I am an activist artist in Detroit, using techniques like video projection, artificial intelligence, vegetative tissue culture cloning, and occult experiments to address topics like police brutality, economic injustice, species extinction, and historic recurrence. My work is designed to create social change; I was highly influenced by Suzanne Lacy when she was a visiting lecturer while I studied sculpture, installation and performance at Michigan State University.
To create social change, I strive to reach wide audiences. I just finished 20 exhibitions in a year’s time, including in Dubai and South Korea. I also recently exhibited part of my “Made of Money” series inside the widely-visited ArtPrize festival in Grand Rapids, Mich., and reached an even wider audience when The New York Times Arts section wrote about my installation in the Sept. 17, 2017, article, “Mixing Art, Water and Politics: How a Quirky Art Contest Went Political.”
I also use social and mass media as exhibition venues. I have over 50,000 Instagram followers, and I publish my activist art through major news organizations, including as the artist and art director on a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for helping send Detroit’s mayor to jail. However, the failures of mainstream journalism are becoming more apparent in America’s current political climate.
My latest interactive video installations use motion detection to react to the audience, so images change based on how they are viewed, or move to create distance from the viewer, or follow viewers when they walk away. For these videos, I’ve created custom methods of digital imaging and artificial intelligence to build large-scale portraits based on many smaller items, which is sort of a classic resistance-organizing metaphor for how smaller parts can come together to make great change happen. I also use digital printmaking as part of these projects, and install these as public art.
Michigan State University, BFA in Art Education, 1998
• Minor in English (creative writing).
• Attended school on National Merit Scholarship.
• Member of MSU’s Honors College.
• Graduated with Honors.
• Won Sculpture/Installation/Performance award, MSU Undergraduate Art Exhibition, 1996 and 1997
• Co-winner, Best of Show, second place, MSU Undergraduate Art Exhibition, 1995
2018 Singer Editions Award, “Boston Printmakers Biennial,” Lesley University, Cambridge, MA
2017 Best of show, 1st place, “Canvas Pontiac,” Pontiac, MI
2017 Purchase Award, “Works on Paper Exhibition,” McNeese State University, Lake Charles, LA
2017 Printmaking Award, “Order & Chaos” exhibition, Eastern Kentucky University
2016 Best of show, “Endangered” exhibition, The Studio Door gallery, San Diego, CA
2009 Co-winner, Pulitzer Prize, Art Director and Artist, Local Reporting, staff portfolio
- “Boston Printmakers Biennial,” Lunder Arts Center, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA (Juror: Judith Brodie, Curator and Head of American and Modern Prints and Drawings, National Gallery of Art)
- “Artist Statement,” CICA Museum, Gimpo, South Korea
- “Woven Heritage,” A4 Gallery, Al Serkal Arts District, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- “19th Annual Works on Paper Exhibition,” Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts & Sciences, Long Beach Township, NJ (Juror: Jane Panetta, Associate Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art)
- “Wheaton Biennial: Printmaking Reimagined,“ Beard and Weil Galleries, Wheaton College, Norton, MA (Juror: Andrew Stein Raftery, Professor of Printmaking, Rhode Island School of Design)
- “30th Annual McNeese National Works on Paper Exhibition,” Shearman Fine Arts Center Annex, Grand Gallery, McNeese State University, Lake Charles, LA
- “Order & Chaos,” Fred Parker Giles Gallery, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY
- “Collage and Digital Madness,” Las Laguna Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA
- “Witch Hunt,” outdoor installation, Salem, MA
- “Trump Won't Stop Us,” Thumbprint Gallery, San Diego, CA
