Beginning his career in music videos and photography, Chris Milk’s work has expanded beyond the traditional: his art straddles experimental genres and unfamiliar mediums, turning new technologies, web browsers, ephemeral events and even physical gestures into canvasses.
Milk first gained recognition as a music video director, working with Arcade Fire, U2, Kanye West, Green Day, Johnny Cash, Gnarls Barkley, Chemical Brothers, John Mellencamp, Courtney Love, and Modest Mouse. He has been honored with industry awards for his music video and commercial work, including the Grand Prix Cannes Lion, the D&AD Black Pencil, the Grand Clio, SXSW’s ‘Best of Show’, multiple Grammy® nominations, MTV Moon Men, and the UK’s MVA Innovation Award. His short film Last Day Dream played at film festivals around the world, and he directed the second unit of A Mother’s Promise, the film that introduced Barack Obama at the 2008 DNC. The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards recognized his work in design and art in 2011.
In recent years, Milk has focused on using cross-media innovations to amplify emotional human storytelling, exposing the beauty in the things – physical, digital, intangible – that connect us all. The Johnny Cash Project and Arcade Fire’s The Wilderness Downtown take the intensely personal, emotive power of music and use breakthrough technologies to create a visual experience that in its totality represents a shared global consciousness, and at the individual level is meaningful and moving for each participant. The Wilderness Downtown was named as one of TIME magazines 30 Best Music Videos of all time, and was exhibited at MoMA for six months in 2011. Milk partnered again with Arcade Fire in 2011 for Summer Into Dust, a kaleidoscopic, crowd-fueled installation at Coachella that manifested the emotional connection between the audience and the musicians as a visual spectacle of physical interactivity, widely credited as the highlight moment of the festival.
The Treachery of Sanctuary, currently touring the world with The Creators Project, is a large-scale interactive triptych: a story of birth, death and transfiguration that uses projections of the participants’ own bodies to unlock a new artistic language. This Exquisite Forest is a collaborative online piece that turns branching stories into an endless forest of animated narratives. It is currently being exhibited at the Tate Modern in London.
Milk lives in Los Angeles. He is represented by @radical.media for music videos, digital, and commercial work, and William Morris Endeavor for feature films.