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8 pieces by Claire Milner
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Swarovski Queen
Turn and Face Extinction
Amy Winehouse
Red Deer Stag
Giovanni Paolo II
King Henry VIII
Anna Rex
Porto San Georgio
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Claire Milner Biography
After graduating, Claire Milner travelled extensively, spending a year in Australia and several months in both Africa and South America. These travels had a great impact as she witnessed firsthand the generosity of those who have the least in life. When Claire returned to the UK she was inspired to create ‘Mother and Child’ which was exhibited in Cambridge. During this time she was approached by the founder of CamFed, to create five similar artworks for the charity which helps fight poverty in Africa by educating and empowering girls. Claire subsequently worked as a graphic designer and freelance illustrator in London and during this time she was commissioned by many large corporations and publishing companies. At the same time she began creating her own works, taking part in group exhibitions. Her interest in portraiture began when she was commissioned to illustrate portraits of Chancellors Gordon Brown and Nigel Lawson, which in turn led to commissions of politicians, central European bankers and company CEOs such as Sir Terry Leahy, Sir Martin Sorrell and Lord Browne. She also researched portraiture in mosaics dating back to the Greek, Roman and Byzantine eras, and began creating her own mosaics in a contemporary Pop Art style despite being the result of a meticulous study of ancient techniques. In 2009 Claire decided to concentrate solely on her career as a contemporary artist, utilising her previous experience as a designer and illustrator and especially her more recent studies of mosaic to create glittering works of art in Swarovski crystals as well as painting and mixed media works. Since this time she has gone on to create art for celebrity clients including Rihanna and the Amy Winehouse Foundation. Her 5ft x 5ft portrait of Marilyn Monroe is featured on the Official website of The Estate of Marilyn Monroe. Her Swarovski artwork has come to global attention with much international media coverage and her work is regularly published in books and magazines. Her artworks are held in private collections in Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Trinidad, U.K. & the U.S.A. In 2011 Claire's business was chosen as a winner of a competition hosted by retail magnate and Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis and shortly after she was chosen as a winner of a competition hosted by one of Britain’s most successful businesswomen; Jacqueline Gold. Claire was recently featured alongside prestigious designers in the May issue of Swarovski Elements Magazine.Claire currently works from her U.K. studio in North Yorkshire and her Italian studio in Rome and divides her time between exhibitions and working to commission for clients in the UK and abroad.
BA Hons Graphic DesignFoundation In Art & Design
Selected Commissions/collections:

Amy Winehouse Foundation, London, UK
Anglian Water Plc, Cambridge, UK
Cambridge Tourist Board, Cambridge, UK
CamFed, Cambridge, UK
Broadcaster & Geologist, Professor Iain Stewart, UK
Rihanna, Los Angeles, U.S.A
Royal Society of Chemistry, London, UK
University of Plymouth, UK
(Plus works held in private collections in Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Trinidad, U.K. & the U.S.A.)
