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Brooklyn Museum under criticism for appointing a white woman as its new curator of African art

Nioikehai16list Work / Art Prolific artist Miroco Machiko’s animal menagerie

With distorted bodies, crossed eyes and friendly expressions, Miroco Machiko’s portfolio of animal illustrations is exactly the kind of zoo we can get behind. The Osaka-born, Tokyo-based artist and illustrator has an incredible knack for capturing the magic of the animal kingdom, her expressive brushstrokes and rainbow palette transforming even the most mundane creatures – moths for example – into glorious beasts.

8 Work / Art Judit Kristensen on the pace and vulnerability of her pencil portraits

“I like bad drawers, or I like when there are vulnerable elements in a drawing,” says artist Judit Kristensen. From Umeå in the north of Sweden but currently based in Copenhagen, Judit has tried to hang on to some of the less-than-perfect technical details from when she first started working in this style two years ago. “ I guess time has made me a better draftsman – for better and for worse. I prefer empathetic over perfection, and you cant really be voluntarily bad to make a drawing vulnerable. I think that would have an opposite effect.”

K_l_printlist Work / Art Artist Jesse Draxler on finding clarity through greyscale

“When I began working exclusively in greyscale is when everything seemed to start to make sense,” says artist and illustrator Jesse Draxler of his dark, brooding style that combines collaged photography and painting, manifesting in large-scale paintings or commissioned illustrations. “It’s as if by freeing my mind from having to think about colour I had gained a greater clarity for everything else, like when someone loses a sense their other senses heighten to compensate.” Jesse suspects that his preference for a black and white palette is informed by the fact he’s colour blind, or “colour deficient” as he calls it. “Though I don’t put too much weight behind just that.”

Karenlederer-art-itsnicethat-list Work / Art Karen Lederer's paintings reference everything from pets to politics

“I am endlessly interested in the tropes of still life painting,” artist Karen Lederer tells It’s Nice That. As a result of Karen’s object focused fascination, the artist has endlessly inspired us too with her paintings which present the ordinary, from pairs of Converse to bottled fizzy drinks, in a vivid style using a hyperreal colour palette.

Sondraperry-art-itsnicethat-list2 Work / Art Artist Sondra Perry uses avatars and animation to challenge representations of blackness

For her first European solo show Typhoon Coming On, American artist Sondra Perry has transformed the walls of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery into a seasick-inducing corridor of computer generated waves. Made using open-source software Ocean Modi, the purple hue references the programmes colour warning, which appears when there’s a problem with the simulation. Every so often the projections flick to the manipulated surface of J.M.W. Turner’s 1840 painting Slave Ship (Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying, Typhoon Coming On), the canvas grossly deformed into an oily sludge.

Uleslebarazer-illustration-itsnicethat-list Work / Illustration Meet the anatomically-minded illustrator Jules Le Barazer

Police cars made out of fingers and caterpillar men munching on leaves, Jules Le Barazer’s imagination seems to have no limits. Having worked with world-renowned publications like Zeit Magazin, Le Monde and Libération, the Paris-based illustrator has covered a broad range of topics from technological experimentation to Mikhail Bulgakov’s Heart of a Dog. Each subject is, however, illustrated through an anatomical lens. “For my graduation project, I created a book about an amusement park that was built on a human body. Visitors could ride through the digestive system, eat liposuctioned fat or even climb over a silicone breast that was threatening to erupt,” Jules tells It’s Nice That.

Lucas-foglia-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photography “Go outside. It’s good for you”: Lucas Foglia’s breathtaking and challenging series Human Nature

“Go outside. It’s good for you,” replies photographer Lucas Foglia when asked what he has learned (and what he hopes others will learn) from his series Human Nature. Currently on display at Foam Museum, Amsterdam, and recently published into a book by Nazraeli Press, the series is at times genuinely breathtaking in its portrayal of stories linking people, nature and science.

Rikakonagashima-shuta_hasunumau-zhaan-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design Rikako Nagashima's analytical approach to graphic design makes for satisfying results

From looking at the vast portfolio of Rikako Nagashima, it’s clear the Japanese designer has an analytical eye for graphic form. Since graduating from Musashino Art University and establishing his studio village® in 2014, Rikako has jumped off the graphic design springboard to work on “branding, CI, VI, product design, package design, editorial design, sign planning, art direction and so on,” she says.

Listnewnew Work / Photography Adelaide Ivanova's photography blurs fact with fiction

Brazilian artist Adelaide Ivanova’s website quotes Susan Sontag’s book Regarding the Pain of Others, which criticises humanity’s relationship with war photography for turning death into an artistic object. It is unsurprising then that Adelaide’s series Direction Paris saw the artist interviewing Spanish Civil War survivors, photographing them and compiling her images alongside archival footage. Direction Paris is Adelaide’s personal exploration of humanity’s relationship to war.

Laura-csocsan-graphic-design-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design Laura Csocsan's monochromatic portfolio of conceptual yet methodical and logical designs

“Generally, in every project, the use of type is important for me,” states Budapest-based graphic designer Laura Csocsan. “I usually find the best version of something always includes simple forms or an image, combined with type and the smart use of white space.” A quick look through Laura’s portfolio confirms her description of her work, as it’s one packed full of monochromatic, type-heavy projects born from her conceptual, yet methodical and logical approach to design.

Felipe-di-poi-tamargo-the-long-and-lonesome-road-to-grandmas-animation-list Work / Animation Meet the hilarious Felipe Di Poi Tamargo who has been animating since he was just a kid using Flash

Felipe Di Poi Tamargo started making animations when he was 11 years old. 11 years old! The age when most kids are just watching cartoons, Felipe was actually making them. He’s not 11 anymore though and with a number of years in the game, a degree from Rhode Island School of Design/Brown University’s dual programme, and a few Vimeo staff picks under his belt, it’s safe to say we expect great things from him.

