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Animator Lana Simanenkova is inspired by the weird ways people move

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Have-heart-will-anderson-animation-itsnicethat Work / Animation Will Anderson’s Bafta-nominated animation Have Heart follows a gif stuck in an infinite loop

After earning a Bafta nomination and winning best short at the British Animation Awards, Will Anderson has released his film Have Heart in full online. It follows a beleaguered animated gif as he endures an existential crisis, stuck in a loop on the internet. Visually simple yet profoundly innovative, the animation comments on a world of infinite content and how we measure our own self worth via social media, all through the character arc of its protagonist, Duck.

Angel-stempel-list-03 Work / Animation Heart Chakra by Angela Stempel comedically explores LA's crystal culture

“The seed of the idea for Heart Chakra came in the summer of 2015 when I went out to the desert for an art show,” explains Los Angeles-based animator, Angela Stempel. “At the event, there were two [separate] performance art pieces in which artists pulled out crystals from their vaginas.” Completely stunned that two artists had independently come up with this same idea – and fascinated by the allure and mysticism that surrounds them in her new home of L.A. – Angela decided to explore the concept for her graduation film from the Experimental Animation MFA at CalArts.

Garrettdavis-genie-animation-itsnicethat-list Work / Animation Garrett Davis' beautifully silly animations are beyond comprehensible

Animations by Garrett Davis don’t make a whole lot of sense, but that’s the point. Garrett’s shorts are animations to watch if you’re having a terrible day, at a slump in the afternoon when you need three minutes of something silly and hilarious to get you through. Since finding his work in a deep Vimeo hole, we keep returning to his animations, even though we’ve got no idea what’s going on.

Anna-ginsburg_animation_itsnicethat_list Features / International Women's Day Why is there a lack of women in animation, and what can we do about it?

Where are all the women? It’s a question that comes up time and time again in conversation with animators and animation studios alike. According to advocacy group Women in Animation, 60% of animation students in the US and Europe are women, but the drop off rate as they move into industry is staggering, with only 20%–40% of professional roles held by women. But why exactly is there a lack of females in animation, and more constructively, what is the industry doing about it? To find out, we spoke to a variety of important voices in the sector, from educators and leading animation studios to female animators themselves (they do exist) about their experiences, and what actions are being taken to redress the balance.

Anna-ginsburg-what-is-beauty-cnn-animation-itsnicethat-internationalwomensday-list Work / International Women's Day From Venus de Milo to Kim Kardashian: Anna Ginsburg and CNN examine beauty through the ages

Animation director Anna Ginsburg has created a short film for CNN in honour of International Women’s Day, examining the evolution of beauty through the ages. Starting from ancient sculpture and morphing seamlessly from figure to figure into modern day symbols such as Madonna and Kim Kardashian, the animation shows how our perceptions have changed. The constant throughout, Anna says, is the pressure on women to conform to body shape ideals, an idea that inspired the film and came from a deeply personal experience.

Diary_april_724x474 Regulars / Diary April diary: this month’s must-see events and exhibitions

Spring is here and with it comes a fresh crop of events, shows and exhibitions to inspire and fascinate. From immersive Abba to computer-generated Ian Cheng simulations and classic Yokoyama Taikan paintings, there’s something for all tastes. The It’s Nice That team has hand-picked five in the UK and five elsewhere around the world, to help you plan your cultural month ahead.h3. Glasgow International
20 April – 7 May 2018
Various venues, Glasgow

Final Regulars / Miscellaneous It's Nice That's Easter Break

We’ve got four days off! It’s the Easter Bank Holiday so we’ll be out of the studio, having a bit of rest and probably sheltering from the rain rather than walking around in the spring sunshine we’d hoped for. Even though we won’t be around to update you over the next few days, to keep you entertained we’ve chosen not only the most read articles from 2018 so far, but some of our personal favourites. From discipline-spanning long-reads to the finest graphic design, photography, illustration and animation, the team have hand-picked the articles we’re still thinking about months later for you to enjoy again.

Listswims-in-january Work / Illustration Illustrator Amber Vittoria on her "natural and noisy" aesthetic evolution

Since we last spoke to New York-based illustrator Amber Vittoria in January 2017, she’s picked up some big clients. Creating colourful, blocky and hairy-legged figures for the likes of Teen Vogue, The New York Times and Instagram, the stream of work has been bountiful enough that Amber is also celebrating going freelance full-time this year. Over this period Amber’s illustration style has also evolved. “I realised most of my work began to strive for an unrealistic perfection, taking hours to ensure every line was exact,” Amber tells It’s Nice That. “Allowing for more natural, noisy linework within my pieces feels more honest not only to my themes of portraying woman through a woman’s lens but also myself as an artist.”

