Through experimentation, creatives hold the key to shaping a better technological future
Nicer Tuesdays 2020 kicked off earlier this week with a jammed packed evening of talks from Adama Jalloh, Ricardo Bessa, Patrick Savile and Wang & Söderström.
2020 is off to a fantastic start here at It’s Nice That. We have a brand spanking website (in case you haven't already noticed) and January’s Nicer Tuesdays left us motivated and ready to take on the new year.
For those of you who don’t know, Nicer Tuesdays is our monthly event where we invite four creatives from different disciplines to take to the stage at Oval Space and deliver ten minutes on a recent project. While the event has grown significantly over the years – we’re very excited to be welcoming Pinterest as our event partner for 2020 – certain things have always remained the same: it’s honest, compelling, insightful and, we hope, inspirational.
Spanning the media of photography, illustration and animation, graphic design, 3D and sculpture, we heard from Adama Jalloh, Ricardo Bessa, Patrick Savile and Wang & Söderström respectively. Each delved into their practice as a whole or a recent project to let us know about their influences, working processes or theories on creativity.
Below, we outline a brief overview of what went down if you were unable to make the event. To see (or relive) the talks in full keep an eye on the site as we’ll be uploading each speaker’s talk over the coming weeks.
Street photography will always be scary, but also always it's rewarding
Having grown up in south London, where she’s still based to this day, photographer Adama Jalloh used to look further afield for inspiration. Having studied at Arts University Bournemouth, she felt she had to travel to get the most exciting images, but as she began exploring her area with her camera, she began seeing it – and appreciating it – in a whole new way. Today, she’s renowned for her black and white street photographs of London, and their ensuing exploration of “race, identity and culture”. These images, in turn, act as an archive of black British culture as it exists in this very moment. It’s a style, she explained, influenced by street photographers from 1960s and 70s New York. “I felt the vibrancy is there without colour, sometimes colour can you distract you,” she added.
While Adama took us through several works of hers including a recent series documenting her family as they undergo Islamic traditions of respecting the dead, and a series titled You Fit the Description investigating the issues surrounding stop and search policies, there was one thing that rang true throughout and that was her approach. As someone who has now spent several years approaching and photographing strangers on the street, she’s learned that to get the best out of an image, she likes to get to know her subjects. “Photography can be a collaborative process,” she told us. “I don’t tend to tell people what to do. So it’s always interesting to see the way people choose to present themselves.”
Make the work you love and eventually people will pay you to do it
Originally from Portugal, but now based in London, illustrator Ricardo Bessa delivered a talk that would make his six-year-old self giddy with excitement. “Growing up, I loved video games, comics, and Japanese animations and that has informed the way my work looks,” he told the audience on Tuesday night. Ricardo’s work very much lives in the realm of fantasy and has inside comics sensibilities. It’s for this reason that he was chosen to illustrate 4Creative and Picnic Studios’ campaign for series two of The End of the F***ing World (EOTFW).
Series one ended on a cliffhanger, cutting to a black screen as one protagonist, James, was running from the police, after which a gunshot could be heard. The idea, he told us, was to take fan theories about what would ensue after this scene and bring them to life. It was a dream commission for someone like Ricardo, who got to work within a massive team who gave him creative license to imagine each theory how he saw fit. This means, of course, that Zelda, Dungeons and Dragons and Dragon Ball Z references can be found throughout each ad. “It turned out the audience’s theories were completely bonkers, which made my style fit,” he explained, concluding that: “Sometimes, when you put yourself into your work and have a lot of fun with it, you can end up getting paid for it, and going to a comic convention for the weekend too.”
The best design projects leave no stone unturned
As someone who got his start in the graphic design world making flyers for imaginary club nights, it’s only fitting that graphic artist Patrick Savile now finds himself firmly within the music industry. After graduating from a graphic design course, he learned the best thing to do was go with his gut on every project, even if that means flitting between styles and techniques. On every project, he asks himself: “How does this need to look to best represent the artist’s music?”
The project that Patrick joined us to talk about in detail was his recent work for music producer Clams Casino (Michael Volpe), a project which demonstrated his approach to design. What keeps him so excited about creating visuals for music, he told us, was that each new project requires a whole new visual language; an entire world. For Moon Trip Radio, the spark of inspiration came when Michael proposed a world where you could dig up music of the past, and use it to make new music. From here, Patrick set about creating visuals akin to this concept, designing his own languages made of runes, and exploring how everything could be degraded to feel as if it had been excavated. What he created was a portal into a fully fabricated and believable world, one which entirely brings to life the music of Moon Trip Radio.
Creatives are the ones who will shape the “phygital” future
Last to the stage was Anny Wang and Tim Söderström, AKA Wang & Söderström. A pair who we’ve long admired here at It’s Nice That, we were thrilled they were able to join us from Copenhagen. An art and design duo, the pair’s work straddles the digital and physical worlds adeptly, something that stems for their upbringing, they explained. They’re old enough to remember the floppy disc and the home phone but are young enough to have grown up with the internet. “When we were teenagers, the internet also was,” Tim joked.
To outline this concept to the fullest, the pair took us through an exhibition of theirs titled Transactional Speculation. At its core, the exhibition was an investigation of how digital and physical techniques can build upon one another and bounce off each other in a harmonious way. For example, one piece was created first as flat, 2D digital images which were then replicated with paint on canvas. After being digitised once again through photography, the pair turned them into moving 3D renders. They were shown on screens in the exhibition and further distorted through the installation of a highly reflective floor. The pair also ran through several other fascinating examples of this interwoven process but the summary of it all was that, by doing so, the duo occupies a space where new hybrids can emerge. “We see the physical and digital as equals,” they concluded. “It’s an approach that has a lot of unexplored potentials. We believe all creatives can be part of exploring how technology will be defined in the future, and not just let technology dictate this.”
GalleryNicer Tuesdays January
GalleryNicer Tuesdays January
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