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Richie Culver explores the UK’s North and South divide in his humorous paintings

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Edith-young-art-historical-palettes-art-itsnicethat-list Work / Art "Painterly Pantones": Photographer Edith Young on her art history-inspired series of colour palettes

“All my life I’ve pursued the perfect red”, sighed Diane Vreeland, once editor-in-chief of Vogue, in the 2011 documentary, The Eye Has To Travel. “I can never get painters to mix it for me. It’s exactly as if I’d said, ‘I want Rococo with a spot of Gothic in it and a bit of Buddhist temple’ – they have no idea what I’m talking about. About the best red is to copy the colour of a child’s cap in any Renaissance portrait.” Hearing these words, in an indie cinema in Providence, Rhode Island, photographer Edith Young – “struck by this inexact and somewhat ludicrous idea of perfection in colour” – had a lightbulb moment.

List Features / Art Democratising art: how the art world is opening up to blind and partially sighted visitors

“Blind people experience art exactly the same way as everyone else, they just have, and need, different methods of gaining that experience,” says David Johnson, a Hitchin-based artist who is registered blind. “Blind people experience the same emotions as everyone else, they are subject to the same feelings of attraction or repulsion as others; however, they need alternative sensory pathways to gain that experience whether through touch, audio description or other inroads.”

Sophianarrett-art-int-list Work / Art Sophia Narrett's intimate embroideries explore the complexities of human relationships

Sophia Narrett’s embroideries require you to look more than once; in fact, they will make you stop and stare. With their minute details and beautiful intricacies, they push sewing to the extreme. We question how it is humanly possible to create such miniature, elaborate scenes. “Embroidered images are immediately intimate and visually tactile”, Sophia explains. “The pace that embroidery dictates has become a meaningful way for me to commit to images, feelings and ideas”. The artist spends weeks working on a single piece; this means that she has time to commit to a narrative and understand the story that she actually wants to tell. As she is making with her hands, there is an even stronger relationship than usual built between her and her art, mimicking the human connections that she recreates within her work.

Audunalvestad-art-int-list Work / Art Audun Alvestad creates tender paintings of the “ordinary Joe”

Audun Alvestad paints the unexpected, in the sense that he depicts moments that most forget about. His art is repetitively filled with variations of the “ordinary Joe” — light, pink men, rounded, hairy and often speckled with tattoos. They’re pictured drinking an evening glass of wine, taking a shower, ironing a shirt, eating dinner or having a smoke. This seemingly harmless and often melancholic character is certainly not a figure we’ve seen represented across art history; and as the contemporary world highlights continual issues with toxic masculinity, his is a figure being quickly left behind. “As our world is changing, so do our expectations and ideas about what we should be or how we should live”, Audun explains. “I enjoy to play and explore these ideas about society, gender roles and other social structures”.

Audun’s art celebrates the banalities of everyday life. “I am a routine enthusiast," he tells It’s Nice That. “I like my coffee and a cigarette in the morning". The characters he depicts are familiar; he could be the bloke from next door. “I have a tendency to make up stories about the people I encounter”, he tells us. “From these ideas, I somehow end up building fictional characters that I use for my paintings”. However, this repeated motif is not symbolic of one individual, “but rather something more general he or she represents”, the artist explains. “Creating generic archetypes gives me more space to play with painterly or formal aspects”. As the figure appears so often, our eyes are turned to other qualities in the painting, the narrative and the painterly techniques.

Paola-antonella-london-design-biennale-art-itsnicethat-list Media Partnership / London Design Biennale 2018 Emotional States: why the theme for 2018's London Design Biennale is more important than ever

The theme of the 2018 London Design Biennale, hosted by Somerset House in September of this year, is an undeniably provocative one. Indeed, Emotional States could mean many different things to many different people, let alone designers, artists and those blessed with naturally imaginative, curious minds. Speaking to It’s Nice That, senior curator at MoMA and member of the Biennale’s jury, Paola Antonelli, proffered that that was what made this year so exciting for her: “that’s the beautiful aspect of the theme – that it is very open. There’s a nice ambiguity to it which makes for a lot of possibility.” The theme has been chosen specifically to provoke a broad interpretation from the contributing countries across the world, and to inspire work that covers a wide spectrum of how design affects every aspect of life, be it day-to-day, individual human emotions – from sadness to anger to joy – to the mood of a community, and on an even larger scale: unrest at country-wide level. It’s the scope for designers to challenge the current political, social and economic climates that have such a huge effect on both individual emotional states and nation-states, that interests us most here at It’s Nice That. “The news stories that we are facing are so blatantly important, urgent, and electrifying – for good and for bad – that I think everybody (unless they don’t have a pulse) is really heated up by them” agrees Paola, “and what artists and designers do well is that they channel that energy into proposals and ideas, or demonstrations.” In a time of closing borders, maniacally villainous presidents and Brexit, there are arguably more factors than ever influencing our emotional states, and even more of a need for designers, artists, curators – anyone and everyone, in fact – to channel those emotions into something positive.
Whilst it might seem like a lot of pressure to put on anyone, let alone someone outside of political office, Paola argues – both in our conversation with her and in her 2007 TED talk – that the capacity to incite change is well within designers’ remit, “designers are the biggest synthesisers in the world; what they do is make a synthesis of human needs, current conditions in economy, in materials, in sustainability issues and then what they do in the end, if they’re good, is much more than the sum of their parts.”

