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Es Devlin is about to release a pride of poetry loving lions into Trafalgar Square for this year’s London Design Festival

Jamiehawkesworth-photography-and-sculptures-sculpture-itsnicethat-08 Work / Sculpture Photographer Jamie Hawkesworth on expanding his creative practice to include sculpture

“What I always preach about photography is that it’s just great to see what you come across,” Jamie Hawkesworth, an artist who needs little introduction, tells us about his creative practice. It’s this approach, one of both wandering and wondering, that has gained Jamie respect in numerous cultural fields and his latest venture is no exception, but this time its sculpture.

The-visitors-from-sirius-b-2-paolo-del-toro_-k.-scott-kreiderlistitsnicethat Work / Sculpture The unnerving felt heads of sculptor Paolo Del Toro

“If I’m going to watch a film, it’ll most likely to be a horror, probably a cheesy 80s horror,” says Paolo Del Toro. Becoming known internationally for his huge and rather unnerving felt heads, the British-born sculptor also references folk art and fairytales as his inspiration.

List Features / Sculpture Matthew Raw: the east London artist making clay great again

Ceramic artist Matthew Raw “got into clay” during his BA in Wood, Metal, Ceramics and Plastics at university of Brighton. “Growing up I was more interested in photography and graphic design, but had an instinctive draw towards three rather than two dimensions,” Matthew tells It’s Nice That. “It was the immediacy and variety of using my hands to shape clay that attracted me. It is such an expressive medium and I began to make work inspired by events and situations around me. Coupling this with a non-interest in functionality, and I guess that that’s how it’s panned out really.”

Mark_alsweiler_int_list Work / Sculpture Mark Alsweiler’s charming wooden figures are created using found materials

Artist Mark Alsweiler creates folk-inspired figures out of salvaged materials and paints them in delicate pastel colours mixed in with punchy reds and blues. “I love old folk art and outsider art figures, so I was influenced by that type of naive work. Also I wanted to have a 3D element in one of my shows a few years back so reinterpreted the figures from my paintings into sculptures and they have grown from there,” explains Mark.

List Work / Product Design Sculpture: 3D artist Maiko Gubler produces a stunning range of coloured jewellery

Berlin-based artist Maiko Gubler can usually be found creating deceptively three-dimensional imagery utilising a mixture of 3D modelling software. She’s created glossy ceramic-like fruits for magazine covers, metallic fish for German club albums but now she’s actually making objects that exist in the real world. Her collection of Gradient Bangles are created from 3D-printed gypsum and uniquely coloured to create an extraordinary range of jewellery. Lovely stuff.

Shane-rocheleau-yamotfabaata-photography-it'snicethat-list Features / Publication Portrait of a psyche in flux: photographer Shane Rocheleau on white American masculinity

Masculinity, we’re told, over and over again, is undergoing a crisis. In recent years, the phrase “toxic masculinity” has filled the room like a sour smell. Shane Rocheleau’s first monograph, You are Masters of the Fish and Birds and All the Animals, is an exploration of the space he occupies as “a white American male trying to contend with the entitlement my culture confers upon me”, he explains.

Privilege is invisible; those who have it often don’t see it or chose to actively ignore it. “In his graduation speech to Kenyon College”, Shane tells us, the writer and university instructor, David Foster Wallace "tells a story: two young fish swim past an older fish, who nods and says, ‘Morning, boys. How’s the water?’ As the younger fish swim on, one eventually asks, ‘What the hell is water?’.” For Shane, white patriarchy is the water.

“I think white men need to start challenging their sense of entitlement”, the photographer explains. “I am responsible for making the patriarchy’s vestiges, visible”. Although Shane has benefited from these privileges, like many men, he claims, white American masculinity is a social construct that has “scarred” him.
You are Masters of the Fish and Birds and All the Animals, is an excerpt from Genesis that has been used by those in power to justify their atrocities. In particular, Shane explains, “bigotry, the defence of slavery and the increasing wealth gap”. The publication itself mimics a bible in its design, one you might find dusty and hidden in a seedy motel drawer, an unpleasant reminder of your impurity on a night of debauchery. The cover is a rich, plum fabric with the title embossed in gold lettering, centralised, cross-like.

Shane is not only disillusioned with religion but is also wary of “how certain narratives have shaped his country’s collective psyche”. Throughout the book, we see isolated American symbols, which he describes as “propagandistic messaging”. Musket balls appear like rust-coloured, cratered moons, aggrandising the second amendment. There is a bronze bust of Patrick Henry, a memorialised founding father who led the American Revolution when “anonymous slaves died liberty-less”. One photograph shows the country’s rolling “purple hills”, an image that was taken from a patriotic song "America the Beautiful”, yet the current government is doing nothing to preserve its landscapes.
America is filled with these contradictions, as is masculinity. “We fought a war for independence, while on the other hand, we did so to deprive Native Americans of theirs”, the photographer comments. “Celebrating the cowboy or war hero meant obscuring the emotional neglect, violence and physical injury” that he also experienced. Masculinity becomes a celebration of things that carry deeply negative connotations, and this sorrow leaks into the imagery. With an apocalyptic feel to Shane’s selection, the narrative becomes progressively troubling as you turn the pages.

