Lucy Jones, Oyster Magazine, Apr 29, 2017
Claire Milbrath does it all. Seriously. She’s a wicked photographer with an eye for haunting haze and unsweetened pastels, she’s the editor over at Editorial Magazine, and she paints comfortable scenes with the kind of uncorrected perspective that feels very inviting.
She opened her first solo show, as a painter, at the end of March this year with Steve Turner Contemporary. The exhibition, titled Poor Gray: Domestic Scenes, featured a character she made up (Poor Gray) just kicking it in his luxe home. While we couldn’t get to know Poor on a deeper level, we did manage to make contact with lil genius Claire. Tap through the gallery above to see her at work, and settle in for a few questions below.
Who are you and what do you “do”?
I’m Claire. I’m a painter and also editor at Editorial Magazine.
Where did you grow up and where are you living now?
I grew up in Victoria, on the west coast of Canada. Now I live in Montreal.
What impact did those places have on you/your work?
My home in Victoria plays a role in my paintings… I grew up in a big old house and my favourite thing was to stay home. I keep returning to that theme/scene in my work.
What were you like in high school?
Sometimes I think I was my most happiest in high school, even though I was an emo chick.
In what ways have you changed since then?
I don’t think I’ve changed much… I still feel like a 14-year-old. Maybe I’ve become more of a boss.
If you had to describe your artistic output in five words, what would you call it?
Childish, colourful, fast, imitation, efficient.
What do your parents think of your art?
I think they like it? They hung one of my still lifes in their staircase. After I did this phallic series, my dad said, “I just have to accept that my daughter is obsessed with penises.” Lol.
You also do Editorial Mag, how has that helped with your personal work?
It’s definitely enabled me to work more freely on my art. Working at a full time office job is the antithesis of creativity. I think the mag has propelled my career. That’s kind of why I started it; I needed a platform to publish my art.
What’s the creative community like in Montreal?
It’s small and busy. It’s inspiring.
Your solo show is called ‘Poor Gray: Domestic Scenes’, who is Poor Gray?
Poor Gray is a character I made up years ago, and continue to paint and draw. He’s a man who’s trapped in the world I draw. Gray is anxious, existential, wealthy, idle.
Who do you look up to?
What a fun question! Right now, Larry Flynt.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
What else are you working on right now?
I’m working on a still life series for a solo show I have in Milwaukee. And we’re putting together the next issue of the magazine.
What’s your idea of utopia?
A house you never have to leave.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A filmmaker maybe.