My ART | Artist: Milli Jannides

What do you do?

I make oil paintings of various dimensions that meander through the backstreets of my imagination.

What images are pinned to your studio wall?

On the floor: my own drawings; a couple of my son’s paintings; Edvard Munch postcards; books on theatre design, Francis Picabia, seashells and Pompeii, open to the pages I like.

The first artwork that made an impact on you?

When I was very young, art was: watching dance performances (and dancing); wearing homemade costumes; writing and acting in films I made with my best friend and her sister. Something was being created in the moment, alive and transformational. It is nice to remember. Later: in my first year of Elam, I saw the Wolfgang Laib exhibition at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and the scent of beeswax and afterimage of glowing pollen stayed with me.

An artist (living or dead) you would like to meet?

Not an artist (I considered Munch, but I think I might be disappointed), a writer though: I’d love to have a cigarette and coffee with novelist Clarice Lispector and just soak up her mystique.

What did you learn at art school?

The biggest takeaway were the people I met there, who are becoming increasingly important to me as time goes on.

What are you reading?

I recently sped through two contemporary novels, one after the other: Rachel Cusk’s Second Place and Sheila Heti’s Pure Colour. Now I am rereading a collection of eerie short stories by Daphne du Maurier.

What’s next?

Some new paintings that will be shown at McLeavey Gallery in December. A sofa collaboration. Possibly even some painted backdrops for a play in Aotearoa…fun things.