I am Natalie Mills, but for as long as I can remember people have called me ‘Millsy’. I grew up in Birmingham but moved to London in 1995 to study BA Hons in Fine Art at The Byam Shaw School of Art, graduating in 1998.
For over 15 years after graduating I never so much as picked up a paintbrush. Life got in the way! But 3 or 4 years ago I became quite ill (probably started earlier but I wasn’t fully aware of it) which lead to very destructive behaviour and my life went into a downward spiral. Whilst I was ‘getting better’ I started painting once again.
My work now documents a very personal journey, a therapeutic reconnection with art. I wouldn’t be exaggerating to say art saved my life! In my world of chaos, as it was at the time, a blank canvas scared the hell out of me: always fearful of the outcome, scared it wouldn’t represent what I want to convey and the possibility of it all going wrong.
As I progressed emotionally as well as creatively I became freer, worrying less, learning to look at things differently, and actually started to enjoy painting again. A mirror to my life in general. ‘What’s the Worst That Can Happen?’ Mistakes are inevitable; and we learn from them. If it doesn’t work first time, you can start again or try something else and go back to it later. This has given me a lot of creative and personal freedom. Everything happens for a reason.
Now I can’t wait to start new pieces, blank canvasses excite me and quite often I have many works in progress at the same time. At the moment I am loving using bright colours, experimentation and spontaneity. I’m enjoying using materials I’ve never considered, or been afraid to use before. My pieces are colourful, sparkly and fun to create, and the messier the better! My pieces rarely have 1 specific story behind them, they are all part of the story as a whole; my story.
“Life is a great big canvas; throw all the paint you can at it” – Danny Kaye (1911-1987)
BA Hons Fine Art. Graduated 1998.
Herts Open Studios starts on 5th Sept (www.hva.org.uk). My work will be exhibited at The Mardelybury Gallery, Datchworth throughout September. Come along and view my work in the flesh!!!
Mardleybury Gallery, Hertfordshire, England -
Oct 2014 & Jan 2015
Herts Visual Arts Open Studios - Pending exhibition - Sept 2015
NHS Partnership Trust, Hertfordshire, sold artworks, permanent exhibition of four pieces - Aug 2015