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Grayson Perry and Rose Wylie celebrate 250 years of the RA with bespoke London street flags

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.”

Listimage2 Features / Art Sound and vision: Parquet Courts' A. Savage on life as an artist and musician

A. Savage is an artist who is always walking the ledge between two creative worlds. The first is a musical one, where he throttles through songs playing in Parquet Courts. But the second is a slower paced painting career, where his enviable talent for building a narrative shifts from songwriting onto canvas. While he has no plans to settle in either camp permanently, his painting studio is “wonderful” the artist tells It’s Nice That. “It’s my favourite place in the world.”

Nano-illustration-itsnicethat-list Work / Illustration Illustrator Nano projects life into her paintings to counteract negative emotions

“I draw a lot of what I see in my mind. I usually express things that I can’t say or write. For example, weakness or negative emotions,” explains Seoul-based illustrator Nano. Having previously worked at a company designing game graphics, she’s now a freelance illustrator, filling her time by “projecting life and what I feel into paintings”.

Kuba_ryniewicz-firefighters-photography-13list Work / Photography Kuba Ryaniewicz on photographing his firefighting family

When photographer Kuba Ryaniewicz attended a family member’s wedding last year, he didn’t expect to come across the subject of his next shoot: voluntary firefighters. Kuba was born in Poland but has been based in Newcastle for the past 14 years and has, during this time, accumulated an impressive portfolio of work; his collaborations include the likes of Fantastic Man, Cos and Apartamento. Photography, Kuba says, played a formative role in his upbringing. “My uncle was a photographer and set up a darkroom in our basement. I spent a lot of my childhood posing for test photoshoots whenever he bought a new piece of equipment. But it was only as a teenager that I started to develop my own photography skills when my uncle passed on his darkroom equipment to me,” Kuba tells It’s Nice That.

Joseph-melhuish-animation-itsnicethat-list Work / Animation Joseph Melhuish animates what happens on a shoot with 30 venomous snakes

“I’m Josh Haddow, and this is my story about setting up a shoot with 30 venomous snakes,” states a disembodied voice at the beginning of animator Joseph Melhuish’s most recent work. The project, titled From the Brink, sees creatives sharing small anecdotes regarding the filmmaking process, particularly those which are somewhat strange.

Sagmeisterandwalsh-thomashedger-itsnicethat-2list Features / Graphic Design Beauty through the eyes of Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh

Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh have been thinking about beauty. This might seem unsurprising, as both are designers who occupy the upper echelons of the design hierarchy, and aesthetics, you’d imagine, would be an ongoing concern. “One part of what we are doing is aiming to eradicate the tired notion that beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” says Stefan with a laugh. “Because it’s not.” I’m sat at the control centre of the Stefan and Jessica show, an office just off Broadway in Manhattan. Outside the meeting room where we are sat, a small team is working away diligently.

Chrismaggio-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photography Chris Maggio's oxymoronic series The New Age of The New Age in Arizona

Wellness eh? Is it for real? Is it a joke? Is coconut water actually just gross? In our age of sharing every minute detail of our lives online, it feels like everyone is looking after themselves so successfully it’s envy-inducing, following a routine of cold press juices and hot yoga. The accompaniment to this is the concept of “finding yourself” which is warping into a new kind of spiritual group, using methods of 1970s New Age spiritual and religious beliefs but in a current age where switching off means that your smartphone is most definitely still on.

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.

Main_ident_724 Regulars / The Graduates 2018 Apply for The Graduates 2018, now open to global applicants for the first time!

Each year as university graduates hand in their final assignments, begin building degree shows and place orders for their cap and gowns, we have our own graduation class too. The It’s Nice That Graduates celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, and if you have graduated or are graduating from an undergraduate creative course (bachelor’s or equivalent) in 2018 we want to hear from you!

Katy-wang-animation-itsnicethat-list Work / Animation Penguin releases animated trailer by Katy Wang for Yrsa Daley-Ward’s memoir, The Terrible

Penguin has released an animated trailer by one of It’s Nice That’s Graduates 2017 Katy Wang, bringing to life the opening story from Yrsa Daley-Ward’s memoir, The Terrible. The book by the London-based poet, model, actor and leading LGBTQ+ voice succeeds her acclaimed debut, a self-published collection of poetry titled Bone, and tells the story of her heritage and upbringing.

Itsnicethat_diary_june_2018 Regulars / Diary June diary: this month’s must-see events and exhibitions

Whether you’re hitting up grad shows or making the most of longer days taking in one of the plethora of inspiring new shows opening for summer, June is the perfect time to broaden your cultural peripherals. From the V&A’s blockbuster Frida Kahlo show to a design summer school in Galway, there’s truly something for everyone. The It’s Nice That editorial team has picked out ten, five in the UK and five around the world, to help you choose.h3. Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing and Vanessa Winship: And Time Folds
22 June – 2 September 2018
The Barbican, London

Bradley_kerl Regulars / Friday Mixtape Friday Mixtape: Texan artist Bradley Kerl's mix to ease you into a hot humid summer

We’re longtime fans of Texan artist Bradley Kerl. His still lifes are little portals into his own life, gathering bits and bobs together, and there’s always a bunch of calming plants featured too. A couple of weeks ago we published an interview with Parquet Courts’ A.Savage where the artist and musician told us that coincidentally he and Bradley were old pals, they studied painting together and were even a band for a number of years called Teenage Cool Kids.

Andy-baker_nx-worries_music-video_animation_itsnicethat_list Work / Animation Behind the making of NxWorries’ sexy, summery Lyk Dis video with Andy Baker and Robin Velghe

If you weren’t already in the mood for the summer holidays then NxWorries’ latest video is sure to get you daydreaming. Illustrated by Robin Velghe and animated by Andy Baker, and co-directed by the two creatives, the video stars animated versions of Anderson.Paak and Knxwledge as they cruise through balmy LA with the car roof down, checking out beautiful ladies and sunsets alike along the way. Andy and Robin tell It’s Nice That that the project began with both duos chatting and sharing ideas about the track’s themes, discussing retro 90s references, a chilled LA setting and, specifically, a BMW 2002.

Laetitianegre-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photography Laetitia Negre's experimental and disorientating photography

Half-dressed torsos and life-sized leopard-like sculptures, it can be difficult to tell what you’re looking at in Laetitia Negre’s photographs. Her experimental, action-packed images sit at the intersection of performance art, film and photography, inviting the viewer to imagine the snapshot’s preceding and subsequent moments. After working with the likes of Dazed, i-D and collaborating with legendary fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, the French-born, London-based photographer has accumulated an enviable portfolio over the past few years.

Jonathancastro-sanapp-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design Graphic design as “a colourful depiction of living spirit”: new work from Jonathan Castro

The vibrant work of graphic designer Jonathan Castro is constantly catching our eye when flicking through magazines or scrolling through our Instagram feeds. The designer’s career is eclectic as his portfolio, originally from Lima in Peru, before moving to Amsterdam to work at various studios, pushing out a bunch of freelance work in between.

Daniel-wenzel-digital-itsnicethat-list Work / Digital Daniel Wenzel's interactive type specimen for Ginto reacts to sound, movement and mouse position

Currently working at DIA Studio in New York City, Daniel Wenzel is a typographer, graphic designer and developer. Merging his artistic and scientific interests, Daniel creates experimental and exciting projects combining type and interaction. Taking a break from his communication design course at HTWG Konstanz, Daniel is developing rapidly as a designer (and developer) as his recent project GintoGX demonstrates.

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.

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