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Peter Blake and Jeremy Deller among artists celebrating the NHS at 70

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Listthe_twins_220x190_oil_on_canvas_2018 Work / Art Francisco Rodríguez’s eerie paintings combine his childhood diet of cartoons and industrial landscapes

Growing up in Santiago, Chile, artist Francisco Rodríguez loved watching cartoons from the US and Europe but especially from Japan. “Japanese animation was extraordinarily famous during the 90s in Chile, maybe because they were cheaper to buy,” Francisco tells us. “Throughout my childhood, I was very influenced by these cartoons – it makes me think this could be one of the reasons why my paintings are quite graphic with solid colours and very delimited drawings.”

List Features / Art From the Royal Court to @TabloidArtHistory: social media’s influence on art criticism

“When I was growing up everyone would read Artforum,Jerry Saltz tells me over the phone. Jerry is a senior art critic at New York Magazine, the winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize for art criticism and an avid social media user with over a million followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. “I, of course, never understood a single word that was in there. But that was what was cool. So that was what I read.”

List32343978_212698286003288_6565516982689464320_n Work / Art Artist Ricardo Passaporte on falling in "love at first sight" with Lidl

When Lidl opened close to my house at the beginning of the year everything changed. Suddenly luxury foodstuffs available only to people for whom ‘supper’ is a legitimate meal – think potted crab, fancy crackers and walnut oil – were available on my meagre freelancer’s wage. Now I could rock up to a friend’s house proffering a bounty of Highland black pudding, panna cotta or buffalo mozzarella, rather than the cheapest wine in the shop and some mystery meat-flavoured crisps. I had arrived.

Kristintexiera-art-it'snicethat-list Work / Art Kristin Texeira’s abstract paintings recall the essence of moments through colour

Kristin Texeira’s abstract paintings pay “homage to the past”, by recalling the “essence of moments through colour”. Kristin paints to remember; she wants to “provide proof — for myself and others — of existing in certain moments in time”. “Without art, I don’t know how else you would hold onto memories”, the artist tells It’s Nice That, and it’s through painting that she keeps her past alive.

List-img Work / Art Strip clubs and bordellos: Tal R’s hypnotic paintings of sex shops from around the world

“For 10 years I tried to escape art. I thought I was no good at it. I thought it was pretentious,” Tal R admits during a phone call with It’s Nice That; “I tried to give up on art but art didn’t give up on me.” From London’s Victoria Miro gallery to Copenhagen’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Tal R’s artworks have toured the globe. Sexshop is Tal’s long-term project, which saw the painter visit strip clubs and bordellos across the world, transforming their facades into an emulsion of mesmerising shapes and rich colours.

Diary_july_724x474 Regulars / Diary July diary: this month's must-see events and exhibitions

Summer is officially in full swing, and we’re enjoying the long evenings and our fair share of ice creams here at It’s Nice That. It’s not just the sun that’s getting us excited for July, however, as there are a host of art shows and exhibitions taking place around the UK and the rest of the world. From Michael Jackson’s impact on the art world, to an investigation on how Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighbourhood has changed over the last 20 years, check out the It’s Nice That team’s top picks for July below. h3. Michael Jackson: On the Wall
28 June — 21 October 2018
National Portrait Gallery, London

Steve-smith-animation-itsnicethat-list Work / Animation Steve Smith's music video for Moaning references the chaotic energy of 90s MTV idents

Sometimes it only takes a few seconds before we’re completely sold on a piece of work and that was definitely the case with Los Angeles-based animator Steve Smith’s latest video. We last wrote about Steve in February of this year where he explained how his work is inspired by “Home Depot and his dog, Shoe” and we’ve been hooked ever since.

List09_sha_svaneti_georgia_full_3500_2016-4416 Work / Photography Natasha Sharapova on shooting the last two inhabitants of a rural village in Georgia

Svaneti, an area in the north-west of Georgia, is a place quite unlike anywhere else. Tucked in the rare habitable pockets of the Caucasus mountains (sometimes even clinging to the sides), its villages are a patchwork of higgledy-piggledy dirt tracks complete with free-range cows, bear-like mountain dogs and the hairiest of pigs. Medieval defensive towers punctuate the landscape, built as places for the whole village to wait out enemy invaders – a tactic that worked so well that the Svan language, polyphonic singing style and many of its unique customs (blood feuds included) were just as impossible to conquer as the mountains themselves. The nearest town Mestia is between three and five hours of stomach-churning roads away, and in the harsh winter metres of snow damage this one road so completely that it needs to be laid again every spring. Here you can try to domesticate nature, but it has a will all of its own.

Listthe_twins_220x190_oil_on_canvas_2018 Work / Art Francisco Rodríguez’s eerie paintings combine his childhood diet of cartoons and industrial landscapes

Growing up in Santiago, Chile, artist Francisco Rodríguez loved watching cartoons from the US and Europe but especially from Japan. “Japanese animation was extraordinarily famous during the 90s in Chile, maybe because they were cheaper to buy,” Francisco tells us. “Throughout my childhood, I was very influenced by these cartoons – it makes me think this could be one of the reasons why my paintings are quite graphic with solid colours and very delimited drawings.”

