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Boys and beer: animator Laura Jayne Hodkin's hilariously unapologetic depiction of female friendship

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Laura Jayne Hodkin: Haley and Joanna

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Laura Jayne Hodkin: Haley and Joanna

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Laura Jayne Hodkin: Haley and Joanna

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Laura Jayne Hodkin: Haley and Joanna

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Laura Jayne Hodkin: Haley and Joanna

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Laura Jayne Hodkin: Haley and Joanna

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Laura Jayne Hodkin: Haley and Joanna

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Laura Jayne Hodkin: Haley and Joanna

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Laura Jayne Hodkin: Haley and Joanna

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Laura Jayne Hodkin: Haley and Joanna

Londonembroiderystudiolist2 Work / Animation "Football's Bayeux Tapestry": behind the scenes of the embroidered BBC World Cup trailer animation

Viewers who gathered in pubs and living rooms across the globe to watch the FA Cup final on Saturday were treated to an embroidered history of football at half-time. The short, made in the lead-up to the World Cup starting this June, is the product of months of work undertaken by The London Embroidery Studio and animator (and It’s Nice That Ones to Watch 2017) Nicos Livesey.

Morgan-powell_finger-machines_animation_itsnicethat-list Work / Animation Morgan Powell's animated industrial finger machines will unnerve and hypnotise you

Merging the two disparate worlds of human and machine in a slightly gross but strangely hypnotic way is Finger Machines, a new animated film by Morgan Powell at Seed. Softness and tactility are “the direct opposite of what you’d expect from machines,” he explains of the animation’s conflicted visuals, which show dismembered digits on a mass scale, engaged in various mechanical processes. And it is the film’s materiality that makes it so unnerving – an apt application of Morgan’s plasticine-like, super-smooth and hyperreal animation style. You can see more of this on his hilariously naughty ident for MTV involving lewd balloons.

List4 Work / Animation Jun Seo Hahm’s animated characters straddle the terrifying line of cute and icky

In French there’s the term ‘jolie laide’, or pretty-ugly, to describe a unconventional hottie whose attractiveness hinges on a crooked nose or a scraggle of teeth. In Japan the phenomenon of kimo-kawaii (cute-gross) illustration has ballooned in popularity in recent years, with even Sanrio, the creator of kitsch queen Hello Kitty, getting in on the creepy character game (see Kirimi-chan, an anthropomorphic salmon steak). There’s something about human nature that means this intersection between sweet and weird, sexy and repulsive, really gets under our skin. And it’s at this oh-so-freaky juncture that the work of animator Jun Seo Hahm sits, waiting to lick your hand affectionately – or bite off all your digits.

List2 Work / Animation Peter Tomaszewicz’s CGI animation riffs on Brutalist architecture and chemistry

“Many Brutalist buildings have the sense of something dark, sometimes negative in meaning,” says London-based motion graphics designer Peter Tomaszewicz as he chats to It’s Nice That about his new animation States of Matter. “I wanted to distort Brutalism in such way that it would provide a feel of a dystopian, imaginary scenery but to add in more humour and playfulness.”

Cesar-pelizer-animation-itsnicethat-lis Work / Animation César Pelizer animates your daydreams at work in Looking for Something

“The idea came a long time ago when I was about 18 years old and living in Argentina,” explains illustrator and animator César Pelizer of his latest personal venture, Looking For Something. “I was working in a boring part-time desk job and I would do anything to look busy even though I had my eyes half closed for a good part of the day.”

List-new Work / Animation Nikita Diakur’s chaotic animations are a gross study in dynamic computer simulation

Warning: do not watch the above video if you’re sensitive, hungover or a bit stressed. The work of Russian-born, Mainz-based filmmaker Nikita Diakur might just break you. As part of a hotshot team of animators, Nikita has created Ugly, a film project inspired by stories mined from the internet, each filled with bizarre characters, high-octane urban environments and terrifyingly unpredictable physics.

Jimjocoy-orderofappearance-photography-itsnicethat-11list Work / Photography Photographer Jim Jocoy's book chronicles San Fransisco’s booming 1970s music scene

During a phone call with Korean-born, California-based photographer Jim Jocoy, he tells me about a night he spent with Mick Jagger and Patti Smith after being asked to a party by a stranger on New York’s subway. In light of this, it comes as no surprise that Jim’s latest book, Order of Appearance, chronicles his youthful years during San Fransisco’s booming music scene in the late 1970s. Filled with snapshots of musicians applying final layers of make-up before going on stage and photos of drunken teens struggling to find their way home, Order of Appearance is a celebration of the vibrancy and dynamism of youth.