Kelly-anna-nike-free-run-its-nice-that Work / Product Design "London is often seen as a grey city, but I have always seen it in colour" — illustrator Kelly Anna on designing Nike rns

“Running is more than a sport. It’s an act of freedom,” so say Nike. For the SS18 Nike Free Rn campaign, the brand teamed up with a crew of artists to explore what freedom feels and looks like. Top of the list is Kelly Anna, a London-based illustrator whose career we have been championing since we encountered her boldly brilliant work early last year, even inviting her to talk at Nicer Tuesdays.

Manujawaldia-illustration-itsnicethat-listlist Work / Illustration “I like drawing women nurturing one another and building things together": illustrator Manuja Waldia

Manuja Waldia’s vibrant illustrations span a wide range of subjects from Shakespeare to self-love. After graduating from university with a degree in communication design, the Portland-based illustrator has produced impressive work for a number of mega-brands; Manuja created a Google doodle to commemorate the Indian singer Begum Akhtar on her 103rd birthday, she designed dainty Indianapolis city maps for PrintText and continues to illustrate the book covers for Pelican’s Shakespeare series. Her signature style can be seen on search engines and bookshelves alike, but it is Manuja’s personal work that really caught our eye. Focusing on female empowerment and the importance of sisterhood, Manuja’s self-initiated illustrations are populated by elegant figures that clearly understand the meaning of feminism.

Fontsmith-fsindustrie-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list Sponsored / Graphic Design Fontsmith releases its ambitious typeface, FS Industrie, available in 70 variants

London-based type foundry Fontsmith has released its most ambitious typeface to date, FS Industrie. Designed around five different widths and seven different weights, there is a total of 70 variants including italics to play with. “We are on the cusp of a new age in digital typeface design,” says Fontsmith’s type design director Phil Garnham on the new release, “where the ability to vary a font’s weight and width axis offers limitless possibilities to graphic designers within any given space.”

Boriscamaca-photography-itsnicethat-14list Work / Photography Boris Camaca's eerie, otherworldly photographs are rooted in social criticism

You may scoff at the idea that the world is being run by a group of undercover reptiles, but in photographer Boris Camaca’s world, this isn’t far from the truth. His series Reptiles documents a family of lizard-human hybrids lounging around their plush villa in effortlessly stylish clothes. “The idea came from London-based stylist and creative genius Hamish Wirgman. He presented two ideas; one was about time travel and the other was about a group of dinosaur-like people. We opted for the dino concept and built up a story about a family that mutates in order to prolong their lives,” Boris tells It’s Nice That.

Antoine-elsensohn-graphic-design-itsnicethat-list-alt Work / Graphic Design Designer Antoine Elsensohn uses simple graphic elements to allow "fonts to express themselves"

“Over time, I think I can qualify my work as ‘simple’ in shapes, colours or layouts,” Paris-based graphic designer, Antoine Elsensohn tells It’s Nice That. “However, I always give typography the principal role.” With a website that seems to offer an infinite scroll of delectable typefaces, compelling book covers and down-right great designs, Antoine’s work had us sold pretty quickly.

Nachoalegre-photography-itsnicethat-14list Work / Photography Fashion photographer Nacho Alegre's tribute to 30 years of Spanish Vogue

Barcelona-based fashion photographer, Nacho Alegre, is best known for his still lives. Whether it’s bathroom accessories, potatoes or sellotape, Nacho has a way of transforming mundane objects into striking, inventive sculptures. For his latest shoot, the Spanish photographer was asked to capture a series of images to mark the 30th anniversary of Spanish Vogue. Eugenia de la Torriente, Vogue España’s editor-in-chief, wanted Nacho to draw inspiration from the magazine’s first issue in 1988. “There was a very nice story that was loosely based on Spanish culture so we stuck to that,” Nacho, who is also the editor, founder and creative director of Apartamento magazine, tells It’s Nice That.

Sweetdatapoint-therodina-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-1 Work / Graphic Design "Hard, refreshing and awkward": The Rodina design studio on their bizarre creations

From performance art and experience design to interactive websites and installations, The Rodina design studio can do it all. Tereza Ruller, The Rodina’s founder, splits her time between commissioned work and personal experiments and manages to bring equal levels of creative inventiveness to both. “The Rodina explores ways in which knowledge, experiences and relationships are produced and preserved. I am interested in the connections between culture, technology and aesthetics. Adopting interdisciplinary approaches allows The Rodina to examine the thousands of micro-interactions that occur between these fields,” Tereza tells It’s Nice That.

March-things-regulars-itsnicethat-list Regulars / Things From guidebooks to t-shirts to type specimens: it's March Things!

It’s Nice That has been on a long Easter-weekend break but we’re officially back and ready to share some of the Things you sent through our letterbox over the past month. Although London was blasted by the “beast from the east,” it, luckily, didn’t put a stop to the post.

Productiontype-mars-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design “Flexed and stiff at first sight": Alaric Garnier's first commercial font release, Mars

It’s not often we get to describe a typeface as fizzing with energy but Mars, the first commercial font release by designer Alaric Garnier released via Paris-based digital type agency Production Type, is exactly that. Surrounded by references to sports and the vitality needed to complete them, Mars is a duo of a typeface: a dynamic one consisting of “a pumped-up extended style and slimmer condensed,” iteration.

Sleepy-itsnicethat-list Work / Animation Animator Lana Simanenkova is inspired by the weird ways people move

“I’d say my style sits somewhere between the Moomins and 90s American cartoons,” says animator Lana Simanenkova of her vibrant, characterful figures. “I try to make my characters quirky, recognisable and appealing without adding too much detail and lean toward bolder shapes and movement.”

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.

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