Claire Milner

Claire Milner

York, United Kingdom

About Claire Milner

British artist Claire Milner was famously commissioned to create the Blue Marilyn portrait for Rihanna, widely featured by the global media, but her personal body of work is made up of paintings inspired by her time spent in Africa focusing on social and environmental issues. An artist member of the Gallery Climate Coalition, she works in collections which are continuously evolving around the theme of nature, our place within it and encroachment upon it. Environmental references such as climate change and mass extinction have been the central focus of her image making for more than two decades. Her artworks include diverse mediums including paint, paper and collage, and as a signifier of her familial ties to Italy, she sometimes incorporates the ancient art of mosaic - famous for animal depictions – and crystal methodologies as a symbiosis of past and present. Her portrayal of animals’ interchanges between the metaphoric and the literal, yet the impact of humanity remains implicit, even when the human figure is absent or plays a minor role in the composition. Her process begins with extensive research, engaging in hours of study, compiling statistics and viewing painful imagery of the consequences of poaching, habitat loss and climate change. A great deal of consideration is given to the integration of this material into the final composition, where realistic and abstract elements coexist, alongside carefully selected art historical references and themes from classical literature forming a balance of topical and historical narratives.

Milner’s work has been displayed in museum exhibitions in the UK and her paintings have been widely featured in the global media including the BBC, BLOUIN ARTINFO, Channel News Asia, Elle, Forbes, Huffington Post Arts, The Observer, Save Virunga, The Telegraph, The Times, Vogue Paris and Vogue India. Most recent features include: An in-depth article entitled ‘Artist Claire Milner Addresses Climate Change, Mass Extinction and Pollution’ in Musings Magazine which interviews thought-leaders and artists in the philanthropic and social impact space, published by Susan Rockefeller; a feature in The Observer in 2020 alongside pioneering artist Judy Chicago’s Create Art for Earth campaign and interviews in The Curator’s Salon and The FLUX Review in 2021. ‘Everything is Connected’ from the Anima Mundi collection was chosen as Painting of the Day by Contemporary British Painting. ‘Logging the Leuser’ was chosen as a Friday Feature by David Shepherd Wildlife Art, home of Wildlife Artist of the Year. A selection of works from Milner’s latest collection were recently selected for a global virtual exhibition hosted by Create! Magazine curated by Gita Joshi.

Milner’s work has raised substantial funds for conservation organisations and won awards for raising awareness of threats facing keystone species. In 2015 Burning Bright created with 32,000 Swarovski crystals was auctioned at The Savoy Hotel, London, and sold to an art collector in Germany in aid of Save Wild Tigers, The Born Free Foundation and The Environmental Investigation Agency. In 2016 Milner's crystal mosaic portrait of an elephant-poaching victim was sold to a collector in New York in aid of the Sheldrick Trust in Nairobi. In November 2017 the artist's painting entitled The Unknown commissioned by actress and Virginia McKenna was auctioned in aid of the Born Free Foundation and sold to actress Joanna Lumley. In December 2017, Milner's painting entitled Ocean Rainforest won the Oceanic Global Artivism Challenge, following which it was exhibited during Art Basel Miami. The competition utilised the visual arts to raise awareness about six critical issues impacting our ocean. The judges included Susan Rockefeller, Dustin Yellin, Aaron Levi Garvey, Doumi Busturia, Alexandre Arrechea and Zaria Forman. Milner’s paintings have been described as "metaphors of our time" in examining the effects of humans on each other and on other species.

