RODERICK MILLS – Biography
Roderick was born in Nottingham. He studied at Kingston University and The Royal College of Art. He lives in London and works from the same shared studio space as the London office of Heart. Roderick has been represented since 2005.
Drawing for Roderick is simply the most direct way of communicating ideas. He prefers cheap working materials, disposable pens and basic paper. This avoids the danger of becoming overly precious in his approach. Rather than producing preliminary sketches, with it’s attendant risks of loss of spontaneity, Roderick concentrates on articulating ideas directly in ink. Recognising that working on paper means he is immediately faced with two dimensions, Roderick feels it important to imply further perspective and consequently his characters can seem engulfed in space. He prefers that the images remain ungrounded rather than cropped tightly. This allows the empty space to create its own tension. Utilising this visual language, Roderick often introduces a random element via the use of the photocopier – trying to echo the rapid image making that a camera achieves with ease. Increasingly Roderick’s work has become multi-layered, combining stencils to offset against the line work, allowing Roderick to develop a colour palette particular to specific reference for the projects. This has enabled Roderick to add further to the meaning of the drawings, generating a richness to the images.
Roderick’s work has appealed to both large international brands as well as smaller non-profit and grass routes initiatives. He has worked on corporate social responsibility projects for Shell, branding books for Puma and marketing brochures for the property developer Derwent London as well as advertising campaigns for The Royal Bank of Scotland and Visa. His artworks have appeared on products and within brochures for cultural institutions such as The National Theatre and the Opéra National de Paris. Roderick’s drawings are on permanent display as a series of installations at the headquarters of Cardboard Citizens, a professional theatre company for homeless people. His work was translated into wall vinyls, adding personality to the new office and rehearsal studios with drawings of objects that make a space a home. He has worked on annual reports for Christian Aid and awareness campaigns for Cancer Research as well as lobbying documents to government about regeneration. The indirect form of storytelling evident in Roderick’s illustrations has led to many commissions for book covers. His artwork has appeared on covers for Zadie Smith’s ‘The Autograph Man’ to The Secret Diaries of Adrian Mole and an illustrated edition of Tom Hodkinson’s ‘How to be Idle’.
Roderick sees his work as a constantly evolving visual language, drawing upon influences from personal work to develop his commercial practice. His ventures into moving image have also allowed him to explore more complex narratives and abstract visual rhythms, through time-based media. He received a Sciart Award from the Wellcome Trust to fund a collaborative project, producing an animation entitled ‘Immortal Stories’, an investigation into the way Cancer is portrayed in the movies. This film toured Worldwide at film festivals and received much critical acclaim. Roderick is now working on his second film with further funding from the Wellcome Trust.
Select Client List
The Big Issue, Bloomsbury, Bon Appétit, Cancer Research, Cardboard Citizens, Christian Aid, Derwent London, The Design Museum, Esquire, The Guardian, Harper Collins, Inc magazine, Le Monde d’Hermes, The National Theatre, New York magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Opéra National de Paris, Pan Macmillan, Penguin, Puma, Royal Bank of Scotland, Royal Mail, Shell, Simon & Schuster, Strutt & Parker, Technology Review, The Telegraph, Télérama, Toronto Times, UCLA, Victoria & Albert Museum, Visa, Volkswagen, Volkswagen, World of Interiors