Artist Spotlight Series: Millie Sims
I am beyond excited to introduce you to my latest Artist Spotlight Series feature.
She is creating art unlike any others. Her modern interpretations are geometry meets art in a new and fresh way.
Enjoy getting to know the talented
What is your training?
I am essentially self-taught. My mother is an artist and I took art lessons growing up, but studied English and Comparative Literature in college. I lived in Paris for two years after school, then Manhattan for the next two, and spent as much time as possible in museums studying and appreciating art. During a particularly snowy winter in New York, I felt terribly cooped up in my little SoHo apartment, and decided I needed a creative outlet. So I trudged through the snow to the art store and started re-teaching myself to paint. It drew me in more than I had expected, so I took some private lessons from a variety of professional artists to refine my skillset and get a blend of perspectives. I started exploring geometric interpretations of the world, and fell in love with the process. Therefore, I can’t leave high school Geometry out of my training. As an Arts and Humanities-oriented mind, Geometry is the only math award I ever won in school!
What inspires you and your designs?
I am very drawn to shapes and lines. I studied ballet as a teenager, which is all about the lines and shapes created by the body. I am also extremely moved by nature and by others’ art. I love to take an image that speaks to me, and reinvent it as a series of shapes and lines. For instance, my painting “Lockwood” was inspired by a breathtaking sunset I witnessed on Lockwood Drive in Charleston. My Audubon adaptations developed out of admiration for the originals.
There is a quote from Antony Garrett Lisi that really resonates with me, “I think the universe is pure geometry – basically a beautiful shape twisting around and dancing over space-time.”
What is your favorite piece?
Truthfully, my favorite piece is always the one I’m currently working on. I get completely wrapped up and obsessed over it until I start the next and find my new favorite. I most recently finished “C.Z. Guest in Palm Beach”, an adaptation of the iconic Slim Aarons photo from 1955. So C.Z. is my latest favorite!
How has your area influenced your work?
It’s hard not to feel inspired in Charleston! The sunsets are daily magic, the marshes are mesmerizing, the beach, the architecture… there is a lot of aesthetic to appreciate here. Beyond that, the creative culture in Charleston is thriving! There is an expansive and extremely supportive community of artists and creatives here. It is a very positive atmosphere for creation.
What is your favorite restaurant in the Charleston area?
I love the Obstinate Daughter on Sullivan’s Island! Excellent food and ambiance. The short rib gnocchi is to die for!
What is your favorite cocktail?
Spicy margarita! I love the one at Minero.
How do you balance personal life and work?
I suppose by completely intertwining them! There isn’t much separation due to the nature of my work, and work environment. I am fortunate enough to have my passion and favorite hobby as my job, as well as to work with my best girlfriends! Several months ago I moved my studio to The Vault on King, a collective Art + Design space, housing eleven talented women. We all collaborated to co-found and create the space, which our spearhead Teeny Morrison has lovingly coined a “creative playground”! We host regular events, exhibitions, and pop-ups so a lot of my social engagements are tied into my workspace as well.
I still have childhood treehouse fantasies. There is a rainforest treehouse hotel in Costa Rica that I have been daydreaming about!
My dream commission is the kind where I am granted full creative liberty, which is rare. I got to do a really fun commission over the holidays for some newlywed friends. The wife wanted to surprise her husband with a piece of art for their new house as a Christmas gift. She gave me no instructions, no palette, no restrictions. I painted them “The Yellow House on Broad”, an abstract rendering of the Broad Street house (which has been divided into separate apartments) where they once both lived, met, fell in love, and subsequently got engaged on the front porch! It was so fun surprising both of them with the final product, and she was an absolute dream to work with!
Your favorite host / hostess gift to give?
Fresh flowers are lovely for every occasion!
Who is your style icon?
Jane Birkin. She has always looked just as glamorous in jeans and a tee shirt as she does in a sequins and minis. She has a look that is somehow very cohesively bohemian, classic, sexy, and unexpected all at once. I am an avid vintage buyer, and her sixties and seventies styles have certainly driven my inclination to special finds from another time. However, she still manages to achieve this effect today. I love how effortlessly she has evolved her look over time without ever compromising her unique style.
Your favorite up and coming artist?
Klair Davis. She is an incredibly talented young sculptor. What she has created already in her early twenties makes me so eager to see what is to come!
What is your most treasured possession?
My puppy Otis! Okay, he’s not a possession per se, but he is my best buddy and my favorite thing! Otis is a 9 pound mini dachshund and has personality shooting out of his floppy ears!
What are you reading?
I’ve just started The Jazz of Physics by Stephon Alexander. I am very intrigued by the interconnectedness of art and science.
What are you listening to?
I am forever listening to soul music. I named my pooch Otis out of a deep love for the late great Otis Redding. One of my favorite albums to paint to lately is Colors by Beck.
What are your favorite blogs / publications?
Well, naturally I enjoy The English Room!
I like Paloma Contreras’ blog La Dolce Vita as well as Apartment Therapy, where my home has been featured!
I love Domino, Traditional Home, Architectural Digest, Veranda, Lonny, House Beautiful, and Garden & Gun. I also like to read the Arts section in the New York Times.
Be sure to follow Millie on her website and Instagram.
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