2013 Private client, Italy ('Fashion - The Collection', 3 crystal artworks)
2013 Private client, Germany (Mixed media painting of sheepdog)
2012 Private client, Australia (Mixed media painting of barn owl)
2010 - 2011 Rihanna (Swarovski Marilyn portrait)
2010 Private clients, Italy (Mixed media painting 'The Kiss')
2010 Private clients, Italy (Mixed media collage 'The Matriarch')
2009 Gemstone Creative (Five artworks)
2008 TV presenter Professor Iain Stewart for University of Plymouth
2008 Private clients, UK (Mosaic Portrait of Bride and Groom)
2007 Private client, UK (Mosaic Portrait of 'Toby' a Rhodesian Ridgeback)
2007 Private client, UK (Mosaic Portrait of Bride and Groom)
2007 Private clients, Italy (Portrait of Giovanni Paolo II)
2007 Private clients, Italy (Portraits of Ludovica e Sofia)
2007 William Reed Publishing (Seven illustrations for Wine & Spirit Magazine)
2005 Caspian Publishing (Portraits of Lord Browne, Sir Martin Sorrell and Sir Terry Leahy)
2005 Caspian Publishing (Portrait of politician Anne McGuire)
2003 English Tourism Council, London (Poster of England using ETC corporate colours)
2003 Rodale Publishing (Five illustrations for Men's Health Magazine, South African Edition)
2002 Paul A Hill & Co, UK (Landscape)
2001 Caspian Publishing (Portraits of eight central European bankers)
2001 Wimbledon Time & Leisure (Cover illustration for Wimbledon Magazine)
2000 Rodale Publishing (Five illustrations for Men's Health Magazine, UK Edition)
2000 Caspian Publishing (Portraits of Gordon Brown and Nigel Lawson)
1996 Reed Elsevier (Cover illustration for Trends in Pharmacological Sciences)
1995 Reed Elsevier Cover illustration for Trends in Biotechnology)
1995 Reed Elsevier (Cover illustration for Trends in Pharmacological Sciences)
1995 Cambridge Tourist Board (Posters, magazine covers, original art)
1994 The Royal Society of Chemistry
1992 CamFed (Five artworks)
1992 Anglian Water Plc (Seven artworks)
1991 Cambridge Tourist Board
1991 J&B Distillers
Group Exhibitions:
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
Artist's Statement:
My recent body of work is an antidote to the chaos I see in the world around me. Superficially, it has a bright, naive quality, but on closer inspection the observer will often find an alternative secondary message. I take rather a Shakespearean approach to my subject matter which often has a humorous or tragic quality with a deeper meaning underneath. Colour, texture and the duplicity of seeming and being are recurring themes. My work is variously influenced by Fauvism, Symbolism, Art Deco, Pop Art, and the Ruskin quote "Art is not a study of positive reality, it is the seeking for ideal truth." Today’s world is extremely consumer driven with great emphasis placed on celebrity and superficial first impressions. A person's physical attractiveness impacts every individual literally from birth to death. People, animals and inanimate objects are valued more the higher they are in physical attractiveness. Given this, I like to explore the differences between first impressions, and reality on closer examination. This is reflected in the way I work, concentrating on light and shade, minute detail and the bigger picture simultaneously. Two examples are as follows: 1. On the reverse of the flamboyant Swarovski Marilyn for Rihanna, as a commentary on the life of a celebrity, I painted a much more understated symbolic representation of Norma Jeane; hidden and unseen, made only to face the wall, whilst the Swarovski mirror image stares out at the world; her famous alter-ego, Marilyn Monroe. 2. An animal example in mixed media is 'William the Pheasant' which is a portrayal of a beautiful yet slightly ridiculous flapping pheasant, using a lot of gold and exquisite colours and Swarovski crystals. It is a tragicomic portrayal and is an allegory for outer show being a poor representation of inner worth. Whether this is a commentary on the pheasant itself or the shooting party is up for debate. The artwork includes quotes and commentary from Leonardo da Vinci, Alexander Pope and others about shooting and killing animals. I investigate my thoughts predominantly in two mediums: 1. Artwork exclusively made with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS. 2. Painting/mixed media artwork embellished with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS. The crystal artwork is an evolution of earlier studies in mosaic. The technique I use in crystals utilizes research I carried out as a mosaic artist. If I am creating a portrait, the andamento or “flow” of the crystals will show the muscular structure of the face in the same way as an ancient mosaic. Each image contains thousands of crystals, dynamically refracting in a rainbow spectrum, all applied by hand. The technique of optically mixing colours, used by the artists of the pointillist movement is critical to my artwork made with crystals. The mixed media images are explosive paintings which include found objects, crystals, gold and silver leaf. These paintings incorporate commentary, quotes and slogans and reflect my earlier studies in Graphic Design and Typography. The final splashes can appear quite violent and intense or simply droplets, depending on the meaning. Whatever the subject matter or medium, I hope the viewer can return to my work again and again and have a new experience each time.