The Alchemy of Art - Tobius Millar
Tobius Millar is a self-taught Artist who predominantly works in Oil Painting. Seeking inspiration from ancient Tribes and their Arts, Optical Illusions, Masks, and a barrage of other Sources; Tobius blends the lines between Art and Magic.
Tobius views painting as present-day Alchemy. Using Emotion and Atmosphere as the blueprint for his works, he then builds up and out to create a visual interpretation, and in turn making the piece a 'generator' of that specific intention, or an 'anchor point' for the imbedded energy in this reality. Bringing elements of Visionary, Lowbrow, Surrealism and Pop together to create fresh yet oddly familiar worlds to the Canvas - ranging from euphoric Dreamscapes to Optical overload, the prominent underlying Concepts of Tobius' work is to celebrate the dualististic relationship between Light and Dark while producing positive vibrations throughout the processes to bring forward prosperity, love, healing and emotional awakening to the audience.
BYO had a chance to find out more on what we can expect from his up and coming solo exhibition at M2 gallery this Thursday 4.12.14. http://m2gallery.com.au/
Tell us the story behind your recent body of work?
The story behind most of my work is more like that of a alchemistical diary of dreams and astral travel…Being human is still pretty new to me, so I often get overwhelmed and return back to my main ethereal body and cruise the other realms where I meet a lot of the beings like those in my paintings.
But while my works are very inspired by what I see and who I meet, it is often hard to tell the intention of a lot of the entities, so rather than bringing them in to this realm specifically, I take what resonates and use those elements with direct intention to create spirits and guardians of light -just sayin'..
What would you say are the key themes in your art?
The strongest themes at the moment, and have been evolving for a while now, are masks, clowns and portals.
The mask thing was originally inspired by ancient greek theatre. The mask is a crazy thing - It doesn't just create a character, but you can embody an entire emotion/metaphor in to the face. It's like giving a voice to that of which can't normally be heard. And clowns, aside from humour being such a powerful tool to cut through so much shit, they are the perfect juxtaposition.
People are both attracted to them because they are humanoid, but because of the make-up it adds an element of complete alienation. Your sub-conscious doesn't know how to react, so in a way it kind of forces you in to be present in the moment, never quite sure how or what to think.
And as for portals, well, we un-intentionally create portals with every thought. Every time we have a positive or negative thought, we step through from the last second in to the next one with that belief shaping our entire perspective. It works on many levels, what with the pre-conditioned self, and the emotional body continually reaching back in to our past to tell us how we should feel/think, and it all happens in very subtle ways, but still. So my theory is that while I'm painting a portal, and as I meditate on where I want that portal to lead, I'm in turn creating a massive life-hack and jumping forward to what I want to exist and to exist in. And let's face it - Harmony and prosperity between nature and all things is where it's at.
What would you like the audience to take away from your exhibition?
I guess I need to explain where my paintings come from to answer that.. While I love the visionary arts movement, and a lot of people still link my work to that genre, I see visionary art as a celebration of one's connection to universal source, but I believe that once you go BEYOND the "matrix", you enter the dream realm/dreamtime.
By tapping in to that, even if the subjects in my work don't exactly resonate with the audience, it still connects them to dreamtime. A lot of people have said that my art reminds them of something that they've long forgotten, so if I can remind more people of where they've come from (take that how you wish), then I'd be preeetty stoked.
What challenges you as an artist?
Aside from the continual challenges of nurturing my technical skills, I'd have to say refining my work back to alignment with my core self. As soon as my work is translated from sketchbook to paint, I feel it kind of loses it's rawness and heart to a certain degree. If I can somehow reach that same feeling of connectedness within my obsessively refined painting, I will have officially reached where I want to be as an artist. But it's all about the journey, mango.
What inspires you as an artist?
In short - art itself. Everything in life is, or can be art when you're not running on auto-pilot. Trying to find that balance between not getting lost in the past and not getting too caught up in the future of possibility, it brings up a lot of shadows within myself. So painting helps me expand on and disect those shadows, as well as inspires me to create what I want to be and exist in. Art is not only my tool but also my lifeline.
Can you name any artists that you admire and why?
I don't really keep tabs on many artists, because I find the more art I look at from others, the more I subconsciously pick up their styles and concepts, which isn't what art is about for me. But to list a few artists I can't help but gush over are James Jean, Dan Quintana, Fulvio Di Piazza, Peter Gric, Phibs, Doze Green, Shida and obviously Salvidor Dali..
Do you have any advice for emerging artists looking to launch their first solo exhibition?
Just do it yo. I've met so many amazing artists that are have been too afraid to take their art out of their bedroom, but you seriously have nothing to lose and everything to gain. An amazing artist and muse of mine, Katia Honour, said to me that once you have gone through all the emotional processes and mind work that you go through while completing a painting - you have gotten everything you can out of it. And to keep it hidden from the world is, in a way, selfish. Because you are just holding on to what once was. But to openly get your art out there, you're not only celebrating and showing people the parts of yourself that you can never put in to words, but you're also planting that seed and letting the energy flow onward for other people to connect with and hopefully help them through the same processes, or completely different ones depending on what they get out of it. Either way, it's a good thing. Doo iiiittt..!
How has your artistic path impacted on the rest of your everyday life?
Haha, I can't even describe it… It's become my everything. After I paint I can't even look at anything without visually breaking down the tones, shadows and shapes. It's given me purpose, and a way of saving the world in my own little way. It's taken me to places and landed me in situations where I've met some of the most amazing people I would have never had the opportunity to meet otherwise. It's a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs - emotionally, financially and structurally, but I couldn't have it any other way.
Where do you see your work evolving?
Very soon I plan on taking my art off the canvas and in to film and performance. I want to bring the dream realm in to this one, rather than just painting windows so to speak. I want to create full-body animatronic puppets and costumes, and worlds that they can play in. I want to be able to tell their stories and inspire people to start speaking up and telling/making their own.
Where can we find more of your work?
I'm still yet to make an official website, but you can find a lot of my work on my FB artist page and Tumblr: