About


Bio

Alexander Millar is one of the most popular and collectable artists working today. His paintings hang in galleries and private collections all over the world and he is continuing to gain critical acclaim for the works he produces.

David Lee of the Jackdaw magazine recently said:

“What is admirable about Alexander Millar’s paintings is that they are the product of reference and invention, as the best art should be, and they broadcast a real and touching sentiment. I recognize immediately their intimate truths. We who lived our formative years in a Britain, a materially poorer but spiritually prouder one, still affected by the aftermath of the Second World War, wont forget it. We can’t, because the image of those times is burned into our minds eye. The uniqueness of those city landscapes and horizons, dark and broken places hinted at in Millar’s work, has been largely erased from sight by boundless modernization.”

Childhood

My childhood was spent growing up in the small mining community of Springside, situated between the two Scottish towns of Irvine and Kilmarnock. Even though it was the 60’s that I grew up in it felt more like the 40’s as the village seemed to be in some time warp stuck between the industrial revolution and Brig O Doun, and as with most wee places in Scotland, Springside had its fair share of “characters” most of whom I was related to in one way or another.

Even as a wee snot rag of a boy I was always fascinated by the small details I saw in everyday life and would stand in awe at something as insignificant as an old man getting off a bike, an old woman with bad hips struggling on and off the bus with her big shopping bag and children hand in hand or the way the street drunk would stand at the corner of the local pub armed with a fish supper negotiating a chip to land somewhere in the region of his mouth without getting brown sauce all down his front or getting the chip stuck up his nose, like some lunar docking mission that was about to be aborted.

It was like the street had become a huge choreographed dance routine that was being produced all for me and made what seemed to everyone else just an ordinary event became in my eyes a Hollywood blockbuster tinted in glorious Technicolour. I guess that is the whole premise of the work that I produce in that I still take delight in turning the “ordinary” into something “extraordinary”.

Early Career

Born and raised in the small mining community of Springside, just outside the town of Kilmarnock on the west coast of Scotland, Millar’s earliest memories were of his time spent in the company of old men dressed in dark suits smoking woodbines and large missile-shaped women decked out in big overcoats, pinnies, tartan headscarves and zipped booties, adorned with fake fur around the top.

His father worked for British Rail, as such Millar grew up watching and observing these working men in their natural environment. Their cycle ride to work at dawn, the industries in which they made a living, their drunken meander from the pub at night; a street ballet that was constantly played out before his eyes has given Millar inspiration for his paintings for over 20 years.

It is this, almost choreographed, every day routine that Millar depicts in his paintings. Making the ordinary details of life, extraordinary via his exquisite use of light and impasto brushstrokes, Millar brings alive those wonderful memories of a bygone era, his depth of expression gives us an insight into the hearts and souls of working men around the world.

Drawings

Most mornings I can be found at my favourite waterhole in the centre of Newcastle called Di Marco’s. It is run by Italians, the waitresses are Italian and most of the customers and Italian too. Since I love most things from that country I feel right at home in amongst them all, trying to speak the little of the language that I know. However my main reason to go there is to firstly wake up and secondly to get out my sketch pad and draw for it’s drawing that is the secret to painting.

People think that you draw to become a better draughtsman or draughtswoman but no that’s not why everyone who wants to paint should first learn how to draw. Because drawing gets you into the right frame of mind to paint for drawing should eventually become an unconscious thing, a bit like doodling. When you’re maybe on the phone talking away to your friend and you’ve found yourself doodling and looking at what you’ve scribbled you look in amazement for you’ve got no recollection scibbling that pattern or drawing. So when you draw it is a way to get you into a meditative state to paint so inspiration will come to you when you are in a passive state and not actively looking for it.

I remember listening to a documentary about Mozart and how he would sit by his piano waiting for inspiration to strike and not being able to write but it was when he got into a carriage passively looking out the window and listening to the wheels on the cobbled streets, that’s when inspiration would come to him and he would then go on to compose his music.

Press

Northern gadgie takes world stage

Accent
April 2011

Northern gadgie takes world stage

Accent
April 2011

Northern gadgie takes world stage

Accent
April 2011

Art from the Heart – reviving memories of happier times

North East Life by Paul Mackenzie
January 2012

Art from the Heart – reviving memories of happier times

North East Life by Paul Mackenzie
January 2012

Reflections on Alexander Millar’s artistic evolution

Fine Art Collector by Sue Steward
Spring 2013

Art Of England Magazine

Art Of England Magazine

Art Of England Magazine