World renowned artist Alexander Millar is very much in demand at the minute with upcoming exhibitions all over the world! However, he did manage to squeeze in a bit of time to answer some of our questions and let our art lovers in on what makes him tick.
What inspires you to paint?
If you’re a creative type it’s something that you have to do whether it’s music, dance or art it becomes a must in your life. I’m convinced that creative people are more sensitive than most people and in turn feel things deeper which often leads to them being more affected by the things that happen around them and can often lead to breakdowns and the like. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword for the downside is very well balanced by the upside of being able to use that creativity to cleanse the soul. Picasso put it well when he said the “art washed from the soul, the dust of everyday life” and for me it’s exactly that. As for me being an artist I’m inspired by everything around me for it’s like I walk around with a big imaginary frame in front of my eyes so when I sit and have a coffee I people watch and sometimes get ideas from them, but inevitably being in Newcastle you will end up having a good chat with someone for I always end up drawing while I’m in the café; for some reason I work better when people are around or I’ve got an audience. This usually leads to someone coming over for a look at what I’m doing and will lead to them telling me their life story and while I’m hearing words I also see pictures. I never really run out of ideas as I can’t turn off my minds eye for if I hear a song or a song title or watch a film or read a line from a story or poem I always see my next painting.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve just finished a collection of paintings that will form my new Spring releases in the form of limited edition prints called ‘Youth And Young Manhood’ which captures what life would have been like for the old men that I usually paint when they were young men full of vigour and wanting to change the world. A lot of the images from that series are based on characters from the television series Peaky Blinders with some of Robert Redford from the film ‘The Sting’. At the moment I’m putting together around 20 paintings for an exhibition in New York at the New York Fire Department Museum, which starts the first week in April so I have to get my skates on.
Do you have a favourite piece of art?
I painted an oil of an old man with his arms outstretched in front of the night sky with all the stars in the sky that I called ‘The Wonder Of It All’. The painting meant a great deal to me for personal reasons but I got an offer from a man in Scotland who wanted to buy it which lead to my first painting being sold for £100k.
What’s the importance of framing? How does it affect the overall artwork?
Framing is incredibly important for any piece of art. I used to be with Britain’s biggest fine art publisher Washington Green and they would always stress the 3 principle rules for showcasing art namely, Presentation, Presentation, Presentation.
What do you look for in a picture framer?
I look for someone who understands your work and the need for a piece of artwork to look at its very best for it’s all very well going in to a framer to have something simply framed but when its your livelihood and it’s a business that has your name attached and represents you as a brand, well it’s good to have a framer that works with you and understands the business side of the art world.
Why do you like working with The Frame House?
I’ve been using The Frame House for quite a few years now and enjoy going there as everyone is very friendly and enjoy a good joke but at the same time are extremely professional and for me they will always bend over backwards to accommodate my needs as my life can be described as last minute.com. If I need something framed straight away they will help as much as they can. I’ve found Paul and Craig have a really good eye so as to pick just the right moulding to bring out the best in your artwork and the range of mouldings that is in stock at the Frame House is the best in the region by far.
For more examples of Alexander’s work and details of upcoming exhibitions check out his website https://alexandermillar.com/