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Dario Maglionico’s impeccable paintings of partly-transparent, trendy young adults

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Unnamed Regulars / Ones To Watch 2018 "I feel empowered in my queerness and hope to also empower others”: artist Jeffrey Cheung

It’s Nice That’s Ones to Watch shines a light on 12 emerging talents who we think will conquer the creative world in 2018. From a global pool of creative talent, we have chosen our 2018 Ones To Watch for their ability to consistently produce inspiring and engaging work across a diverse range of disciplines. Each of our selections continually pushes the boundaries of what is possible with their creative output. Ones to Watch 2018 is supported by Uniqlo.

Soufianeababri-art-itsnicethat-list Work / Art Soufiane Ababri's vibrant drawings are driven by political activism

Soufiane Ababri is tired of the status quo. Angry at society’s underlying racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic biases, Soufiane’s work is characterised by a political agency. The Tangier-born artist has been living in France for the past 14 years since studying at the National School of Decorative Arts and completing a master’s at Lyon’s School of Fine Arts. “My drawings tell the stories of the communities in which I belong. I am a homosexual North African immigrant who is part of a small middle class in a postcolonial generation. My experiences are central to my drawings and I hope they can highlight some of society’s stigmas,” Soufiane tells us.

Mequittaahuja-notations-art-itsnicethat-1 Work / Art Artist Mequitta Ahuja's self-portraits shine light on the construction of identity

For centuries, artists have used images to convey ideas about specific identities. The visual language they have used has shaped and moulded how we perceive gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Artist Mequitta Ahuja hopes to shine light on the construction of identity in art through her large-scale self-portraits. “I am African-American on my mother’s side and South-Asian on my father’s side. I use my work to unify my mixed heritage. As I got older, concerns about my identity become less pressing and, instead, I find myself reflecting on self-portraiture as being about the artist as a picture-maker. In other words, I increasingly focus on the artist’s self-portrait as a discourse of representation,” Mequitta tells It’s Nice That.

Rade.list Work / Art Rade Petrasevic reimagines still lifes in his vibrant, large-scale drawings

Whether it’s Paul Cezanne’s The Basket of Apples or Caravaggio’s Basket of Fruit, we’re sure you’ve seen more still life paintings than you can name. But we’re also certain that you haven’t seen a still life quite like Rade Petrasevic’s interpretation of the genre. Rade, who lives and works in Vienna, decided to pursue art after leaving school at 14 as “there was no opportunity to study anything else”. The Austrian artist now spends his time reimagining and revising the traditional still life through his delicate and deceptively simple large-scale drawings of chairs, vases, flowers and sculptures.

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.

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.”

Dariomaglionico-art-itsnicethat-2list Work / Art Dario Maglionico’s impeccable paintings of partly-transparent, trendy young adults

Dario Maglionico’s paintings of young adults wearing Adidas trainers, working on Apple Macs and drinking glasses of red wine in their shared apartments don’t seem too far off from reality do they? Except they are. Despite the photographic accuracy of Dario’s skilfully crafted worlds, the inhabitants often appear multiple times, either blending into the furniture or sporting missing heads and invisible torsos.

Onomatopee-publication-itsnicethat-list Work / Publication A run down of Onomatopee Projects' critically engaging (and good looking) publications

Onomatopee Projects, started by Freek Lomme and Remco van Bladel, is hard to define. The duo – a curator and writer and graphic designer respectively – started the project in May of 2006 as they wanted to “step up for progressive culture, as well as engage smart and interesting people” within their community in Eindhoven. Now, 12 years later, Onomatopee has developed into a large operation encompassing exhibitions, a design practice, publishing, gigs, readings, performances and “whatever else, such as a travel agency or a nail salon”.

Grads2018_2 Regulars / The Graduates 2018 To postgrad or not to postgrad? Six top creatives share their thoughts on master's degrees

The long, sleepless nights have finally paid off. The bachelor’s degree is yours and there’s a picture of you, certificate in hand, to prove it. But, as the celebrations begin to die down, a creeping existential angst surmounts you. What lies next? Who do I want to be? What do I want to spend my days doing? Finding a replacement to the long weeks of university term time can be tough and, to many, a postgraduate degree can seem like the obvious choice.

Georgewylesol-ghostsetc-illustration-itsnicethat-list2 Work / Illustration George Wylesol on his latest evocative, intuition-led illustrations

George Wylesol is an illustrator, designer and writer who follows his intuition. Originally from Philadelphia but based in Baltimore, the American creative’s portfolio is a real mixture of styles and subject matters and is one we’ve long been a fan of. The project that caught our eye this time is a series of three visual stories, Ghosts, The Rabbit, and Worthless, which have been compiled into a collection of short comics named — unsurprisingly, perhaps — Ghosts, etc.

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