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"I observe people’s behaviour with curiosity": meet the people-watching illustrator Łukasz Golędzinowski

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Annahofmann-illustration-cybersexhidden-itsnicethat-list Work / Illustration Anna Hofmann's slightly grotesque but very, very funny characters

Our love affair with the work of Anna Hofmann came from one illustration of a little creature leaning cautiously out of its car window to lick a cactus. It’s this use of humour, something so silly but brilliant, that means since seeing her work in Eike Konig’s class calendar at the end of last year, we’ve fallen head over heels for Anna’s work.

Mariana_malhao-microbios-illustration-itsnicethat-list Work / Illustration Mariana Malhão's illustrations depict "a world inside a world"

You might not believe it at first glance, but Portugal-based illustrator Mariana Malhão’s bold and joyful illustrations are inspired by bacteria. Her series, “Microbios,” is full of lively bodies and colourful shapes that place you in the centre of a surreal fairytale. Her illustrations are about perspective: “We cannot see microbes, there are so many of them and they are everywhere. My illustrations relate to the idea of a world inside a world,” Mariana tells It’s Nice That. The characters that inhabit her universe invite us to change our outlook and re-imagine what might be around us that we cannot see. Perhaps we are surrounded by four-legged alligators with purple hands, four-armed boys with heads between their legs and fox-like creatures wearing rainbow suits.

Evan-cohen-visions-comic-illustration-itsnicethat-list Work / Illustration Evan Cohen’s illustrated characters work together to travel through the panels of his comic

Evan Cohen’s latest comic sees a community of characters working together to travel through the panels of their own story. Aiming to create a kind of 21st Century parable, Visions is an exploration of relationships, spiritual and physical, he says. “Set within a story about creation and ancient myth, it’s about the connections we share with our community and the world at large.”

Supermundane_i_know_its_over_illustration_itsnicethat8 Work / Illustration Supermundane comes over all nostalgic for latest series I Know It’s Over

For his latest series and exhibition I Know It’s Over, illustrator Supermundane has considered the feelings we have, and the songs we think of when something concludes. “All things come to an end, some abruptly, without warning, others, seemingly infinite, their ending so far ahead it is hard to even imagine,” he says. “With ending comes nostalgia for the times before. When Alley Gallery asked me to be one of the last exhibitions in their current space, the Smiths’ song I Know It’s Over immediately came to mind. Music has always been important to me and the lyrics of my favourite songs have memories (good and bad) attached to them.”

Toma_vagner_list_720 Work / Illustration Toys and fairytales: Toma Vagner's charming, imaginative illustrations

Toys and fairytales are what inspire New York-based illustrator Toma Vagner to create her charming, carefully considered depictions of robots, Rubik’s cubes, swineherds and mermaids. “I have been drawing since I was a child and always knew I wanted to be an artist. I grew up on a small island in eastern Russia and although I knew of some illustrators, they felt very far away. Attending art school in New York was both a dream come true and a natural transition for me,” Toma tells It’s Nice That. 

Her series, Fairytales, is full of deconstructed scenes from children’s stories. In her illustration of the Steadfast Tin Solder, the one-legged toy is the central figure and is surrounded by sketches of a heart, a small ballerina and paper boats. Toma uses a similar arrangement in her series Toys,  where a falling Jenga tower is positioned next to a series of visual instructions and above a hovering face crying out in despair. Realistic dimensions are not Toma’s concern. Her illustrations depict imaginary spaces filled with jumbled childhood memories. “When I was growing up, I was surrounded by Japanese sweets and stationary brought home by my dad. There were also lots of Soviet manuals lying around. These definitely come up in my work,” the artist says. The series’ strength lies in Toma’s ability to draw inspiration from unsuspecting objects; chewing gum and rule books aren’t exactly famous for their poignancy. In this way, her work prompts us to reconsider the artistic potential of everyday things. 

