Wednesday, 1 May 2013

How nice is that? Printed Pages

Printed Pages
Spring 2013 £4.

Last year saw the publication of their first annual, and now online art/design collective It's Nice That have launched a quarterly magazine with an attractive £4 price-point. It has a very nice, striking french-flap cover which I've reduced to blandness through my anti-technology powers, but the circles and colours all contrast effectively and it's printed on a lovely thick gross-grained paper. But what of the contents? Well, it's a mixture of interesting articles, but the best thing about it is its accessiblity: for me, even specialist material should be allow any reader to pick it up and be easily read and understood, and PP certainly accomplishes that.

It opens with one of those 'come and look at my quirky interior design' home features, the home being that of Omar Sosa of Apartmento fame. Sosa's schtick is photographing homes as utilised living spaces, a more natural way of looking at how people interact with their home surroundings and furniture. He seems like a nice enough chap, but let's be honest: those kind of features rely on the general crapiness of all involved: the reader's nosiness and envy in poking around another's home and either coveting or bitching about it, and the usually awful bluster or pretentiousness of those with their living areas on display. Subverting that by showing 'normal' interiors doesn't really work.

The main spread in PP is a flurry of pages devoted to an interview with Chris Ware, who's been pretty much everywhere since Building Stories. Ware talks here about the connection between out realities and fiction and how inter-connected it all is. I appreciate what Ware does, although I'm not a fan (I like the form of it, but not the content), as it were: he has an instantly recognisable visual language, his art style, to me, is all about control- each aspect of it neat and ordered, thought out and planned, removed and distant, which is juxtaposed against the themes he cyclically works with: of extreme feeling or emotion: loneliness, depression, sadness. In a way his work is very much like his people/characters: a projection of a pleasing, contained outer facade with deep emotion within. I always like looking at his stuff though.

There's an interview with some people I've never heard of- a  young lady called Hanly Banks who after listening to an album of musician Bill Callahan for a while decided to make a movie out of it. Banks just drove down to one of his gigs and gave him a rock, talked with him and he agreed to being followed around for a year so so she could make her movie. These stories are cute and all nice and indie, but I never believe them. The film got successfully kickstarted and by all intents and purposes was a great success and well-made, so don't mind my cynicism.

I've never been a gamer by any definition, but lots of comic creators are and the increasing influence of gaming in comics is prevalent with people like Zac Gorman, Bryan Lee O'Malley, Nick Edwards etc. I've read comics about Zelda and Sonic and Animal Crossing and loved them, without having any knowledge of them at all. I really love reading about the creative, animation and art side of it though, so this interview with Jon Goode was really cool. Goode is the guy who designed the original Guess-Who and its characters before they were all turned into generic little composites. He's worked on Action Man and My Little Pony and it's interesting to hear him talk about the changes in focus in game design and art over the years (money-focused as usual).

The final highlight was a solid piece on outdoor sculpture spaces, featuring the Yorkshire Sculpture Park amongst others. Overall Printed Pages is off to a flying start: they've obviously approached it the right way: nifty production values, a clear, clean layout with a focus on diverse, quality content. Seek a copy out. 

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