Creative Connection

January 29, 2019 /Adobe Stock /

5 Things we Learned at Nicer Tuesdays

With January’s Nicer Tuesdays hosted by It’s Nice That fast approaching, we’ve been reflecting on the final instalment of last year’s programme, where we were treated to some fantastic talks – from filmmaker Duncan Cowles, photographer Ronan McKenzie, designer and art director Caterina Bianchini and illustrator, graphic designer and co-author of children’s books Christoph Niemann. As always, we’ve pulled together some of the best tips from the night for you below …

1. Make Your Work Relatable

Many of Edinburgh-based filmmaker Duncan Cowles’ commissions have been inspired by his situation in life at the time of production. A case in point being his 2012 short film The Lady with the Lamp, which features his mum prominently, at a time he was still living at home whilst trying to kick start his career.

Cowles said: “It was made completely by accident – yet it’s become more popular and successful than a lot of my other work. The film touches on the relationship I had with my mum at the time and shows some of the funny and extremely relatable downsides of living at home when you’re 21. I think that relatability is what made it so successful – it’s full of scenarios that most people have experienced at some point when they were a teenager or young adult living at home with their parents.”

2. Be Proud of Your Identify

London-based photographer Ronan McKenzie’s work has caught the attention of Vogue, Wonderland and Adidas to name a few. Her recent project I’m Home explores black female photographers, inviting fellow artists Liz Johnson ArturRhea Dillon, and Joy Gregory to join her in an exploration of home and family, through visual images. The exhibit continues her move to bridge the gap between emerging artists and more established names.

McKenzie said: “About two years ago shooting diversity came into fashion. I wanted to recreate those iconic images of Kate Moss but with people who relate to me, to help encourage other people to relate to them. I try and see everyone as equal.”

Her work signifies the importance of being proud of your identity and creating work that’s true and authentic to you. It also demonstrates the power of collaborating with other like-minded artists who you identify with both personally and professionally, allowing you to create truly thought-provoking work.

3. Refuse to Conform

One of Caterina Bianchini’s favourite quotes is by Pablo Picasso, who famously said: “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” The designer and art director, who runs a multi-award-winning studio in London, explains that you don’t always have to follow the rules. She said: “My work is pretty unique as I work outside and against the rules, jumping between lots of different tools to create my own spin on typography. Your work doesn’t have to follow the typical rules of graphic design. The most important thing is that you create something that matters to you and that you are proud of. I think it’s really important to step outside the norm if you want to create work that’s truly unique to you.”

4. Taking Inspiration from Your Past and Present

Illustrator Christoph Niemann’s colourful mural in a pedestrian tunnel of the Berlin suburb of Wannsee beautifully depicts the area’s past and present. Inspired by scenes, buildings and the history surrounding lake Wannsee, the art is created with 18,700 coloured 10x10cm tiles.

“I was inspired to create the piece when my family moved back to Berlin from New York. I wanted to do something for my kids, because they loved the New York subway and I wanted them to remember it,” he told It’s Nice That.

Christoph’s work combines his past with the present, taking inspiration from two very different cities to create something that can be admired by everyone who walks by it.

5. Your Only Limit Is Yourself

Finally, filmmaker Duncan Cowles explained the importance of listening to your gut and not letting setbacks stand in the way of future success.

Duncan said: “I’m a big believer in listening to what you feel inside. Go with the flow and respond creatively. At times I’ve felt as though things haven’t always worked in my favour, but by combining perseverance with creativity, your only limit is yourself.

Tweet us @AdobeUK and let us know the best piece of creative advice you’ve ever received.

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