Elevate Talks: Miranda Jill Millen
Miranda Jill Millen is a self-taught artist based in Melbourne. Her artwork is all about color, people and emotions and her influences are a mix between David Hockney, Abba, comics and lobsters.
Can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Miranda Jill Millen, I am an artist based in Melbourne, Australia. I am fascinated by humanity and people, and why the hell we do the things we do. This is pretty much the basis for all of my artwork. I also love anything trashy, gaudy or in bad taste.
How would you define your style?
“It’s gross, but I kind of like it”.
Can you show us a picture of your workplace?
I cannot, because the storage on my phone is full so it wont let me take photos anymore. BUT, I can explain it to you. I moved house and now have an art studio that isn’t my bedroom, which is fantastic. It’s a small room with a table and some paints, a cupboard full of paintings, a kids easel that is my housemates but I use it. A filing cabinet that I store my drawings and prints in. Some plants that aren’t thriving but aren’t dead.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
It was a toss up between an artist, a hairdresser or a nail technician.
How did you decide to become an artist? Was it tough?
I decided to become an artist while I was at university studying costume and set design. I had just discovered that I didn’t like sewing, and wasn’t all that keen on building and set making either. I had recently gotten back into drawing which I have always done, and was feeling the profound joy it gave me. It was a really painful time, and a beyond scary choice to make. The university course I was in was somewhat prestigious, with only 15 people being accepted into the course. That made it incredibly hard to make the decision to leave, but it was something I really wanted to do. Sometimes you just have to do you, and go with your gut.
On a scale from 1 to 10, how important is social media for you? Which impact does it have on your work?
I would say its a 6. Unfortunately and also fortunately, social media can have an enormous impact on getting your work out there and letting people know what the hell you are doing. It’s also an amazing platform to get some feedback on your work, and have people interact and derive meaning from the things you create. I love making art, and sometimes its just for me, but the aim is that it brightens someones day which means people have to see it. So in terms of using social media it is very important. But what I don’t think is important is letting social media dictate what you are making or how you make it. When it comes to your thoughts and ideas and your creativity, social media needs to be like a dead body you put in the boot of your car. If it drives the car — it’s dead so you know it will crash, and if its in the passenger seat you know it will be very stinky and an unpleasant ride.
If you had to put together your all-time top 3 illustrations, which would they be?
What do you hate about illustration?
How undervalued it is.
What about ceramics? When did you get interested on them? How do you choose when to work with ceramics and when to focus on drawings?
I started ceramic work a couple of years ago as a way of exploring a new medium. I really love it. Usually I am doing an entire project with a visual and sculptural element so the theme is cohesive, which also makes it easier to decide what to make. Making the choice between what becomes a ceramic and what becomes a painting is instinctual, there are just some things that translate much better physically in a three dimensional way, and some things that work better two dimensions.
Who or what inspires you, in general?
I am truly fascinated by people, they are the fundamental thing that brings me inspiration.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve just come off an intense solo exhibition process so I have been taking a break from big projects. I’m feeling pretty creatively dead, so I have been taking time to get inspiration and my mojo back. I am in the process of making some more prints and different merchandise for my store. I am also in a group exhibition coming up in July at Neon Parlour.
If you could choose any product to sell on your online store with your drawings on it, what would it be?
Hand made ceramic mugs.
How do you see yourself in 12 months?
Well I’m seeing Shania Twain live in December, so I will still be coming down from that.
How do you see yourself in 5 years?
My main goal in life is to become an Italian Nonna (without the children) so hopefully I will be closer to my dream.
Bonus track: Could you recommend any TV series /comics /movie /song /artist /etc?
The Real Housewives of Cheshire — it’s glorious. Be sure to start
from season 1.