Jyanku-illustration-itsnicethat-list Work / Illustration Get to know Jyan Ku's lovely hybrid of "friendly art, not difficult art"

When South Korean-born and Brooklyn-based Jyan Ku sent over the illustrations to be featured in this article, the titles of the works had us in stitches. The file names such as, “Why Crying”, “A Little Bit of Juice For You” and “Hey Sweetie”, each describes the cutesy narrative displayed in Jyan’s work, but also comment on contemporary culture succinctly, particularly our interactions with one another.

List-int13 Work / Photography Tom Fox Shea’s portrait of Utah shows a sleepy state with underlying tensions

“I think Utah has a unique atmosphere with its extraordinary landscapes and the highly religious overtones of the population,” says photographer Tom Fox Shea, whose work often depicts the still, sometimes eerie suburbia of his home state. Part of the tension brewing in Tom’s photographs stems from the current mood in Utah, where religious Mormons (who are primarily Republican with high moral standards and conservative views) are struggling with life under President Trump. “As you can imagine, it makes for a divisive atmosphere, not only within the religion itself, but on top of an already divided state,” Tom tells It’s Nice That. “I think I’m often looking for the juxtaposition of this mood, trying to highlight a sense of calm or if showing stress, it’s under a subdued surface.”

Benedict-morgan_photography_itsnicethat_tableware-list Work / Photography Benedict Morgan exposes the trickery of a photography set in his Tableware series

There’s always something intriguing about how a visual illusion is performed, and it’s our curiosity towards such trickery that photographer Benedict Morgan has been investigating for years now. His latest personal work to do so is Tableware, a set of images revealing the “truths” of a photography set. Each shot – co-created with set designer Lisa Jahovic – is split in half, the top showing a printed photograph, the bottom showing the set in real life, immaculately sewn together in-camera. The results make anyone want to look closer.

List03-list-img-template-2-up-portrait Work / Photography Photographer Fred Lahache captures Morocco through the eyes of his childhood friend

When you’re a kid, stories of your mates’ exotic holidays to anywhere further than Bognor warrant considerable fuel for the imagination. For Paris-based photographer Fred Lahache, his best mate Hamza’s visits to Morocco would inspire hours of conversation between the two 12-year-olds, with Fred captivated by the very different experience of his closest pal. “I remember the stories he would tell me after each summer in Morocco with his family – the time of year we could not be together for a while,” says Fred. His latest project Looking for Hamza is an ode to the power of these stories and Morocco as an imagined destination – a visual diary of a holiday together that the pair never had.

Atelier_baudelaire-generalpublic-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-04 Work / Graphic Design Salon de Montrouge's identity sees deep reds and pale pinks sweep through the gallery

The annual Montrouge Contemporary Art Fair (Salon de Montrouge) fills galleries with the upcoming artists to keep an eye on. An art fair full of excitement, possibilities and new talent needs an identity that embodies this sentiment, with graphic design of a high calibre to match the work it represents. Since 2016 this has been a task entrusted with Atelier Baudelaire, a Paris-based design studio well versed in applying creative direction to the cultural field.

Listgb Work / Art Artist Genesis Belanger explores the strange things that advertising conditions us to want

From hot dogs peeping out of handbags and squeezing into strappy sandals to fruit bowls filled with bananas, strawberries and a casual boob, Brooklyn-based artist Genesis Belanger’s ceramic sculptures mix consumer goods with more than a touch of the surreal. Inspired by claymation, cartoons like The Simpsons as well as artists Dorothea Tanning, Louise Bourgeois and Fernando Botero, her work also draws heavily on the advertising industry, where she worked until breaking away to focus on sculpture. “The advertising industry understands the strength of visual persuasion and I find it fascinating that our desires can be manipulated through aesthetics,” Genesis tells It’s Nice That. “I use elements of that persuasive language in my work.”

Bonjour-garcon-graphic-design-itsnicethat-list-alt Work / Graphic Design Bonjour Garçon combines photography and graphic design to make "strong and delicate" work

The brainchild of designers Romain Fritiau and Pierre Tostain, Bonjour Garçon is a studio with a distinct visual language, despite having only started working together in 2017. With a portfolio that consists of photography and graphic design, Romain and Pierre produce work that merges the two in a series of considered and clean projects.

Anton-gottlob-photography-itsnicethat-list-alt Work / Photography The spontaneous, saturated and energetic portfolio of photographer Anton Gottlob

“My work is quite spontaneous,” London-based photographer Anton Gottlob tells It’s Nice That. “The initial excitement of an idea or project is always the most exciting time for me. I don’t like spending days creating mood boards.” This quick-witted approach to the medium is evident when looking at Anton’s portfolio. Full of saturated colours, unusual compositions and plenty of high flash, his images are full of energy, feeling more like stills from a video rather than photographs.

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