Mills - Self Portrait in Inverted Tie

Andy Mills

Self Portrait in Inverted Tie

I am an interdisciplinary artist utilizing writing, drawing, and fiber techniques to create work that explores my relationship to the past. In my art, narratives are disrupted, sentences are abstracted, and words are consumed. By juxtaposing large-scale figure drawings with abstract sculpture and text-based embroidery, my work becomes a site of altered memory.

My work is deeply autobiographical with a focus on self-portraiture, costuming, installation, and performance. My practice includes drawn self-portraits, hand-crafted ropes, embroidered tapestries, unconventional garments, and stiffened fabric sculptures. I combine these elements to suggest a world where bedsheets talk, road signs beg, and lengths of rope spill secrets. By using text, I analyze what it means to be recognized and heard. My work counters the idea that language is logical, rational, and unfeeling, arguing instead that it is highly emotional, illogical, and ambiguous.

This piece, Self Portrait with Inverted Tie, was inspired by Frida Kahlo’s Self Portrait with Cropped Hair. Like Kahlo, I assume an androgynous persona through portraiture. Pictured with the aftermath of a shaved head and dressed in menswear, I use the world of the drawing as an opportunity to explore my relationship to gender roles and expectations, as Kahlo does in her own work. But where Kahlo depicts herself among her discarded hair, in my piece, the hair appears outside the drawing, as a banner, a torn bed sheet turned ribbon hugging the top edge of the portrait. It is a proclamation made flesh. The fiber is a stand in for hair, the fabric for skin. My embroidery practice creates a confessional out of plush language and here it sits against the stillness of the image. I use it as a mediary between an imagined world and the real one, a reminder that paintings and drawings are fictions. And I use it as a reminder of the inverse – we can get very close to the truth with pencils and paper.