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Regulars / Nicer Tuesdays

Birds doing yoga, watermelon heads and The Truman Show: highlights from April’s Nicer Tuesdays

Last night saw the return of our monthly event, Nicer Tuesdays and it was a truly genre-spanning set of talks. Over the course of the evening, we heard from Natalia Stuyk, Max Siedentopf, Will Anderson and Marion Deuchars who took us through the ins and outs of illustration, filmmaking, graphic design, photography, animation, art direction, installation, storytelling and even a bit of fruit sculpture. Check out some of best bits we learned from April’s line-up below.

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Shard-like objects can look digital and natural at the same time

Video artist Natalia Stuyk took us through an exciting new project that sees her leaving the comfort of her digital world to transform shoe brand Melissa’s New York Galleria. “A lot of my personal work is experimental and abstract, working with shapes and patterns,” she explained, “the brief was to materialise these videos into real-life structures,” – something she had always wanted to do but never had the chance. Utilising shards, a shape that crops up again and again in her work as they look both natural and digital, Natalia’s installation will be open to the public later this month.

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The pursuit of perfection in creativity is a dead end

In a talk that mirrored his portfolio, Max Siedentopf provided us with a lot of laughs. As the everyman of creativity, he spoke about branding a hotel in Amsterdam as “the worst hotel in the world”; taking holiday snaps incorporating watermelon heads; using cardboard to transform ordinary cars at 4am; bringing about world peace; giving away plastic cutlery, and turning disgusting images into stickers. “A lot of creative models try to aim for perfection,” he commented, “but sometimes it’s more interesting to go the other way. If you try to do perfect, it’s literally a dead end.”

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Animation is a way to explain the feelings you can’t with words

Edinburgh-based animator and filmmaker, Will Anderson took us through his recent Bafta-nominated project Have Heart. An anxiety-ridden animation, the short film was made on his commutes between Edinburgh and Glasgow and mimics his worries and doubts from that period. “I was looking at gifs and what they can do,” he explained, “I started thinking about what this gif was if he was trapped online.” Made chronologically with no animatic, the animation appropriates our interactions with screens: “It’s like The Truman Show if it was shot on an iPad.”

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If you can make a bird to do yoga, you can make it do anything

Closing up the evening was prolific illustrator and children’s book author, Marion Deuchars who outlined a host of tricks and sneaky tips for any budding picture book illustrators. One particular nugget of advice was to borrow from the real world. “I used my son playing the guitar as a reference, details like the way his foot is turning. When you use real-life observation, you find things you know you wouldn’t be able to make up.” She also advised those stuck on consistency to take their characters out of the story and make them do all sorts of things: “If you can make a bird do yoga, you can make it do anything.”

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