Zett-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-1list Work / Graphic Design Zett is the slick Zurich-based university paper for and about aspiring students

Think back to your student paper. If yours was anything like ours, it’s likely to have been a tired and typo-filled newspaper-wannabe. This, however, isn’t the case for the students of Zurich University of the Arts (otherwise known as Zürcher Hochschule der Künste or ZHdK). Zett, the ZHdK’s biannual art publication, is designed by four visual communication students – Michel Egger, Dominik Junker, Aurelia Peter and Silvan Possa – and functions as a printed version of the university’s online art and culture media platform. Following a redesign in 2016, Zett is a clean, slick and accomplished piece of work that consistently adapts according to its content. The magazine showcases a variety of student work, from photography to design, as well as student portraits and upcoming events.

Listnumber-1 Work / Illustration The end is nigh: Michael DeForge on his daily comic Leaving Richard’s Valley

A crack-smoking mayor, a monkey found cruising an Ikea carpark wearing a mini shearling coat and a “rage room” where you pay $20 to smash shit up: things can get weird in Toronto. But not quite as bizarre as in comic strip Leaving Richard’s Valley, a mythical version of the city from illustrator and Toronto resident Michael DeForge. Ruled by mysterious autocrat Richard, the Valley is full of a collection of sycophantic creatures, navigating a world with a logic that defies understanding. Given Michael announced that he’s putting the comic to bed next month after more than a year of daily updates, we were keen to quiz him on the cult he’s created and whether he’s sad to be finally leaving the Valley himself.

Alicemann-drummies-photography-itsnicethat-1list Work / Photography Alice Mann's celebratory and empowering photographs of young majorettes

Many photographers turn their lenses on unconventional subjects, but few do so with the celebratory approach of the London-based South African artist Alice Mann. Alice has accumulated an impressive portfolio over the years; her last project documented the London and Paris-based Congolese members of La Sape subculture who use fashion as a means of empowerment. For her latest project, Drummies, Alice chronicles a group of young drum majorettes as they compete across South Africa. “I have been focusing on subcultures that positively affirm collective or individual identity. I try to present viewers with empowering images that are reflective of the way people see themselves and that highlight my subjects’ dignity and confidence,” Alice tells It’s Nice That.

Richard-dowker-list3 Work / Photography “I like to work on projects that have an aspect of reality”: Richard Dowker's pink-toned photography

“I am drawn to the regular or unconventional, don’t get me wrong beautiful people are beautiful, but life isn’t always beautiful,” says London-based photographer Richard Dowker. Originally from a village in Cumbria, Richard moved to London at the age of 19 to study photography at Middlesex University. Here, he learned the fundamentals of portraiture, developing a social documentary style which he now channels into his career as a portrait and fashion photographer.

Clementgicquel-finderskeepersleaders-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list-alt Work / Graphic Design Clément Gicquel's visual interpretation of the Space Race and the scramble for resources

French graphic designer Clément Gicquel defied odds when he decided to pursue a creative career. Clément grew up in a small town in Brittany where art and culture weren’t exactly top of the agenda. “To be honest, I don’t have any idea as to what directed me down a creative path during my years growing up,” the French designer tells It’s Nice That. Having graduated from ECAL only last June 2017, Clément has already freelance art directed at top studios such as Jonathan Hares and Ill-studio. This, in turn, has led the young creative to accumulate an impressive portfolio across diverse a range of disciplines from music to architecture to sportswear.

List01-list-img-template-margins-2-up Work / Publication Magazine Us of America captures the truth behind the 'land of the free'

“Us of America strives to present an America that is beautiful and dynamic, but also complicated and messy,” says co-founder Nicole Nodland of the magazine which features work by top photographers like Magnum’s Bruce Gilden, Alec Soth, Larry Fink and Charles Traub. “America is supposed to be the ‘Land of the Free’; a country where everyone has an opportunity to achieve their dreams. However, as pretty much everyone knows, the idea of ‘freedom and opportunity for all’ is unfortunately not the reality.”

Johannawalderdorff-illustration-itsnicethat-12list Work / Illustration Johanna Walderdorff is back with more absurd illustrations

The last time we spoke to Johanna Walderdorff she had just moved to Leipzig to concentrate on her large-scale fantastical creations. Since then, the German illustrator has been working nonstop. “I got commissioned for the first time shortly after the last article and I haven’t stopped working since. Last year I found a lovely studio in Kreuzberg, Berlin that makes working long nights an absolute joy. I’m very happy that my illustrations appeal to so many different clients and that they can be used to illustrate a wide range of topics; from a comic about Puccini‘s La Boheme for the Bavarian State Opera in collaboration with Bureau Borsche to monthly posters for underground club Institut fuer Zukunft otherwise known as Leipzig’s Berghain,” Johanna tells It’s Nice That. Her striking creations may be versatile, yet Johanna remains faithful to her aesthetic. Each drawing is populated by some sort of absurd scenario, from surreal dismembered body parts snorting coke and drinking champagne to a horse-man hybrid.

Bafic-daydream-film-itsnicethat-list Work / Film Bafic's surreal new music video considers the realm of dreams

We’ve been tracing the trail of London-based filmmaker and artist Bafic for quite some time. He’s been making short films since 2009, and among his more recent work you’ll spot a music video for Neneh Cherry Spit Three Times, as well as one for her daughter Mabel’s My Boy My Town, among commercial work for the likes of NikeLab and TfL, Lily Allen and ASOS.

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