- “Urban Collage: Art of Resistance, Art of Resilience,” Feral Factory/The Crash, Denver, CO
- “Greetings From the Anthropocene,” Gallery 110, Seattle, WA
- “Canvas Pontiac,” outdoor installation, Pontiac, MI (Juror: Barbara Heller, Director and Conservator, Special Projects, Detroit Institute of Arts)
- “Michigan Fine Arts Competition,” Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, Birmingham, MI (Juror: Noel W. Anderson, Assistant Professor, New York University, Art and Art Professions, Print Media)
- “Art Now: Printmaking,” 117 Gallery, Ann Arbor Art Center, Ann Arbor, MI (Juror: Tyanna Buie, Assistant Professor/ Section Chair, Printmaking, College for Creative Studies, Detroit)
- “ArtPrize,” Grand Rapids, MI
- “DAMNED X,” Tangent Gallery, Detroit, MI
- “Black Words: I Have A Dream," outdoor installation, Dearborn Heights, MI
- “Three Rings and Two Parties: the Election Circus,” Wiseman Gallery, Rogue Community College, Grants Pass, OR
- “Chasing Ghosts,” Verum Ultimum Art Gallery, Portland, OR
- “DAMNED IX,” Tangent Gallery, Detroit, MI
- “Little Free Libraries,” Suburban Collection Showplace, Novi, MI
- “Visual Task Force Auction,” National Association of Black Journalists Convention, Washington, DC
- “Endangered,” The Studio Door, San Diego, CA
- “Art Explored,” outdoor installation, Royal Oak, MI
- “Fire Sale II,” Tangent Gallery, Detroit, MI
- “Damned VIII,” Tangent Gallery, Detroit, MI
- “Living in the City,” Start Gallery, Detroit, MI
2014 “Mercy for the Misunderstood,” Start Gallery, Detroit MI
2013 “Pride, Prejudice and Frankenstein,” guerrilla installation, Metro Detroit, MI
2012 “The Monkey Day Show,” Ice Cream Gallery, Grand Rapids, MI
2010 “Covered,” Headspace Gallery, Dearborn, MI
2009 “Out of Sequence,” Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery, Keene State College, Keene, NH
2009 “Monsters of Webcomics,” Cartoon Art Museum, San Fransisco, CA
2009 “Out of Sequence,” The Laboratory of Art and Ideas (The Lab)/Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, CO
2008 “Monkey Day,” Basement 414 Gallery, Lansing, MI
2008 “Out of Sequence,” Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL
2002 “Independent Arts Festival,” OJC Kompas vzw, Sint-Niklaas, Belgium
Jeff Karoub, “Winners Announced in Annual Michigan Art Competition,” Associated Press, Oct. 6, 2017. (Published by The Washington Post, U.S News & World Report, New York Daily News, The Spokesman-Review(Spokane, WA), CBS TV Detroit, etc.)
Steve Friess, “Mixing Art, Water and Politics: How a Quirky Art Contest Went Political,” The New York Times, Sept. 28, 2017, p. 1C.
Matthew Scheidel, “Made of Money,” The Collegiate Live, Sept. 28, 2017.
Troy Reimink, “ArtPrize 2017: Metro Detroit artists shine at massive competition in Grand Rapids,” Detroit Free Press, Sept. 25, 2017.
Jojo Girard, “Enough With The Big — Here’s The Smallest Venue At ArtPrize, A Post Office Box,” 98.7 WFGR, Sept. 22, 2017.
Natalie Broda, “Pontiac art competition to be held this weekend,” The Oakland Press, June 16, 2017.
Brian Goslow, “Printmaking Reimagined,” Artscope Magazine, March/April 2017, p. 72-75.
Jessica Firpi and Wendy A. Reynolds, Editors, Ripley's Believe It or Not! Unlock the Weird!, Ripley Publishing, 2016, p. 130.
“Every monkey has a day!” Daily Times, Lahore, Pakistan, Dec. 15, 2016.
“Kocaeli'de Dünya Maymunlar Günü (World Monkey Day in Kocaeli)” Özgür Kocaeli Gazetesi, Turkey, Dec. 15, 2016.
Victoria Mitchell, “Downtown bike tours featuring local artwork take place this week,” C&G Newspapers, Aug. 15, 2016.
Beth Dalbey, “Tours on Bicycle Built for Six Showcase Art Explored,” Patch, Aug. 12, 2016.
Mike McConnell, “Royal Oak to highlight public art with 6-seat bicycle tours,” Oakland Press, Aug. 11, 2016.
Jason Reed, “Eric Millikin: Soldier of Misfortune,” ZIPR Magazine, Issue 9, 2016, p. 39-44.
Melody Baetens, “Celebrations abound for Vernors’ 150th birthday: Pop art,” The Detroit News, June 1, 2016.
“Michigan Sports Icons: Players coaches and moments to hang on your wall,” Detroit Free Press, Battle Creek Enquirer, Port Huron Times Herald, and Livingston Daily, March 20, 2016, p. 1-15PE.
