Artist Profile: Dean Millien’s Foiled Fun at Con Artist

Posted on: March 19th, 2012 at 10:28 am by

We all had that friend in junior high who, after eating lunch, would fashion the aluminum foil wrappers into random objects. Being boys, that inevitably devolved into some sort of phallic shape followed by a timely wise-crack. For some it’s deemed a passing phase, but for others, a serious form of artistic expression. As to the latter, look no further than 157 Suffolk Street.

They call him the “Tin Man,” but we sure as shit ain’t in Oz. This guy is the real deal, and with heart. His name is Dean Millien, a unique local artist with a penchant for folding foil. The Con Artist workshop on the Lower East Side acts as somewhat of a second home for his craft, which is often placed around the gallery space for effect. Beginning Wednesday night, however, his handmade metallic sculptures will take center stage at the new above-ground Suffolk Street location with “Curses, Foiled Again.”

When we arrive at Con Artist, the place is in utter shambles, as any creative workspace should be.  With “Curses, Foiled Again” just a few days away, metallic sundries are strewn everywhere. We meet Millien at one of the desks littered with balled-up foil and crafted headware, the sounds of Prohibition-era Jazz wafting over the airwaves. Back in the corner, meanwhile, a scantily clad model poses for photos donning each of his one-of-a-kind creations – antlers, top-hats, jester hats, Mickey Mouse ears, etc. We want to learn more…

As it happens, a familiar childhood nightmare became the proverbial spark which ignited Millien’s fiery passion to sculpt. He tells us candidly that his most cherished toys (Bert and Ernie) were trashed at a young age, and how a pink sponge became the unlikely replacement. One that he quickly molded into a cat. From there, he eventually graduated to aluminum foil, always of the belief that any discarded metal should “never be wasted.” Another form of recycling – turning trash into art.

With this mantra, Millien is now selling these sculptures and even doing commission work for big companies.  A few years ago, J. Crew requested a number of figurines as part of their “Crew Cuts” kids line. Plus, he tells us that gears are in motion to possibly ink a sponsorship-type deal with Reynolds Wrap. The perfect synergy.

Dean Millien’s solo debut “Curses, Foiled Again” opens Wednesday night at the Con Artist collective, 157 Suffolk Street.

Recent Stories

germania bank lights on
Historic Germania Bank Building on the Bowery Sells, Condos Coming Soon

It finally happened. After years of rumors and suitors, photographer Jay Maisel finally unloaded his prized possession. The treasured Germania Bank Building at 190 Bowery. The New York Times has the scoop today in a broader piece about the buyer, Aby Rosen’s RFR Realty, which had been marketing the 37,000 square-foot property last month. RFR […]

manhattan-love-bowery
ABC’s Rom-Com ‘Manhattan Love Story’ is Back on the Bowery Today

In this case, we could practically recite our last post on Manhattan Love Story verbatim. The ABC rom-com is back on the Bowery today, and will bring with it an impressive display of boxy Haddad’s trucks. So, expect the worst. Much like the plot of this program. ABC describes their new primetime fodder as a […]

Sutra's Ariel Palitz, Photo: Blackbook
Sutra’s Ariel Palitz Divulges Her Distaste for the Local Blogs

Last Wednesday evening was the swan song soiree for Sutra Lounge. The hip-hop club had operated on First Avenue for a decade. This party was both a celebration and sendoff. As for next steps, owner Ariel Palitz is still rumored as a player in the new Mars Bar juicery in the works on East First […]

miss-hoe-kenmare
Booted from the Bowery, Miss Hoe Now Operating on Kenmare Street

Openhouse Gallery downsized its holdings last year, and ditched the 11 Kenmare outpost for good. The 600 square-foot hindquarters of Champ Depot subsequently hosted a succession of pop-up retailers, culminating this past summer with the arrival of a popular Bowery refugee. Eclectic boutique Miss Hoe chose 11 Kenmare (aka 176 Bowery) as the setting for its […]

extell-south-street
It’ll Be a Minute Before Extell Breaks Ground on Its 68-story Tower

The Extell Development Company filed additional permits for its new 68-story tower on the ruins of the Cherry Street Pathmark. Most of the new paperwork is for excavation and foundation work, yet not all has been approved by the DOB just yet. So, in the meantime, the only real updates are that perimeter lighting was […]

  • Jay

    Awesome article. Looking forward to opening night!