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Rethink creates a bulletproof LGBTQ+ flag

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.”

Wongping-art-itsnicethat-list Work / Art A closer look at Wong Ping’s sexually explicit animations

When it comes to the work of Hong Kong-born and based artist Wong Ping nothing is quite what it seems. Using the light-hearted facade of animation, Wong penetrates deep into the bitter heart of the society he sees around him. From politics to sexual repression, for Wong it seems, too far is never far enough.

Lucy-hardcastle-art-its-nice-that-list Regulars / Ones To Watch 2018 Lucy Hardcastle and Ryan Hopkinson on taking their collaboration in new directions

It’s Nice That’s Ones to Watch shines a light on 12 emerging talents who we think will conquer the creative world in 2018. From a global pool of creative talent, we have chosen our 2018 Ones To Watch for their ability to consistently produce inspiring and engaging work across a diverse range of disciplines. Each of our selections continually pushes the boundaries of what is possible with their creative output. Ones to Watch 2018 is supported by Uniqlo.

Christabel_macgreevy-art-itsnicethat-list Work / Art Artist Christabel MacGreevy's new show explores the fluid nature of gender identity

Central St Martins fine art graduate Christabel MacGreevy kicked off her career as a fashion illustrator making work for LOVE magazine. Having garnered public attention with her patch brand Itchy Scratchy Patchy, which she co-founded with her friend model Edie Campbell, the London-born artist went on to pursue an MA in drawing at The Royal Drawing School.

Keith_haring_60th_birthday_celebration_art_itsnicethat Features / Art Celebrating the life, work and enduring legacy of Keith Haring on his 60th birthday

Keith Haring’s life, and New York’s Downtown Scene, and perhaps culture as a whole changed in 1980 when Andy Warhol and the art dealer Tony Shafrazi strolled into the basement of Club 57, which neither had ever stepped foot into before, and which Haring had filled with hundreds of drawings in gold and silver magic marker. It was the night of his opening. “We were all buzzing,” recalls Kim Hastreiter, who would soon afterwards found Paper magazine, “‘UH OH,’ ‘What are THEY doing here?’ We were suspicious and in a sense excited and sad at the same time – because that night it felt like our amazing secret world Downtown was being invaded and discovered and wouldn’t be the same again.” In many ways she was right. But first of all, Haring would be catapulted into the limelight.Warhol invited him to his Factory for lunch and they soon became good friends; Haring kept Warhol up to date with 80s youth culture, and Warhol in turn introduced him to the glittering world of celebrity and success. In 1982, Haring had his breakthrough solo show at Tony Shafrazi’s illustrious gallery on Mercer Street. The following year, he collaborated with Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren on their autumn/winter 1983 Witches collection, and Madonna wearing a leather jacket he hand-painted to perform Like a Virgin on Top of the Pops. In 1985, he drew graffiti all over Grace Jones’ naked body for her live shows at Paradise Garage. He was at the heart of both modern art and pop culture, which is exactly where he wanted to be. Had he not passed away of AIDS-related complications in 1990, aged 31, Keith Haring would be celebrating his 60th birthday today – which makes this a good moment to consider his life and his legacy.“I arrived in New York at a time when the most beautiful paintings being shown in the city were on wheels, on trains,” he once said, remembering coming to the city in 1978, “paintings that travelled to you instead of vice versa.” But rather than copying the Wild Style graffiti artists, Haring found a different way of working underground. Noticing one day that unsold advertising spaces on the New York City subway were filled with plain black paper, he ran up the stairs to Times Square, bought some white chalk, ran back underground and began drawing in his trademark language of comic figures and squiggles. Before long, he had made thousands of drawings – up to 40 a day – as he rode the subways across the five boroughs, to and from school, work, clubs, parties and cruising spots. His works would be seen by a colossal number of people every day, and because they were so often replaced, he had to keep coming up with fresh new ideas continually.Haring loved the subway, with all its advertising posters, painted trains and flows of people, and also loved the secret Downtown, the hidden world of metropolitan fucking and clubbing. He loved dancing the night away at now legendary dives like Club 57, Paradise Garage and the Mudd Club, or cruising public bathhouses, or the backrooms of S/M orgy clubs like the Anvil, for the kind of sex that wasn’t so readily available back home in rural Pennsylvania. “He suddenly popped out like a flower, like a seed in that cauldron of energy: New York City,” Timothy Leary once said about Haring, “and he put all his remarkable energy together – the wall, the easel, the canvas, the pigment… it’s a dance!” The city’s nightlife, with all its joie de vivre, its shuddering, intertwined bodies and explosions of colour, was where he found his inspiration but also, in those hardcore early years, before the dangers of AIDs became so well known, and before he became such a prominent advocate of safe sex, that Haring contracted the HIV that would eventually lead to his death. In a classical tragic trajectory, New York is what made Keith Haring and also what killed him, all in the space of just over a decade.His deep love for nightclubs, and for black and Latino culture, and everything around them, was also a huge inspiration for Haring. In that sense, his legacy can be seen in the practices of younger artists like Eddie Peake: who makes bright, graffiti-inspired work, and takes much of his inspiration from gay culture, black culture, club culture and pirate radio culture, and who strips his performers naked and covers them in paint, like Haring and Grace Jones. But of course he’s just one of many artists continuing Haring’s legacy in their own way.

