Here London / Here 2017

From There to Here: artist and illustrator Noma Bar

It’s Nice That’s annual symposium, Here 2017, is just around the corner. In the run up to the event we have asked each of the speakers to shed light on their career to date by sharing a piece of work created at the outset of their career and a more recent piece, then reflect on the progression between the two. Today, Noma Bar tell us how he got from There to Here.

Completing the speaker line up for Here 2017 is graphic designer, illustrator and artist Noma Bar. Israel-born Noma’s innovative and playful work is sought after the world over, and has been commissioned by publications including The New York Times, Wired, The Guardian and more. His work can delight and shock in equal measure and he plays with perceptions and understanding, often creating art that can be read in multiple ways.

Noma’s distinctive style shows a mastery of negative space and minimalist forms – each delivered with wit and joy. Expect portraits, sex, conflict, daily life and more from a creative who has made a huge impact on visual culture. Noma joins us as he launches a mammoth five-volume retrospective of his work to date.


William Shakespeare, 2003

In 2003 people in the editorial world were still sending material by post, still meeting one another, because sending images and portfolios electronically was a new thing and you could never be sure if the person would get it. I left CDs of my work and presented my physical portfolio to lots of editors, including Time Out London.

One day I was all packed for a holiday when the art director of  Time Out rang, asking for a portrait of Shakespeare. I wasn’t sure that I could do it, but as I hesitated, the famous line: “To be, or not to be, that is the question” echoed in my mind. This was my personal “to be, or not to be” moment, and I finished the call with the agreement “to be”. I sent in my illustration after a few hours; they loved it, and the next day it was on the shelves, exposed to millions of people. It was my first published portrait.


Dad, 2016

_Chineasy_ took me back to type again, not as a type designer, but more as an explorer and inventor. From the start, when ShaoLan sent me the very first characters, I knew the type would be in the centre and that my illustration would dance around it. The Chinese character is nearly always black, and my drawing – whether behind it, around it or inside it – whispers or shouts its meaning. For the word Dad, I liked the idea of using Homer Simpson because he is also an anti- dad, but in the end we chose the more competent-looking man above.