Listioanna11 Work / Photography Photographer Ioanna Sakellaraki's Aidos series explores the importance of shame in Greek culture

“With regards to Greek culture, shaming is a lifelong tradition for positioning someone in society,” says photographer Ioanna Sakellaraki about her decision to focus on the emotion of shame for her series Aidos. “I felt this was a big part of my education while growing up back home. I was aware of it then but was only able to observe it while living abroad and visiting the country sporadically. Photography helped me question this and better understand it.”

Ashleyarmitage-advert-int-list Work / Advertising Photographer Ashley Armitage directs the first-ever shaving advert to feature female body hair

It’s no secret that female product commercials tend to recycle the same, tired clichés. Shaving commercials feature women pointlessly shaving already hairless armpits and unrealistically stone-smooth legs. Chicago-based photographer, Ashley Armitage, has teamed up with Billie, a female-first shave and body brand, to produce the first ever advert to feature women’s body hair. Long overdue, the commercial sees girls reclaiming and celebrating natural beauty. Set to Princess Nokia’s “Tomboy”, Ashley describes her directional debut as “dreamy, playful and lighthearted”, and it appreciates women for what they are, rather than pushing them towards unrealistic, ridiculous ends.

Amandaeliasson-snowwhitecologne-animation-itsnicethat-2list Work / Animation Amanda Eliasson's powerful animation reflects on the painful reality of drug abuse

Channel 4, The Barbican and School of Life; these are just some of animation director Amanda Eliasson’s clients. With her vibrant style and abstract compositions, it’s no wonder Amanda has attracted attention from some of the creative industry’s most respected institutions. Despite graduating with an MA from the Royal College of Art in 2017, animation wasn’t always on the cards for Amanda. Initially, the young animator applied to train as an air traffic controller but sent an application to Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm on the side. It was during her time at the Swedish design school that Amanda fell in love with animation and the exciting narrative opportunities it offered her.

Listpg_13 Work / Publication Dark Igloo’s book Centerhold celebrates the hand modelling of Playboy magazine (NSFW)

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, Playboy was having a moment. Yes, there were tits but there were also excellent writers (Doris Lessing, Vladimir Nabokov, Ray Bradbury) and interviews with the likes of Miles Davis, Malcolm X and James Baldwin. The rigorous attention afforded to its literary output also extended to its art direction, with set designers and stylists creating lavish Renaissance-style backdrops for its models to lounge in.

Michaeljamesfox-plastics-photography-itsnicethat-7list Work / Photography Michael James Fox's latest book is an unlikely celebration of plastic bags

Plastics is the unlikely celebration of plastic bags and, more generally, plastic objects that have caught photographer Michael James Fox’s eye over the years. Michael spent his childhood reading skate magazines and watching videos of peers with similar interests. Michael’s interest in photography was sparked when a friend gained access to a VHS camera. As time went by, Michael’s attention shifted from film to photography, the latter of which continues to interest him today. “Video making led me to photography when I was 16,” Michael tells It’s Nice That. “At that time I was obsessed with MC Escher and Dali, I wanted to create surreal images of my own. In the darkroom I sandwiched negatives together, experimented with blurring and even painted on prints.” It is safe to say that abstraction continues to be at the heart of Michael’s practice.

Paolina-russo-aidan-zamiri-fashion-film-itsnicethat-list Work / Film Irony, sportswear and self-obsession: Paolina Russo and Aidan Zamiri's creative partnership

Fashion designer Paolina Russo and filmmaker Aidan Zamiri are a creative partnership – and real-life couple – who fuse their differing design backgrounds to produce work both individually and collaboratively. The pair both studied at Central Saint Martins (CSM) on BA Fashion Design and BA Graphic Communication Design, respectively and, although studying apparently opposing subjects, it was here that their impressive and intriguing dual practice first originated.

List Features / Art From the Royal Court to @TabloidArtHistory: social media’s influence on art criticism

“When I was growing up everyone would read Artforum,Jerry Saltz tells me over the phone. Jerry is a senior art critic at New York Magazine, the winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize for art criticism and an avid social media user with over a million followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. “I, of course, never understood a single word that was in there. But that was what was cool. So that was what I read.”

List_kissi_ussuki_yellow_coat_724 Work / Illustration Vilnius-based illustrator Kissi Ussuki on her love affair with the colour pink

Sometimes creativity thrives best under limitations. “I usually get overwhelmed by the variety of colour choices I can make so telling myself I can only use, let’s say, five colours at a time makes my work easier and decisions quicker,” Vilnius-based illustrator Kissi Ussuki tells It’s Nice That. “I don’t really know how to explain my love for pink, it’s just a very uplifting colour and I really loved the pink shade of acrylic paint when I was choosing those first paint bottles at a local store.”

Alicetye-gilbertandgeorge-printedpages-illustration-itsnicethat-list Work / Printed Pages How Alice Tye tackled the daunting task of painting a portrait of Gilbert and George

Gilbert and George, the matching artist duo who go everywhere and do absolutely everything together, are one of the most recognisable faces in contemporary art today. The past year has been a marathon of winning accolades for the duo as they returned to fill galleries with The Beard Pictures and Their Fuckosophy, picked up their title as royal academicians and celebrated 50 years of creating work together.

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