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Illustrator Fran Caballero on “living that not-awful-at-all freelance/bartender lifestyle”

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Subin-yang-illustration-itsnicethat-list Work / Illustration Subin Yang's joyful illustrations capture the fleeting and unobtainable moments in life

“Drawing started with my obsession for recreating something I saw that I couldn’t have in person. But by recreating it, I could somehow own it,” explains New York City-based illustrator Subin Yang. With a love for books, zines and any printed material, Subin’s joyful illustrations act as a means to capture the fleeting and unobtainable moments in life, all awash in a Lego-inspired palette of primary colours and pinks.

Listvansnew Work / Illustration A return to the satirical surrealism of illustrator Alex Gamsu Jenkins

Since we last spoke to illustrator Alex Gamsu Jenkins two years ago, his work has ramped up a gear. Yes, the Camberwell grad still renders satire in grainy newsprint-like scenes. And Lordy, his work is still pretty gory. But the scale of his pieces has expanded to create more involved, more surreal narratives where the gag isn’t always obvious at first sight. You feel compelled to give his gruesome scenes a second take.

Seungwhankim-illustration-itsnicethat-08 Work / Illustration Seungwhan Kim's sweet illustrations delve into inner emotions

Over in Seoul illustrator Seungwhan Kim sweetly illustrates the “paradoxical situations that we face in everyday life,” he tells It’s Nice That. Both a little strange but also relatable, Seungwhan’s illustration style picks up on life’s double-sided contradictions implying them in his work. He does this by noticing and drawing inner emotions, “jealousy, inferiority and dissatisfaction” for instance, as the illustrator finds “behaviours and situations associated with such emotions intriguing”.

Listbelka-bellt_party Work / Illustration From sex stories to dogs in space, Katja Gendikova’s illustrations tell the fantastical tales of real life

Describing her work as “playful, whimsical and a bit wobbly”, Berlin-based illustrator Katja Gendikova creates distinctive characters whose lanky limbs flow with movement. Switching between digital and acrylic paint, heavy black outlines and no outlines at all, Katja’s work is full of charm because of these unruly bodies. “I love odd looks – beautiful is regular, which means for me it is not of so much interest,” Katja tells It’s Nice That. “I also love bodies and body movements and mistrust faces a bit – in the end, a face is not much more than five holes.”

Itsnicethat_kontrast_timokuilder Work / Illustration Timo Kuilder launches Kontrast, an illustrated mobile puzzle game

Illustrator Timo Kuilder has launched Kontrast, an illustrated puzzle game for mobile that invites interaction with his works and “blurs the lines between game and illustration” he says. Featuring his signature clean-cut lines and block colours, the monochromatic artwork animates through interaction as the player navigates the maze of seven illustrations. The game was conceived by the Amsterdam-based illustrator with interaction design and coding by his brother Jurre Kuilder, developed independently as a side project by the duo, with sound design by Ambrose Yu.

Francaballero-illustration-itsnicethat-9list Work / Illustration Illustrator Fran Caballero on “living that not-awful-at-all freelance/bartender lifestyle”

Fran Caballero is a Glasgow-based illustrator whose playful drawings have pleased us for some time. This year alone, Fran has been featured in the latest Ladybeard issue, Popeye magazine and has created his first piece of homeware, the February Throw. It’s safe to say that Fran is, as he puts it, “living that not-awful-at-all freelance/bartender lifestyle”. That Fran followed a creative pathway comes as no surprise when the illustrator thinks back to his childhood. “I pretty much drew all the time as a kid but grew more interested and aware of illustration around secondary school, through Ed Banger Records LPs with artwork by So-Me. I bought my first graphics tablet around then,” the artist tells It’s Nice That.

Nxs-publication-itsnicethat-list Work / Publication NXS magazine builds a network of contributors who reflect on "the self" in the digital era

“We came up with the idea of NXS while studying on our master’s programme at Sandberg Instituut,” recalls Monika Grūzīte, Juliette Lizotte and Florian Mecklenburg, the founders of the tall, skinny publication exploring “the self” in the digital age of technology. NXS, which stands for nexus, is true to its name with every issue building a network of contributors where each is asked to reflect and comment on a previous contribution.

Morgan-powell_finger-machines_animation_itsnicethat-list Work / Animation Morgan Powell's animated industrial finger machines will unnerve and hypnotise you

Merging the two disparate worlds of human and machine in a slightly gross but strangely hypnotic way is Finger Machines, a new animated film by Morgan Powell at Seed. Softness and tactility are “the direct opposite of what you’d expect from machines,” he explains of the animation’s conflicted visuals, which show dismembered digits on a mass scale, engaged in various mechanical processes. And it is the film’s materiality that makes it so unnerving – an apt application of Morgan’s plasticine-like, super-smooth and hyperreal animation style. You can see more of this on his hilariously naughty ident for MTV involving lewd balloons.

Junocalypso-whattosowithamillionyears-photography-itsnicethat-7list Work / Photography Juno Calypso's eerie new series sees her posing inside Nevada’s plushest bunker

Imagine your average Doomsday prepper’s underground bunker; a low-ceilinged, dark, dingy room with a make-shift sofa bed and cupboards jam-packed with tinned food. Luxury and fallout shelter don’t seem like an obvious match. Juno Calypso’s latest surreal self-portraits, however, prove this assumption wrong. Her series What to do with a Million Years, which is currently on display at London’s TJ Boulting gallery, sees the artist posing inside Nevada’s — perhaps even the world’s — plushest bunker.

