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Oscar nominations 2018: find out more about the lesser-known talent up for best animated short

Emanuele-kabu-animation-itsnicethat-list Work / Animation Self-taught animator Emanuele Kabu references psychedelia, abstract art and minimalism

“When I was 15, I got my first computer and a friend gave me some floppy disks with some demos made by the Future Crew,” says animator and director Emanuele Kabu, “that was the first time I realised I wanted to do the same thing: combine music with moving images.” Having no idea how to acquire the skills he needed and choosing not to study, Emanuele spent the following years immersed in the worlds of graffiti and music which provided the foundation for the eclectic and colourful portfolio he now boasts.

Simon-christoph-krenn-parasitic-endeavours-animation-itsnicethat-list Work / Animation Simon Christoph Krenn’s experiments play around with rubbery hyperreal body parts

Simon Christoph Krenn’s 3D animation, Parasitic Endeavours, initially started out as the creative wanting to explore distorted perspectives on human evolution. “I think my main inspiration came from nature and its creative forces themselves. I used to study zoology at university and was especially fascinated by evolutionary biology and the development of animal morphologies,” says Austria-based Simon. “I realised the video’s strange and somehow creepy potential and decided to push the animation even more into this direction.”

Katywang-mamama-animation-itsnicethat-03 Work / Animation Katy Wang creates a dreamy and surreally sweet animation for Toto Bona Lokua

Textural animation master and 2017 It’s Nice That graduate Katy Wang has created the latest video for Toto Bona Lokua’s new single, Ma Mama taken from their forthcoming album, Bondeko out on 19 January. . The short continues many traits seen in her university work, from the line work of her characters to the slight grainy texture that flows through her animations.

Andrew-onorato-geenie-reenie-animation-itsnicethat-list Work / Animation Andrew Onorato’s surreal short about a genie and his eggy housemates

What do you get when you combine the genie of a lamp living with a bunch of floating eggs? A brilliantly weird animation by Andrew Onorato called Geenie Reenie, that’s what. “The short is about Genie Reenie checking his emails and helping out his friend Dozen, who is a bunch of eggs,” explains Andrew. “They all live together in a house with their friends, some of whom don’t feature in this short.”

Alex-moy-wanderer-aniamtion-itsnicethat-list Work / Animation Alex Moy’s animation explores where our minds drift off to when we’re distracted

Wanderer follows the thoughts of a man and his struggles to stay grounded in a moment. Animated by Chicago-based Alex Moy, we’re invited into the protagonist’s world and we begin to “pick up on the very small ticks of the room around him”, leading to a “visual rhythm that hypnotises the viewer”. Throughout the animated short reality becomes blurred and the idea we’re travelling through someone’s conscious is reinforced.

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 create 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 the Lagos streets 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.


Mainstudio-graphic-design-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design Mainstudio's publications merge conceptual art, architecture and graphic design

Based in Amsterdam, Edwin van Gelder, aka Mainstudio, boasts a portfolio packed with satisfyingly slick books exploring the intersections of art and architecture. Edwin’s designs are characterised by a strict editorial approach, placing typography, grids and systems at the forefront.

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.

Lara-kothe-publication-itsnicethat-2 Work / Publication The Lething Compendium by Lara Kothe teaches you how to forget everything

“Books are static, stable objects, which cannot be changed easily after being printed. It is a system that has proven its worth over so many years – more so than any other medium,” states German graphic designer Lara Kothe. Originally from a small town in Bavaria, she studied communication design in Hamburg and now resides in Berne, Switzerland where she is undertaking a part-time master’s degree in design research. Lara’s portfolio is packed full of experimental publications that are intellectually challenging, designed with purpose and with the utmost attention to detail.

Superhi-digital-list Sponsored / Digital Three creatives tell us why coding is crucial to contemporary design

The ability to understand and move with the times, while progressing your work accordingly, is a crucial skill for any designer. With our lives increasingly dictated by the screens that surround us, the importance of coding and digital design is soaring. In a series of articles in collaboration with SuperHi, It’s Nice That will be offering insight into the prominence of this facet of design.

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.

Xzy-publication-itsnicethat-list Work / Publication XZY explores the “visual alchemies of the phenomenon fake" in its debut issue

Contemporary culture and the modern world is dictated by the digital image. As we continue to consume more and more of it through the illuminated rectangles that surround us, many creative mediums are experiencing rapid change. Having witnessed the transformation to her chosen medium over the last ten years, photographer Tereza Mundilová, along with four fellow Berliners and friends, decided to create XZY magazine as a space to reflect on and examine “the electronic image in the era of post-photography.”

Steven-bliss-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photography Steven Bliss' distant yet familiar series, Boys

As a parent, the compulsion to document every waking moment of your child’s life is always there, leaving most with boxes and boxes of photos or digital folders full of phone snaps. However, for fine arts photographer and teacher Steven Bliss, it was the spontaneous purchase of an 8×10 camera in the year his second son was born that prompted him to document his children in a more considered manner, resulting in his ongoing project, Boys.

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