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.

Corentin-corneau-graphic-design-itsnicethat-3 Work / Graphic Design Corentin Corneau gives "strength and substance to images and text" through editorial design

Specialising in editorial design, whether in the form of a publication or a poster, Corentin Corneau’s work places archiving at its heart. Working with found photography, video stills and texts, the French designer’s portfolio explores the possibilities of print: “shaping, ranking, cutting and publishing,” in order to “give strength and substance to images and text.”

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.”

Daynacasey-studiumgenerale-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design Dayna Casey's book of university talks is derived from the act of sitting in the lecture theatre

Designing posters for a series of university lectures appears to be a right of passage for many graphic designers. But Dayna Casey, an Australian-born, Hague-based graphic designer has gone above and beyond the usual one page InDesign layout. A graduate of The Royal Academy of Art in the Netherlands, she has created a whole publication, Studium Generale: Transmission Lexicon, on her old university’s lecture series.

List Work / Publication Super Paper is the cultural journal with regular design overhauls by Bureau Borsche

Super Paper lives up to its name. The Munich-based magazine is both superbly designed and informative; it updates its readers on art exhibitions, music and club events in the local area; it offers insightful articles on wider cultural and social issues; and it entertains its readers with satirical essays on the Bavarian lifestyle. “Each issue introduces a young as well as an established design studio, photographer or painter who accentuates a specific theme. The spreads include articles on art, fashion, places to be, exhibitions, literature, parties, and a chronological calendar. Most themes appear up to four or five times in a row. The magazine will then get a complete redesign," founder Hubertus Becker tells It’s Nice That.

Zhangkechun-betweenthemountainsandwater-photography-itsnicethat-13 Work / Photography “An unstoppable force is spreading across our natural landscapes": photographer Zhang Kechun

Zhang Kechun is a Chinese photographer based in Chengdu, a city located in the country’s southwest. Zhang spends his days working as a freelance designer, which gives the artist an opportunity to travel across the country on the lookout for new places to shoot. His latest series Between the Mountains and Water is a result of Zhang’s extensive travelling and features grand landscape shots of large, expansive mountain ranges and immense, concrete bridges. “Ten years ago, I spent three years shooting my last series Yellow River. After completing this project, I decided to continue looking for remarkable settings. Instead of shooting the river shore like I did in Yellow River, I ventured inland to look for impressive natural phenomena and man-built structures,” Zhang tells It’s Nice That.

Jules-moskovtchenko-the-pearly-kings-photography-itsnicethat-15list Work / Photography “It was never a question of making a fashion story": Jules Moskovtchenko's honest depiction of London's pearlies

Jules Moskovtchenko may split his time between four countries — France, Switzerland, Hong Kong and England — but his latest series, The Pearly Kings, captures a tradition unique to London. The Pearly Kings and Queens are characterised by their mother-of-pearl-embellished clothes and lifelong dedication to charitable organisations. They formed in the 19th century and have since passed on these practices through the generations. “Novembre’s Georgia Pendlebury proposed I shoot a series about the pearlies. She got in contact with the Pearly Kings and Queens of Harrow, who showed an interest in posing for us. It was then up to me to find the right way to tell the story,” Jules tells It’s Nice That. 


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