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Illustrator Nano projects life into her paintings to counteract negative emotions

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Listebastiankoenig_illu_makesclick_i_15 Work / Illustration Sebastian König on creating an "ah-ha" moment with the most simple of illustrations

“I am fascinated by the functional principal of simple picture stories,” says German illustrator and art director Sebastian König of his four-pane comics series Strips. “You look at four images, realise the meaning in their context and have that little film-like sequence in your head. Your brain loves to decode such things and then rewards you with that feeling when you get it.” That’s the joy in Sebastian’s work – his grainy illustration are incredibly simple, yet there’s often a touch of quirk that causes you to linger in anticipation of a payoff. Sometimes it comes, but at other times you’re left tantalisingly bemused.

Olimpia-zagnoli-cuore-di-panna-illustration-itsnicethat-fanta-list2 Work / Illustration Olimpia Zagnoli dreams of childhood summers in 80s Italy with Cuore di Panna

In her nostalgic new series Cuore di Panna, illustrator and artist Olimpia Zagnoli is not only hoping to evoke personal childhood memories, but also paint a picture of late 1980s Italian culture. The series of juicy, pop-colour prints, light installations and videos conjures up a picture of hazy summers spent eating ice cream and drinking soda – the title translates literally as “heart of whipped cream” – with a retro aesthetic filled with the brands that seeped into the artist’s consciousness around that time. Italy was becoming Americanised, or as gallery HVW8 puts it: “Barbie Totally Hair was replacing Sophia Loren,” and Olimpia’s depiction of vivid consumerism instantly transports the viewer back to that atmosphere. Here, she tells us more about the project.

Lantruong-illustration-itsnicethat-list Work / Illustration Get ready to fall in love with witty, weird and wonderful illustrator Lan Truong

Liana Jegers and Clay Hickson’s monthly newspaper The Smudge is quickly becoming one of our most valued sources for new illustrators. When someone we’re unfamiliar with graces its cover or is nestled inside, we huddle round, wondering who on earth they are and how we can find out as much as possible about them immediately. This was, and still is, the case for Portland-based illustrator Lan Truong.

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.

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.

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