Adele Mills

Born in Los Angeles and currently living in Venice, CA, Adele Mills is an artist who explores the inestimable possibilities of mixed media.

In her recent project, Parallax Gap, she delves into the thought-provoking relationship between photography and painting to create a new, layered medium of movement and meaning. She forms a gap where, as Adele puts it, “everything happens.”

Through her intriguing approach to art, Mills captures the wonders and variations of perspective—she gives art a sense of captivating life.

Mood of Living: Q&A

MoL: Occupation?
AM: Mixed Media/Artist

MoL: Occupation description?
I think of myself essentially as a storyteller using visual images.

MoL: Before your current occupation you were?
I was an Interior Designer and had a small firm for 15 years before going back to school to get my MFA at Cal Arts.

MoL: What and/or who inspired you to become an artist?
I think that early on my mother saw something in me and encouraged me. Trips to the art supply store were frequent and always more exciting to me than any other place.

MoL: Where and how did you learn your craft?
I studied photography and painting as an undergraduate and in graduate school. The medium that I am working in now took me 3 years to create. I happened to stumble across a fabric that could be digitally printed and I was so intrigued by the possibilities that I spent several years experimenting and eventually produced the Parallax Gap Series.

MoL: What medium do you like to work in?
I use photography and sometimes I photograph my paintings. I combine them by layering the images with a gap in between. And within this gap is where everything happens.


MoL: How would you describe your artwork?
I begin with a photo but it transitions into a whole new medium. With the technique of parallax gap, it creates many optical effects. When you move by them, colors change, moiré patterns suddenly erupt, and changes occur in the perspective and depth with various degrees of harmony and dissonance.

MoL: How would you describe your creative process?
I go through many iterations for each piece because there is a story to be told but the story is always evolving and I’m not sure where it will take me. In the end I want the still image to come alive and function like a very short bit of film.

adele mills artist

MoL: Where do you look for inspiration?
I’m looking at art all the time, and I read quite a bit. I am actually one of those people who enjoy reading the French theorist Jacques Derrida. His writings are abstractions to me and stir my imagination. Right now I’m reading Derrida’s Memoirs of the Blind. It is a result of an exhibition he curated at the Louvre in 1990, pulling works from the collection all related to blindness.

MoL: What is your favorite quote?
I have several:

“If I can entertain without denying suffering my work is successful,” Pipilotti Rist

“Nothing matters but the quality of the affection,” Ezra Pound

“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, and be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, and it will roll in ecstasy at your feet,” Franz Kafka

MoL: How do you achieve a peace of mind and spirit?
I rarely have music playing in my studio and I tend to travel around to different places in my studio and my house. I almost never sit at a desk. I think my preferred state of mind would be wonder rather than peace.

MoL: We find that people who make beautiful things are more likely to lead an artistic lifestyle:
Do you spend much time creating a beautiful home?
AM: We are living in a house that we recently completed building but the interior finishes and cabinetry are still in progress. My husband is (among many things) a fine woodworker and he is building cabinets for the kitchen and the bathrooms and also making interior doors. In the past I was an interior designer and spent a lot of time thinking about what “home” means for others and for myself. It has really been a dream come true to have the opportunity to build a house. Since I work with color in the studio all day I find that I crave a tranquil space to retire to in the evening. That means a monochromatic environment where most of the furniture, built–ins and wall colors are of a neutral color and the bursts of color come from pillows, rugs, art, and accessories. I love to experiment and will change out these pieces periodically. I am basically a modernist and enjoy following the newest innovation by designers like Marcel Wander (Mooi Design) and furniture designer Patricia Urquiloa.

adele mills studio

MoL: Do you entertain?
AM: Since we built this house with that in mind, we entertain often. I like to keep it simple and try to do most of the cooking ahead of time. I really want to focus on enjoying my friends and not be distracted by the demands of cooking.

MoL: Do you cook?
AM: I cook about 4 or 5 nights a week. The challenge for me is how quickly I can throw together a dinner that is healthy and yummy. Usually starting with a variation of a Caesar Salad: Dressing of olive oil and vinegar (3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar), garlic, maldon salt, fresh ground pepper and mash it all up in a wooden bowl and then throw in the romaine lettuce or arugula and lots of shaved parmesan. Sometimes I add garbanzo beans, raw veggies or a bit of fruit and walnuts, followed by fish or chicken, and usually a little sweet thing for desert. Current favorite: small pieces of banana dipped in dark chocolate.

MoL: Who is an influential figure in your life?
Sounds kind of corny, but my partner is really someone that I greatly admire. As it happens, he knows very little about “art” but a great deal about everything else.

MoL: If you could have a conversation with any artist of the past or present, who would it be and why?
Helen Keller and Charlie Chaplin. I have a photo of them sitting on a park bench totally immersed in conversation. I like to imagine what that experience might have been like for both of them.

MoL: When was the moment you realized you could really do this?
 There were 2 defining moments that I can think of: Earlier in my career I painted on very large canvases that hung loosely from the wall. I brought one of them to my sister on a day that a friend of hers was visiting, the granddaughter of Henri Matisse. As the 3 of us hung my painting on the wall, I felt a linkage to a long line of artists. That shifted my understanding of history in a very visceral way. And more recently and from a commercial point of view, when the gallery that represents me in Germany sold 11 pieces of my work from the Parallax series in 3 days it reaffirmed to me that I was onto something.

MoL: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I am working on pieces that are similar to what I am doing now but on a larger scale that will be a human scaled environment: some as wall pieces and some as interactive installations.

MoL: Why is it so important to always have new perspectives in art and in life?
Art seems to occupy a space where anything is possible

MoL: What advice can you give to anyone interested in becoming an artist?
If you want to be one you will have no choice. 


Mills work is permanently in exhibition at Galerie Kunstkomplex and currently on view at C24 Gallery.

Venue Details

Location: C24 Gallery
514 West 24th Street, New York, NY 10011

Visit Adele Mills website here

Photos courtesy of Adele Mills

adele mills artist

Adele Mills, Artist