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.
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.