M. Keith Booker, Editor, Comics through Time: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas, Greenwood 2014, p. 1548.
“Celebrate Monkey Day in 3D with Eric Millikin,” Detroit Free Press, Dec. 14, 2014.
Jolie Lee, “Sweet or scary? See portraits made of Halloween candy,” USA TODAY, Oct. 10, 2014.
Clinton Kelly, Michael Symon, “Halloween in a Hurry," The Chew, Oct. 30, 2014. Season 4. Episode 39. ABC.
Leila Roelli, “Mosaïques sucrées,” Radio Télévision Suisse, Oct. 8, 2014.
Paul Gravett, “Comics Art,” Yale University Press, 2013, p.122,
“The Sweet Portraits of Eric Millikin,” Ovation TV, Nov. 1, 2013.
“De Halloween, dulciurile iau formă de monștri,” Neptun TV, Romania, Oct. 31, 2013.
“ΔΕΙΤΕ ΤΑ ΠΟΡΤΡΕΤΑ απο τα πιο... ΓΛΥΚΑ ΤΕΡΑΤΑ φτιαγμένα απο τον Eric Millikin!!” Athens Magazine, Greece, Oct. 31, 2013.
“Eric Millikin, Artist, Creates The Sweetest Halloween Art You'll See All Year,” The Huffington Post, Oct. 30, 2013.
“What Else Can You Do with Halloween Candy? Make Amazing Portraits, of Course!” The Good News with The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Oct. 30, 2013.
Michael Cavna, “THE BEST WEBCOMIC: It's time to vote on your nominations...” The Washington Post, Jan, 22, 2010.
Danny Fingeroth, The Rough Guide to Graphic Novels, Rough Guides 2008, p. 276.
Betsi Freeman, “On-Hand and ‘Out of Sequence’: Comics and minority culture at the KAM,” Buzz Magazine, Oct. 29, 2008, p. 9.
Tom Crippen, “Small Successes, Big Futility,” The Comics Journal, Issue 279, Nov. 2006, p. 105-106,
Ted Rall, Attitude 3: The New Subversive Online Cartoonists, NBM Publishing 2006, p. 65.
Mariko Wood, “Good Comics and Baud Web Comics,” The Comics Journal, Issue 251, March 2003, p.38-40.
“A Year of Fear: A look back on 12 months that saw Islamophobia reach record levels in Michigan,” (Illustration), Detroit Metro Times, Dec. 13, 2017, p.1.
“Prince Rogers Nelson: Rest in Purple,” (Illustration), Detroit Free Press, April 24, 2016, p. 1F.
“Black History Month: Can you pass this ‘Literacy Test’? An artist’s perspective on a civil rights injustice,” Detroit Free Press, Feb. 16, 2014.
“Eric Millikin takes an unusual look at Martin Luther King Jr. and his 'I Have a Dream' speech,” Detroit Free Press, Jan. 20, 2014.
“‘Serious Paper Cuts’: Classic books cut up, remixed,” Detroit Free Press, Dec. 24, 2013.
“Eric Millikin sends Monkey Day cards to strangers,” Detroit Free Press, Dec. 10, 2013.
“The 12 Stars of Monkey Day,” USA Weekend, Dec. 12, 2012.
“Will Ohio count your vote?” (Illustration), The Cincinnati Enquirer, July 29, 2012, p. 1A.
Lore Sjoberg, “Alt Text: Going Undercover at an Unregulated Content Farm,” (Illustration), WIRED, March 4, 2011.
“Reading Works: Thousands in our communities can’t read this headline. We can help. Here’s how.” (Illustration), Detroit Free Press, Oct. 2, 2011, p. 1B.
“A Message to Washington: Invest in America,” (Illustration), Detroit Free Press, Dec. 5, 2008, p. 1A.
Ric Bohy, “Metro Times 25th Anniversary Issue,” (Illustration), Metro Times, Oct. 25, 2005.
Zayed University Permanent Collection, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
McNeese State University Works On Paper Permanent Collection, Lake Charles, LA
National Action Network, Philadelphia Chapter, Philadelphia, PA
Michigan State University Library Special Collections, East Lansing, MI
Works held in private collections in the United States including in Baltimore, Denver, Detroit, New York, Portland (Oregon) and Tucson (Arizona), and in Australia, Canada, Sweden, and United Kingdom.