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

Block Party at The Cast on Orchard Street Broken up with Aggressive Arrest [VIDEO]

An afternoon of music on Orchard Street was interrupted yesterday evening with two aggressive arrests. Rock-n-roll leather shop, The Cast, hosted its annual street party for “Make Music New York” that included performances by eight bands on Orchard Street, between Grand and Broome. The event began at noon, but by dusk, it was broken up, albeit temporarily, by police […]

New 50-Foot ‘STIK’ Figure Appears on Allen Street

With the COST and Dain collaboration no longer in play at Allen and Delancey Streets, another revered street artist is at bat. UK-based STIK has been on the block since Tuesday to impart a token stick figure to the west-facing exterior of 55 Delancey. The mural was apparently commissioned by Fat Free Art Gallery (not The […]

Rivington House Co-Owner Picks up Pair of Ludlow Tenements for $15.5M

Last week, we learned that the corner tenement at 101 Stanton Street (at Ludlow) changed hands for $12.9 million. It was sold by Arwen Properties/Luthien Group to a small consortium of real estate firms. Now, it appears the company simultaneously cashed out the two adjacent properties on Ludlow Street, too. While prior rumors of sale proved […]

Rumor: Berkli Parc Closing Down on Saturday After 7 Years at Allen and Delancey [Updated]

Berkli Parc is reportedly ending operations this weekend after nearly seven years at the corner of Allen and Delancey Streets. We are told that the landlord bought out the remainder of the cafe’s lease, and that a fire sale is planned for Saturday. Circumstances around the closure aren’t confirmed, but we did hear unverified allegations […]

Watch Mayor de Blasio’s Reaction to Rivington House Accusations at Town Hall Last Night [VIDEO]

It was open season on Mayor de Blasio during last night’s “sold out” town hall assembly. Lower East Siders peppered Hizzoner with a barrage of questions and grievances related to myriad hyperlocal concerns. Councilwoman Margaret Chin served as moderator. And while many in the room saw opportunity for clarity, political challengers with a horse in […]

  • Jay

    Awesome article. Looking forward to opening night!