Originally from Charlotte, emerging Charleston artist Millie Sims spent two years in Paris frequenting museums, then landed in New York for her job with a publishing house. After heading to the Holy City in 2014 and dabbling in artistic pursuits in the evenings, her work graduated to interpret iconic imagery—be it a sunset she spied herself on Lockwood Drive or the dreamy photographs of Slim Aarons. In her historic King Street studio, Sims merges mathematics with aesthetics using acrylic and Acryla Gouache paints. Here, Luxe gets the details behind her process and inspiration.
Would you call your style abstraction? I don’t think my art falls under any existing classification; it reshapes recognizable imagery, compacting forms into their geometric essence with pure, vibrant color. I’m transforming the palette and distorting proportions without losing sight of the subject. It’s imaginative reinvention.
Your process is very measured and mathematical. I tape all my lines, then lay down paint very thickly. It’s a kind of origami effect— it looks almost like cut paper. I’m meticulous about keeping my lines super sharp. One thing I also think I do differently than other artists is that I always know when I’m finished. I always have a clear vision up front and a plan for how to get there.
Where are you represented? I’m with Well & Wonder, a digital collective of Southern artists based in Louisville, and Blue Print Gallery in Dallas. I have a show scheduled to open there on May 7.
Do designers make up most of your clientele? I do work with a lot of them. Amy Berry in Dallas has been a very supportive client, as has Lindsey Coral Harper in New York. And, of course, my sister, Elizabeth Miles, who is one part of Birmingham firm Hundley Hilton Interiors.
What was the moment when you realized your art was making an impact? Probably the most flattering thing that’s ever happened to me is when the subject reaches out. Cornelia Guest requested a print of a piece I did based on a Slim Aarons photo of her mother and brother in Palm Beach, which was so touching.