Elenaheatherwick-liberianmidwives-photography-itsnicethat-list Features / Photography Elena Heatherwick captures the spirit of hope and happiness embodied by Liberian midwives

The act of holding a camera has a distinctive charm to it. It starts conversations, but it’s an opener before a word has even been spoken. It intrigues people to come on over, to ask why you have it, what you’re doing, who you are. These pleasantries and the inevitable conversation that follows is an experience every photographer has undoubtedly had, but the accounts photographer Elena Heatherwick has from a trip to Liberia are some of the most joyful, heartbreaking and life affirming ones we’ve heard.

Subin-yang-illustration-itsnicethat-list Work / Illustration Subin Yang's joyful illustrations capture the fleeting and unobtainable moments in life

“Drawing started with my obsession for recreating something I saw that I couldn’t have in person. But by recreating it, I could somehow own it,” explains New York City-based illustrator Subin Yang. With a love for books, zines and any printed material, Subin’s joyful illustrations act as a means to capture the fleeting and unobtainable moments in life, all awash in a Lego-inspired palette of primary colours and pinks.

Nicer-tuesdays-april-max-siedentopf-list Regulars / Nicer Tuesdays Max Siedentopf explains why creative perfection is a dead end

Max Siedentopf is a creative working in advertising, who on the side creates a myriad of brilliantly oddball and original personal projects. But it is this eclectic output that can sometimes confuse people, he admitted at Nicer Tuesdays. “I’m pretty sure that no one here has any idea who I actually am,” he joked, and attempted to clear things up by telling us about his work at KesselsKramer – where he recently became partner – as well as his latest passion projects including a sticker book, gif series Instructions for World Peace, and Ordinary magazine.

Canyang-whitetigerbluedragon-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-1list Work / Graphic Design Designer Can Yang's book visually presents ancient Chinese elixir recipes

Chinese designer Can Yang is currently studying graphic design at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Born in Shenzhen in southern China, Can moved to the US four years ago where she has been working toward her degree alongside her freelance work. “Most of my projects are situated between design and cultural communication and draw on brand identities, editorial and conceptual art,” says Can. “They are visually characterised by abstract forms and Chinese characters that signal a reflective and critical stance to global affairs,” Can tells It’s Nice That.

Adobe99u-conference-itsnicethat-list Work / Events From being bad to burping glitter: things we learned at The Adobe 99U Conference

Last week I was in New York at Adobe 99U, a conference which brings together a selection of the best creative leaders from the industry to share new ideas. The talks explored how to be a creative leader today, from the design process to directing a team and everything in between. It also, refreshingly, featured one of the widest ranges of creative voices we’ve seen at this type of event, which made for an inspiring, interesting and original few days. Below, we share a few learnings from the week on how to become a better creative leader and practitioner.
h3. It’s ok to be yourself at work

Practica-interactive-itsnicethat-list Work / Interactive Gravient's adaptive typographic identity changes depending on where you look at it from

“When working, we’re always orbiting an idea. The concept has to ride everything,” explains Barcelona and New York-based design studio Pràctica. Founded by Albert Porta, Anna Berbiela, Carlos Bermúdez, Guillem Casasús and Javier Arizu, the studio recently collaborated with graphic and motion designer David Galar and coder Thomas Hoek to demonstrate its concept-first process.

Cassidyaraiza-itsnicethat-list Work / Photography Cassidy Araiza's dreamy photographs touch on youth, camaraderie and sportsmanship

“I always knew I wanted to make work around baseball but I just never knew what it would be until I moved back to Tucson, Arizona,” photographer Cassidy Araiza tells It’s Nice That. “I grew up playing baseball in the desert and developed a strong love for the game. I have always thought that Tucson was a baseball players’ paradise as it stays warm all year around and has some of the best light during evening games.” As it turned out, Cassidy’s intention materialised through photography. In his latest series, inspired by his nephew’s sports enthusiasm, the artist captures the subtle interactions that take place during a children’s baseball game. 


Nicer-tuesdays-april-marion-deuchars-list Regulars / Nicer Tuesdays Marion Deuchars on how to make a great picture book

The idiosyncratic brushwork and hand-drawn typography of illustrator Marion Deuchars is instantly recognisable, and have charmed children and grown-ups alike in her many books. Recently, Marion has been both educating and inspirational in her books about the art world, particularly in Bob the Artist, which aims to teach kids about well-known artistic techniques while also encouraging individuality. The new follow-up Bob’s Blue Period is about expressing emotions through creativity, and is loosely based, she explains, on Picasso’s story of loss.

Davidkasnic-alphaandomega-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photography David Kasnic
 sees photography as a collaboration between artist and sitter

In his latest book Alpha and Omega, photographer David Kasnic turns his lens on a regional community church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and presents striking portraits of the local neighbourhood. The Chicago-based photographer spent his time getting to know the local families, engaging in local church practices, and asking his sitters how they would want to be photographed. It is this thoughtful approach that renders Alpha and Omega a unique insight into an otherwise tightly-knit community.

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.”

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