Education

EDUCATION & TRAINING
BA Hons Graphic Design, Coventry
Foundation In Art & Design, Harrogate
Elaine M. Goodwin Mosaic Summer School, London
Mosaic Workshop Course, London

BIOGRAPHY
Milner’s work has raised large funds for conservation and environmental organisations. In 2015 Burning Bright (True Value Collection) created with 32,000 Swarovski crystals representing ten times the number of tigers left in the wild, was exhibited at Hotel Café Royal, auctioned at The Savoy Hotel, London, and sold to an art collector in Germany via Paddle8 in aid of Save Wild Tigers, The Born Free Foundation and The Environmental Investigation Agency. In 2016 Milner's crystal mosaic portrait of an elephant-poaching victim Delicate And Mighty (True Value Collection) was sold to a collector in New York in aid of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi. In November 2017 the artist's mixed media painting entitled The Unknown (Holocene Twilight Collection) commissioned by actress and animal activist Virginia McKenna was auctioned in aid of the Born Free Foundation and sold to actress and activist Joanna Lumley. In December 2017, Milner's painting entitled Ocean Rainforest (Anthropocene Extinction Collection) featuring coral reefs and sea turtles won the Oceanic Global x Alpha'a Artivism Challenge, following which it was exhibited during Art Basel Miami. The competition utilised the visual arts to raise awareness about six critical issues impacting our ocean. The judges included Susan Rockefeller, Dustin Yellin, Aaron Levi Garvey, Doumi Busturia, Alexandre Arrechea and Zaria Forman. Milner's painting entitled Symbiosis (Anthropocene Extinction Collection), a companion piece to Ocean Rainforest went on to be a 2018 1ST ARTSLANT Prize Showcase Winner. Milner was subsequently featured in Musings Magazine in December 2019 by Susan Rockefeller. Her work appeared in The Observer in April 2020 alongside pioneering artist Judy Chicago in a feature about her Create Art For Earth campaign.

Claire Milner's artworks are held in a number of private collections, including Blue Marilyn in the collection of Rihanna. The portrait has been widely featured by the global media, it has appeared on The Official Website of The Estate of Marilyn Monroe, and has been showcased by Swarovski. It was included in a special edition of Vogue Paris which was guest edited by Rihanna who featured the work in a profile of her favourite things. Milner's portrait of Amy Winehouse appeared in an exhibition curated by the Amy Winehouse Foundation to mark what would have been the late singer's 30th birthday. The artist’s semi abstract artwork representing under sea volcanoes and life in the ocean depths entitled ‘Hydrothermal Vents’ is in the collection of Professor Iain Stewart, BBC Broadcaster and head of Department of Earth Sciences at Plymouth University. Milner's work has been displayed in museum exhibitions in the UK including: Ripon Cathedral, York Minster, Corinium Museum, Canal Museum, Pontefract Museum, Museum in the Park, as well as installations in Harrods and Whiteley's. Her paintings have been featured internationally in the media including The BBC, BLOUIN ARTINFO, Channel News Asia, Elle, Forbes, Huffington Post Arts, The Observer, Save Virunga, The Telegraph, The Times, Vogue and many others and described as "metaphors of our time" in examining the effects of humans on each other and on other species.

Claire Milner studied her Foundation in Art and Design at Harrogate School of Art, and went on to Coventry Polytechnic, U.K. from which she graduated in Graphic Design and Typography. Before devoting her career to fine art, she worked as an illustrator in London, where she was commissioned by many large corporations and publishing companies. She illustrated portraits of British Chancellors Gordon Brown and Nigel Lawson for major publications, leading to further portrait commissions of politicians, Central European Bankers and company CEOs such as Sir Terry Leahy, Sir Martin Sorrell and Lord Browne.

Events

2018 Featured in Vogue Paris guest edited by Rihanna who says '“This portrait by the artist CLAIRE MILNER is at home in New York. She makes portraits of celebrities a bit like Warhol, but in her case, the Swarovski crystals replace the serigraphic technique. I find fascinating the shadows, the nuances, and the emotions that she manages to express thanks to subtle games of colored crystals. I am in love with this work. And I am in love with Marilyn. What is more moving than these candid eyes?”

2017, Milner's painting entitled Ocean Rainforest (Anthropocene Extinction Collection) featuring coral reefs and sea turtles won the Oceanic Global x Alpha'a Artivism Challenge, following which it was exhibited during Art Basel Miami. The competition utilised the visual arts to raise awareness about six critical issues impacting our ocean. The judges included Susan Rockefeller, Dustin Yellin, Aaron Levi Garvey, Doumi Busturia, Alexandre Arrechea and Zaria Forman. Milner's painting entitled Symbiosis (Anthropocene Extinction Collection), a companion piece to Ocean Rainforest went on to be a 2018 1ST ARTSLANT Prize Showcase Winner.

