New World: Learn new creative skills with leading artists and designers this spring
Today, we’re excited to announce more Virtual Studio sessions as part of our collaboration with Today at Apple: New World.
New World is a 12-week programme of free hands-on virtual sessions and Creative Guides taking place throughout February, March and April. Hosted by Today at Apple and It’s Nice That, these sessions will be focused on exploring the power of creativity to bring about change, fostering connection and collaboration, and learning new creative skills to rebuild a better world.
You don’t need to be eagle-eyed to notice we’ve been collaborating with Today at Apple of late. Over the past seven weeks, under the title New World, we’ve been running a series of Virtual Studio sessions led by some of the most exciting creatives across the globe. Through sharing insights into their work, as well as skills and techniques they use in their practices, during live hands-on sessions, each has explored creativity and its role in rebuilding a better world.
Today, we’re excited to announce five more creatives who are joining the New World line-up, incorporating five more Virtual Studio sessions and two Creative Guides, led by a fantastic cast of artists and designers. Throughout April, you’ll have the chance to learn tangible skills and gain valuable insights from Universal Everything, Mark Clennon, Rama Duwaji, Ohni Lisle and Kris Andrew Small. Below, we get to know our new session hosts a little better.
DVTK is a studio led by Kim Boutin and David Broner, based between London and Paris. The duo works within a framework of digital experiences and their practice incorporates art direction, 3D rendering, animation, interactive installation and user-experience design. Kim and David developed their unique design approach and aesthetic by relentlessly asking themselves: “How can we turn digital interfaces into virtual worlds?” Representing the duo in their Virtual Studio, Kim is excited to explore how “we can create a sense of collectiveness online through the session”.
Kris Andrew Small
Joining us all the way from Sydney is artist and designer Kris Andrew Small. Expressive through a combination of abstract patterns and hand-drawn type, his work often takes on societal issues, channelling them through loud, textural collages that feel highly dynamic. Sitting somewhere between graphic design and illustration, Kris has forged a career by perfectly blending the two disciplines across a range of commercial and personal projects.
A Syrian illustrator and animator, Rama Duwaji uses visual art as a tool to examine themes of sisterhood and authentic expression within communities. Through imagery that is often in a stark black-and-white aesthetic (although not limited to this style), she depicts women of colour in healing spaces as a way to shift the narrative and envision a future without oppressive systems. With intricate linework, Rama’s illustrations critique societal norms and the pressures to conform to Western standards of beauty.
Ohni Lisle is an illustrator working across digital and analogue media whose portfolio is characterised by its experimental and ever-shifting style. Linking her pieces, though, is an often-cheeky narrative and bold colour palette. The human form also crops up as a motif throughout Ohni’s work and she often plays with composition, facial expressions and characteristics. She currently lives and works in New York City and is most looking forward to interacting with others during her Virtual Studio. “So much of what I do is alone, even though I’m a pretty social person,” she says. “Hanging out while making is always fun. And if even a few people feel like they learned something or got inspired, that’s the icing for me!”
Universal Everything will be a familiar name to anyone with an interest in digital design. Started by Matt Pyke, the studio uses emerging display technologies as its canvas, producing screen-based artworks that subvert cinematic CGI, physics simulations and real-time gaming graphics to create new forms of moving image. Joel Gethin Lewis is the studio’s interactive creative director and will be leading Universal Everything’s Virtual Studio alongside executive producer Claire Cook. “I can’t wait to see what the participants create!” Joel says. “The best thing about creating new tools and applications is seeing what people make with them.”
GalleryUniversal Everything: Super You (Copyright © Universal Everything, 2021)
Mark Clennon is a New York-based photographer with a particular focus on editorial, commercial and documentary projects. Adeptly jumping between these forms of photography, which he’s been practicing since leaving his tech job in 2017, Mark’s goal is to capture the Black experience in its totality. His images are therefore nuanced and multifaceted, capturing joy, pain, triumph and everything in between. “In sharing my journey and process, I hope that I can challenge people to have a greater understanding of what they can accomplish by tapping into their own creativity,” he tells It’s Nice That.
We also quizzed each participant on some of their hopes for the future and the power they believe creativity has to change the world for the better. Here’s what they had to say.
