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Local Artist Mark Miltz talks about his work published in Spectrum 18

Art Scene Hampton Roads Interview with Local Artist Mark Miltz

Hi Mark. Thank you for sitting down with Art Scene Hampton Roads. You have two wonderful works of art in the 18th Volume of Spectrum.
When did you discover Spectrum? Did you think your submissions fit the fantasy label?

Rising Muse

I’ve been reading Spectrum books since at least 1997, at least that’s the first one I bought. It’s always been inspirational, I own 6 of them.
I don’t really feel my work fits in the category of fantasy all that well. Most of the work in the book is book illustration, comics and poster work and concept work for film. But the book has always had an “unpublished” section, which is a great entry point for artists doing a variety of “left of center” work, and also for unknown artists.
As the work is blind juried, everyone has a shot to get published as long as the quality is high and the concept strong. The Spectrum people have always kept the definition of “fantastic art” quite loose. I think I benefited from that looseness this year.

Looking back, has your work evolved into discernible periods? When did you start incorporating anime?

Yes, there has been a sequence in the work; I tend to work in series, spread over a ridiculously long time.
I started working with anime elements in 1999 as a result of being exposed to the style, content and approach for the first time. I was particularly entranced by one specific series, and obtained permission from the Japanese originators to use the work in fine art pieces. I finished the primary series featuring these elements in about 2004 I think, though the elements have found their way into other series since then on occasion. More generally, I am interested in integrating elements of popular culture into traditional oil paintings while achieving a unified look and that element remains pretty consistent.


American Otaku

I love to read about artist’s muses. I know you work with a lot of models and your beautiful daughters. Did you do the recent pieces on your daughters as a reflection of their coming of age? Any muses in the closest?

Very astute concerning my daughters, Ally. I last painted them when they were 4 and 7 or so, and just working on technique. I felt it was time for the last chance of painting them as kids before they leave home. Since it took 2 years to finish them, it is a good thing I started when I did! Interestingly, both girls have commented on how the paintings mirror what I did with them in those earlier portraits, which was not intentional on my part. I was really striving to put their personalities in the work though, so perhaps this is a sign I succeeded.

Future muses? I’m sure I have some, though I am so far behind in projects I’m still wading through the work based on the Norfolk drawing Group muses from the last 8 years in the Judgment of Paris paintings. I’ve other projects in the works too, but am unsure when or if I will ever get to them. I’m fairly tenacious and stubborn about doing the planned pieces, but by the time I get to them I am often burned out on the initial concept. It is sometimes hard to maintain either the enthusiasm or the energy to get them done. Sometimes I feel like a slave to these old ideas.

You have won many awards and honors for your work. Is seeing two pieces in  Spectrum have any special meaning for you?

Yes I suppose it does, it was certainly a surprise. It’s a nice book and the work will be seen by people who would otherwise never encounter it. On the other hand, i don’t expect it to change my life or anything. I really don’t feel that the work here is particularly commercial as illustration. Since I have made the bulk of my living as a commercial artist for the last 30+ years, though, this doesn’t bother me. I don’t paint for commercial purposes, I answer to no art directors, clients or deadlines except the ones I force on myself. Unfortunately, my training has made me work best under deadline pressure, so maybe that isn’t such a good thing?

Goddesses of the Judgement

Where can we see Mark Miltz art locally?

My work will next be shown at the Artists who Teach exhibition at Charles Taylor Art Center in Hampton next month. I also have life drawings on display at Mayer Fine Arts at Waterside, thanks to the kindness of Sheila Giolitti. I really recommend anyone who has not been there check out the varied and progressive work she shows over there, Sheila’s openings are always interesting and brilliantly hung. http://www.miltzfineart.com/index.htm

See Spectrum 18 video.

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