Since launching his career as a visual artist 25 years ago, Stormie Mills has amassed a dedicated international following. Born in North Wales but raised in Perth, Mills wandered the globe before returning to Australia in his early twenties. His work is an emotional expression of the beauty found within decay and his imagery highlights the strength needed to continue onward in the face of adversity. Mills has shown throughout Australia and is represented abroad in Barcelona, Berlin, Greece, London, Los Angeles, New York and Miami. Mills also served as a guest speaker at the London Institute of Contemporary Art and he has been commissioned for collaborations on limited-edition bags, apparel and toys.
What’s hot right now?
Art is hot right now, but it’s mostly hot because it says something—it’s not just “ars gratis ratios,” it is defining the way we look at ourselves and the decisions we make to shape our world. There are artists like Matt Doust, currently in LA, that work in very traditional oil media but paint such beauty. Visionary street rebels like John Fekner, who highlighted the economic decay of NYC in the early ’80s with his partner in art Don Leicht, are still working in the streets of New York. Amazing painters like Marco “Pho” Grassi from Milan or Jaybo Monk from Berlin that are complete masters in their own domains. Travel and the world taught me to see things in a different way, but artists and my peers showed me that I could make statements that can emotionally reach people individually, one person at a time, both inside and outside of a building.
What’s the most coveted fashion item in Australia?
I’d be cheeky here if I said the Stormie Mills limited edition scarf I just did for the Art Gallery of Western Australia!!! Anything from Calibre for menswear—I just got the warmest winter coat called the “trooper coat” from there last week. The Honeybees are going to be hot for summer though…
What’s on heavy rotation from your wardrobe?
Hats. Always. Right now, it’s a Viridi-Anne trilby made in the Czech Republic—it’s warm, comfy and keeps all my curly mop under control!
Photo: Frances Andrijich