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Hart Club is the new gallery hoping to increase the visibility of neurodiverse creatives

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Edith-young-art-historical-palettes-art-itsnicethat-list Work / Art "Painterly Pantones": Photographer Edith Young on her art history-inspired series of colour palettes

“All my life I’ve pursued the perfect red”, sighed Diane Vreeland, once editor-in-chief of Vogue, in the 2011 documentary, The Eye Has To Travel. “I can never get painters to mix it for me. It’s exactly as if I’d said, ‘I want Rococo with a spot of Gothic in it and a bit of Buddhist temple’ – they have no idea what I’m talking about. About the best red is to copy the colour of a child’s cap in any Renaissance portrait.” Hearing these words, in an indie cinema in Providence, Rhode Island, photographer Edith Young – “struck by this inexact and somewhat ludicrous idea of perfection in colour” – had a lightbulb moment.

List Features / Art Democratising art: how the art world is opening up to blind and partially sighted visitors

“Blind people experience art exactly the same way as everyone else, they just have, and need, different methods of gaining that experience,” says David Johnson, a Hitchin-based artist who is registered blind. “Blind people experience the same emotions as everyone else, they are subject to the same feelings of attraction or repulsion as others; however, they need alternative sensory pathways to gain that experience whether through touch, audio description or other inroads.”

Sophianarrett-art-int-list Work / Art Sophia Narrett's intimate embroideries explore the complexities of human relationships

Sophia Narrett’s embroideries require you to look more than once; in fact, they will make you stop and stare. With their minute details and beautiful intricacies, they push sewing to the extreme. We question how it is humanly possible to create such miniature, elaborate scenes. “Embroidered images are immediately intimate and visually tactile”, Sophia explains. “The pace that embroidery dictates has become a meaningful way for me to commit to images, feelings and ideas”. The artist spends weeks working on a single piece; this means that she has time to commit to a narrative and understand the story that she actually wants to tell. As she is making with her hands, there is an even stronger relationship than usual built between her and her art, mimicking the human connections that she recreates within her work.

Audunalvestad-art-int-list Work / Art Audun Alvestad creates tender paintings of the “ordinary Joe”

Audun Alvestad paints the unexpected, in the sense that he depicts moments that most forget about. His art is repetitively filled with variations of the “ordinary Joe” — light, pink men, rounded, hairy and often speckled with tattoos. They’re pictured drinking an evening glass of wine, taking a shower, ironing a shirt, eating dinner or having a smoke. This seemingly harmless and often melancholic character is certainly not a figure we’ve seen represented across art history; and as the contemporary world highlights continual issues with toxic masculinity, his is a figure being quickly left behind. “As our world is changing, so do our expectations and ideas about what we should be or how we should live”, Audun explains. “I enjoy to play and explore these ideas about society, gender roles and other social structures”.

Audun’s art celebrates the banalities of everyday life. “I am a routine enthusiast," he tells It’s Nice That. “I like my coffee and a cigarette in the morning". The characters he depicts are familiar; he could be the bloke from next door. “I have a tendency to make up stories about the people I encounter”, he tells us. “From these ideas, I somehow end up building fictional characters that I use for my paintings”. However, this repeated motif is not symbolic of one individual, “but rather something more general he or she represents”, the artist explains. “Creating generic archetypes gives me more space to play with painterly or formal aspects”. As the figure appears so often, our eyes are turned to other qualities in the painting, the narrative and the painterly techniques.

Paola-antonella-london-design-biennale-art-itsnicethat-list Media Partnership / London Design Biennale 2018 Emotional States: why the theme for 2018's London Design Biennale is more important than ever

