting a bit of editorial and working on a few book ideas and some miscellaneous other bits like that! All in all it’s an exciting time and I’m just hoping it continues so I can keep shooting as much as I’d like to. Ps. If anyone reading this, has a connection to Alex Jones or InfoWars, please get in touch.”
Maxwell Conrad Granger
“Since The Graduates 2017, I’ve been working as a freelance illustrator. I’ve met incredible people through It’s Nice That’s network and had the chance to show my work both online and offline. People have contacted me via The Graduates article, and I’ve been able to work through the connections. Also I had wonderful opportunities to feature my work on some publications including Printed Pages. I’ve realised that social media platforms are so much helpful to communicate with people all around the world.
“One of the projects I found very interesting was a series of editorial illustration for Bellboy magazine in South Korea. It was the first time that I’ve collaborated with writers. I created several images inspired by their words. I enjoyed all the process from reading the essays to drawing the illustration. The experience during the last few months has been a part of practice of being a professional. Especially, being chosen as one of The Graduates 2017 has been a great motivation for me to work as a creative. I’m exploring graphic design these days, working on a project of designing signs and logos which I’ve never experienced before. It feels really exciting to deal with new technical skills to invent a visual language. I will continue to work on experimental projects and run my own project as well. I’ve always dreamed of writing a book and publishing a webcomic. I hope I can make this come true in the near future.”
“Since I’ve graduated, I’ve done a few commissions and pieces for companies such as Nike, Ermenegildo Zegna, aap magazine and Amazon studios. I’ve also been able to do some performance and installation drawing such as a three-day takeover in Spitalfields market, and being invited to Greece to run art workshops at a tech conference which was so eye opening!
“I’m currently writing this from Seoul, where I have my first solo exhibition of works. The work I’m showing are all responses to the city, as I experience it for the first time. A sound producer called APRO is collaborating to create sound pieces to go alongside the artworks. Then when I get back, I’m doing a drawing installation at the V&A museum late, in response to the theme “China”. Super exciting!”
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“Since The Graduates 2017, I’ve been working at Why Not Associates as a junior designer. We’ve been doing lots of exhibition design which has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride but I’m learning lots! At the moment we’re working on an exhibition identity for the House of Commons about women in Parliament which has been fun. A lot of the content is about the suffragette movement so we’ve been referencing their posters, which were all letterpress printed with wood type. Kelvyn Smith was kind enough to let us visit his letterpress workshop to do some type research which was a real treat. He has an amazing collection! My boss and I ended up in the Houses of Parliament too which was very unexpected.
“I’m continuing to practice designing type, I’ve got quite a few slow burners on the go. During my degree the work was quite very fast paced so I’m enjoying giving things a bit more time at the moment.
“I’ve just finished designing a newspaper cover for Lecture in Progress, It’s Nice That’s sister company, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that turns out!
“In my free time I’ve developed an obsession with pasta; making it from scratch and eating it. Filled tortellini has been my greatest achievement to date. I’m quite proud.”
“Since The Graduates 2017, I’ve been rolling along pretty steadily and over the summer grabbed the opportunity to breathe a little slower after the intensity of university, re-evaluate what I enjoy about making and looking beyond illustration too. Out of a studio environment I started to feel a little too much in my own artistic headspace, a little easy on myself, and though client briefs keep a momentum of problem solving in different ways, I think I’m back on a momentum to propel a little more.
“I’ve hit it lucky in regards to work coming my way: briefs that I would never have thought of, which is proving to be a joyful and nicely stretching part of being an artist.
“While in my personal work the vibe for the last few months has been decidedly lax and silly (as I tried to relax), projects like the World Toilet Day exhibition with WaterAid have been not only a challenge in applying myself to a sensitive tone but reconsidering what my work can do. I hope I don’t sound as if I’m dormant snoozing away, because there’s plenty churning!”
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“Back in August I signed with Partizan and I’m now represented as an animation director by them which is very exciting for me! I’ve been working on a music video with them over the past month or so and it will be finished by the end of November, hopefully to be released around the start of December. It’s for the French record label No Format, for a band called Totobonalokua. The song is acapella and very catchy so I’ve had a lot of fun coming up with the visuals for it and animating something much more lighthearted and less narrative-driven than my graduation film.
