Brandi Milne- Once upon a quiet Kingdom
Studio Shot by Jessica Louise
Brandi Milne is hands down one of my favorite contemporary artists. I adore the worlds she creates on paper and panel. Her brilliant imagination is pure escapism for me. Currently I can use as much distraction, beauty,and life as I can find. Even in the darkest bits of her imaginary world there is so much light and beauty.
With the explosion of social media where everyone is an “Artist” Brandi Milne stands out as a beacon of pure talent and the very true definition of Artist “ one who professes and practices an imaginative art”.
Portrait of Brandi Milne by Jessica Louise
Recently I had the great pleasure of visiting Brandi at her home/ Studio and taking portraits of her with her work for her upcoming show “ONCE UPON A QUIET KINGDOM” at Corey Helford Gallery Opening August 19th.
What was your inspiration for this show?
This new body of work was inspired by the notion of good vs. evil, and the fairytale-like memories of being a kid. I painted what it felt like to be happy and innocent and naive and then to discover certain truths about the world and reality. My palette was inspired by toys and elements (like Fisher Price and wallpaper and clothing) I had around growing up in the 1970’s and 80’s. I drew from my child’s mind as much as I could, my subconscious.
I really love painting the egg – ins
Humpty Dumpty, he has all the sweetness of a little baby, but he’s also kind of a jerk. He just thinks he can’t be duped, he’s unaware of his fragility, and he flaunts his devil may care attitude everywhere he goes. Until he gets duped and that’s the end!
Do the characters that live in your imagination have similar human issues and do they deal with them in characteristic human fashion? Or is there some special set of rules that apply only to their society and way of life?
I think they have (sadly) the same issues I have. They’re happily naive and innocent, and darkness and ugliness creep all around them. But maybe in their world, they can still treat their disillusion with loads of sugar and skip off with their maniacal grins.
What is the significance of the snowmen? They always seem to really be enjoying their lives out of all of your other characters ,they seem to have the most love and friendship.
The snowman is the jolliest fellow!! My mom LOVED Christmas – she would transform the house with tinsel and nic naks and vintage decor, Christmas music would be playing on the big family stereo and it was such happiness for me as a kid. It was a wonderland!! All these years later, I find myself trying to illustrate that feeling – trying to recreate it in my work. The snowman tchotchke was a rare find in the house (there were plenty or reindeer and angels and Santa’s to be found), but I remember specifically adoring what snowmen figures we had, and probably hoarding them from my siblings. The snowman best represents that spirit for me.
It seems like winter is the longest season in your world, is there meaning behind that?
Yeah – I wanted that Christmas wonderland to last all year round!!
What or who inspired you to become an artist?
I always gravitated to visual storytelling as I was growing up. I colored in coloring books for hours, drew haunted houses and ghosts and goblins with my sister, wrote stories and visualized their happenings – always dreaming of being a professional creative person when I grew up. I didn’t have a lot of exposure to fine art and art history – my art inspirings were what I could find around the house and at thrift stores or cartoons and scary kids shows from the 1970s and 80’s. No one I knew was interested in art – so it felt like it was my own thing. When I got older, there still wasn’t much art in the real world (that I was exposed to) that made me believe I could do art the way I do now for a living. So I just drew for myself at home, and worked crappy jobs – until 2003 when a friend told me about this weekend art show that happened every month (Cannibal Flower). I submitted what art I had at that time, and they loved it and showed it, nearly every month, and from there my becoming an artist was realized. More eyes were on my work, more art events and galleries became interested, my work grew and grew and here I am now!! Grateful and inspired for the journey I’ve had!
What do you think the next evolution in your style with be?
I’m not sure!! I know I will continue evolving, and continue learning until I can’t any longer. I’m excited to see where my art will go!!
(Art or Non Art related)
Gosh, if art making didn’t consume my days, I would do so much!! I love writing and illustrating stories (which will be my next project after my show). I would love to explore photography and design too. I need to be creative, it’s my greatest joy 🙂
Can you describe your process?
I usually start with an idea – either visual or maybe a thought or lyric from a song that sparks something in my imagination. I sketch out a few small thumbnails to figure out character, composition and placement, and when I’m satisfied I take that to the panel which will be the final painting. In the early stages of painting a piece, I can be messy and expressive and free!! (one of my fav parts!) Then I clean it all up, tighten it and get it looking as close to what I have in mind as possible. All the while filling my head with music 🙂
What makes you counter productive?
1. My Iphone – Instagram specifically.
2. Chores and duties and errands. Dishes, laundry, dinner…
3. Laying in bed.
What are your top 3 contemporary bands?
1. I’m terrible at listening to contemporary music.
2. I can’t even name one…
What music did you listen to during the making of this show?
I listened to a whole lot of Eilen Jewel, Lhasa De Sela and the Billie Holiday channel on Pandora!!
All images of Brandi Milne & Studio Portraits by (Me) Jessica Louise All right reserved www.jessicalouiseimagery.com
All Images of Brandi Milne Paintings provided by Corey Helford Gallery
“ONCE UPON A QUIET KINGDOM” at Corey Helford Gallery Opening August 19th 7pm-11pm, show runs through September 16th.
Corey Helford Gallery 571 S Anderson St #1, Los Angeles, CA 90033
Shoes are from Irregular Choice