The theme of the 2018 London Design Biennale, hosted by Somerset House in September of this year, is an undeniably provocative one. Indeed, Emotional States could mean many different things to many different people, let alone designers, artists and those blessed with naturally imaginative, curious minds. Speaking to It’s Nice That, senior curator at MoMA and member of the Biennale’s jury, Paola Antonelli, proffered that that was what made this year so exciting for her: “that’s the beautiful aspect of the theme – that it is very open. There’s a nice ambiguity to it which makes for a lot of possibility.” The theme has been chosen specifically to provoke a broad interpretation from the contributing countries across the world, and to inspire work that covers a wide spectrum of how design affects every aspect of life, be it day-to-day, individual human emotions – from sadness to anger to joy – to the mood of a community, and on an even larger scale: unrest at country-wide level. It’s the scope for designers to challenge the current political, social and economic climates that have such a huge effect on both individual emotional states and nation-states, that interests us most here at It’s Nice That. “The news stories that we are facing are so blatantly important, urgent, and electrifying – for good and for bad – that I think everybody (unless they don’t have a pulse) is really heated up by them” agrees Paola, “and what artists and designers do well is that they channel that energy into proposals and ideas, or demonstrations.” In a time of closing borders, maniacally villainous presidents and Brexit, there are arguably more factors than ever influencing our emotional states, and even more of a need for designers, artists, curators – anyone and everyone, in fact – to channel those emotions into something positive.
Whilst it might seem like a lot of pressure to put on anyone, let alone someone outside of political office, Paola argues – both in our conversation with her and in her 2007 TED talk – that the capacity to incite change is well within designers’ remit, “designers are the biggest synthesisers in the world; what they do is make a synthesis of human needs, current conditions in economy, in materials, in sustainability issues and then what they do in the end, if they’re good, is much more than the sum of their parts.”

Laurence-stephens-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Publication Laurence Stephens documents weary holiday-makers and stuffy museums in his book Bored Tourists

Holidays are weighted with expectation. Every hour in every airport and train station around the world, tourists arrive with brimming suitcases and hopes of what will potentially be the best trip of their life. When visiting Barcelona, London-based photographer, Laurence Stephens, found himself ducking off the bustling streets and into the cool, dark interior of the city’s Cathedral. Here, he quickly realised the humorous photographic potential that tourist traps like these could offer. “Juxtaposed against the beautiful architecture was an array of bemused, disillusioned tourists, bored, half-asleep, unintentionally waiting to be photographed,” he recalls.

Its_nice_that_adobe_stock_your_design_here_manshen_lo_list Sponsored / Found in Adobe Stock Your design here: a timeline exploring graphic design template trends

This Summer It’s Nice That is partnering with Adobe Stock on a series of articles that celebrate their library of over 90 million high-quality images, graphics, video motion graphics, templates, and branding materials. Over the coming weeks, we will be providing an insight into how the Adobe Stock library can benefit your creative practice.

Listimage_2 Partnership / Dropbox: Monthly Poster Alexandra Waespi and Alexa Viscius use cyanotype and long exposure to create a melting poster

For Chicago-based graphic designer Alexa Viscius, London-based photographer Alexandra Waespi, and pretty much everyone else in the world, the month of July has been an absolute scorcher. It’s been weeks of glorious weather but it’s also been a stickily hot one, a feeling both Alexandra and Alexa experienced in their respective cities across the globe.

Edith-young-art-historical-palettes-art-itsnicethat-list Work / Art "Painterly Pantones": Photographer Edith Young on her art history-inspired series of colour palettes

“All my life I’ve pursued the perfect red”, sighed Diane Vreeland, once editor-in-chief of Vogue, in the 2011 documentary, The Eye Has To Travel. “I can never get painters to mix it for me. It’s exactly as if I’d said, ‘I want Rococo with a spot of Gothic in it and a bit of Buddhist temple’ – they have no idea what I’m talking about. About the best red is to copy the colour of a child’s cap in any Renaissance portrait.” Hearing these words, in an indie cinema in Providence, Rhode Island, photographer Edith Young – “struck by this inexact and somewhat ludicrous idea of perfection in colour” – had a lightbulb moment.

Bexday-bodybuildersberlin-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photography Bex Day photographs the beaming smiles and fading tans of Berlin's bodybuilders

Bex Day’s photography portfolio zips between fashion editorials and documentary focused projects with aplomb. When it comes to the latter, Bex has found herself becoming the go-to-girl for capturing individuality amongst massed groups. Her most recent project is a brilliant example of this ability to assess both the unit and the whole.

List Features / Art Democratising art: how the art world is opening up to blind and partially sighted visitors

“Blind people experience art exactly the same way as everyone else, they just have, and need, different methods of gaining that experience,” says David Johnson, a Hitchin-based artist who is registered blind. “Blind people experience the same emotions as everyone else, they are subject to the same feelings of attraction or repulsion as others; however, they need alternative sensory pathways to gain that experience whether through touch, audio description or other inroads.”

Loren-garciot-graphic-design-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design For Loren Garciot, designers are graphic translators of thought

When Loren Garciot was young she wanted to be the president of her home country, Spain. That ambition changed when she started to wonder who designed the logo on cans of Coke. Could you, she asked herself, make money from doing that? She soon discovered you could, and her passion for graphic design took flight.