“I’m going up to Glasgow in December to shoot my live action personal project with my boyfriend, Gabriel Greenough – it’s a comedic short film called Pistachio Boy which we’ve been pre-producing over the last few months on the side of my music video and Gabriel’s uni projects. It’s about a boy called Peter who is obsessed with eating pistachios. He works in a newsagents and one day a boy comes in to buy a packet of pistachios and Peter becomes infatuated with him. I’m really looking forward to shooting it as I’ve been meaning to collaborate with Gabriel for a while as he studies film and we share a very similar taste in films and ideas. It’s just a really fun and silly idea that we’ve decided to commit to and bring to life, and I’m excited to work with live action which will make a nice change from animation.
“As for January onwards I don’t have any particular projects coming up but I’m hoping I can land a bigger commercial job soon thanks to being part of Partizan’s network now!”
“Since being selected for The Graduates 2017, I’ve continued working on a project in Belfast that I started while studying, which roughly concerns how the Peace Process was communicated there and the politicisation of those communications.
“In September, I had the opportunity to be part of the Thread Count exhibition at Unseen Photo Festival, Amsterdam. I was also pleased to have my work introduced by Simon Karlstetter of Der Grief at the Unseen & Undiscovered event, a series of presentations by curators, collectors and editors on the work of five emerging or overlooked photographers.
“In November I was the featured artist at Der Grief online and as a part of that I posted on their artist blog. It was an opportunity to share some of the research behind my work as well as other works by artists and photographers that I find interesting and believe are relevant to contemporary documentary photography.
“Since The Graduates 2017 launch I have found the great write up by Rebecca on the It’s Nice That website has been a really useful reference point for informing people about my projects and it’s also been lovely to be included in the new issue of Printed Pages alongside a load of great illustration, painting, design, photography and writing!”
“After The Graduates 2017, I received a huge flux of fresh new responses of clientele that wouldn’t normally see my work though my own streams of output. This was really good for me as it has lead to some really great collaborations and opportunities that someone from a painting background can really make the most of by being promoted upon a site that is followed greatly by graphic, design, and illustration creatives.
“I have been working hard, pushing what my paintings are and what they could be. I have had a show in London where I exhibited alongside a well renowned photographer, and I’m currently in talks with a few gallerists internationally for various shows in 2018. Having the backing of It’s Nice That has given my work a push into their huge following and I am hugely grateful for the opportunity they have given a painter.”
“I won third prize at the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award
and am currently exhibiting at Cream 17: A Showcase of Graduate Photography Talent_ at Crane Kalman Gallery, Brighton. This is on until 6 January. I was a young selector for Empire through the Lens: pictures from the British Empire and Commonwealth Collection at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. I am exhibiting at LagosPhoto Festival 2017 Regimes of Truth in Lagos, Nigeria, 24 November – 15 December 2017.
“Apart from that, I’ve been continuing my project by collaborating with Bristol museum and Archive and I’ll be returning to South Africa to continue making work early next year! Just generally trying to keep my head above water!”
“Since The Graduates 2017, I’ve been working on my own work as well as working on commissions from people such as the Economist and Voxi. I’m currently in conversation with an agent about possible representation. I’ve moved to Hackney and have started part time work in a stationary shop ha! This year is plan to finish a calendar of images I’m working on inspired by Japanese woodblock prints and to finish my story book about one man’s obsession with the sea.”
“So since the Graduates event, the highlight has obviously been the trip to New York and the talk at A/D/O, me and Katy feel so honoured to have been chosen to talk at the event alongside Braulio Amado and Anna Kulachek. And it was a great opportunity to connect with creatives in New York, we managed to meet a lot of amazing people during the week who we’ll hopefully keep in touch with.
“Work-wise since then I interned at A Practice for Everyday Life for a couple of months, interned last month at Pentagram in Luke Powell & Jody Hudson-Powell’s team, and I have just started working for Make Architects in their in-house design team. I’ve also been working with an illustrator friend on a book, and just started working on a small exhibition with another friend (a lot of work-in-progress right now!)”
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About the Author
Bryony joined It's Nice That as Deputy Editor in August 2016, following roles at Mother, Secret Cinema, LAW, Rollacoaster and Wonderland. She later became Acting Editor at It's Nice That, before leaving in late 2018.