Meet the Artist: Emily Brooks Millar
When sitting down with Emily Brooks Millar, it’s difficult not to smile. For the Glasgow-based visual artist and painter, “if it’s not fun, then something went wrong.”
This sentiment carries through to her work, which is visually captivating and unexpected, tongue always firmly in cheek. Often getting a reaction from the viewer, for Brooks Millar, it’s equally enjoyable if it is one of joy or disgust as long as they are laughing.
We sat down with the artist to learn more about her work.
Tell us about your work! How would you summarise your style and approach?
Silly. Chaotic… but calculated and with positive intentions.
You’ve said that some of your body of work is a reflection on politics, using satire and your sense of humour often portrayed through animal-like figures.
It’s a much easier way of portraying subjects that are quite shocking. Initially, it wasn’t an intentional thought. If it’s not something in nature you are replicating, you will face that everyone has their own views on that.
I would like to work with human figures, but the animals are just so much fun.
You studied Oral History. Has that had an influence on your work?
I took a course in Oral History and Human Experimentation - everything from the past 200 years in Europe, like the atomic bomb testing, had a big impact on me. Imagining a suburban city that looked so normal, but then had an atomic bomb going off. I was heavily inspired by the content in that course.
What has been the most meaningful exhibition you have been a part of?
Showing at GoMA in Glasgow was the most meaningful. It was purposely formed to be a collaboration of curators and artists. We didn’t know if we would even be able to put on a show, but I saw it from start to execution.
It’s somewhere you go as a child, I always thought it was the best. I felt so different to see my work in a physical space, especially Geesebumps (pictured below). People didn’t know who I was, so I would stand back and listen.
What would you want future collectors of your work to know?
It’s simple, if it’s enjoyable that is enough for me. I don’t need there to be a big internal monologue when looking at it. It is there to spark conversation, and from viewers to take different things from it.
What’s next? What can we expect to see from you in the future?
More and more painting, and bigger scale paintings. I’m also really exploring animation.