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Conversations | Andy Millner

Describe the art you’re currently making to a 5 year old.

I make drawings but instead of drawing on paper, I draw on a computer like drawing on an iPad. That way, when I print them out, I can choose if they are big or small, combine them together, or change the colors if I want to. Sometimes I squirt paint over the lines, like writing with icing on a birthday cake.

Your ideal space where the creative magic happens (we’re talking place, people, vibe, you name it).

My studio. When people come into my studio they say it feels like stepping into my brain, and it is. It is an extension of me, my favorite place and it allows me to do more than I can anywhere else. I love being able to grab whatever I need whenever I need it as ideas occur.

Ideas come to me in all different situations and times of day. Early on in my practice, I realized I couldn’t think harder but I could think more often about what I wanted to make. I developed a habit of thinking about my work when I was not preoccupied with other things, like my mind’s screensaver. When idle, I habitually just start daydreaming about my work.

One living artist you want to have cocktails with.

Tom Sachs. I’ve already met him and know he is fun. If I’m going for cocktails it might as well be edifying and fun.

A piece of art in your home that you LOVE.

A piece by Cayce Zavaglia. She is friend of mine and also lives in St. Louis. She makes the most beguiling portraits that read as paintings but are actually embroidery. Our piece is two sided and so it is like having two pieces in one. We flip it around and fall in love all over again.

A quote or lyric that your brain won’t shake.

“Life began for me, when I ceased to admire and began to remember.” Willa Cather quoted by

I just heard Chung interviewed the other day and he credits Willa Cather for inspiring his film, Minari. Like Cather, Chung felt his first works were made to impress others. Letting go of that and embracing a subject he knows the best, namely growing up in Arkansas, freed him to use his whole heart. I too have stopped trying to impress others and attempt to listen and trust myself. Art making, if nothing else, is an exercise in self-acceptance.

What drives you absolutely nuts about the (art) world?

That the best work doesn’t always rise to the top. The love of great work is at the center but the art world’s orbit distorts too often by bias, politics, money, relationships. I guess like every other human endeavor.

Recent life upgrade that’s been a game changer.

Bamboo underwear. Tasc Performance. Check 'em.

Advice, compliment, insult... something someone once told you that you will never forget.

The Contemporary Art Museum here had a great program for a while called “Visiting Curators.” Valerie Cassel Oliver visited my studio in 1999 and she said, “It looks like your work is more about drawing than painting.” Such a simple observation but I think about it all of the time. Drawing with paint! She was right, all of my work is about drawing.

Huge shout-out to _____ for _____!

Teachers for working so tirelessly and courageously while being so undervalued.

Check out more of Andy's work here.

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