We knew Claire Milbrath as the mastermind behind The Editorial Magazine, a Montreal-based fashion and art quarterly that puts forth an intriguing dream-like aesthetic. However, what compelled us to write this piece was Claire’s work as a painter. In the midst of this hurried life we call modernity, the artist creates a safe haven that slowly unfolds around her characters, allowing them the luxury of laziness.
I often paint my characters bored, lazy, or anxious. Do you know that Waterhouse painting, Dolce Far Niente or It's sweet doing nothing? I like lounging figures like that, especially male figures. The concept behind 'Poor Gray' is that Gray is a character trapped in the limited world I draw. I'm more influenced by existential restlessness than routine I think.
That could be because I'm painting from a female perspective. I like to code the men as feminine and the women as masculine. I'm kind of satirizing current gender codes, so maybe it comes out unapologetic.
I do like making crass art, but I'm hyper-sensitive and romantic, so it ends up being soft and kinda laughable.
I started Poor Gray about 7 years ago. The concept was that Gray was banished to the world created by a lazy illustrator (me). He could only enjoy what I could draw – I haven't mastered drawing cars so Gray is always without a vehicle. He's developed some characteristics over time... anxious, wealthy, gay, lethargic. He's a smoker.
Good observation. It's just by nature, Gray is sleepy, and a bit tortured.
Hmm, I'm not sure, maybe because they are an extension of me?
I like scenes of luxury and timelessness… I'm inspired by a lot of the older lavish oil paintings, so I often copy those scenes.
I want to make a book of paintings, like a large picture book all about Poor Gray.