Glorious FoodBased in Worcestershire, Sarah Millin is a freelance artist and illustrator who creates bright and vibrant mixed-media art inspired by food branding and packaging. Her playful style beautifully caricatures the original designs, producing unique recreations.
After graduating, Sarah's first job was working as a textile designer with women's groups and street children in Kenya. There she experienced freely applied colour, randomly placed patterns and a culture of zero waste, which continue to influence her work.
Why do you create?
I have been creative since a child, always drawing, making and creating patterns. I used to spend ages looking at the illustrations in children's picture books. I am driven to create as I like the fact art had no limits and you can take risks. I like the unpredictability, you never know exactly what the outcome might be.
“Colour, play, pattern-making, texture and shape inspire my creative practice.”
How and where do you work?
I work from my home studio. A regular day consists of administration, so for example sending out a card order to The Museum of Brands, working on ideas for a picture book and currently myself and a games designer have been successful in securing an Arts Council England grant to create an environmental game site specific to Worcester, called The Severn Rising 2222.
Tools that I use include mark making equipment combined with mixed media and collage. I create all of my artwork by hand and then use software to put images together for print.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Colour, play, pattern-making, texture and shape inspire my creative practice. I re-use household and industrial items that would ordinarily have been thrown away. I love to combine these with natural objects for collage, printing, painting and experimental image making.
I have also gained inspiration from my travels in Japan, India and Africa. With every visit, I've been hugely inspired by the colours, textures and patterns, as well as the traditional crafts each country practices.
“I found myself drawn to the often-overlooked design elements found in supermarkets.”
What influences your work?
Subjects that influence my work include drawing from life, nature, re-use, making and food packaging. During lockdown, I found myself drawn to the often-overlooked design elements found in supermarkets. The colours, textures, graphics and typography have become a real source of inspiration, particularly for my latest food illustration collection.
Artists that influence my work include John Piper, Brian Wildsmith, Eric Ravillious, Enid Marx and John Burningham.
The Severn Rising 2222, collaboration with Andy Round
Where do you sell your art?
I sell my artwork as prints and cards to Museum of Brands, Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum, Tudor House, The Pump House and The Nest in Ledbury.
“I would like to have an art exhibition of landscapes in galleries ... and do an artist residency in print in Japan.”
How do you promote yourself and your work?
I promote myself on Instagram, Linked In, Twitter and Facebook. I find the most opportunities come from contacting people that I would like to work with and by being proactive in this way. Sales come from a range of income streams including illustration commissions, print and card sales, an Arts Council England grant and teaching art to a range of clients including corporate, health and heritage mainly.
What are your future ambitions?
I would like to have an art exhibition of landscapes in galleries, create a children's picture book on making and re-use and do an artist residency in print in Japan.
Do you have any advice for other artists?
Collaborate with other artists and don't be too precious. All artists get rejections, but you just have to keep going and develop your own unique visual language. Travel as much as you can.
Thank you Sarah for answering our questions. You can see more of Sarah Millin's amazing work on her website, or you can follow her on social media via Instagram and Twitter.