Toma’s art is executed with expert precision. It is her clear lines, bright colours and imaginative compositions that shine new light on familiar objects and old stories. “I combine both traditional and digital media. All lines are drawn by hand and colours are then added on the computer. Recently I’ve been experimenting with acrylics. My series, Toys, is done entirely in traditional media with acrylic and pigment inks,” the artist explains. After years of illustration, Toma plans to broaden her horizons by trying other creative practices like book publishing and working with music in the future.

Lukaszgole%cc%a8dzinowski-illustration-itsnicethat-7list Work / Illustration "I observe people’s behaviour with curiosity": meet the people-watching illustrator Łukasz Golędzinowski

Łukasz Golędzinowski is a Warsaw-based illustrator who depicts daily encounters through his vibrant images. “My illustrations show scenes of local life. The main goal of my works is to make people smile and to provoke a reflection. Everyone has their own interpretations so it’s not for me to say much more,” the artist tells It’s Nice That. His work exposes a beautifully optimistic attitude towards human relationships, materialised through the bold colours and fluid shapes in his illustrations of common people. 


Adasokol-art-itsnicethat-11 Work / Art Artist Ada Sokol on the evolving role of 3D in visual culture

Ada Sokol sums up her work with two words: “innovation, sleekness”. A chance encounter with the Paris-based, Polish-born artist and 3D designer’s work quickly had us hooked and digging deep into her portfolio rich with commissioned and personal projects. With a flair for 3D rendering which is so photorealistic, it left us wondering where the constructed ended and the real began, Ada is a future talent destined for great things.

Markwhalen-art-itsnicethat-list Work / Art Get caught up in Mark Whalen’s bold, playful art

A lot has changed since the last time we spoke to artist Mark Whalen. Having turned his attention away from pastel-coloured landscapes and graceful figures, Mark considers his newest work’s media, forms and themes: “I’ve been wanting to create a broader conversation using different mediums over the past few years. All of my attention has been focused on evolving scale, how to make engaging work with size, colour, and textural forms.” Mark’s large-scale canvases depict characters struggling to untangle themselves from unyielding linear structures. The bright colours and playful compositions add humour to the otherwise severe predicaments his characters find themselves in.

Andersbraschwillumsen-list Work / Art Anders Brasch-Willumsen on channelling emotion through 3D image-making

Copenhagen-born Anders Brasch-Willumsen is an art director, image maker and the founder and creative director of Stockholm-based Studio Brasch, a creative studio offering “creative direction, conceptual thinking and a distinct design language that results in brand images, campaign images, moving images, set designs and more.”

Motherdesign-callenlorde-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-08 Work / Graphic Design Mother Design creates an empowering identity for LGBTQ health organisation, Callen-Lorde

Mother Design’s New York office has created a boldly colourful and impactful identity for Callen-Lorde, a community centre for LGBTQ healthcare. Across its programmes, services and two locations in New York, it’s an organisation dedicated to providing healthcare to the city’s “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities — in all their diversity — regardless of ability to pay”. An institution of such devotion and sensitive care deserves approachable, awe-inspiring graphic design, and Mother Design have done exactly that.

Stephentayo-photography-itsnicethat-11 Work / Photography Stephen Tayo's photographs "create a visual narrative" of everyday encounters

Stephen Tayo is a true flaneur, wandering around Lagos observing and examining everyone he sees. The young documentary photographer recently graduated from the University of Lagos in Nigeria with a philosophy degree, but has chosen a different path for himself: “I got into photography to express what I felt as a young boy growing up. I also wanted to create a story made up of the people I see and the places I visit,” Stephen tells It’s Nice That.

Daniel-weiss-photography-itsnicethat-7 Work / Photography Photographer Daniel Weiss tells the story of the New York he grew up with

“[The images in my series] may be slightly romanticised, but I really do love New York,” photographer Daniel Weiss tells It’s Nice That. Daniel’s images are American through and through, documenting everything from Elvis impersonators to bowling alleys and motorcycle racers. Although his subjects are wide-ranging as well as captivating, it is his ongoing series New York, depicting the city where he was born and bred, that particularly caught our eye.

Studiofeixen-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design The year of the gif: Studio Feixen’s multitude of moving posters

During 2017 Swiss graphic designers Studio Feixen expanded its impressive portfolio even wider. The studio redesigned the widely read Swiss newspaper 20 Minuten for the day, it created a Hermés Christmas perfume campaign with ping-pong balls and diamonds, it made a digital music playing poster for cultural evening Oto Nové Swiss, and contributed to a campaign for trainer fanatics’ favourite day of the year, Air Max Day. Due to these landmark design achievements it’s safe to say the studio had a pretty brilliant year, one that was met with personal achievements too, and to celebrate they made an animation for each.

Veronikaminder-artdecor-itsnicethat-list Work / Publication Veronika Minder's book, Art Décor, explores the life of bon viveur Bob Steffen (NSFW)

Veronika Minder’s book Art Décor explores the life of Bob Steffen, an upscale hustler, nude model, accomplished window dresser and central figure in the bohemian scene of post-war Bern. When he passed away in 2012, Bob left behind 6,000 photographs of himself, his friends and his lovers at dinners parties, cocktail soirées and masquerade balls. “Bob was a friend of mine since the early seventies. I knew he had a lot of photographs because he never threw anything away. He was interested in all the changes he went through during the years,” Veronika tells It’s Nice That.


Annahofmann-illustration-cybersexhidden-itsnicethat-list Work / Illustration Anna Hofmann's slightly grotesque but very, very funny characters

Our love affair with the work of Anna Hofmann came from one illustration of a little creature leaning cautiously out of its car window to lick a cactus. It’s this use of humour, something so silly but brilliant, that means since seeing her work in Eike Konig’s class calendar at the end of last year, we’ve fallen head over heels for Anna’s work.

Cristiantoronicolasgonzalez-manualdeautodefensafeminista-publication-itsnicethat-1list Work / Publication Learn feminist self-defence with Manual de Autodefensa Feminista zine

#MeToo and #TimesUp have placed feminism at the top of the public agenda. Just last week, the media were filled with women wearing black dresses at the Golden Globes in protest of sexual assault and harassment. So what better time to brush up on feminist self-defence moves? Chile-based illustrators Cristian Toro and Nicolas Gonzalez collaborated to visualise women as agents of self-protection in a two-colour folded silkscreen zine named Manual de Autodefensa Feminista.

Lucid and concise, Manual de Autodefensa Feminista systematically lays out a step-by-step guide to self-defence in the event of an assault. Nicolas explains the importance of making the zine a universally accessible publication “that does not need the text to be understood.” He sees the zine “more like propaganda, coherent information with a purpose.” The illustrations themselves are first and foremost functional. They portray women tackling their aggressors by use of single, effective defensive moves that resemble martial arts. The use of only two colours, blue and yellow, keeps the drawings simple and clear, highlighting crucial motions by encircling the relevant body parts. One image, “El Escape,” shows a woman back-kicking an aggressor’s knee while another, “El Rodillazzo” depicts a woman kneeing a man’s face. 

Nicolas and Cristian’s Manual de Autodefensa Feminista is a choreography of instructions that invites the reader to follow its steps and perform the art. In this way, the publication is a crossing of illustration and live art, encouraging women to be a part of the spectacle of feminist empowerment. This participatory quality is also reflected in the zine’s printed form, inviting the reader to touch, scribble, fold and engage with the publication. “I find its material dimension important,” Nicolas explains, “not only in terms of the illustrations themselves but also in terms of its method of printing and circulation.”

Philippeweisbecker-adirondacks-nieves-publication-itsnicethat-list Work / Publication Renowned illustrator Philippe Weisbecker's delicate drawings of Adirondack furniture

One of Nieves’ latest published books is a furniture blast from the past. A sketchbook-like publication, it displays drawings by renowned illustrator Philippe Weisbecker, sketching versions of Adirondack furniture. It’s a style many will be familiar with from the popular Adirondack chair, a wooden outdoors seat and a regular fixture in many suburban gardens.

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