Art & Design

Vomit Artist Millie Brown’s ‘Rainbow Body’ Exhibition is a Reflection of Los Angeles

Art & Design

Vomit Artist Millie Brown’s ‘Rainbow Body’ Exhibition is a Reflection of Los Angeles


British performance artist Millie Brown—famous for puking on Lady Gaga during the singer’s 2014 SXSW performance—will unveil her fourth solo exhibition in Los Angeles on April 10. Presented by Nicole Ehrlich and curated by Nathaly Charria, “Rainbow Body” will feature whimsical paintings all created “using almond milk, food coloring, stomach and hands”—a more pleasant way of referring to Brown’s unusual practice, where she vomits colored milk directly onto canvases (Amazing). This particular group of paintings pulls inspiration from Brown’s new home in California, collectively telling “the story of the Los Angeles sky, its past and its present, its light and its dark.” We caught up with Brown to dissect this exhibition, discussing abstract expressionism, enlightenment and Buddhist monasteries:

Millie Brown’s “Rainbow Body” opens with a private reception on April 9, hosted by Flaunt Magazine, and will run through April 23 at 8472 Melrose Place.

On “Rainbow Body:” 

“‘Rainbow Body’ is a reflection of my time here in California. The palette’s inspiration came from the skies, shapes, architecture and energy of the city. Each of these paintings embodies that energy and my presence within it. In many respects, my paintings are the climax to a solitary performance of their own creation. Using my body to paint from the inside out with stomach and hands. The process is of equal importance to me as the result on canvas. I relate to the abstract expressionism movement, which in some senses was the birth of performance art itself. The artist behind the painting became a performer, projecting his/her self onto the canvas and opening up a whole new way to use the tools we possess.”

On the sky: 

“Every day I climb a mountaintop, sit and meditate, while looking over the city and into the sky. I’ve become more fascinated by the sky than ever before in my life. The colors and combinations of shades are different from anywhere else—they inspire me to recreate their infinite beauty through myself and body.”

On living in Los Angeles: 

“I’ve become used to working and creating in London for so long: The fast pace, the grayness and raw creativity surrounding me. I love it and thrive within that environment. In LA, it’s the polar-opposite, yet somehow a perfect complement and in some ways an antidote to what I’ve become accustomed to. I’ve spent more time in nature here and that’s influenced the inspiration within my work. I feel people in LA have a very different outlook on life and encourage ambition in others more than other places I’ve lived. I don’t create unless I’m in the right headspace to create a positive piece of work. I think this city has given me a more positive outlook and that translates on to my canvases.”

 On her process: 

“I used the same process to create these pieces as my previous ones, but this time I used a different technique with my hands and dripping to manipulate the paint, rather than leaving the splatters where they fell. I wanted to see all color on ‘Rainbow Body’—color from side-to-side. I wanted to get lost within the color-scape and movement.”

On enlightenment: 

“Every performance I’ve ever conceptualized has pushed my own physical boundaries, opening up a vulnerable and often uncomfortable place mentally. I believe we can only grow mentally and spiritually by exceeding these self-made boundaries. Although we are physical beings existing in this physical realm, we are also way more powerful than we believe. Our minds are truly incredible tools. Every time I push past the discomfort into this state of mind, I find a sense of enlightenment from within—a place where my creative thoughts have no limits and my mind feels liberated.”

On Tibetan and Buddhist Theology: 

“The concept of ‘Rainbow Body’ is deeply rooted in Tibetan and Buddhist theology. It is the observation from a third person’s perspective of another being gaining complete knowledge: Enlightenment. The person observes the other as a spectrum of colors all embodying a rainbow presence. My performances have roots in some spiritual practices. Much of my childhood was spent in Buddhist monasteries and spiritual retreats—I’ve drawn from these experiences, but do not relate personally to any one religion. I think it’s more powerful and natural to draw from all, taking the good from each as inspiration for life. These elements often seep into my work.”