This month’s Nicer Tuesdays heralded creativity’s power to cross borders, bring people together and discover new worlds. Our audience at Oval Space heard inspiring talks from Sam T Smith, co-founder of the Me & EU postcard project; illustrator Daniel Frost on his Greenland series; photography and filmmaking sisters Emily and Alice Stein on their Hello, I Am Nora film; and animation director Nicolas Ménard on his award-winning short Wednesday With Goddard. Each showed personal projects fuelled by sheer dedication and passion, and the enthusiasm was contagious. Here’s just some of the top moments and takeaways from April’s event.
Postcards are potent communication tools
Sam T Smith, co-founder of the Me & EU project, spoke about his shock and sadness at the Brexit vote and the desire to do something in response. “Everyone we knew, and most of the creative industry I think, voted to stay. The result made us feel disconnected, misunderstood, like we weren’t being heard, and brought a lot of negativity and hatred to the table. We wanted to do a project about positivity, unity and good humour.
“We thought about flags, pins, protest posters, but none of those connected with people like postcards. They talk of crossing borders, travel and communication.” Of the final designs, Sam said “the overriding fact was that people want to be part of a bigger cause”.
Drawing the outside, from inside, creates cinematic results
Illustrator Daniel Frost travelled to Greenland for his latest research trip, painting the skies, landscapes and people his came across in a beautiful gouache series. His pre-trip research was lacking, however, when he was surprised to find -27°C temperatures, which hindered his usual process. “Normally I do a lot on site as it’s more intuitive but trying to draw with arctic gloves is actually quite difficult. So I did a lot of drawing from inside, which means a lot of the images of the place have a frame of a window or a person’s silhouette. It makes them more cinematic and mysterious.”
It’s amazing who you can stumble across on your own street
Filmmaking sister duo Emily and Alice Stein told the incredible story of their film Hello, I Am Nora, about the celebration of identity in old age. Completely by chance, Emily met their glamorous star, Nora, on her own street. “It was a boring, drizzly, normal day on my road and I saw her and I was like ‘holy shit she’s amazing’. I got chatting to her and she’d had a hard life, but the hardest bit was getting older and becoming invisible.”
On making the film, Emily said Nora “liked being seen again” and though the filmmaking process was tricky at times, they all wanted the result to be “totally true to her and authentic”.
Animators are masters of paradox
Nicolas Ménard told us how Wednesday With Goddard was made together with his wife Manshen Lo, wherein “she did the really detailed, complicated drawings and I did the other ones”. The pair worked on it while Manshen was back in China, as a more meaningful way of keeping in touch, and continued the project once reunited.
With a lack of money and time, one way the film saves both is in the hands. “In frame animation hands take a long time, so I thought we could hide the hands and just bring them out sometimes like a Swiss army knife.” Conversely, the penultimate sequence of the film shows an intricately hand-drawn flower opening and closing, which took three weeks to animate for two seconds of animation, but the audience’s gasps proved it was worth it.
God has many forms
Nicolas let us in on a brilliant fact about the form God takes in his film. “My reference was Super Mario – the masks that follow you when you’ve got the key.”
Thanks to everyone who came along and once again to our great speakers. Next month’s line-up will be announced next week, and the way to hear first is through our newsletter so sign up for updates.
Event Partner: Adobe
Designer. Photographer. Filmmaker. Dreamer. No matter who you are, there’s something for you in the latest release of Creative Cloud. Adobe is proud to sponsor Nicer Tuesdays 2017 and ready to show you what’s new.
Supported by: Park Communications
As one of London’s most respected printers, Park Communications is known for its care, attention to detail and high quality, which is why Printed Pages is among the titles it produces.
Drinks sponsor: Hop House 13
Thanks to Hop House 13 for providing the drinks!