Superimpose-bookshelf-itsnicethat-list Regulars / Bookshelf From data collection to the role camo plays in fashion: Superimpose's Bookshelf

It comes as no surprise to us that our readers are familiar with the work of Superimpose. From video content for Adidas and visual campaigns for Burberry to its own platform Services Unknown; what haven’t the studio done. Champions of fresh and exciting work, the studio creates innovative and forward-thinking commercial work that challenges brands to go further and think deeper.

Morganhillmurphy-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photography Morgan Hill-Murphy's Italian summer: "a playground of incredible light and fantastic wrinkly old men"

London-based photographer Morgan Hill-Murphy has been on a long trip to Italy. Living in Bagheria, a town next to Palermo for just over a month, the photographer headed out with an open mind, thinking a loose photography project would come of it, maybe. With no forced plan in mind, he adopted the Sicilian routine. Days begun by going to the market, popping back to the same cafes, he regularly went to church. Morgan wanted to “understand what it is to be a Sicilian,” and in turn, he’s created a series that makes us all wish we were.

Potionpictures-loveisland2018-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design My typeface on paper: the makings of the Love Island logo

Once again this year, one television programme had us glued to screens. It’s been another season of not just summer, but love. Each night across the UK, viewers have been making sure they’re home for nine PM for Love Island, to tune into a villa in Mallorca where singletons cracked on, did bits, got texts and four final couples yesterday finally found love.

Richard-kovacs-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photography Photographer Richard Kovacs uses experimental lighting to showcase Lagos' fashion scene

London-based Hungarian photographer Richard Kovacs’ practice encompasses traditional fashion photography combined with some other approach or genre, resulting in work that is as distinctive as it is accomplished. “Most fashion imagery is very boring these days and many image makers are copying, consciously or unconsciously, a few of the successful trendy photographers, which is a shame,” he tells It’s Nice That. It’s this desire to do different that has propelled his recent series I Will See You in My Dreams, which combines experimental techniques, documentary and fashion photography.

Laurence-stephens-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Publication Laurence Stephens documents weary holiday-makers and stuffy museums in his book Bored Tourists

Holidays are weighted with expectation. Every hour in every airport and train station around the world, tourists arrive with brimming suitcases and hopes of what will potentially be the best trip of their life. When visiting Barcelona, London-based photographer, Laurence Stephens, found himself ducking off the bustling streets and into the cool, dark interior of the city’s Cathedral. Here, he quickly realised the humorous photographic potential that tourist traps like these could offer. “Juxtaposed against the beautiful architecture was an array of bemused, disillusioned tourists, bored, half-asleep, unintentionally waiting to be photographed,” he recalls.

Its_nice_that_adobe_stock_your_design_here_manshen_lo_list Sponsored / Found in Adobe Stock Your design here: a timeline exploring graphic design template trends

This Summer It’s Nice That is partnering with Adobe Stock on a series of articles that celebrate their library of over 90 million high-quality images, graphics, video motion graphics, templates, and branding materials. Over the coming weeks, we will be providing an insight into how the Adobe Stock library can benefit your creative practice.

Edith-young-art-historical-palettes-art-itsnicethat-list Work / Art "Painterly Pantones": Photographer Edith Young on her art history-inspired series of colour palettes

“All my life I’ve pursued the perfect red”, sighed Diane Vreeland, once editor-in-chief of Vogue, in the 2011 documentary, The Eye Has To Travel. “I can never get painters to mix it for me. It’s exactly as if I’d said, ‘I want Rococo with a spot of Gothic in it and a bit of Buddhist temple’ – they have no idea what I’m talking about. About the best red is to copy the colour of a child’s cap in any Renaissance portrait.” Hearing these words, in an indie cinema in Providence, Rhode Island, photographer Edith Young – “struck by this inexact and somewhat ludicrous idea of perfection in colour” – had a lightbulb moment.

Bexday-bodybuildersberlin-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photography Bex Day photographs the beaming smiles and fading tans of Berlin's bodybuilders

Bex Day’s photography portfolio zips between fashion editorials and documentary focused projects with aplomb. When it comes to the latter, Bex has found herself becoming the go-to-girl for capturing individuality amongst massed groups. Her most recent project is a brilliant example of this ability to assess both the unit and the whole.

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