THE most striking thing about North Yorkshire artist Claire Milner’s stunning portrait of Marilyn Monroe commissioned for Rihanna isn’t its size (five feet square), or the fact that it’s made out of thousands of Swarovski crystals.. What hits you is that it has a raw truth about it. A real fragility and vulnerability is captured. There is another haunting secret to it, too. Claire painted a second portrait on the reverse, of Norma Jeane Baker. There is something almost unbearably poignant about the thought of that portrait of Norma Jeane forever facing the wall. It makes the revealed face of Marilyn even more moving.


“This portrait by the artist Claire Milner is at home in New York... I find fascinating the shadows, the nuances, and the emotions that she manages to express thanks to subtle games of colored crystals. I am in love with this work. And I am in love with Marilyn. What is more moving than these candid eyes?” (Translated from Vogue Paris)

It’s all about the detail for Claire Milner, the stellar British talent behind the portrait of Marilyn Monroe. Claire’s philosophical approach is revealed in the surprising hidden portrait painted on the reverse that represents the young Norma Jeane - a commentary on the life of a celebrity. Her richly diverse sources of inspiration include ancient art, popular culture and Shakespeare. This is reflected in a dynamic adaptability, from a mosaic depicting under-sea volcanoes to iconic portraiture.
The artistic opus of Claire Milner is largely drawn from the artist’s desire to inscribe environmentalist discourse in art. On a similar trail of examining human behaviour in crises, Milner considers topics of identity, gender and displacement. The artist uses her work as a device for social and political debate.
Her works of art are majestic as well as thought-provoking.
At first glance, these sparkling paintings are gorgeous images of endangered animals. Upon closer inspection, however, each work shows a much darker subtext. The hauntingly expressed consequences of poaching, climate change and habitat loss powerfully focus on the plight of some of the world’s most vulnerable species.
— Inspired Economist
A female Warhol, Milner is reviving the ancient mosaic techniques of Byzantine art, combined with painting, to create dazzling art that clashes nature with consumption.
— Ethical Hedonist Magazine