Alexander Millar was born in 1960 into the small mining community of Springside a few miles outside the town of Kilmarnock on the west coast of Scotland. Life in Springside gave him a strong sense of ‘atmosphere’ especially when he spent time with his railwayman father sitting in the steam filled railway stations which he described as, “the most romantic, nostalgic places to be.” Many of his best-known works are set within that very environment.
Millar left school in 1976 and eventually settled in Newcastle. He said, “This jump from sleepy peacefulness to hustle and bustle was like going from the frying pan straight into the fire. I found Newcastle had, and still has, its fair share of characters locally known as ‘Gadgies’ which fed me much inspiration later on in life when I finally discovered my destiny as an artist.”
After a number of successful exhibitions he created his signature Gadgie characters, later entering his work in the Daily Mail’s ‘Not the Turner Prize’. Ten thousand works were entered and his painting was chosen as one of the finalists which were exhibited at the Mall Galleries in London; since then Millar’s immediately recognisable work has been displayed in galleries and fairs around the UK.
Commenting on his unique style he said, “The past couple of years have been especially exciting as my work has taken on a life of its own. Sales have gone through the roof and everyone seems to be taking notice of these solitary figures I create. I’m continually surprised to see the effects my paintings have on people, on many occasions I’ve had women moved to tears absorbed by a painting that evokes memories of their father or grandfather.”