Woman Crush Wednesday: Amy Mills
Interview by Akshit Bhardwaj
From your photo series, I see the beauty of mystery and darkness. Could you talk about how and why you made such choices?
Darkness, both literally and figuratively, has always captivated me. I find the mystery that the darkness holds to be very stimulating. It presents this idea that there is more there than you can see, something yet to be discovered. It can also give shape to our fears, doubts, and sorrows. As a person who has suffered from both anxiety and depression for some time, darkness as more of a concept (in music, films, literature, etc), has always been a source of comfort; something I can relate to and take inspiration from.
Could you tell me more about your experience as a queer trans woman, and feelings you have while creating these images?
I began my transition about 10 years ago, but I knew I was trans long before that. At a certain point the dissonance between your mind and body becomes too great to bear, and you have to take steps to become the truest version of yourself. As a trans woman I have always been somewhat hesitant to make art about that experience. I was resistant to having people define me as “a trans artist” or to just be completely defined by that part of myself. It wasn’t until recently I embarked on this self portrait project, which didn’t even start out with the intention of being about my trans experiences. I tend to have a very improvisational approach to creating images, and after I finished a few drafts, I could see where the work was going. I'm of the mind now that queer and trans voices are particularly important in the art world, and the world at large. Existing as a queer trans woman, there will always be some degree of dissonance & discomfort within your mind, your body, and at times with the external world as well. These images present my body in contexts that elicit an instant reaction of discomfort. This reaction can perhaps allow the viewer to relate to the discomfort I experience on a daily basis. The series also allows non-trans people to view a trans body, an experience which is quite rare for most people.
Your pictures have sharp dry objects against naked bodies. What is the importance of that and what does it represent?
This contrast is one of the things which causes the viewer some level of discomfort or uneasiness while viewing the images, as discussed in my last answer. On a more conceptual level, the relation of the natural objects (seed pods, sticks, dirt, hair, etc) to my body is speaking to the idea of nature as a force that is unstoppable—we cannot help what body or existence we are born into, even if it is harmful to us. We can only try to do our best to live our lives as the best version of ourselves. Nature, in its literal and figurative sense, is something which can both harm & restrict us, while simultaneously being a source of power & transformation.
This project is the on-going project now. How do you think it will change over time.
I began this project a couple of years ago, and I had to put it on a temporary hold for a little while. I’m beginning to work on new images, and I hope to make the images a bit more explicit in their content--a more direct confrontation of the trans identity with the viewer. I also hope to develop the concept of nature as a form of bondage more in the next batch of images.
Describe your creative process in one word.
If you could teach one one-hour class on anything what would it be?
The history of harp guitars.
What is the last book you read or film you saw that inspired you?
I would say the last book I read that really impacted me was Orlando by Virginia Woolf. Some of the most gorgeous and haunting prose I’ve ever read.
What is the most played song in your music library?
Pierced from Within by Suffocation
How do you take your coffee?
I’ve actually never had a cup!