Mike Mills was born in Los Angeles as the son of a retired museum director. Mills was educated at the Cooper Union in New York and lived in NYC for 15 years. He returned to California to create his own production company, The Directors Bureau, with his friend and fellow director Roman Coppola and with Sofia Coppola.
Art cinema Plaza Futura will show a compilation of the short films, commercials and videos by Mike Mills on sunday january 18.
In his designs, Mike Mills winks at the past yet manages to retain a sense of smart, simple modernity. His style is extremely diverse, ranging from abstract-retro(with explosions of colours) to simple line-drawings and botched-up photography. Mike Mills creates and at the same time comments on popular culture, which makes his work unique. His work has been categorised as ‘pop art for now people.’ “It’s fun to be archival about trash”, he says about his obsession with 70’s kid culture. “I work with the objects I find on my way, I’m not an artist who works out things in his head. I am interested in popular culture, things that are already there and that I can put together in a botched-up way. To me, that means coming up with something new. Is it art? That’s a question I don’t lose much sleep over’.
Mills has left an indelible mark on the visual language of our times. His work, though hard to categorise (nuevo-retro?, docu-fiction?) speaks both to and for our times and the cultural confusion that has become such an essential part of our lives. “I think that my work is just symptomatic of our time. I grew up as a skateboarder in an ambience of punk bands and that’s a very entrepreneurial community. You learn to understand that all these creative expressions are not as separate as they seem to be.” Mills also mentions to be influenced by Charles Eames and Dick Bruna. ”Eames made furniture, we all know that, but he was also into architecture, films, exhibitions and toys. That’s a great example of cross-disciplinary work.”
Deformer, one of Mills’ first films, is a documentary report on skater/artist Ed Templeton. In 1999 Mills made his first short film called Architecture and Reassurance. The film is a representation of the dreams of a teenage girl living in utopian suburbia in Los Angeles, who is convinced that the visual homogeneity of the neighbourhood is a reflection of the happiness and togetherness of its inhabitants. In his most recent short film, Paperboys, Mills registers the daily lives of six boys in rural Minnesota. Among Mills’ other films are a short film documenting the world of thought of jazz composer Ornette Coleman and a short promotional film for Marc Jacobs. For the French pop duo Air, Mills made the 45 minutes black and white documentary Eating, Sleeping, Waiting & Playing. In this documentary, Mills abandons the typical tour diary approach and asks the audience nonsensical, ridiculous questions instead of the band. Mike Mills is currently working on his first Hollywood movie based on Thumbsucker, a book by Walter Kern. This film will premiere in the summer of 2004. For the show in MU, Mills will make 20 short movies.