“They look like fashion illustrations”, I said to my self the first time I encountered the art of Lady Millard. The pieces were rather impressive. Larger than life canvases, giant images of women being depicted as astrological symbols, and a flurry of color. I was amazed at the balance between raw and refinement in these pieces. Those characteristics possibly stemmed from the collaborative effort between Lady Millard ( Diana Smith ) and her art partner. Or it could have just been the nascent beginnings of this creator. Since that first encounter with her work I get updates via facebook ( ahh technology ) of her latest pieces. The work has gone from whimsical to a more precise polished graphic style that is reminiscent of the contemporary illustrative styles of today.
I recently caught up with Lady Millard and asked her some questions about art, life and everything between. Here is what she had to say.
Why art? I was born with a talent and my mother helped me to recognize it.
When did you first start? I started painting professionally after I was diagnosed as bipolar in 2002. It was a way not to get fired.
Do you use your art to chart your life, or in other
words, do most of your pieces have a significance to you
personally or are they just streams of consciousness? Yes.
Who inspires you? Jeremy Fish and Shepard Fairey and Damien Hirst.
You ( as am I ) of Jamaican decent. Do you know of any thriving artists or art scenes on the island? I have never met someone that was a Jamaican Artist. It is an anomaly an occurrence that is strange, unusual, or unique.
Were you born there? Yes.
Does Jamaica inspire your artwork? I am inspired by my heritage because out of nothing there can be something – and out of many there is one. I love being Jamaican.
Your work is tagged with a gentleman in a mask. Who is he? or What is the story behind the Millard name? The story behind the name is simple my dad, Millard, gave me my name, Diana, after the princess. Lady Millard is homage to him ( and her ), but it also has a secondary meaning The Sex of God or Lai di Millard.
Do you have any shows coming up? I am writing a book called Nicolette the Avenger the book of Light.
Recently Erykah Badu released a video where she strips naked. Do you fell that there is a double standard when it comes to women making an artistic statement with their bodies? No. I think people take themselves to seriously when it comes to sex and their bodies.
When you are not painting, what do you do? While in New York I play hand ball and call my surrogate mom Hyueng Kim she is Korean. I also like to work on my relationships with friends. While in California there is only work.
If you could let the world know about someone/something,
who/what would it be? I would let the world know that I could save it if given the platform. Step one, more communication. Step two, more art.
Where can someone purchase your work? my website http://millardboutique.com/