Brodie-kaman-graphic-design-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design Designer Brodie Kaman on how creative outlets can help control mental illness and addiction

We’ve long admired the work of Australian graphic designer Brodie Kaman, with its DIY aesthetic and experimental, dogged visuals. Based in Los Angeles the last time spoke to him, the designer has since spent time in London, before recently settling in Berlin, and has begun to explore self-discovery and human individual suffering within his personal work, both as a coping mechanism and a creative outlet.

Bodenworld-publication-itsnicethat-list Work / Publication Meet Boden World, the multi-faceted student design studio, clothing brand and publisher

Here in England Boden is known as a bit of a mum-sy brand, a go-to for linen shorts and dungarees for kids. In Oslo however, Boden World is a design studio and clothing brand set up by three students, Axel Berggraf Egenæs, Jonas Vetlesen and Elias Bjørnson Olderbakk, working across art direction, graphic design, illustration, photography, film, branding and concept development. What can’t these students do!?

Daiana-ruiz-illustration-itsnicethat-list Work / Illustration Daiana Ruiz's illustrations use abstract elements to create fierce portraits of women

Daiana Ruiz combines figurative and abstract elements to create harmonious illustrations of strong and diverse women. “I have always been aware of the lack of representation of real women in the media”, she tells us. “That’s why I would like to represent us as we are, with different body types”. The females depicted in Daiana’s illustrations are curved, strong and agile, a contemporary take on ancient Greek goddesses or Amazon warriors. “For me, a strong woman is a free woman, and I like to represent that concept”, she explains, and her figures stare straight at us, fierce and unwavering, challenging us to challenge them. We certainly wouldn’t dream of messing with them.

Laura-coombs-graphic-design-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design The typographically focused, conceptually-minded practice of designer Laura Coombs

For New York City-based graphic designer Laura Coombs, the path to her, now, chosen career was extremely winding and full of chance encounters. Like many, however, her interest in the world of design was clear from an early age. “I can see now that I was always interested in design – I edited and designed a newspaper as a kid, endearingly called the Laura Report,” she recalls fondly.

Alex-lockett-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photography Alex Lockett explores familial dynamics and experiences in his narrative-driven photography

“I never actually considered using any other medium. Photography just seemed to stick,” explains British photographer Alex Lockett. Initially using the camera as a teenager to document the tricks his friends were doing on their skateboards, Alex soon progressed to taking the same friends’ portraits, from which “more elaborate ideas” began to develop. Now, having recently moved back to London after a five-year stint in New York City, Alex’s portfolio has evolved into one packed with narrative, each series constructing a world entirely different from the last.

Sharifhamza-youngamericans-photography-itsnicethat-list Features / Photography Sharif Hamza on how he photographed young America's gun culture

Young Americans by Sharif Hamza, a British photographer living in New York, documents an array of American teenagers who practice firing guns for sport. It’s a series that is equally eye-opening and difficult to look at and, in turn, it divides opinion. “Every step of the way,” he tells It’s Nice That, “there has been an internal conflict.”

Pauliina-holma-illustration-int-list Work / Illustration Pauliina Holma’s illustrations transport you into the summery meadows of Scandinavia

Pauliina Holma’s illustrations ooze with a soft summertime haze. We are reminded of long afternoons spent lazing in meadows, and the cool feel of ocean waves splashing on the shore. Pauliina’s work is definitely dreamy; there is an added element of something not quite right but in a charming, curious, whimsical way. She sprinkles in that extra magic. “I think my characters are somewhat fragile but strong”, the artist tells us, “a bit shy and mysterious”. The illustrative lines are light, creating delicate characters that have clear Japanese influences. She depicts snapshots, moments of solitude and stillness. “I’m not good at telling big stories”, she explains, “for me, it is more natural to convey a certain feeling, since I am not very loud myself”.

Matthew-connors-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photography Matthew Connors examines the realities of North Korea, challenging its kitschy visual tropes

Although once a mystery, North Korea is a country we’ve come to know over the past years as a pastel haven, with wide open spaces so vast and devoid of people they appear like film sets before the crew arrives for the day. Unanimous Desire by photographer Matthew Connors challenges these tropes. It presents a narrative far more intricate than candy-coloured aesthetics and latent voyeurism, examining the reality of its people and the apparent Plato’s cave they inhabit.

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