Creative Profiles

An appreciation of the natural world

Artist Profile: Lou Millen

Story: April Spadina   |   Photo: Cody Fox

Lou Millen’s appreciation of the natural world shines throughout her artwork like a beacon of life’s simple pleasures. She sees the many layers of the landscape that has always played a strong part in her life, from her earlier days growing up on a farm in Tasmania, to her life now on the Fraser Coast. With wild bushland on one side and the ocean on the other, Lou is at home in a place where she can explore her natural surroundings.

She is a fossicker. A hunter and gatherer of objects left behind by the ravages of time and these pieces she collects later hold a new life in the form of beautiful art, delicate and refined. A waterlogged fence post dragged home from the shores of a beach, heavy with petrification from years of drifting in the ocean, to become the base of a carved seabird sculpture. A delicate skeleton of a sea urchin is painstakingly sketched in pencil, each tiny bump on the surface, every complex crease and crevice rendered with light and shade to reveal an excruciatingly detailed, large-scale artwork.

In her younger years Lou’s art journey was nurtured by a community of like-minded creatives. After completing her arts degree in Launceston, she embarked on a career of fine art and involved herself in creative co-ops where many of her mentors recognised her talents and encouraged her to develop and explore her creativity. Over the years Lou’s style has shifted and evolved to become the style she feels most comfortable with now – crisp and refined that comes from her meticulous eye for detail and steadfast perfectionism.

Lou understands there is an afterlife in every object. An empty shell that was once a home for one sea creature becomes a home for another, a vessel to carry a new form. For Lou, the afterlife is the chance to preserve the beauty of an object in a new composition, to be reinvented as a precious object and shared with the world through a new perspective. After an object’s current life has come to an end Lou Millen’s art brings a new and beautiful existence to behold.

The creation of this story and photography was funded by Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF). RADF is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Fraser Coast Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

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