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 new found 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 the top industry awards for his music video and commercial work, including the Grand Prix Cannes Lion, the D&AD Black Pencil, the Grand Clio, and SXSW’s ‘Best of Show’, as well as 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 Democratic National Convention. 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 enhance emotional human storytelling, exposing the beauty in the things – physical, digital, intangible – that connect us all. The Johnny Cash Project and The Wilderness Downtown with Arcade Fire take the intensely personal, emotive power of music and use breakthrough technologies to create a visual experience that is interconnected to a global consciousness while still being individually 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 in NY for 6 months in 2011. Milk partnered again with Arcade Fire in 2011 for Summer Into Dust, a kaleidoscopic, crowd-fueled installation that physically connected the audience and their collective emotional response with the band and their performance at Coachella, 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 shadows 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 most recently has been building multiple projects with Virtual Reality as the canvas. The latest is a collaboration with Beck called “Sound & Vision”. It represents the first ever live-action, fully spherical, Virtual Reality film. It’s has been exhibited in an Oculus Rift at the Future of Storytelling Summit, Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, and Tribeca Film Festival.
Milk was born and raised in Glen Cove NY, and lives in Los Angeles. He is represented by @radical.media for music videos, digital, and commercial work, and William Morris Endeavor for feature films.