On the last Tuesday of every month this year, we and 400 other creative fanatics headed down to Oval Space in East London to watch four practitioners tell us about themselves and their work. With 44 talks done and four more to follow next week, this year’s Nicer Tuesdays has been full of often hilarious, sometimes serious but – ultimately – always insightful talks.
From photography to graphic design, illustration to set design, motion graphics and animation too, each person who has taken the time to speak at Nicer Tuesdays has been kind enough to give us a rare peek into the inner workings of their projects and practice.
As we reach our last Nicer Tuesdays of 2018, and of course begin to look forward to another year full of monthly talks, here is a rundown of some of our absolute favourite talks of Nicer Tuesdays to date.
I Saw John First
We kicked off Nicer Tuesdays for 2018 with a brilliant insight into the humorous, ever-changing and always animated world of I Saw John First. The Norwegian animator not only showed us his mind-bending work, focusing on his music video for Mr Jukes Angels/Your Love, but also his general interests.
From everyday obscurity through to a fascination with “Japan, imaginary worlds, heads with feet, ghost stories and spirits,” John’s talk showed us how your own interests can inform your work’s style and output, but attract visionaries just as interested in the weird wobbling corners of the world as you are.
“I’m into obscurity, Japan, heads with feet, and ghost stories”
I Saw John First
In this industry, it often seems to appear that creatives make absolutely perfect work. From advertising campaigns to illustrations, animations and photoshoots, when we showcase a final project it’s difficult to imagine these established creatives ever putting a foot wrong.
But, everyone makes mistakes, and the greatest, iconic projects have often jumped through several creative hoops to get the final finished object. Max Siedentopf, a multi-faceted designer who has made sticker books, founded Ordinary magazine on top of being a creative director at KesselsKramer, is one of these creatives you imagine innovating new work by just opening his laptop. However, in reality, Max is a creative who embraces imperfections explaining how, “a lot of design and advertising and photography and filmmaking always tries to be as perfect as possible, everyone is aiming for perfection, but as a creative that doesn’t really make sense because creativity is a never-ending process so that’s pretty much a dead end.” So, whatever industry you work in, whatever level you’re currently at, embrace the new and embrace the mistakes that will come with it too.
“If you try to do perfect it’s literally a dead end”
As we experienced World Cup madness during June and July, our summer month editions of Nicer Tuesdays similarly mirrored the sporting events of this time of year. In June, a World Cup special happened, sort of by accident, as we invited Season Zine’s Felicia Pennant to talk us through her new issue.
Despite being football-focused, anyone who wasn’t particularly interested in football when they entered the room walked out waving a scarf in the air as Felicia took us through how the publication “tells stories that showcase, celebrate and empower female fans first, whether they play or not.”
“Season counters the male, pale, stale football culture”
Felicia Pennant, Season Zine
Everyone’s favourite laugh-a-minute illustrator Nadine Redlich and “a very stable genius”, also joined us at Nicer Tuesdays July giving us a very truthful rundown of how every creative project goes:
1. It always starts with an idea. The idea is a little bit vague maybe, but just the right amount so you can’t anticipate the struggles that will come with realising this idea.
2. You pitch the brilliant idea to your publisher and you’re really, really confident it will only take you three to four weeks to finish the entire project.
3. Then, the worst thing that can happen, happens. Your publisher says yes. They’ll have a little more foresight than you and push the deadline.
4. Now that you have a deadline, your confidence collapses like a souffle and gets replaced by the fear of disappointing others.
5. So now you do… nothing.
6. But, just before the deadline… the fear of disappointing others get replaced by the fear of disappointing your publisher with no work at all.
7. You end up working day and night like an animal and pretend you did this all along.
8. You deliver the work at the very last minute, to the annoyance of everyone involved.
“I’m a very stable genius”
The most emotive, inspiring and ultimately uplifting Nicer Tuesdays of 2018 has to be Luke Evans’ incredible talk in August.
“Most of the work I make is not using a camera, the camera is just used to bring it to life”
A talk which went through Luke’s astonishing projects at university, to really finding his feet in his practice, his presentation took a pause midway through as Luke spoke honestly about discovering he had testicular cancer which put a firm pause to his career and his fondness for photography. There is no way we can sum up the difficulties Luke has overcome and urge you to watch his talk, and the work developed out of this turbulent period here.
Olimpia Zagnoli is a name well-known in illustration circles. With countless projects to mention for some of the most sought-after names to work for, Olimpia’s refreshingly personable talk spoke not just of these clients but the projects she’s done just for her love of illustration.
In a creative climate where of course earning a living is key, Olimpia’s talk taught the audience how taking time to illustrate for yourself is where idea generation really is at its best, and it’s what those clients probably want in the end anyway.
“Personal projects are an aspect of my work that need to be cultivated every day”
It’s rare that we have duos speaking at Nicer Tuesdays but it’s even rarer that we have speakers who are able to talk together, bounce off each other, and let the work do the talking in one swoop like Superimpose did in September this year.
Despite the calibre of work the studio has put out in recent months, the most inspiring part of Ollie and Toby’s talk was how they met and consequently collaborate, considering they’re one part trend forecasting and one part graphic design. After consistently bumping into each other and moaning about their current jobs, “we always kind of knew we were in a similar area in our work” and built the studio they wanted to work at out of the frustration they felt.
In Nicer Tuesdays expanding to invite speakers from nearby countries this year, a real highlight who joined us from Rotterdam was Liza Enebeis, the creative director of the leading and well-loved graphic design studio, Studio Dumbar.
In a talk which mixed Liza’s personality with the studio’s frankly iconic typographic output from the past 40 years, the creative director’s talk not only highlighted the studio’s work for the graphic designers gripping their seats in the audience but evoked a real sense of what it was like to work there. From allowing all members of the team to have a turn at solely designing a project through to poking fun at her team, Liza’s talk showed how a true design studio functions: no ego, just brilliant, collaborative work.
“Whatever it is that we learn, we want to share it”
Liza Enebeis, Studio Dumbar