It is with great pleasure I bring you the first artist interview for the blog. Someone who has a unique style and vision. Someone who has helped me as I play with spray paint since I can't draw.

Mr Ian Millard of Denver

You have been creating art for 7 years now, what inspired you to become an artist?
I have been creating art for years. It is a great outlet and keeps me going mentally. I really couldn't have done it with out the nice people that have purchased my art to help fund creating more art.

What are you major influences ?
I guess my general environment is what inspires most of my pieces. Moving to Colorado about 2 years ago offered a whole new surrounding which has found its way into my art. I feel the art scene in Denver is thriving and made up of a community of artists that are open to help each other out.

What do you say to the “art snobs” that don’t feel spray paint and stencils are true “art” even though that medium has attracted more attention with what Shepard Fairey has done? Spraypaint in general has got a bad rap over the years. If you went out and painted a wall with a brush no one would look twice. If you bust out a can of spraypaint people think vandalism. I use spray paint because I like the gradients and effects it creates with my stencils. Hopefully, with time, artists will push the limits of what can be created with spraypaint and break this stereotype. I like to feel that I am giving spray paint a better name by using it as a medium in my art.

What is your favorite brand of spray paint ?
Montana Gold. It has a great sheen and dries super fast. (2nd Belton Molotow)

What piece of art that you created are you most proud of ?
Probably my 50th Print. I had carved a ton of linocut blocks between 2004-2006 which I cut up into 1" squares and abstractly glued down to a new board. This piece was a turning point in my art. I started to branch out and try new techniques like gel transfer and stencils. I am also very proud of my latest print Alley Attack. I spent almost a week cutting the 4 stencils for the print. The black stencil alone took me a few days to hand cut each little brick and detail in the building. I decided to hand pull a larger run of Alley Attack screen prints so I could offer them for a lower cost and then still do my usual unique hand stenciled edition. This worked out really well. The transparencies used to burn the screens for Alley Attack were hand stenciled giving the final screen print the same feel as the stencil print.

You have done several collaborations with different artists who out there would you like to work with next ? I have really enjoyed the collaborations I have done recently with Jon Lamb and Michael Ortiz at the "No Anunciar" show at Andenken this April and the "Still Thinking" show back in December of 08. The 3 of us already have some future installations in the works which I am exited for. Tripp and I have been talking about doing another collaborative print this summer. Max Kaufmann and Scot Lefavor are 2 Denver artists that I have been talking to about collaborations. Some longer shot artists I would like to collaborate with are Bast, C215, Rene Gagnon, and Banksy.

What is your favorite collaboration that you have done ?
Hmm... Probably the collaboration with Ben Eine. Ben spent 2 weeks in Denver last year creating pieces for his show at Andenken Gallery. I was able to get down to the gallery about every other day to hang with Ben and watch him create some pieces. The tips and tricks he shared with me helped my stencil art move to a new level. I gave Ben a few of my prints and before he left he gave my Train Tags print back to me with the Circus font sprayed over it. I was also recently able to do a collab with Armsrock when he was in Denver for his show at Andenken Gallery a few months back. I now have a really cool Nike Blazer print with an Armsrock painting blended into it. I am pretty proud of this piece too.

You recently did the Phish Hampton poster with Tripp, any more gigposters in the future ?
Yes, but limited. I would like to focus most of my energy on creating art prints. But, the Phish Hampton poster is certainly not my last. It just needs to be the right opportunity for the right band.

What kind of music do you like? Is there any certain music you listen to while spraying ?
I listen to my iPod on shuffle most of the time. Some of my favorites are Disco Biscuits, Pink Floyd, Ween, Kool Keith, Thievery Corp, and MMW.

Ian was kind enough to include a 43 minute track mixed by him that you can download. Its pretty cool, listening to it as I type this.

Click the link below to download it

Ian's Mix Volume 7

Pretty Lights (Wrong Platform) > Gorrilaz (Dare) > Pretty Lights (Finally Moving) > Holy Fu*k (Lovely Allen) > Gorillaz (Fire Coming out the Monkeys Head) > Kool Keith (Maxi Curls) > Brother's Past (Celebrity) > Gorrilaz (Don't Get Lost in Heaven) > Ween (Happy Colored Marbles) > Brother's Past (Inhale) > Disco Biscuits (Little Lai) > Kid Koala (Basiin Street Blues) > Gorrilaz (Demon Days) > Disco Biscuits (Kitchen Mitts end) > Ween (Cheese remix)

You do a lot of commission work for people, do they give you pictures to work from or just ask that you come up with something ? What is the biggest request when it comes to commissioned pieces family pets , nature or something else ?
I guess my biggest request by volume is art of peoples pets. I get it. I have a dog and have done 2 prints of him. I always ask for a picture of whatever is being commissioned and then work from there to create the piece. In the past year, NoiseKing Gallery in Japan has commissioned me to do 4 pieces. It is really exciting to see my art introduced and accepted in Japan.

What other artist have caught your eye? Any specific print that made your jaw drop ?
I saw 2 new Bast pieces the other day that really got me exited. There were 3ft x 5ft ish and hand painted on keyfoods advertisements. I was in a show last month with Samuel Lowder. Some of his stencil collages in the show were really well executed with a great mix of colors.

Last piece of art done by someone else that you bought ?
Kevin Tong's iphone print and Shepard Fairey's Obey Eye.

Do you have anyone else’s work hanging on your walls ?
I like a bunch of other artists and love to collect art in general. Here is what I have hanging.... Living Room: Kinsey(Emancipate), Insect(WireViewsSpecial), Banksy(stop/search), Faile(momenti mori), Lindsey Kuhn(93 AP), Biskup(Yeti Faces), Bast(musk). Dining Room: Fairey(Wage Peace retro), SPQR(artist trade), and 2 tapestries from a trip to South Africa a few years ago. Bathroom: Pollock(I want more) and Jermaine Rogers(ween-5&4numbers-04). In our upstairs loft area: Masthay(morel mushroom), Burwell(staplegun mayhem), Grzeca(OutdoorMiner on wood), and Campbell(EOTWP). I'd have more up, but am out of wall space.

Your cityscapes are just amazing any new ones in the works ?
None actively in the works. I do plan on doing more cityscape this year and have a few cities in mind. I just need to find time to make it happen.

Any advice for new artists ? keep at it.

What new prints do you have in the works ?
I have a few new pieces in the works that I am really excited about. I also have a few upcoming show in the works including some more collaborative installations with Jon Lamb and Michael Ortiz. You will have to wait for details on the new stuff. But, I did finish up a super limited run of Earth Day Tree prints on silver foil paper that I will be adding to my online store very soon. You can follow my art at www.IansPrints.com.