Tahlia Miller


Artist Statement

Epidermis celebrates rejuvenation through a cathartic textural exploration of the skin surface as a living organ. Lack of negative space represents an all-consuming obsession with the appearance of blemished skin. Topographical surface qualities liken the body to a landscape, an extension of nature. The materiality of the work challenges the stigma of acne as an imperfection by embracing marks and flaws as integral layers of richness and complexity. The fluidity of the moving layer is complementary to the ritualistic cleansing process associated with acne, and reminds the viewer of our capacity to transform and become entirely new.

Artwork Process

To create visual reference images exploring surface quality, I used Photoshop to layer microscopic images of epidermis with photos of my acne, skincare products and snakeskins. I painted in layers alternating between brushwork, a palette knife and tissue paper. To extend the work in an immersive direction and exploit mark-making, I used Premiere Pro to create a video montage with overlayed animated cropped marks from my life drawings, water movement and a close-up video of the painting’s texture. The video was masked in areas to allow the materiality of the canvas to be contrasted with the video movement.

About the Artist

  • Name: Tahlia Miller
  • School: Queensland Academy for Creative Industries
  • Artwork: Epidermis
  • Media: Single channel video, 16:9, colour, 3:33 minutes, acrylic, gesso, tissue paper, modelling paste on canvas

I find immense emotional and intellectual fulfilment in art-making; specifically, the research, experimentation, catharsis, alchemy and self-awareness behind an artwork. Art has taught me the beauty of the ever-evolving self over time, as I can now trace the beginnings of thoughts that have travelled through my work. When I began to identify as an artist, I found a surprising sense of belonging, which was not dependent on locality. I think Creative Generation plays a very important role in highlighting the thriving creativity in high schools at an age where it can feel presumptuous to define yourself as an ‘artist’.