“With or without the book, here’s what I am saying”, Shane begins. “White America’s masculine expectations — to be violently strong, sexually aggressive and entitled, a successful homesteader, a rational patriarch — yield in its extreme, repressed, aggressive, paranoid men and subservient, scared, victimised women and minorities."

These thoughts permeate the pages. The male gaze penetrates the back of a woman, sat downcast on the bed. There is a headless female statue – all body, no mind. A stake bleeds rain, flowing like entrails down a concrete road, reminiscent of the horrors caused by property lines. An old man sits with a bruised and purple eye. A silhouetted figure bends alone in a misty car park, and a businessman leans dejected against a city wall.
However, the photographs in the monograph leave plenty to interpretation; they are elusive and quiet, and if one didn’t spend long enough pouring over them, their intentions could be missed. Meaning is not fixed, it is free to be created by the reader — an approach Shane learnt when studying English and Psychology at St Michael’s College in Vermont. “I don’t want to create pictures that contain both the question and the answer; I want to create images that withhold”, the photographer explains. “I want my viewer to ask questions about each picture, then make their own connections”.

“Jacques Ranciere argues in The Emancipated Spectator that a teacher does not have the knowledge that the student needs to know.” Shane explains, “Instead, he creates the conditions whereby they can learn through their own experiences.” The photographer does the same here, pushing us to establish meaning ourselves. The redacted list of image titles on the second to last page leaves a trail of breadcrumbs, encouraging us to, literally, read between the lines. Photographs that were once mysterious become clear. Many themes are addressed, each photograph as open and interpretable as a sonnet. Telephone poles are revealed, lying blackened and damp on a forest floor, a tree lies strewn across the road, and a fiery storm brews atop a hill — images we can only imagine hint at climate change.
The narrative throughout rises and falls like a melody, moving towards a violent crescendo then dropping back into silence and space. Amongst other stories told in the book, is the myth of Icarus. “I think Ovid’s myth is not about narcissism,”, Shane tells us, “rather, it is about empathy. I don’t think Icarus flew too close to the sun because of his hubris, but because he was modelling his father’s behaviour and is too young to do otherwise.”

Maxwell-granger-photography-itsnicethat-22 Work / Photography Maxwell Granger captures irony and authenticity in portraits of his friends in their rooms

Who doesn’t love a good nosey around someone else’s house? A peek into a stranger, celebrity or friend’s personal space in the hope it will reveal something previously unknown about them? London-based photographer – and It’s Nice That Graduate 2017 – Maxwell Granger is the first to admit he can’t get enough. “I’ve always, always, always loved family photography, either by great amazing photographers or just insane shit on Flickr,” he tells It’s Nice That, “I have always loved seeing people’s houses – and how they work with such a (usually) shit space in London,” he adds. As a result, Maxwell has spent the last months photographing his friends in their flats and houses across the capital.

House-of-gul-sponsored-graphic-design-itsnicethat-01 Sponsored / Graphic Design House of Gül is striving to make beauty visible

“I’ve coined the term ‘harmony nouveau’,” says Ali Godil, founder and creative director of House of Gül, a Portland based design consultancy that believes in creating socially conscious and beautiful work. “Think naturalism meets wabi sabi. It’s about free-flowing asymmetry combined with clean, negative space, and a grid system. There’s something special about a worldview that sees beauty in chaos, has an acceptance of the impermanence of nature’s course, but also understands the strength of human logic and reason.”

David-benski-graphic-design-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design Graphic designer David Benksi modifies typographic visual systems to tell stories

“For me, it’s the constant collection of people, vibes, technology and culture that pushes me to respond in a certain way,” explains Berlin-based graphic designer David Benski. Originally from Nuremberg, David’s work flits between earnest typographic treatments, affable illustrative graphics and experimental editorial layouts, responding to his surroundings and telling stories through his continually developing visual language.

Dom-sebastian-fashion-it'snicethat-list Work / Fashion Lose yourself inside Dom Sebastian’s weird, wacky and wonderful world

We can’t work out what planet Dom Sebastian is on. The worlds he creates are weird, wacky and wonderful, and we want in. He uses silicones, thermoplastics and polyurethane systems to make futuristic designs that transport us into an alternative universe.

12b-pmgrotesque-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design 12b's new typeface is thoughtfully designed and full of tear-dropped charm

In the evenings and weekends after the day graphic design jobs, William Lyall and Josh Epstein-Richards’ work as design and risograph studio, 12b. A self-initiated venture, the studio’s work is always full of zest, swapping their well deserved evenings off to do more design on projects they evidently love. Its latest work, a typeface designed between 2015 — 2018, reflects the studio’s after-work method of collaborating.

