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Why New York

In September 2013, It’s Nice That directors Will Hudson and Alex Bec went to New York for a week of meetings, talks and art and design exploration. During the trip Will recorded a series of brief interviews with some of the people they met, specifically focussing on the city, its creative characteristics and the interviewees’ individual relationships with New York itself.

Andrea Aranow is a fashion designer who made outfits for Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis; she has also amassed a textile archive of more than 40,000 pieces. Here she talks about New York’s street life and the value of travelling.

Michael Bierut is a graphic designer and partner of the world-renowned Pentagram agency. Here he talks about growing up in Ohio, why quiet time in New York is so hard to come by and the problem of Starbucks rotating its breakfast menu.

Julian Ehrhardt is a partner at global digital design studio ustwo and heads up the New York office. Here he recalls growing up in the leafy London suburbs, why Sinatra was right and the benefits of living in a genuine 24 hour city.

Rob Giampietro is principal at design studio Project Projects and write-in-residence at Lined & Unlined. Here he talks about how the “unrelenting tempo” of New York helps unleash creative potential, reflects on the benefits of the city’s international draw and explains his recent move from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

Milton Glaser is one of the most iconic designers working today. One of the only interviewees who grew up in New York he reflects on its unrecognisable change from the city he first knew, the fragile nature of belief systems and why work still gives him “consistent rewards.”

Oliver Jeffers is a Belfast-born, Brooklyn-based artist and illustrator. Here he explains why he found New York both “familiar and insane” at first, why a communal wish to accomplish things sets the city’s pace and the challenges of living in such a distracting metropolis.

Hjalti Karlsson is a Icelandic graphic designer and co-founder of the Karlssonwilker studio. Here he tells us why he first hated New York, why his own way of working isn’t necessarily dictated by the city and how his experience of living there has changed over two decades.

Brian Paul Lamotte is a graphic designer and the co-founder of Pow Wow publications. Here he talks about swapping the west coast of America for the east, the fascinating creative cross-fertilisation that occurs and why he enjoys seeing the city from an outsider’s perspective.

Freelance graphic designer Rob Matthews reveals how New York snagged him when, after spending a semester studying in Minneapolis, he had a hard time leaving to return to Brighton. He also shares some insights about why good news travels fast in the city, and how this is what makes it such an exciting place to work.

Lina Plioplyte is a Lithuanian-born filmmaker who settled in New York after sampling several cities the States had to offer. Here she talks about growing up in the Soviet Union, why the city is like a cup of coffee and why New York without people is better. Interview by Andreas Laszlo Konrath.

Rafaël Rozendaal makes image-bending internet art which went down a storm in the Big Apple, eventually wearing down his initial dislike of it. He told us how the uncool people started to become cool, how his working environment increases his focus and what he does to enjoy the city.

Timothy Saccenti has directed and photographed numerous pop musicians with a few commercial campaigns and promos thrown in for good measure. He tells us about his hilarious expectations of his new home, plus a few nuggets of wisdom about the myth that is “New York away from work” and the interactive nature of the city.

Elana Schlenker is an award-winning graphic designer and art director who runs Gratuitous Type magazine. Here she talks about swapping small town America for the bright lights of NYC and the possibility of moving to Pittsburgh. Interview by Andreas Laszlo Konrath.

Designer and dormer art director of the New York Times Khoi Vinh explains to us how the city plays an integral part in his work, the experience which dampened his first impression of it, and how his enjoyment of New York now mostly takes the form of children’s birthday parties.

Direct from a WIlliamsburg boardwalk, typographer and art director Craig Ward tells us about his hurry to escape his Lincolnshire background, where he goes to relax in New York and what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had to do with his move across the Atlantic.

Here designer Jan Wilker, one half of German/Icelandic duo Karlssonwilker, tells us his unusual technique for interacting with the city, as well as a heart-warming story about how two kind strangers rescued him when he found himself without a room on his first night there.

Willy Wong is the chief creative officer at NYC and Company, the city’s marketing and tourism agency. He chatted to us about the grubby side of New York in the late 1980s and early 1990s and why, much as he loves the city, he tries to escape to far-flung corners of the world whenever possible.

Illustrator and artist Ian Wright grew up in south London, cutting his teeth as an illustrator at The Face magazine in its 1980s heyday before moving to New York. He tells us why he values his London roots and how working in the city has him pulling all-nighters left, right and centre.