Brandi Milne

Brandi Milne always loved to draw, paint and color as a child, and thank god for that because she has made it her lifetime goal to make her mark in the global arts community. Her work draws equally from art nouveau as it does from the lowbrow movement. Having grown up in Anaheim, California, Disneyland left an indelible impression on her beautiful mind, and she has consequently been blessed, or condemned (up to your own interpretation) to reproduce its likeness in her own manner, via her magical paintings.

“Not having gone to school is both an advantage and a disadvantage. In a way, not having been formally taught, I’ve been able to develop my own unique style and work outside ‘the box.’ But then, not having had the schooling, I feel like I’m always playing catch-up; I feel like I’m years behind in some aspects.”

Format: Not having an artists’ background, how did you get started with your painting and illustrations? Is it now a full-time career?
Brandi Milne: Not having gone to school is both an advantage and a disadvantage. In a way, not having been formally taught, I’ve been able to develop my own unique style and work outside “the box.” But then, not having had the schooling, I feel like I’m always playing catch-up; I feel like I’m years behind in some aspects. When I started out, I was just drawing at home, not having any idea of how to get my art “out there” in the world. A friend of mine was showing his art in gallery/group shows in LA and gave me a foot in the door at Create Fixate and Cannibal Flower, two monthly group shows out here in LA. I showed with them for a few months, did pretty well, and then I got some emails from other galleries like Gallery 1988 and Thinkspace. From there, you know, it just flows on, more and more people become aware of your work, and so the story goes. I’ve been showing my work in galleries for about five years now, and just last January, I was able to quit my job and make it a full-time career.

Format: Some of your pieces, like ‘Sugar Fiends (bear)’, look as if they are done on a wooden surface. Is this so, or have you drawn the painted to make it look that way?
Brandi Milne: Yes, all my paintings have been done on wood panels that my husband custom makes for me.

Format: You have just shown art Art Basel in Miami. How has that experience been? What is the selection process to be a part of Art Basel?
Brandi Milne: I was really excited to be included in this year’s Art Basel with two great exhibitions – Thinkspace Gallery and Mark Murphy’s group show. I wish I had been able to attend the fairs and see all the incredible art spread all over the land, but I’m just glad my artwork was there in any case. The selection process for Thinkspace was that I’m going to have a solo show in April ’09, and Andrew (the gallery owner) wanted to put together a line up of all his artists for the upcoming year at Art Basel. I was also fortunate to have met Mark Murphy at Baby Tattooville, which is an outstanding artists/collectors weekend event from the brilliant mind of Bob Self of Baby Tattoo Books. From there, there Mark invited me to be part of his crazy group show at Art Basel.

Format: You grew up in Anaheim, home of Disneyland. Has this had an influence on your work?
Brandi Milne: I have to say yes. Not just because I’m from Anaheim, but because Disney ruled the world of cartoon features that I was exposed to growing up. Pinocchio, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Dumbo, etc. Having loved all those cartoons, going to Disneyland was surreal. The Tea Cup ride with all the lanterns in the shady trees and twinkly lights above. Flying over that lit-up city in the Peter Pan ride, Frog and Toad, the Matterhorn? Being at Disneyland as a kid, is really unparalleled to anything else. It was hugely influential.

Format: Can you talk about some artists that have influenced you?
Brandi Milne: Camille Rose Garcia was a heavy influence for me. Her silly style and beautiful colors are still very candy-like in my eyes. Daniel Peacock’s crazy poster/old cartoon classic style blows my mind. I love Alphonse Mucha, Michael Angelo, Maxfield Parrish’s works. Who doesn’t? Travis Lampe, Ryan Heshka, Gary Taxali, Glen Barr, Femke Heimstra, all really unbelievable to me.

Format: What is it about Japanese culture that inspires you?
Brandi Milne: Honestly, it’s the products and packaging that make me go crazy. I think it’s also because of the kanji. The look is so graphic, and then the characters along with the kanji are so blissful. In such an over-stimulated market, something about that rings my bell! The idea that I have no clue as to what it all says is very stimulating too, almost like brainwashing. It’s kind of ridiculous, but I love it.

Format: Have you had feedback from Asian based artists?
Brandi Milne: No, not really. I would love it if my art could make a little splash out there. I’m hugely inspired by Japanese culture amd products, it would be great to have a show out there someday.

Format: Have you tried any guerilla style street art?
Brandi Milne: No. I’m more of a stay-at-home kind of artist, the streets might chew me up and spit me out.

Format: Can you tell us about the “So Good For Little Bunnies” book you released in the summer?
Brandi Milne: “So Good For Little Bunnies” is my very first book. It was designed for both children and adults to enjoy, and I’m very proud of it. The story is a little off-beat. My writing style has not yet been perfected, but it is very colorful. The actual story was inspired by my own at the time while I was writing and creating the book. I got married and left home, in the book, Be Be (the main character bunny) leaves home to reach her dream of going to the Carnivale, and on the way, she meets some odd friends. It’s a really fun book. It’s silly and ridiculous, delicious and great. Go to my website to see more.

Format: You were recently featured in the “Clowns!” show at the Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City. Who’s your favorite clown?
Brandi Milne: Hmm, I would have to say Charlie Chaplin, Lon Chaney, the Phantom of the Opera, Liza Minnelli, Gene Wilder, Jack Skellington, Pee Wee Herman…just to name a few.

Format: What are you planning for the future?
Brandi Milne: I have a solo show at Thinkspace Gallery in April ’09, followed by another at Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City, November ’09. I would like to work on another book, but this time a story book. I want it to be more of an explorative story of sadness and obscurity. I also would really enjoy creating some toys in the future. But whatever it may be, you can find more information at my website.

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Jesse Ship
I'm currently Managing Editor of this little web mag here.
Jesse Ship

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