Vacationist-magazine-publication-itsnicethat-05 Work / Publication Go on someone else's holiday with found photography book Vacationist

Annette Dennis is fascinated by other people’s holidays. While most of us contemplate a French exit when a friend rushes upstairs to find a stash of badly exposed disposable shots of their red-faced partner gauzily gazing into the lens while toting a carafe of Vin de table in a Parisian side street, Annette actively seeks out snapshots from fortnights in foreign countries gone by.

Ttolieg_pascual___vincent_photography_it's_nice_that_2018_list Work / Photography From green summertimes to harsh winters, Pascual Martínez and Vincent Sáez document Romania

Pascual Martínez and Vincent Sáez met while studying at the School of Arts in Murcia, Spain. Their common photographic concerns led them to work collaboratively. “We know that the ego can be our greatest enemy”, they tell us. “When people ask who made what photo, we never tell them. We do not believe that the act of pressing the shutter assigns individual authorship to the image. There is a lot of work done before and after that act”.

Carmen-triana-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photography "Photography is a mirror": Carmen Triana's naturally explorative photographic practice

Serene is the word that comes to mind when flicking or scrolling through the portfolio of Bogotá-based photographer Carmen Triana. Born into a family that works in the theatre and film industry, Carmen developed a love for the “world of image and light” at an early age and now uses the medium as a means to explore humankind’s spiritual paths and nature’s life cycle.

Annaskeels-houses-houseandhedge-illustration-itsnicethat-list Work / Illustration Anna Skeels' uniquely beautiful and nostalgic drawings of British housing estates

Anna Skeels, a dear It’s Nice That favourite and graduate from 2015, had been a bit of a rut drawing wise recently. To get out of the hole, Anna tells us that she “took some pictures of the eerie looking bungalows I’d walk past every day.”

Susanna-edwards-falmouth-ma-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list Sponsored / Graphic Design Online courses for the physical world: Falmouth University launches two new creative masters

We don’t know about you but here at It’s Nice That, the month of September feels like an opportunity to start afresh, to set new goals for the rest of the year (or give those failed January resolutions another bash) and to make the most of the galvanising “back to school” feeling that we still can’t shake all these years later. It’s a month of renewed energy, optimism and productivity whilst the weather is still half-decent and before Christmas insanity begins to loom large in early October. Earth, Wind and Fire had it spot on when they classed September a month of “golden dreams”, but it’s also an incredibly busy one. From Fashion Weeks to London Design Festival to the end of the fiscal year in the US, even the Romans had their hands full marking it their Harvest month.

Christoph-niemann-agi-events-itsnicethat-list Media Partnership / Events The other side: AGI Open Mexico explores what it means “to live on opposite sides of an imaginary wall”

Each year, members of the Alliance Graphique Internationale – a professional association of the world’s leading graphic artists and designers – convene in a different city for the AGI Congress, a chance to debate the profession, share knowledge and offer inspiration and encouragement to future creatives. The student-focused conferences have previously taken place in Seoul, São Paolo, London, Barcelona and, most recently, Paris. This year will see members gather in Mexico over the 28–29 September at the country’s National Conservatory of Music.

Pagemasters-print-studio-graphic-design-itsnicethat-03 Work / Graphic Design Print studio PageMasters is at the forefront of a risograph revolution

Dip into deepest Bermondsey on a sunny morning and you might catch yourself at the forefront of the risograph revolution. Tucked down Alscot Road, between an academy school and a pub, is PageMasters: a sustainable, affordable, experimental print studio founded by two former Hato Press employees in early 2018.

Julien-martinezleclerc-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photography Photographer Julien Martinez Leclerc captures curated truth with surreal perspective and a geometrical eye

Julien Martinez Leclerc is a self-described perfectionist, he always has been. Son of an art dealer, Julien was always creative, but he first picked up a camera aged 13 on a trip with his parents. “I was playing around with my mum’s [camera]. It felt really natural. I’d tried sculpture which just didn’t come easily, and I didn’t have the patience for painting, but this just felt easy” the Paris-born, London-based photographer tells It’s Nice that. It happened to be his birthday a few days later and when a generous godfather asked him what present he’d like, he knew exactly what to ask for – a camera of his own, “I think I still have it, in a drawer somewhere” he tells us.

Nicer-tuesdays-aug-launch-list Regulars / Nicer Tuesdays Get tickets for Nicer Tuesdays August

What are you doing on 28 August? We’ll be at Oval Space for Nicer Tuesdays, listening to a line-up which includes newly appointed Pentagram partner Sascha Lobe, illustrator and ceramicist Charlotte Mei and Luke Evans will be showing us his photography that will alter your perception of everyday life. Tickets are now available, here, so you can join us too!

Adam-whyte-photography-it'snicethat-list Work / Photography Adam Whyte's photographs capture moments of order within a chaotic world

When Adam Whyte was studying at Olympia, Washington’s Evergreen State College, his studies centred around philosophy, critical theory, and new media art. Then he moved to New York, found his lifestyle changing, and his photography following suit.

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