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Milly Clissett: Artist of the Week

Updated: Sep 1, 2020

For this week we will be exploring the humorous work of Milly Clissett.

A current Fine Art student at Leeds Arts University, Milly is a fine artist based in the Leeds and West Midlands areas, her work is predominately based on ideas of identity and 'the self' looking not only at her own, but at 'profiling' other people's. Her work takes the form of bright, immersive spaces filled with mixed-media 'mini-narratives' that include text, image, objects, video and sound that all combine to create a colourful and overwhelming space. If you want to read more about her work you can read her artist Q&A below and you can see more of her work on her Instagram as well as her website.

How would you describe your art practice in one sentence?

My artwork is colourful, full of juxtapositions, always containing evocative, thought-provoking imagery and often with direct or challenging statements/ phrases. 

What is your current artwork about?

My current practice looks at the art of making identity a tangible and obtainable object, creating a parodic style agency- 'Mill's Identity Agency' that creates profiles of individual's information, putting it into this predetermined formula, not dissimilar to the role social media plays. My current 'lockdown art' is about creating whacky and irreverent art to narrate whacky and irreverent times we all find ourselves in. 

What media do you mostly use?

I mostly work in mixed media- predominately acrylic paint, oil pastel and coloured pencil then putting the artwork into a digital format and editing/manipulating further into the work. 

Milly Clissett, 'Connor', acrylic painting, 2020

What projects have you recently completed?

Recent projects I have completed included my independent group exhibition- "A Bit Naff" and virtual exhibition- "And/Now" also my lockdown series- creating a piece of work a day inspired by a brief. All of which can be found on my website.

What projects are you looking to do next?

I'm looking forward to fully establishing my identity agency and collecting more individuals to join the agency- they provide me with their information and images and walk away with a free custom portrait! I'm also looking forward to holding a virtual exhibition which will be advertised on my Instagram!

What is your favourite thing about your own art practice and why?

My favourite aspect of my art practice is my individual and 'stand out' aesthetic effect, my use of bright colour and painterly style words. Most text-based work is often black and white and reads as often serious, matter of fact or diaristic, I enjoy playing with juxtaposition of the topic and subsequent visualisation in my work. 

Milly Clissett, 'I Glorify The Past', print, 2020

What one thing would you like to change about the art industry today?

If there was one thing I could change about the art world it would be accessibility- the common misconception that art is only reserved for a small percentage of people, however often art galleries and museums are free to visit. However in the price of artwork- there is a massively wide gap- going from one polarity of money that often isn't enough to support a new artist to absurd amounts of money for an artwork simply because of the reputation of the artist.

Milly Clissett, 'Tit Wank', print, 2020

We see that a lot of your paintings contain text. What is your thought process with involving writing? How does this effect the meaning of your art?

Text is massively important to my practice as I have a great love for words the value they have- the importance of them in expressing oneself and the power they hold in evoking emotion. Words are the most important thing and the only way we distinguish ourselves in a world full of shared experience. 

A lot of your art has a sense of humour, is this an important part of your practice?

Humour is also vital to my practice, I believe life is too short and depressing to not add a sense of humour to everything you do, I don't believe I see enough humour in the art world and enjoy bringing it to people's days. My work is full of juxtapositions- often depicting traumatising or depressing aspects of my own life or experiences and using humour to do this- I see sadness and humour as going hand in hand.

Milly Clissett, 'Untitled', acrylic painting, 2020

It is very reassuring to see that there are artists out there bringing humour into the art-world. Milly is able to create very striking and personal images in a simplistic yet attractive aesthetic, seamlessly blending the border between art and literature. It was a pleasure to talk to her about her current practice and we are sure she will continue to make amusing and whacky artwork in the future.

If you are interested in being featured as an Artist of the Week you can fill out a short application form here.

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