What is one problem that you feel creativity has the power to solve or at least improve?
Joel Gethin Lewis: “Creativity is the only way to solve real problems. I’m hopeful that creative thinking can be applied to the root of most problems in the world, including inequality – especially educational inequality and wealth inequality. I wish that the UK would lead on this (especially as Boris Johnson is currently the chair of the G7), but as money laundering has been the main financial function of the City of London for the past 300 years, I don’t hold out much hope.”
Claire Cook: “True cross-disciplinary collaboration. It is very easy to get stuck in a creative or tech vacuum, just doing your own thing, and the lockdown has magnified this. Quite often, the best ideas in the creative tech space come from discussing and workshopping with your team who each have a different approach and specialism.”
Mark Clennon: “Creativity has the power to help loneliness. It has always been a great source of community for people since the dawn of humanity. When people recognise that there are others who share the same life experiences and interests, community forms. Museums, parks, theatres and playgrounds are all places where people actively find community through creativity.”
Rama Duwaji: “I think the real power of creativity is that it can make people feel less alone. It has the ability to deeply touch people wherever they are in the world and say: ‘Hey, don’t worry, I’m going through the same thing.’ This is ever more important in an age of social isolation; art transcends physical expression and lets people communicate complexities that go beyond the day-to-day, surface-level emotions.”
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Rama Duwaji: Keefik? USA, 2021 (Copyright © Rama Duwaji, 2021)
Ohni Lisle: “I guess all problem-solving is inherently a creative process. Thinking outside the box can be such a great problem resolver, and we’re definitely going to have to keep problem-solving as our population grows and resources need to be better allocated.”
Kris Andrew Small: “What I love about creativity is it can be used to voice peoples’ opinions and inspire change. I think we as a human race are becoming more understanding and sympathetic to others. I hope creativity can be something that continues to drive equality and progression in the world and give a voice to people who are oppressed or vulnerable.”
Kim Boutin: “We’ve run a few workshops with students this year and noticed that many of them were seizing these moments as opportunities to escape from issues brought on by the lockdown. Despite not being considered as ‘essentials needs’, culture and creativity are more than necessary than ever and we need to make sure they are accessible to as many people as possible.”
Looking ahead to the rest of 2021, what are you most hopeful about?
Joel Gethin Lewis: “Primarily the world starting to emerge from this pandemic. But also more results from NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover – especially the Mars Helicopter!”
Claire Cook: “Festivals and cultural spaces coming back to life – I want us all to rediscover new inspiration and joy in shared experiences, to feel the surprise of discovering something different and unexpected. Also, swimming makes me feel generally more hopeful about everything, so I can’t wait for pools to reopen.”
Mark Clennon: “For the rest of 2021, I’m most hopeful about reconnection in-person. I’m excited about finding sparks of inspiration in serendipitous moments from observing people living their lives fully.”
Rama Duwaji: “This year I’m hopeful for spontaneity, the chance to hug friends and meet strangers. For the carelessness of sharing a bowl of pasta with someone or sitting in the cinema in the dark with people I don’t know. Even if it doesn’t necessarily happen this year, having tangible solutions like the vaccine feels like a light at the end of the tunnel and it helps everyone, including myself, hold on for that much longer.”
Ohni Lisle: “Honestly, I’m hopeful about life in general. Everything feels like it will be thawing from a very quiet and at times melancholy winter. No one’s going to be taking anything for granted, or at least I’m not. I’m also really excited about my upcoming facial feminisation surgery this Spring. It’s a really special moment for me.”
Kris Andrew Small: “I hope that [the pandemic] has made humanity look inwards and reassess a lot of the things in life that we could change for the better. For me personally, I am really hopeful to travel again. Travel is super inspiring and a big part of my work. I can’t wait to collaborate with people in person again and have face-to-face contact with clients, friends and everyone else.”
Kim Boutin: “A year living with Covid-19 has been a catalyst for the issues that we were already facing, notably regarding the many troubles that our use of technologies can cause to the planet, our bodies and minds. We believe now is a chance to take a step back and consider how we make use of those tools so that they serve us and help us feel connected with people rather than the opposite – as these can also provoke loneliness and separation.”
About the Author
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.