Each month, we feature an artist who caught our attention. They could be in theatre, film, music or visual art. The point is we think they’re kick ass and you should know who they are.
Jordan Söderberg Mills is an installation-artist who designs objects that play with physical space and digital realities. Mills uses physics to hack visual perception, creating analog objects that manipulates lights, colour and optics in his illusory, futuristic and simultaneously beautiful and emotive works. Mills has been featured in Format, Azure, Wallpaper’s Design Guide, FRAME Magazine and Vogue Brazil. He is a Canadian artist based in London, Toronto and Santiago.
6 things you can’t live without:
- My street rescue pooch, Mrs. Mutt
- Fiction. Readers live a million lives.
- Reddit. Where else can you get breaking physics news while checking out important cats of the internet?
- Red licorice, because it’s basically the beef jerky of candy.
- A good MIG welder. Everything looks better with a touch of steel.
- Family, friends and loved ones.
What’s the best show you’ve seen recently?
Fly Girl Fly, a Manifesto 10 exhibition I saw in September curated by Ashley McKenzie-Barnes. All female artists, many of whom are dealing with really important issues around gender, race, and identity. Wide range of subject matter from Afro-Futurism to South Asian mythology – I loved it.
What are your plans for the rest of 2016?
I’m giving a talk for the Biennale in Istanbul this month, then headed to Argentina and Brazil for some work, followed by Chile this winter to get back to my studio. I have some projects coming up in Europe and the US which I’m working towards, as well as a super secret collaboration with a big musician. In Toronto I’ve got a solo show coming up at Katzman Contemporary and I’m in discussion with Artery for a collaboration on a ballet.
Most memorable moment of your career thus far?
There have been a few:
George Hardie, the artist who designed the cover for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, came to my show in London to see my prism work. That was badass.
Showing at The Power Plant was a massive career high that I never dreamed I’d achieve.
Being asked to give a workshop at Tate Britain alongside Super Collider.
Showing work at the Victoria and Albert.
Having a kid at Luminato check out one of my mirrors (thanks to the Design Exchange), stare at me deadpan, and say “this is how aliens see us.”
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be and why?
I’d write fiction, go into materials research, or back to school for linguistics. I have a romantic notion of going back into blacksmithing, which makes me feel like a butch wizard. I used to freelance as a translator (English/Spanish), or could be a really bad internet dancer.
What advice do you have for people who want to get where you are?
Learn how to make. Build things with your hands, assuming you have them. Don’t stop creating, even if nobody pays you. Let what you love kill you and become a slobbering zombie for it. Listen quietly to advice but make your own decisions. Build your own dream or you’ll be stuck building someone elses. Find funding any way you can. Be a tiger. Be a shark. Be nice.
Industry shout out — who does it go to?
Justin Broadbent’s be-freckled, pillowy cheeks. The Broadbent Sisters are full-on sorceresses and their work is transcendental. TYB Gallery is showing some really fantastic work. My brother Ben Mills at Public Art Management is turning public space in Toronto into a world-class art gallery. My sister and brother-in-law make phenomenal chocolates (Chocolates by Brandon Olsen.) Hi mom!