2017 Beyond the Bars, Royal Horticultural Halls, London. Benefit auction for the Born Free Foundation. Milner's mixed media painting entitled The Unknown (Holocene Twilight Collection) commissioned by actress and animal activist Virginia McKenna was auctioned in aid of the Born Free Foundation and sold to actress and activist Joanna Lumley.

2016 Milner's crystal mosaic portrait of an elephant-poaching victim Delicate And Mighty (True Value Collection) was sold to a collector in New York in aid of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi.

2015 Burning Bright (True Value Collection) created with 32,000 Swarovski crystals representing ten times the number of tigers left in the wild, was exhibited at Hotel Café Royal, auctioned at The Savoy Hotel, London, and sold to an art collector in Germany via Paddle8 in aid of Save Wild Tigers, The Born Free Foundation and The Environmental Investigation Agency.

Milner’s work has raised substantial funds for conservation and environmental organisations and won awards for raising awareness of threats facing keystone species. Her paintings have been described as "metaphors of our time" in examining the effects of humans on each other and on other species.

Exhibitions

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS & ART FAIRS
2021
Shrine Gallery New York. Artist Open Call GROUP SHOW - Digital Exhibition
Create! Magazine Global Online Exhibition juried and curated by Gita Joshi
David Shepherd Wildlife Art, home of Wildlife Artist of the Year: Logging the Leuser chosen as Friday Feature
2020
Painting of the Day: Chosen by Contemporary British Painting, an artist led organisation which explores and promotes current trends in British painting.2017 Artivism Challenge Miami Art Week
2017 Beyond the Bars, Royal Horticultural Halls, London
2015 Save Wild Tigers, The Savoy Hotel, London
2015 Be Inspired, curated by Christian Furr, Hotel Cafe Royal, London
2015 Selected to participate in the X Edition of the Florence Biennale
2014 "Fragments of Nature" RHS Harlow Carr
2014 "To Be or Not To Be" Endangered Species, London (Rebecca Hossack Gallery)
2014 AAF, Hong Kong (Rebecca Hossack Gallery)
2014 AAF, Singapore (Rebecca Hossack Gallery)
2014 Bils and Rye, North Yorks
2013 Proud Gallery, London, Amy Winehouse Exhibition "For You I Was A Flame"
2013 Saltbox Gallery, Helmsley, North Yorkshire
2012 Great North Art Show, Ripon Cathedral, North Yorkshire
2012 Saltbox Gallery, Helmsley, North Yorkshire
2009 Banksy: Due North, John Mackie Gallery, Harrogate, North Yorkshire
2009 London Fashion Week, Platform, Hatton Garden, London
2009 Music of the Eye, Corinium Museum, Cirencester
2008 Waterways Exhibition, Canal Museum, London
2008 Planet Earth Exhibition, in conjunction with UNESCO & IUGS, Opus Mosaic Gallery, Exeter
2007 Facades, Wakefield Art Gallery, West Yorkshire
2006 Symbols of Faith, York Minster, York
2005 Wilderness, The Makers Guild of Wales, Cardiff
2005 The Elements, Museum in the Park, Stroud
2003 Affordable Art Fair, London
2002 Memories of Italy, Artistic License, London
2002 Panorama of a New Generation, Bernard Chauchet, London
2000 Take One Woman, The Atrium Gallery, Whiteley's, London
1999 Paintings in Hospitals, The Sheridan Russell Gallery, London
1998 The Imaginative Traveller, London
1997 Harrods, Knightsbridge, London
1996 The Regency Gallery, Cambridge
1996 The Devizes Summer Festival
1995 Cambridge Open Studios
1995 Looking Forward, CCA Galleries, Cambridge
1994 The Lawson Gallery, Cambridge